Blockchain Minor portfolio page with individual assignments
(part 1, for the first 10 weeks of the program)

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).

/ WEEK 1

Ledger-nomics

  • Video: section 1.1, Ledger-nomics
  • Literature: Chapters 1.1.1 - 1.1.11
"Education is the most powerful tool we can use to change the world." ―

Start here...

1.0 If you haven't already, please join the Blockchain Minor Slack. Make sure you use your first and last name when you create an account. Also please add a recognizable profile picture.

HAND IN YOUR PORTFOLIO ASSIGNMENTS VIA BLACKBOARD - before 23:59 each week

YOUR PORTFOLIO = ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS BELOW 

1.1 Field assignments:
This week the challenge owners will give a short pitch about their challenge. Pay attention, because you must pass along your top 3 preferred challenges by the end of this week. Choose wisely, because you will be working on this challenge for the rest of your Minor!  This is also your shot to contribute to a possible solution for a real-life blockchain based challenge.

Do note: we can't promise to match every preference. You need to submit your pick by the end of week 1. So listen carefully, read their description of the challenge thoroughly if present, and formulate your team with fellow students for the next couple of weeks.

Contact your lecturers or check your class schedule for the deadline (will be in week 1). Pass along your top 3 preferences, because if you miss your deadline, your lecturer will place you in an assignment of his/her own choosing.

HAND IN YOUR PORTFOLIO ASSIGNMENTS VIA BLACKBOARD
- before 23:59 PM each week
YOUR PORTFOLIO = ANSWER ALL THE QUESTIONS BELOW 

1.1.1

What is a ledger? *

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.

1.1.2

Why are ledgers important? *

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.

1.1.3

The history of ledgers. **

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

1.1.4

The perfect ledger. **

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.

1.1.6

Problems with centralised ledgers. **

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.

1.1.7

Distributed Decentralized Ledgers. ***

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.

1.1.8 (optional, not mandatory)

Problems with Distributed Decentralized Ledgers. ***

The three main problems of distributing a ledger are:

- timing
- ordering
- failure

Explain in a maximum of 75 words per main problem how Bitcoin deals with these problems.

1.1.9

The Byzantine General problem. ***

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)

1.1.10 (optional, not mandatory)

Centralized and Decentralized ledgers compared. ***

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?"

!!OPTIONAL, BUT EXTREMELY VALUABLE FOR PERSONAL INSIGHT! !
Make the personal Hexaco and the DISC tests to find out your strengths:
http://hexaco.org/hexaco-online
https://www.123test.nl/disc-test/

Need some inspiration? Click
here

If you want to expand on your personal skills, send the results to d.ijlst@hhs.nl to receive Titan tokens which will provide you with access to the Motivated Mind Platform where a Personal Leadership course will be waiting. Normally € 60, but free for you as a student of the THUAS Minors. Enjoy!

Prove that you achieve the learning goals (free format). You are allowed to refer to previous provided answers if you think the answers prove that you master the goal. Don't forget to refer per goal though.

By the end of this lesson I can (+ level):
1. Describe in my own words what a ledger is and why this is important for society as well as me personally (understand)
2. Reflect on what a perfect ledger is and illustrate that we are still far away from this type of ledger (analyse)
3. Explain what the differences are between centralised and decentralised ledgers (understand)
4. Evaluate how the different problems of centralised ledgers (could) impact current society and her infrastructures (evaluate)
5. Explain how decentralised ledgers could solve the problems of centralised ledgers by removing the TTP (understand)
6. Explain what the different is between a distributed and a decentralised ledger (understand)
7. Describe the different problems of distributed decentralised ledgers and illustrate these problems by example of the BGP (analyse)

Assignments week 1

/ WEEK 2

1.2 Blockchain
1.3 Satoshi's cheat
1.4 Why care?

  • Video: section 1.2 - 1.4
  • Literature: chapters 1.2 - 1.4
“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.” ―

Start here: friendly reminder

HAND IN YOUR ASSIGNMENTS VIA BLACKBOARD BEFORE 23:59 PM ON SUNDAY'S

1.2

How do blockchains work?*
Centralized and Decentralized ledgers compared. ***

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.

1.3

Satoshi's cheat**

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)

OPTIONAL:
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.

1.4.1

Properties of a blockchain***

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;

1.

Immutable

2.

Decentralized

3.

Open & public

4.

Transparent

5.

Censorship resistant

6.

Secure

7.

Private

8.

Neutral

9.

Smart programmable data

10.

Increases transaction cost efficiency & computational cost efficiency

1.4.2 (1/2)

Data ownership & personal freedom**

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.

1.4.2 (2/2)

Data ownership & personal freedom*

Sit back and relax while watching The Great Hack. Record your findings in the FilmForm provided in Slack.

1.4.3

Censorship resistance**

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! 

1.4.4

The FIAT experiment 1+2*

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?

1.4.5

Software is eating the world***

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?  

1.4.6 (optional, not mandatory)

Interconnectivity***

What did you think off the opinions and visions about interconnectivity expressed by Elon Musk and Joe Rogan in the interview (see further readings)?

Prove ownership of this chapter's learning goal (free format).

Compare the stated reasons of why blockchain technology might be important on the world stage as well as for me personally, with my very own personal motivations, whereby I can support my alignments / other additional reasons, or I can defend why I disagree.

