On this page you will find the assignments for the The Hague University Blockchain Minor. Your contacts for the assignments are Dennis IJlst, Jamie Jansen and Jordi Jansen. If you have any questions, please let us know (preferably via Slack).
"Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world." ―
Which transfers of value do you have in your life that could (or already are) be recorded in a ledger? Think beyond the examples mentioned in the video and come up with at least five examples.
Take two of the transfers of value you identified in your own life from previous question. For each one transfer of value, determine how the four properties that make ledgers important are applicable. If you’re unsure whether they are actually good answers, contact your Koios community members in Slack.
Before we move forward the next lesson, brainstorm with yourself, a friend or a Koios member what you think a perfect ledger could and/or should look like. How would it function and which unique characteristics would it have in an ideal world? Tip: you can lookup papers online about this topic. During class you might be invited to participate in the discussion on why you think your perfect ledger is perfect. Remember; opinions can change and it’s not bad if yours does too. We are here to learn with each other.
"The greatest teacher failure is" - Yoda
Compare your perfect ledger from previous assignment with what you have learned in this lesson. Were you close, did you miss something? And do you agree with the perfect ledger that was described in the paper discussed in this lesson? Remain critical, but constructive.
Find examples of the three main categories of downsides of centralised ledgers for one existing ledger from your own country. If you need inspiration, a think of examples in ledgers of government agencies, commercial parties, public institutions like your University etc. Build from your own experience and connect the content with your everyday life.
We touched upon what distribution and decentralisation means in the context of ledgers. Investigate the level of distribution and decentralisation of Bitcoin as of today. Take your time answering this question, it has a three star difficulty level. Note: this is what the little"***" mean behind the title). Try to refrain from empty claims, support your opinion as well as possible!
Minimum amount of words: 500.
The three main problems of distributing a ledger are:
Explain in a maximum of 75 words per main problem how Bitcoin deals with these problems.
Explain in your own words, on video (!!), what the Byzantine General Problem is and how this problem relates to a distributed decentralised ledger.
This goes for all the video's in future portfolio assignments:
Note 1: upload your video on YouTube or similar platform and copy the link in your portfolio. Don't forget to adjust the privacy settings. We suggest to opt in for the unlisted option, because we can't see the video if you set it on private and everybody can see it if you set it on public.
Note 2: REFRAIN FROM READING A SCRIPT (in order for us to know that it was your explanation and not for example an internet source read out loud)
Note 3: you should be visible (in order for us to know that it was you)
Research online into at least three blockchain based ledgers (including their protocol on how to reach consensus on valid transactions). Determine whether a blockchain could be a suitable solution for the problems these projects describe, instead of using a centralised or other type of ledger as a solution.
Beware that there are a lot of different models, often not free of (possible) manipulation or design flaws. That’s where the challenge lies: choose the model you think is best and provide arguments as to why other models wouldn’t be. You can also choose to design your own model or modify an existing one, if you feel confident enough. This question will provide you with a proper understanding of a concept that is widely misunderstood in the blockchain industry: "do I need a blockchain?"
“Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” ―
You just learned how blockchains work. Explain in your very own (!) video (!) that you now understand how a blockchain works on a high level, by using the Blockchain Demo. Also pay attention in your video of why the explanation of how a blockchain might differ per perspective.
Prove that you achieve the learning goals (free format!):
1.Explain in my own words how Satoshi invented a practical bypass of the BGP while incorporating the distributed decentralised ledger and the concept of a protocol in my answer (understand)
2. Illustrate how this solution is not a true mathematical solution, but a practical solution to the problem (analyse)
3. Evaluate the impact of the downsides of this practical solution (analyse)
We concluded that the 10-minute time frame interval of the creation of blocks is needed in the Bitcoin protocol (set of rules), to verify if there are other longer chains / other truths existing to bypass the BGP and reach consensus. Explain why a short (e.g. 1 sec) time frame would not work in case of Bitcoins protocol.
No blockchain covers it all. Each blockchain has it’s own properties and therefore its own use-cases. Make a comparison between the Bitcoin, Ethereum and Monero blockchains. Use the characteristics we used in this video;
Open & public
Smart programmable data
Increases transaction cost efficiency & computational cost efficiency
What is your opinion on data ownership and the personal freedom that is associated with it? Do you mind sharing your data in return for the ability to e.g. use Facebook? And if you are concerned, what are you prepared to do about it? Can you do something about it? Start the discussion in the Slack channel.
Sit back and relax while watching The Great Hack. Record your findings in the FilmForm provided in Slack.
Give five examples of censorship that is applicable to the country you live in. And yes, even the Netherlands has censorship! What is your personal opinion about censorship from a controlling party like the government? And how about censorship by a commercial entity? Let's debate in class!
Research online how much the currency of the country where you live has devalued over the past 20 years. Tip: search for purchasing power + your currency. What is your opinion about this inflation?
Write a short essay of min 500 words and max 1,000 words of what you think the next industry will be that will get digitalised via software. Other than explaining why you think applications will replace this industry, also describe how the application would look like (what will it do) and how it might improve the current industry.
Also include in your answer: is there a possibility that this application would work better in a decentralised manner?
What did you think off the opinions and visions about interconnectivity expressed by Elon Musk and Joe Rogan in the interview (see further readings)?
"What is really needed to make democracy function is not knowledge of facts, but right education." ―
Before we start, write down the answer of what you think "money" should be and for what functions it should or could be used. You are allowed to think outside the box, so we dare you ;-)
Money = any asset that's widely accepted as payment for goods and services or any repayment for debt. Give three examples of assets in your environment that fit with this definition of money.
Money has the following properties;
Limited in supply
Compare the Euro to Bitcoin in regard with these properties. Explain why you think this is or isn't a fair comparison.
