Not long ago, the idea of a blockchain university would have been regarded as a utopian concept, but a group of Oxford professors is currently pitching the idea in the EU to create the world’s first blockchain university. To create a legitimate blockchain-based university, the group will still have to go down the regulatory channels of applying for university status and satisfying all the criteria. They must get approval before they have the authority to dispense legally recognized degrees as an accredited university.
The name of the university is to be called Woolf and will have its own cryptocurrency token. The design of the platform has been developed by independent academics, and the learning format and infrastructure will follow the Oxford system. The team of academics behind Woolf Development is led by Joshua Broggi, from the faculty of Philosophy at Oxford. The university is being called an “Airbnb of degree courses” and is a not-for-profit organization. The WOOLF ERC-20 token can be used for internal projects, tuition payment, and university voting. While it will be the first accredited blockchain university, it will have competition from blockchain-based education projects which do not seek to gain the same accreditation to operate.
One of the aims of the world’s first blockchain university is to disrupt the current paradigm and replace it with a system that is cheaper and more accessible to people who cannot afford an expensive education. The blockchain university comes at a time when higher education costs are sky high in the UK. It can cost up to £9,250 to attend university in the UK, and this doesn’t include the cost of rent, which has also risen in recent years. The average cost of studying in the UK for a year is estimated to be £22,200, exclusive of London, where prices are higher.
Woolf University also seeks to reinvent the way that students and teachers connect. The white paper for the project highlights the bureaucratic issues associated with traditional universities as well as the underpaid academic posts and proposes a new model to tackle these issues. The immutability of the blockchain will also help to prevent students from falsifying records, and smart contracts will automate student attendance. According to the white paper:
“It is our view that the model set out in this white paper will alter the economics of higher education and provide new opportunities for both students and academics. Blockchains with smart contracts can automate administrative processes and reduce overhead costs. Students can study with lower tuition and academics can be paid higher salaries.”
While many universities currently offer blockchain-related courses, no other universities are wholly structured on blockchain technology. It is also going to be “borderless” and “geographically agnostic,” fully inclusive to citizens around the world. Not too far into the future, the idea of traveling to a different continent and taking on a significant amount of debt to attain a certificate could seem archaic.
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