Think 'Outside the Block' at high-tech conference
Ready to be schooled in blockchain?
Lakeridge High grad Adam Faris and other students from the Lundquist College of Business at the University of Oregon will explain the technology later this month at a workshop called "Outside the Block," which will focus on the budding Pacific Northwest blockchain community.
"Blockchain is a decentralized recordkeeping system," says Faris, who is the head of operations for Oregon Blockchain, the student-led organization that will present the conference on Nov. 17 in the Mayfair Ballroom at the Benson Hotel in Portland. "The workshop came about this school year as we were curious about this new technology based on the Bitcoin craze. We wanted to look deeper into blockchain technology."
Oregon Blockchain's mission is simple: provide a student-driven platform to support blockchain education and innovation in Oregon, and help establish Oregon as an epicenter for innovation. In addition to Faris, other members of the group include Connor Bussey, president; Ian Oakerseon, head of finances; Juliyen Davis, head of vision and strategy; Vivek Sharma, head of education; and Chase Dun, head of communications. The group was formed in April.
Blockchain is referred to as a "decentralized" or "distributed" technology. One of its most unique benefits, experts say, is that it removes the middleman in financial transactions.
A centralized transaction system runs everything through an intermediary institution — like a bank, store or company — to maintain a ledger of activity. But because blockchain is decentralized, the ledgers are publicly accessible. And as a distributed network, access is shared between trusted parties.
To put it another way, Blockchain is a network of computers that all have the same history of transactions, validated by every new computer that wants to be part of the transaction. Cryptography makes sure the transactions are secure by encoding each one with a unique set of numbers and letters, verified by all parties in the transaction.
This history, or database of records, is called a block. Each block contains information about the history of each block before it, forming the chain. Instead of a bank or company helping to make these records verifiable and possible, software code becomes the middleman, and it takes just nanoseconds to verify the transaction. Additionally, nothing can be altered, erased, remixed or edited on the blockchain.
The technology has been around for about 25 years, but Faris says it has not previously been widely used.
"The whole point of the conference is to explore how blockchain can be used by large and small companies," he said.
The event includes networking opportunities with industry professionals and students; informational booths hosted by companies, sponsors and students using blockchain technology; and presentations and panel discussions, with company representatives sharing their perspectives on how blockchain is being used in their respective fields.
General admission is $99. The cost is $79 for UO alumni and $19 for students. Lunch and dinner are provided. Registration begins at 8:15 a.m. and programs begin at 9 a.m.
To register for "Outside the Block," visit www.oregonblockchaingroup.com.