Building Blocks: DoD and B9lab for Blockchain Education

Elias Haase
Department of Decentralization + ETHBerlin
4 min readJan 28, 2019


Announcing the Community Blockstars Education Programme

Hi, I’m Elias, one of the members of the DoD. I’ve been working in blockchain education since 2015 and spent a lot of time in the Ethereum community. I co-founded the blockchain education company B9lab in 2015 and have always been closely involved with community work all over the world, especially in Berlin and London. We have spent a lot of time building a viable education business but I would like to open that up much more. I volunteered for EthBerlin (helping Philip and Caspar coordinate the mentoring) and things started to click into place. So we are happy to announce the partnership between the Department of Decentralization and B9lab to open up education to the community.

In 2015 B9lab started offering our first Ethereum developer course. Back then, as you may remember, the stack was still rough. But we were part of a supportive community and lots of people working hard to make this technology a reality and to make sure that it would be used to counteract centralised power and resist the typical extractive business models.
We spent the past 4 years training thousands of students on Ethereum and other frameworks. Now it is time for us to make this learning path available to more developers from all over the world, regardless of background.

On the 31st of January 2019 we are officially kicking off the Community Blockstars Program at GoerliCon in Berlin.

Over the course of the year we are aiming to train 1000 developers for free. B9lab is sponsoring up to 500 seats on the program and is working with the Ethereum community to fund the other half.

This is a community project. We will need your help to make this happen. Companies and individuals in the space can contribute by donating to the Community Fund. The funds are paid into a multisig wallet and payouts to B9lab have to be approved by two community keyholders. 50% of each seat funded will be paid in advance, the other 50% after the B9lab team have graded all exam submissions at the end of the programme.

You can find the community fund at

The first run of the Community Blockstars Program will start in February 2019. For the 9-week in-depth Ethereum developer course we will be selecting up to 500 developers. Anyone can apply and attempt the screening test. We will be selecting the best applicants and invite them to our mentored online course and chat rooms. Over the next 9 weeks students will follow the material and work on hands-on coding exercises. As always, our mentors will be on hand to answer questions and help troubleshoot.

The 9-week program culminates in a 4-week exam period. For the certification exam learners will have to answer architectural and technical questions as well as build a working, deployed dapp.

Community Collaborators
We want to make the learning journey as interesting and colourful as possible. One of the great features of this community is its diversity. We want students to experience as much of that as possible. So if you have ideas for lectures, online workshops, local meetups, Solidity challenges, articles or videos, get in touch!

Community Partners
As part of the programme we would like to introduce students to the best vendors, stacks and employers in the space. So if your company is looking for new team members or adopters, you are welcome to help make this programme happen for as many people as possible. If you would like to contribute to the community fund, interact with students and find the students who are looking for a job, get in touch with us at

How the Programme works

The first step for developers who want to become Ethereum Developers is to apply to the programme by completing the screening test that will be available from the 31st of January 2019 at The test consists of a few coding exercises and a few theoretical questions. You do not have to know anything about blockchain to start with, you just need some programming experience.

On the 1st of March 2019 we will contact those that have been selected for the course and they will be invited to the learning platform and communication channels. Students have 9 weeks to go through the materials and exercises and will be invited to online community events during that time. At the end of the 9 weeks, the exam period starts. Students have 4 weeks to finish the final exam project. We will grade submissions withing the 4 weeks after the last submission and contact all those certified. Students will be able to agree to submit their information and certificate to a hiring pool.

The Department of Decentralization, previously known as ETHBerlin, has voted to kick off this collaboration as part of the first education project aimed to fulfill our mission.

We will be broadening our approach over the next few months and run more initiatives with other partners and providers from the space.