Arizona State University students banded together this summer to create the Blockchain Innovation Society, a club that debuted with its first meeting in October.
Jeremy Liu, a sophomore mathematics major, said the idea for the club came from concern over the lack of blockchain community on campus. The vice president of the club invited Liu to a boba shop to discuss the idea, and he was immediately on board.
“None of us knew much about each other when we first met, other than that we are all interested/involved with blockchain technology and have since grown together to become a strong leadership team,” Liu said in an email.
Right now, the club as a whole is most focused on explaining various blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum to interested students, faculty and community members to get everyone up to speed.
“The Blockchain Innovation Society’s overarching goal is to empower the Arizona community with knowledge about blockchain technology and give them an outlet to use this knowledge for the betterment of society,” Liu said.
The club is heavily involved with ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab, a division of the university’s Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering that focuses on research and development of blockchain technologies. The club’s faculty sponsor, Dr. Dragan Boscovic, is also the director of the research lab.
Liu said the club is made up of four committees: education, research and development, investment and consulting. Each board meets separately every week and set their own goals and expectations.
As a whole, though, Liu said the club meets every other week and sees itself becoming an “integral part” of the growing Arizona blockchain community.
“Collectively, we feel the biggest gap in blockchain technology right now comes in the form of education,” he said. “Filling this gap is not an easy task; however, if we can provide the resources necessary to learn about the technology in a completely open and safe learning environment, we feel this is the right step to the mass understanding of the technology.”
Liu and the Blockchain Innovation Society are part of the blockchain-friendly spirit that some Arizona legislators are trying to foster. The Phoenix New Times reported in March about some actions lawmakers have taken, including Congressman David Schweikert becoming the co-chair of the Congressional Blockchain Caucus and the Arizona House unanimously passing a blockchain-friendly bill.
Blockchain and the cryptocurrencies that depend on it have been huge in the news lately, primarily because of Bitcoin’s soaring value. As of this story’s publication, one Bitcoin is equal to over $16,000 just eight days after passing the $10,000 mark. Over this year, according to USA Today, Bitcoin’s value has risen over 1,550 percent.
Liu said in his opinion (not as a representative of the club), it looks like Bitcoin’s value is acting in “bubble-like behavior.”
“People should educate themselves on the underlying asset they are investing in before investing in it,” he said.
Congrats to the ASU students who are taking the time to educate the public on what the blockchain is and how to get involved!