Money is used for three things;
Medium of exchange
Store of value
Unit of account
How do the Euro and Bitcoin compare in these three functions?
What is your opinion on the current monetary system and what the future of monetary systems should look like? Create a plea for your position (no size limits – it is enough when you’ve provided all your arguments and have said what you wanted to say).
Watch the (first part of the) series of videos “hidden secrets of money” via Youtube. Record your findings on the FilmForm.
Name & explain in 5 sentences what the first use case of Bitcoin was?
What efforts have already been made to reduce transaction costs in the Bitcoin blockchain the past 5 years? Provide at least two examples.
Also support what shortcomings seem technically temporarily and what shortcomings as well as benefits seem to be inherent / fundamental due to the design.
Describe three other applications that are have been built on Bitcoin, other than the money application. What other future applications do you see built within the next three years? And within 20 years?
Experience if Bitcoin is actually the future of money by buying yourself your first satoshis (Bitcoin). Tell us something about your experiences! If you have struggles or concerns when buying your part of a bitcoin, ask for assistance in your Slack. IMPORTANT: you will need your satoshi's in-class in week 4. Feel free to share your experience in the Slack channel.
Listen to this debate: Is Bitcoin the Future of Money? Peter Schiff vs. Erik Voorhees. Which one of them do you think had better arguments and explain why?
Peter Schiff vs. Erik Voorhees
Go to https://etherscan.io/ (different blockchains and different explorers allowed!) and figure out how to find the code of smart contracts. Don’t worry, it’s normal you don’t understand anything that is in the smart contract. It’s meant to give you an idea of the reality behind it. Make a print screen of some parts of the code from the contract / dApp you have chosen and write down your first impressions.
Go to https://coinmarketcap.com/ and research the different tokens and coins (as many as you like!). Highlight your favourite cryptocurrency / project by explaining the smart contract and its use case and why you find it a good use case.
Take a look at your own direct environment. What would be a good use case for blockchain technology? You can use online diagrams on when to use a blockchain, but as you well know they can be wrong #DoYourOwnResearch
What do you think that the socio-economic consequences of blockchain technology will be, 10 years from now? Why? Where do you agree and where do you disagree with our host Jordi’s opinions?
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." ―
What is the difference between public/private and permissioned / permissionless? The answer needs to be correct and complete, but not more than 20 words. **
Watch the film Ready Player One and record which parts you can relate to centralized as well as decentralized blockchain technology from the film. Does this movie truly has a happy ending?
Record your findings on the FilmForm.
Pick a random document from your laptop desktop and calculate the MD5, SHA1 and SHA265 hashes for it. Change the file, and do it again. Watch the changes.
Make yourself a YouTube video of 2-5 minutes in which you explain how a blockchain works and what components it consists of and how cryptography helps in this. Use the video from previous weeks, but this time try to explain as clearly as possible how cryptography works and where you can encounter some cryptographics in blockchains.
Describe which leaf you would like to specialize in and why. Also share your thoughts on how you want to accomplish that.
Download a Bitcoin miner (https://www.easyminer.net/Downloads/) and try to start mining on your own PC. Post your hashrate in the Slack channel.
Download the GnuPG (https://gnupg.org/) and sign the following message with your own public key;“This is my first signed message.” If you want to experiment further, also share your public key in the Slack and ask other people to send you encrypted messages using your public key and vica versa.
We explained the consensus algorithms PoW, PoS, BFT and dBFT. Which one of these consensus algorithms do you prefer and why?
Also prove that you can (+ level):
1. categorize and break down the different set of properties of distributed ledgers (analyse)
2. evaluate which properties settings in a blockchain can lead to which properties of the network and therefore which possible use cases are suited (evaluate)
3. analyse a random blockchain of your liking and based on the collected information evaluate whether the blockchain is well-suited for their described main goal (analyse)
4. name the strengths and weaknesses of a blockchain or other form of distributed ledger based on the core properties (evaluate)
5. analyse the impact of a change in properties of the network and their impact on the goal of that network
"Controversial disputes are a part of democratic culture." ―
Make yourself a YouTube video of up to 5-10 minutes in which you explain how mining works and where you make a distinction between PoW mining and PoS minting. Include the link to the video in your portfolio.
The Hidden Value In Crypto (w/ Ari Paul)
What was the idea of Bitcoin, based on this video?
What is Ethereum aiming to be, based on this video?
What would be a benefit of decentralized social media?
Why does Ari Paul wants to leave fiat money?
What is the use case for bitcoin, based on Ari Paul his opinion?
What is a hardware wallet?
What is a side-chain? Explain in your own words.
What can you tell about blockchain and gaming?
Explain what micro-payments are?
With what did Ari Paul compared energy cost?
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ―
Make yourself a YouTube video of up to 5-10 minutes in which you explain how hash pointers work in transactions. Want to go the extra mile? Include an explanation of the Merkle tree in your answer!
Look up your own transaction from lesson week 4 in the blockchain of Bitcoin and trace it back at least five steps (so write the five previous public keys / owners of your current UTXO.
Summarise these two articles in your own words and describe what you have learned from it:
Read Mastering Bitcoin from Andreas Antonopoulos
Watch the the cryptocurrency course of Princeton on Coursera. Do note that although bit outdated already, the basic fundaments remain often the same and provides you a decent first insight in the tech.
Create your own tradeable token
Create your own non-fungible token. Where, how, what is all up to you. Suprise us :-)
Prove that you can:
1.Describe the concept of “commons” and the “tragedy of the commons” in my own words
2. Describe in my own words what is meant with “an ecosystem” and how they relate to blockchain
3. Explain the role of tokens in an blockchain based ecosystem
4. Create a common based goal for a blockchain based network
5. Create a strategy to set up an ecosystem which could work towards a common based goal.