Israeli professor to lead ‘Blockchain Summer School’ in Copenhagen

Blockchain product development event brings together scholarly participants to work in conjunction with industry leaders.

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August 6, 2018 17:07
3 minute read.
Photos taken from a 2017 Blockchain highlight video showcasing the blockchain learning environment a

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 – the ever-growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked using cryptography – is the foundation of the verification and economic tracking of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. Prof. Omri Ross of Copenhagen University sees the potential for a wide array of blockchain applications, and next week is hosting the 3rd annual innovation seminar to expand on those ideas.

“hosted by the Copenhagen Business School August 13-17” - maybe make this “hosted at the Copenhagen Business School from August 13-17 The five-day Blockchain Summer School, hosted at the Copenhagen Business School beginning August 13, will connect 70 students and professionals from around the world to the many applications for which blockchain technology can be used.

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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 in 2009 at the beginning of the Bitcoin era.

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

The blockchain summer school opens with a half-day exploration of how the blockchain technology is used, and then continues with seminars with Ross and other experts; a two-day hackathon for participants to develop blockchain projects for industry partners; and a showcase for the projects.

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The top three innovations showcased after the hackathon are then presented by their creators at the Nordic Blockchain Summit taking place August 17 in the Danish capital. The summit is expected to attract 400 participants.

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 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 led Nordea to collaborate with Maersk Line – a global shipping company, 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 would be allowed by a university course.

“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 Switzerland-based World Wildlife Fund, and Chinese blockchain group Qtum.

The only Israeli company participating in the event is Ross’ own blockchain organization, Firmo. 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 in Jerusalem this fall.

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