The Nuance of Blockchain Learning in the Education Space


The world of crypto has definitely seen better days. According to the Washington Post, some are describing the collapse as a crypto winter that could lead to a possible ice age. As the article suggests, the collapse, while severe, managed to avoid widespread disruption to overall financial markets.

For the cautious optimists, even those who lost significant gains, the crypto winter could be part of the evolutionary cycle of a nascent technology that works through adaptation. According to Nasdaq News and Insights, “The underlying technology of cryptocurrencies, blockchain, can still be of use outside of the cryptocurrency market. The two are often linked, but blockchain can serve its purpose in sectors other than the crypto market.”

A better understanding of blockchain technology is still in its infancy. A recent Gartner survey found that only 2% of higher education institutions are embracing blockchain learning, while another 18% are considering it. However, parents of mature adults with knowledge of blockchain seem more likely to want it included in the curriculum. A Coin Telegraph poll shows that 64% of blockchain-savvy parents want it to be taught in school.

For Web3 attorney and CEO of Lunar Digital Assets, a boutique marketing and incubation firm for Web3 startups, Roc Zacharias, more attention should be paid to the interest in blockchain technologies for students and society. “More young people are launching blockchain-based startups than ever before, and many more are enrolling in third-party educational courses on the technology. So the interest and audience is clearly there,” he says.

This reporter connected with Roc Zacharias to examine the current environment impacting blockchain technologies and efforts to increase understanding of blockchain learning within the educational space.

Rod Berger: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background in the world of blockchain?

Rock Zacharias: l started digital currencies before they even existed. As a teenager, I sold assets collected in games to industry legends like Brock Pierce, long before bitcoin was even invented.

During the early days of crypto evolution, I was a pre-med student in college, but I eventually dropped out when I realized how big cryptocurrencies and blockchains were going to get. I knew right away that my destiny lay there and not in medicine.

I am currently fulfilling my calling by leading one of the most reputed marketing agencies in the blockchain space. I am also a co-founder of QuickSwap, Polygon’s largest decentralized exchange, and a core team member and advisor for Dogechain.

I spend most of my time researching the latest Web3 trends or advising blockchain startups and projects.

recovery: Describe Lunar Digital Assets (LDA). What you do as a company, your ideal customers and the impact it has in space.

Zechariah: The best way to describe LDA is as a boutique marketing and incubation agency. We mainly work with crypto startups that have already formed their development team, started building their project and are looking for guidance and marketing to unlock their full potential. We provide professional consulting, technical support, marketing collateral, social media management and Web3-focused PR, among other services requested by our clients.

recovery: There are a growing number of universities around the world offering blockchain-based curriculum, including the University of California Berkeley, the University of Zurich, MIT, Stanford, and Oxford, to name a few. Based on your knowledge of space, Is it wise for educational institutions to adopt blockchain-based education given the current instability in the blockchain and crypto space?

Zechariah: The world should be paying more attention to blockchain and the Web3 revolution than it is today. Education systems are a great way to mainstream understanding. Blockchain as a technology is more than just cryptocurrencies. It’s a technology that’s here to stay. It may be futuristic and revolutionary, but it is also involved in solving many real problems today.

recovery: There are those who believe that the language of Web3 and blockchain hinders the formation of trust between consumers and the industry. BlockchainEdu provides education for multiple audiences to combat the problem. Deloitte also educates on the nuances of blockchain and digital assets for newcomers to the market. How should consumers look at educating themselves about the nuances of Web3 technologies and associated currencies, and does the influx of education signal overarching adoption?

Zechariah: You’re right. It is a very nuanced conversation and needs to be viewed multidimensionally. For example, the approach to blockchain and crypto education must be balanced. Cryptocurrencies are still undergoing an evolution that every new technology goes through.

The curricula should study blockchain as an emerging technology and examine its advantages and disadvantages and its current and potential utility. In any case, this conversation should take place in academia.

recovery: You talk a lot about the enthusiasm for blockchain and cryptocurrencies in the market. However, numerous examples of people getting burned by crypto projects and blockchain startups with fantastic marketing setups have ruined the investment of so many amounting to $2 trillion in losses.

How do you approach marketing and ensure that the startups you advise are different, and does this environment not play into the skepticism of educational institutions? Are there any benefits to creating low-risk opportunities to learn about crypto and Web3, such as CoinMarketCap’s “learn crypto, earn crypto” approach?

Zechariah: As with any emerging technology, there are fears, skepticism and of course many failures from various startups. With each failure, some knowledge is added to the existing knowledge. It’s how the industry evolves. We are finding better ways to deliver our offerings and protect our customers’ investments. This is a plea for more education, not less.

Some depict crypto marketing as this bad thing that works against the people, but that is not the case if done carefully. At LDA, we don’t just create viral campaigns designed to inflate token prices. Instead, we carefully develop a strategy with teams to develop ‘tokenomics’ and products that are really usable.

recovery: I’m glad you brought up “tokenomics.” Josh Weiss (director) and Zoha Salman (research assistant) of the Office of Innovation and Technology at Stanford Graduate School of Education believe in part: “A new community of technologists and educators will have to rise to the challenge of developing a layered and adaptive system of rewards and strategies – a concept referred to by blockchain enthusiasts as “tokenomics.” Do you see this community as responsible for the future of Web3 and for building trust among supporters and experts alike?

Zechariah: I believe blockchain is the future, so everything about it is exciting, and I agree that we all have a role and responsibility to be good stewards. Part of that responsibility also lies in designing and developing future opportunities.

I’m proud of everything we’ve worked on, but as a co-founder of QuickSwap, I’m biased. QuickSwap is only two years old and we’ve already done so much with very little. As a community-driven project with over 96% of the token supply distributed to the community, we took no seed capital and built it on our own backs. We maintained our dominance on Polygon even as major competitors entered.

When UniSwap launched their V3 on Polygon, they took over volume dominance. However, now that we’ve obtained an exclusive license to use Algebra’s concentrated liquidity model and started our own V3, we expect to take that back as well.

We’ve also launched a Gaming Hub with VersaGames, so all Polygon gamers can come together and discover new games in one place. When I look back at all we’ve accomplished in just two years, I look forward to seeing how far we can take this.

The current frigid environment within crypto is not helping foster blockchain adoption within the educational community. But, as stated in EdTech Magazine, higher education environments find blockchain technologies useful in record keeping and distributed ledger technology. Even the American Council of Education (ACE) reports ongoing initiatives in the field of blockchain technology.

When it comes to learning itself, while only 2% of institutions have incorporated some form of blockchain-based education into their curricula, many of that small group are leading institutions and Ivy League schools. Perhaps this interest from leading institutions indicates a growing adoption of blockchain learning.

Crypto may be constantly looking for its footing, but the underlying blockchain technology seems to be advancing nonetheless. For some, like Roc Zacharias, Web3 represents the future that will go through the ebb and flow of new technological evolutions and education of the emerging space issues.

Inevitably, learning institutions will continue to be cautious about the programs they offer, and technologies associated with speculative markets will require a careful approach. As Cornell University states, “It is [blockchain] applications go far beyond financial transactions. Companies in every industry are only now beginning to understand how to apply blockchain-based solutions to solve business problems.”

A thoughtful, nuanced approach to learning seems necessary for younger generations to progress into the startup world driven by newer technologies. An education imbued with measured steps can foster an understanding of the pros and cons of a changing landscape that best prepares for the realities of the road ahead.

Interviews have been edited and shortened for clarity.



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