Additional optional assignments for the blockchain junkies:

1. Watch the movie "The four horsemen". Use the FilmForm to record your findings.

2. Watch the film Banking on bitcoin (Netflix). Use the FilmForm to record your findings.

3. View the first part (60 minutes) of the interview at London Real with Andreas Antonopoulos. Use the FilmForm to record your findings. PS The YouTube channel of Antonopoulos is in any case a very good source of information!!! Questions to be answered are not in line with the video / not in order:
* What arguments do you agree on?
* What arguments don’t you agree on?
* What can you tell about inflation?
* What can you tell about money and Greece?
* How many people have very limited banking capabilities?
* Is Antonopoulos telling that bitcoin is going to safe us at this moment?
* Is Antonopoulos against cash? Yes or no? Explain why?

4. View the documentary the Third Industrial Revolution. Use the FilmForm to record your findings.

Assignments week 2

/ WEEK 3

1.5 Money
1.6 Ethereum
1.7 Socio-economic impact

  • Video: section 1.5 - 1.7
  • Literature: chapters 1.5 - 1.7
"What is really needed to make democracy function is not knowledge of facts, but right education." ―

1.5.1

First use case: money **

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 ;-) 

1.5.2

What is money? *

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.

What is money? **

Money has the following properties;

Durable

Portable

Uniform

Limited in supply

Acceptable

Divisible

Interchangeable

Compare the Euro to Bitcoin in regard with these properties. Explain why you think this is or isn't a fair comparison.

1.5.3

The functions of money **

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?

1.5.5 (optional, not mandatory)

FIAT money

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).

1.5.5 (optional, not mandatory)

FIAT money

Watch the (first part of the) series of videos “hidden secrets of money” via Youtube. Record your findings on the FilmForm.

1.5.7

The first use case of Bitcoin?*

Name & explain in 5 sentences what the first use case of Bitcoin was?

1.5.8

The money app: other examples ***

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.

1.5.8 (optional, not mandatory)

The money app: other examples ***

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?  

1.5.9

Is Bitcoin the future of money?***

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.

1.5.9 (optional, not mandatory)

Is Bitcoin the future of money?***

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

1.6.2

Smart contracts explained

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.

1.6.4

Use cases of blockchain & smart contracts

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.

1.6.5

Do I need a blockchain?

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

1.7

Socio-economic consequences

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?

Assignments week 3

/ WEEK 4

2.1 DLT
2.2 The Crypto Flower

  • Video: sections 2.1 & 2.2
  • Literature: chapters 2.1 - 2.2
"The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams." ―

2.1.1

DLT (1/2)

What is the difference between public/private and permissioned / permissionless? The answer needs to be correct and complete, but not more than 20 words. **

DLT (2/2)

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.

2.1.2

Prove that you can (free format!):

1. classify and break down the different type of distributed ledgers (analyse)

2. name the strengths and weaknesses of a blockchain or other form of distributed ledger based on the core properties (analyse)

3. evaluate what type of distributed ledger might best be suited for different use cases by naming three possible use cases and the type of ledger it would require to record the transactions (evaluate)

2.2

Cryptography YouTube video ***

1.

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.

2.

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.

3.

Describe which leaf you would like to specialize in and why. Also share your thoughts on how you want to accomplish that.

2.2.2 (optional, not mandatory)

Proof of Work ***

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.

2.2.3 (optional, not mandatory)

ECDSA ***

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.

2.2.4

Consensus **

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

2.3

How does your choice for which leaf you want to specialize in fit in the blockchain stack? Is there overlap, or does it allow you to scope your interest down even further?
Assignments week 4

/ WEEK 5

2.3 Layers
2.4 Players
2.5 Hardware & Software

  • Video: sections 2.3 - 2.5
  • Literature: sections 2.3 - 2.5
"Controversial disputes are a part of democratic culture." ―

2.4

PoW / PoS YouTube video:

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.

Optional for the blockchain junkies:

The Hidden Value In Crypto (w/ Ari Paul)

1.

What was the idea of Bitcoin, based on this video?

2.

What is Ethereum aiming to be, based on this video?

3.

What would be a benefit of decentralized social media?

4.

Why does Ari Paul wants to leave fiat money?

5.

What is the use case for bitcoin, based on Ari Paul his opinion?

6.

What is a hardware wallet?

7.

What is a side-chain? Explain in your own words.

8.

What can you tell about blockchain and gaming?

9.

Explain what micro-payments are?

10.

With what did Ari Paul compared energy cost?

Assignments week 5

/ WEEK 6

2.6 Transactions
2.7 Tokenizing ecosystems

  • Literature: sections 2.6 & 2.7
"Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that." ―

2.6.1

Transactions - The Merkle Tree YouTube video ***

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! 

2.6.2

Transactions

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.

2.6.3

Transactions

Summarise these two articles in your own words and describe what you have learned from it:

https://medium.com/@permabullnino/bitcoin-an-accounting-revolution-40efcb903d7b

https://www.preethikasireddy.com/post/how-does-ethereum-work-anyway

2.6.4 (optional, not mandatory)

Find at least one nice anecdote or something to your liking on what is registered in the blockchain. Freedom of choice with regard to which blockchain.

2.6.5

Optional for the blockchain junkies:

A.

Read Mastering Bitcoin from Andreas Antonopoulos

B.

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.

2.7

Tokenized Ecosystems

1.

Create your own tradeable token

2.

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.

Assignments week 6