Smart contract hackathon and meetup in Tel Aviv
Plutus, Marlowe, and the future of smart contracts in Israel
9 July 2019 3 mins read
I was in Tel Aviv a few weeks ago with IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson for a workshop and meetup with the Israeli developer community. Israel has a long and glowing history with blockchain technology: zero-knowledge proofs were co-invented by an Israeli-American computer scientist, and the region is home to several innovative blockchain projects already. It seemed only natural that we should meet and engage with this vibrant community of developers to discuss the future of blockchain, cryptocurrency, and the powerful potential of smart contracts. The first part of the event was a technical workshop covering Plutus and Marlowe, IOHK’s smart contract platforms, including talks from several members of the IOHK team: Manuel Chakravarty, language architect, Lars Brünjes, director of education, Polina Vinogradova, a formal methods software engineer, and Alexander Nemish, a functional compilers engineer. The morning began with some theory about the design and implementation of IOHK’s smart contract approach, and after lunch it was time for a hands-on workshop and Q&A.
The attendees themselves were from a range of backgrounds, with developers, businesspeople, and blockchain enthusiasts in the mix. We’ve had lots of positive feedback since the event with one attendee, a crypto enthusiast and early adopter, describing it as ‘an impressive and informative event that was organized with a lot of respect for the local crypto-developers community.’
It was a busy day, and the evening saw us transition straight into a broader industry-wide meetup with almost a hundred attendees. Special guests from local blockchain companies were in attendance, including the CEO of Tel Aviv-based blockchain company COTI, Shahaf Bar-Geffen, as well as guests from Algoz and Endor. After Charles’ keynote about current Cardano developments, there were panel discussions about business in a smart contract-driven economy and how blockchain innovations are set to put Israel at the forefront of that market.
I’ve wanted to run an IOHK event in Israel for a long time, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work of IOHK’s head of events Kerry de Jong and her team, as well as our partners for the event MarketAcross. Israel is an area full of talent and potential, and I’m pleased to be able to say that we’ve finally taken our first steps to get involved with the Israeli developer community. I’m looking forward to having more meetups in the country, and hope that IOHK will one day have a continuous presence there to make the most of this innovative, blossoming region.
IOHK announces partnership with Georgian government and universities
MoUs mean Cardano and Atala are up for use in education and beyond
18 June 2019 3 mins read
I’m in the Georgian capital Tbilisi this week, enjoying the sights and sounds of one of the most innovative regions of the Caucasus. After nearly a year of groundwork, I’m here with IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) partnerships with the government and two of Georgia's largest universities. The MoUs with the Ministry of Education, the Free University of Tbilisi, and the Business and Technology University of Tbilisi mark a commitment by the Georgian administration to work with IOHK and use Cardano to fuel innovation in the country. After signing the MoU, Mikheil Batiashvili, the Minister of Education, Science, Culture, and Sport, spoke of Georgia’s rapid development, and how he hoped that “leveraging IOHK’s world-leading expertise, particularly in third-generation blockchain technology, will help us to progress even further toward our goal of being the world’s leading country for secure, digitally-enabled international business”.
One of the core goals of the MoUs signed this week is to enable the use of Cardano-backed blockchain technology to store, track, and verify educational credentials such as degree certificates, removing the need for time-consuming and expensive manual verification. The system will be implemented in Georgia first, with a further goal of using distributed ledger technology to support the Europe-wide Bologna Process, an intergovernmental effort to improve the internationalization of higher education. IOHK has looked at a similar application of this technology already in Greece, where it worked with government education authorities to explore a pilot project to verify student qualifications on the blockchain.
It’s not just the education sector that stands to benefit from collaboration with IOHK. Charles also met with the Minister of Agriculture and the Georgian prime minister to discuss other applications of blockchain technology for the country, such as supporting new fintech businesses, supply chain implementations, and integrating smart contract functionality into government processes.
“We are incredibly excited to be working with the Georgian government on a range of projects across business, education, and government services,” Charles said. “IOHK is pleased to be a part of the country’s journey and looks forward to developing the blockchain ecosystem in Georgia and helping its people to solve the challenges they face.”
IOHK has collaborated with Georgian institutions before. Research fellow Peter Gaži gave a lecture on Ouroboros, IOHK’s proof-of-stake protocol, at the Free University of Tbilisi. In January a Cardano meetup was sponsored by the Ministry of Economy and Sustainable Development of Georgia and the Georgian Innovation and Technology Agency, where Edsko de Vries, a Haskell consultant working on Cardano, gave a well-received talk.
This week’s agreements strengthen IOHK’s relationship with Georgia. The next steps will be to organize workshops, meetups, and forums to identify the most pressing challenges that can be tackled using Cardano, Atala, or a combination of both. IOHK and the Georgian government will work together to embed blockchain technology in systems across the country, proving just how valuable a digital, forward-thinking mindset can be.