Dacade — P2P Blockchain Learning
As a writer, I’m blessed with having a reason to go hunting for information. Everytime I sit down to write, there is a direct purpose motivating me and my need to explore and discover. In preparing my article on “How to Win in the Crypto Bear Market”, I needed to find resources that were free and focused on learning about blockchain. When I discovered Moritz Stellmacher, CEO and Founder of Dacade, I knew I had found a gem that needed more attention.
Tell us about your project — what is Dacade?
Dacade.org is peer-to-peer blockchain learning platform. Learners can earn cryptocurrencies by learning about Blockchain technology and educating their peers. In contrast to other learning platforms, dacade focuses on the application of learned content, not on content creation or it’s distribution.
Learners come to the platform and join a learning environment we call “Learning communities” where they study from curated educational materials. After the learners studied from the materials they will get a practical challenge where they have to apply their newly learned skills. Successfully solved challenges are rewarded with cryptocurrencies and learning reputation. More advanced learners will additionally give feedback on the submission of the learner and if the feedback is valuable are rewarded with cryptocurrencies and teaching reputation.
In this first version, the rewards and reputation are issued by the community creator to ensure quality control. The sponsors of the rewards are blockchain projects who are looking for a way to incentivize adoption of their technology.
Why is this important today?
I believe in the revolutionary potential of blockchain technology and what this space needs most to progress are more blockchain developers. While many blockchain educational materials exist on the internet, they often lack interactivity and ways to get feedback. Courses, where you get feedback, are expensive because teachers have to evaluate them and they are a scarce resource, especially in the blockchain space. With dacade we are building an open system where peers are giving each other feedback.
In general, teachers are bottlenecks for education. Our goal is to democratize teaching. Our peer-to-peer approach aims to make education globally accessible while ensuring quality and keeping it a public good.
We believe that education is one of the most promising answers to a lot of global problems that our society is facing today.
What were you doing before Dacade? Are you an educator in practice?
I was born and raised in Berlin. After high school, I joined two friends from school who were building a magazine (proudmagazine.de). Together we build this magazine to a national agency (proud.de), with various tech projects. We then decide to focus completely on tech products and raised money for our startup (abend.net), where I was a first product manager and then CEO. During that time I became fascinated with bitcoin. We then sold our company to focus on blockchain technology.
I’m self-taught, most of my skills I learned from the internet watching tutorials, I build dacade basically by myself and had to apply a lot of different skills, from programming to video design. I love to learn new skills more than anyone I know. Also half of my family consists of teachers and I grew up in this environment.
Tell us about the team and their experience
At the moment I’m doing most of the project alone. I’m responsible for all coding, design and content creation. But I receive a lot of help from the teams of aeternity, ape unit and advisors, especially with feedback and quality control. Initially, the idea of dacade was envisioned together with Hannes Kloepper, who was the CEO of Iversity, which is one of Europes biggest online education platforms. He remains an advisor.
How did the idea come about?
I first became interested in bitcoin at the beginning of 2013, when the price had exploded for the first time over 10x in a couple of months, since the beginning of the year. In Europe was the Cyprus financial crises very present, where a lot of people couldn’t access their funds or totally lost them. That made bitcoin very interesting. On the next bitcoin high at the beginning of 2014, I finally bought my first bitcoin. In the following bear market, I followed bitcoin more closely especially since I was now personally invested. In may 2015 I wrote an article about bitcoin micropayments, called “Why bitcoin should replace the like button” (https://medium.com/@moritzfelipe/why-bitcoin-should-replace-the-like-button-4fe1e1d38e7a). I got much love for the article, amongst other things a retweet from Marc Andreessen, a personal hero of mine and message from Yanislav Malahov. He was building something similar to what I was describing in my article. During the whole time, I was very busy with our various startups but bitcoin was a hobby I discussed heavily with my friends and co-founders, it that sparked my imagination. I also invested more and more in bitcoin during that period and met sometimes with Yanislav to discuss some crypto ideas when he was in the city.
At the beginning of 2017, we lost a crucial follow-up investment for our startup abend.net from our biggest investor. The question was if we would now either look for new investors or for buyers. We where four founders at dacade and we were all very intrigued with bitcoin and the potential of blockchain tech, so we decided to look for buyers and build a new project in the blockchain space.
Then in summer of 2017 Yansilav raised over 24$ million with his ICO for aeternity, which is a second generation smart contract platform. He was asking for help to build out the vision. I went to Switzerland, where aeternity had rented a mansion and gathered some interested people. The biggest challenge at this moment was to find enough talented developers who could build what was envisioned in the white paper. I saw from the initial struggle to get blockchain dev talent that there was a growing demand for blockchain devs which couldn’t be satisfied.
Instead of joining aeternity, I thought about ways to cope with the huge demand for blockchain developers. While a hiring platform would have been one way to go, I thought that education is the only sustainable way to address this problem. I presented this general idea to the co-founders of abend.net and we gathered some other people and began working on some concepts and a white paper during the second half of 2017. Through friends were introduced to Hannes Kloepper, then CEO of Iversity. He helped us to sharpen the vision more into a peer-to-peer direction. Out of his previous experiences, he recommended a platform that focuses on learners interaction since most of the learning platforms are focusing on content creation and its distribution. This perfectly fit into the direction that we wanted to go since the peer-to-peer approach was what was interesting about blockchain technology in the first place. At the end of 2017, I build the first prototype of dacade.
Our initial idea was to make an ICO for the project, but the public sentiment of ICOs changed at the beginning of 2018. There were too many scams that just raise money with a whitepaper so we decided to prove that our idea works in the real world before raising any funds, publicly or privately. I remained the only person working fulltime on dacade while the other team members are now more in advisory roles. While having done many iterations of dacade and its communities, I feel that it has now proven itself in some major points. I’m waiting to see if the system also works as envisioned for developer content before raising funds and bringing in more people.
What is coming up next for Dacade that you are excited about? What should our readers know to look forward to next?
We are currently working on new developer communities. The next to realize will be an intro dev community for our collaboration partner aeternity “Aeternity development 101”.
What about BitcoinTalk — What role does it play in crypto and in education? Are you incorporating it at all in your process?
I think BitcoinTalk is historically an incredible tool for the Blockchain community to share knowledge. Although it might not be the most beginner friendly platform. At the moment we aren’t using it at all.
Here’s how to get more involved with Dacade and stay in touch
Telegram — https://t.me/dacade
Facebook — https://www.facebook.com/dacade.org/