Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.
Imagine a company no longer ran by board members nor the C-Suite but by the community. Now, even more idealistic, imagine a government not run but a President, the Congress, or any centralized political role, but by the votes of citizens not on people but on ideas to be actioned. As utopian as this sounds, 2022 is set to be the year of the DAO, and applications in many industries are yet to be seen around the world.
DAOs are made possible thanks to "Smart Contracts", which are automated workflows or a set of rules with if/then conditions that trigger action Y or Z if element A or B had the defined outcome. In other words, the Smart Contract is the guarantor of quality, and the vehicle for humans to automate governance protocols.
Sorry, that was a bit over-tech but we probably should start building more tolerance for this kind of speak, and really trying to grasp what's going on because it will be revolutionary. Where educators might be more interested is in who is regulating how credentials, portfolios and qualifications are stored and evidenced. This is where the Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO) comes in.
A single university or a group of schools across the world could form a DAO online, as could a group of accreditation bodies. Really anyone with a common interest in implementing a standard way of doing things could form a DAO, decide on the rules, and code those rules into a Smart Contract. If we reimagine the concept of Accreditation Bodies into a DAO, institutions following their protocol would implicitly agree, through the signature of a smart contract, on a set of quality standards, which would automatically be respected and verified on the blockchain.
This is all just around the corner. Tsinghua University in China has been building a DAO with several partner universities and research hubs. Here, education content and research can be created and put on the blockchain so that it can all be shared without concern over breach of IP. Ownership will always be clear, and rights of use can be negotiated and agreed on that firm foundation, making access more broad and affordable for learners and teachers across the institutions.
This is a brave new world indeed. Blockchain technology, the foundation of everything in the Web 3 space, is making it less relevant where you are in the world and more relevant what you know.
This is why Decentralized Finance (DeFi) and Tokenomics are increasingly appearing on the syllabus of schools and universities. Learners simply have to know this stuff because it will likely figure very centrally in their future. Experts tend to predict not only that regulation of some type will come, but also that cryptocurrency might eventually outpace traditional currencies and become the normalised option.
Tokenomics is the study of monetary policy related to cryptocurrency, and focuses on how it all works at a technical level. MOOCs such as Coursera are quite popular places to learn about this type of thing, but more formal institutions are bringing in tokenomics to the classroom too. Union Catholic High School in the USA has been teaching their K12 learners all about cryptocurrencies, Cornell University is forming specific learning groups and research projects around crypto, but the University of Nicosia in Cyprus is all in, with the world's first Masters degree in Blockchain technology and cryptocurrency.
Metaverse in Education