OxfordZilliqa, a high-throughput public blockchain platform, has launched the return of Blockchain A-Z. These are a series of blockchain education workshops – this time with the University of Oxford. In order to champion greater diversity and inclusion, these workshops launch in collaboration with the Oxford Women in Computer Science Society (OxWoCS). They will be open to all students currently enrolled at the University of Oxford. The culminations will be a Demo Day on November 21, 2019.

Blockchain A-Z represents Zilliqa’s ongoing commitment to nurture future developers and entrepreneurs alike. The workshops are a part of various Zilliqa initiatives. This includes its blockchain incubation programme, ZILHive, as well as its US$5 Million Ecosystem Grant Programme.

Paula Fiddi, OxWoCS President
Paula Fiddi, OxWoCS President

Paula Fiddi, OxWoCS President said: “At OxWoCS, our goal is to ensure that female scientists are presented with equal opportunities to engage with various areas of the tech industry. From established fields of research to nascent disciplines ripe for exploration, it’s important that women are adequately represented in order to champion diversity both in action and in practise.

“With Zilliqa’s emphasis on nurturing growth from the ground up, this collaboration serves to prepare our students with the much-needed support, guidance, and industry connections, to truly excel in the blockchain space.

Blockchain A-Z with Zilliqa

Designed as an interactive workshop, Blockchain A-Z has a limit of up to 20 students. The reason – to ensure each session is as hands-on as possible.

The workshops aim to equip students with a foundational understanding of blockchain fundamentals. This includes both the business and technological aspects of implementation. Taking place over 4 weeks, the workshop seeks to provide:

  • a rounded overview of concepts, including philosophical foundations
  • technical topics
  • industry insights
  • business ‘advisory’.

As part of the Demo Day, winning participants will have the option to submit solutions to Zilliqa’s US$5 million Ecosystem Grant Programme. Should any win participation this will bring:

  • mentorship
  • technical tutorship
  • a guarantee of funding (for 0% equity).

Zilliqa Developer Marketing Lead, Saiba Kataruka (a former alumnus of the University) will conduct Blockchain A-Z on-site. Kataruka is responsible for spearheading Zilliqa’s education initiatives. He has hosted workshops at educational institutions across Asia and Europe, including King’s College, London and the National University of Singapore.

Saiba Kataruka, Developer Marketing Lead, Zilliqa
Saiba Kataruka, Developer Marketing Lead, Zilliqa

Kataruka has said: “Diversity continues to be an endemic problem in the wider tech industry, and blockchain is no different. Whether it be the diversity in race, profession, academic background, or gender, having a variety of individuals, each with a unique perspective and broad breadth of experiences to offer, is essential to success.

“Decentralisation is a core principle of blockchain, and you can’t really have decentralisation without diversity. We are excited to be embarking on this collaboration with OxWoCS, to champion the involvement of more women in this rapidly-evolving space.”

OxWoCs and Zilliqa

Founded in July 2013, OxWoCS has the mission to support female students enrolled in programmes at the University of Oxford’s Department of Computer Science. Zilliqa – along with Google, QuantumBlack, Facebook, G-Research, Semmle and Oliver Wyman – are OxWoCS sponsors.

The University of Oxford is a renowned research institution. According to the Times Higher Education’s global ranking of educational institutions, it offers among the best computer science degrees in the world.

Zilliqa is a high-throughput public blockchain platform. Its aim is to make decentralised blockchains the building block of future enterprises and applications. Developed from academic research, Zilliqa:

  • addresses limitations in scalability and security
  • enables real-world usability across a variety of industries, including finance, digital advertising and gaming.

With the launch of its mainnet and smart contract platform in 2019, Zilliqa became a public blockchain built on sharded architecture principles.

Enterprise Times: what does this mean

Of blockchain and cryptocurrency projects founded between 2012 to 2018, only 8.5% had a woman as a founder or co-founder, according to a survey conducted by American news organisation, Quartz. Across the wider tech industry, this percentage climbs to 17.7%, but equal gender representation evidently remains a challenge.

Initially launched in March 2019, the first set of Blockchain A-Z workshops launched in collaboration with King’s College London’s student-run society, KCL Blockchain. Zilliqa’s focus on expanding diversity is laudable though, perhaps, limiting it scope (in this instance) to one University via OxWoCS less so.

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Charles Brett is a business/technology analyst consultant. His specialist areas include enterprise software, blockchain and enterprise mobility tech (including metering). Specific industry sectors of interest and experience include finance (especially systems supporting wholesale finance), telecommunications and energy. Charles has spoken at multiple industry conferences, has written for numerous publications (including the London Times and the Financial Times). He was the General Chair of the bi-annual High Performance Systems Workshop, 2005. In addition he is an author and novelist. His Technology books include: Making the Most of Mobility Vol I (eBook, 2012); Explaining iTunes, iPhones and iPads for Windows Users (eBook, 2011); 5 Axes of Business Application Integration (2004). His published novels, in the Corruption Series, include: The HolyPhone Confessional Crisis, Corruption’s Price: A Spanish Deceit and Virginity Despoiled. The fourth in The Corruption Series - Resurrection - has is now available. Charles has a B.A. and M.A in Modern History from the University of Oxford. He has lived or worked in Italy, Abu Dhabi, South Africa, California and New York, Spain, Israel, Estonia and Cyprus.


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