Israeli professor to lead 'Blockchain Summer School' in Copenhagen

Israeli professor to lead 'Blockchain Summer School' in Copenhagen


Photos taken from a 2017 Blockchain highlight video showcasing the blockchain learning environment at the University of Copenhagen, Denmark..
(photo credit: UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN)

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Blockchain is a hot topic in today’s cryptocurrency world, as the foundation of bitcoins verification and economic tracking.  Some would even deem blockchain to be the secure link that helps to ensure cryptocurrencies validity in mainstream markets. Professor Omri Ross, of Copenhagen University, sees the potential for a wide array of blockchain applications and hosts an annual innovation seminar to expand on those ideas.

Ross co-founded a five day event that connects students and professionals from around the world to the many applications blockchain technology can be used for. The Blockchain Summer School, hosted by the Copenhagen Business School, will be taking place for the third time from August 13-17 this summer.

Ross, who is originally from Jerusalem, studied for his doctorate at the University of Cambridge and is currently assistant professor in blockchain technology at the University of Copenhagen.

Blockchain is a tracking application that can be used to prevent double spending of cryptocurrencies, supply chain management and as an economic stabilizer. Its a multi-facet application that took the world by storm, back in 2009, at the beginning of the bitcoin era.

When bitcoin was invented by supposed Japanese researcher Satoshi Nakamoto (whose true identity is debated), the idea of a system needed to track and back the currency was needed, ergo blockchain.

The blockchain summer school will be hosting 70 participants from around the world. The event runs for five days and opens with a half-day exploration of how the blockchain technology is used, and then continues with seminars with Ross and other blockchain experts; a two-day hackathon for participants to develop blockchain projects for industry partners; and a showcase for the projects.

The top three innovations showcased after the hackathon are then presented by their creators at the Nordic Blockchain Summit occurring Friday the 17th. The summit is a free event hosted by the Copenhagen Business School, and around 400 participants are expected to attend.

Speaking with The Jerusalem Post by video call from his office in Copenhagen, Ross said that during last year’s summer school, a team from Japan worked feverishly, with little sleep, for two days to figure out how electricity can be shared between two people using blockchain.

“[The summer school] gives us the possibility to allow a lot of people to learn and to work together, and to try and build new things,” he said.

According to Ross a lot of blockchain research was pioneered within the summer school during the past few years, including a research project run in conjunction with Nordea, one of Europe’s largest financial services groups. The summer school once led Nordea to collaborate with major shipping company Maersk Line and Nets Group, a payment solutions company valued at billions of dollars.

Ross said that he and the others who founded the Blockchain Summer School were inspired by research being done in the field, and the chance to innovate in the space more quickly than a full-blown university course would allow.

“Obviously, there is a lot of interest in the blockchain space,” he said, “both from students [at Copenhagen University] and from industries…  as a university, we want to move a little bit faster [in the field]. Sometimes one of the challenges in a university is that you’re not as fast-moving, so [we] wanted to create something fast that can actually answer this demand, and designing a full course [on blockchain] for a full semester would take a long time to do.” Hence, the idea for a rapid-fire summer school was born.

Some of the partners and sponsors of the program include the Royal Bank of Canada, the United States-based World Wildlife Fund, and Chinese blockchain group Qtum.

There are no Israeli companies directly participating in the event besides for Ross’ own blockchain organization, Firmo, but he said that while working in Tel Aviv, he established connections with companies in Israel that use blockchain. He hopes to put on an alumni-organized blockchain event at Israel’s Arts and Sciences Academy (IASA) in Jerusalem this fall.



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