Penn Blockchain Thanksgiving Recap

Aaron Diamond-Reivich
Published in
3 min readNov 25, 2017

The Penn Blockchain Club has had an incredible start to the 2017 school year! The club has grown to over 300 members, consisting of undergraduate and graduate students, professors, and alumni. We have hosted speakers, met with industry leading companies, and created educational opportunities for our members. I want to quickly highlight some of the educational opportunities that hundreds of students have taken advantage of.

WAB Seminars

Penn Blockchain partnered with the Wharton Undergraduate Advisory Board (WAB) to offer “Blockchain Basics” — a three-week seminar focusing on the fundamentals of blockchain technology. There was huge demand to learn more about the space, with over 300 students enrolling in the course. Blockchain is a hot topic, and this course helped give students a solid foundation and understand the hype behind the technology. The material was quite comprehensive and included topics like mining, smart contracts, and real-world use cases. Akash Adani (WH’ 20) found it very interesting, commenting that the seminar allowed him “to understand the technology behind blockchain and realize its potential way beyond basic fintech applications. It’s clear that we have only scratched the surface of blockchain’s potential — a very exciting notion for people like me who have just started learning.” For many students, this was their first time diving deep into blockchains, and many left eager to learn even more. It was an informative session for all that came!

Introduction to Crypto-assets

The club also hosted a series of sessions focused on Crypto-Assets and the investment opportunity they represent. Run by Derek Hsue (WH’ 18) and Anders Larson (WH’ 18), the course provided an introduction to crypto-assets, how to analyze them as prospective investments, and whether they are investable assets. Students learned about the important role tokens play in open-source development, and how these coins are similar and different from equities. To give students an idea of how the space might develop in the coming years, Derek and Anders compared the development of blockchain protocols to the growth of the internet. They also covered basic evaluation methods for decentralized projects — with protocol governance as an example of a metric often overlooked. Most importantly, students learned safe trading practices, and the different types of wallets and security methods used.

Development Teams

After last year’s success, the Penn Blockchain Club ran a second session of Smart Contract Development Teams. Working together in small groups, students learned how to write their own solidity code and create decentralized applications. It’s a great way for students to get hands on experience interacting with the blockchain. This semester, students have written their own ERC20 Tokens, Token Exchanges and Multi-Sig Wallets. Freshmen M&T student Mike Abelar thought the best part of this experience was “creating a cryptocurrency from the ground up. Understanding blockchain technology at a technical level opens the door for entrepreneurial opportunities.” We hope to expand the development team program going forward. Keep an eye out for applications at the beginning of next semester.

Penn Blockchain will hold many more educational events this upcoming semester! Join our list serve on to stay up to date with the latest Penn Blockchain news.