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Summer Institute 2019 Schedule

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To cater to different audiences and interests, the 2019 Summer Institute schedule is divided into three "streams". These are only guidelines, and participants can still choose to attend the sessions that will best complement their learning goals and skills. However, the lab spaces may be limited, so if you are interested in the Developer or Advanced Developer streams you may want to sign up early. 

The General stream is for students of all disciplines who want to gain a broad understanding of the social, business, economic, legal, political and information governance implications of blockchain and other distributed ledger technologies, and establish a basic understanding of the technical elements of four different blockchain protocols (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, and Hyperledger Indy).

The Introductory Developer stream is designed to provide some middle-ground between the General and Advanced Developer streams. This stream is designed for students that want to gain both a more general understanding of blockchain technologies and some specific knowledge on developing on major blockchain platforms. Students in this stream have the flexibility to customize their program based on their interests, with options to participate in either the General stream sessions, or the Advanced Developer stream sessions.

The Advanced Developer stream is for experienced developers seeking to gain a deep understanding of coding on the Bitcoin, Ethereum, Hyperledger Fabric, and Hyperledger Indy platforms.

Students may choose to participate in the entire two week program, or to pick and choose the sessions that best suit their specific learning goals.  Those signed up for the entire two week program will automatically be registered for the “Blockathon for Social Good” (June 6 & 7) and the Annual Conference, featuring acclaimed blockchain thought leaders and researchers from around the world and industry network opportunities.

Session TimING: 

Morning sessions run from 9am - 12pm. Afternoon sessions run from 1:30pm - 5pm. 

session locations

The General Sessions from May 27th - May 31st will take place in Henry Angus Building, Room 039

The General Sessions from June 3rd - June 7th will take place in ICICS Building, Room 288

All Developer Sessions (May 27th - June 7th) will take place in Buchanan B, Room 125

The Blockathon (June 8th - June 9th) will take place at the UBC Main Campus (Point Grey) - room TBD

The Annual Conference (June 10th) takes place at UBC Robson Square

Read more about the Facilitators



Foundations of Blockchain (Monday May 27, 9am-5pm, HA 039)

This first day will orient students to the two-week program, and provide an introduction to blockhchain technologies, applications, and opportunities. Participants will also hear from and have an opportunity to interact with some of the Blockchain@UBC faculty and researchers members currently working on blockchain-related research to learn about different disciplinary perspectives on blockchain technology, what brought these researchers to the emerging blockchain space, and what the problems they are currently exploring.

Facilitator: Dr. Chris Rowell, Blockchain@UBC/Sauder School of Business Postdoctoral Research Fellow


Introduction to Bitcoin (Tuesday May 28, 9am-5pm, HA 039)

What is Bitcoin? Is it really the futuristic ‘Digital Gold’ commodity that some claim it is, or closer to a speculative hype bubble?

In this workshop, we will be exploring a brief history of Bitcoin. What it is, where it came from and how people are using it today. We will then dive deeper into the mechanics behind Bitcoin technology which allows it to be trustless, transparent, private and democratic. Finally, we will discuss some emerging technology use cases to give us some perspective on how we might see this technology evolve in the future.

Facilitators: Hussein Hallak, CEO of Next Decentrum/John Cooper, COO of Abelian

Assumed Background: The presentation is self-contained and no background in blockchain will be assumed for the presentation.


Tokenization and Token Economics (Wednesday May 29, 9am-12pm, HA 039)

Tokenization, Tokenomics (Token Economics), fungible/non-fungible tokens, gamification? From the outside looking in, these sound like confusing buzz words, but what do they mean, and do they add real value to our evolving economy?

In this talk, we will begin with a brief review of the history of money. This will give us a foundation from which to understand present day monetary economics and some of the issues that have created a demand for token economics and tokenization. From here we will explore some of the fundamental elements of token economies and review how these elements are being used to address real-world problems. Finally, we will end off with some key suggestions developers and entrepreneurs should keep in mind when designing their own token economy.

Facilitator: John Cooper, COO of Abelian

Assumed Background: The presentation is self-contained and no background in blockchain will be assumed for the presentation.

Blockchain in Healthcare with UBC Faculty (Wednesday May 29, 1:30pm-5pm, HA 039)

Recently, Blockchain has emerged as a promising technology to transform healthcare. including in clinical trials, personalized medicine and “omic” medicine, pharmaceutical supply chains, prescription drug management, health records management and more. In this workshop, students will learn about a range of use cases and the latest research, considering opportunities and challenges related to the “three layers” (technical, data/records and social/business of blockchain technology relating to a range of issues (e.g.,  design and analysis of non-financial blockchains, governance models and Incentive mechanisms; machine learning from blockchain data, and data privacy)

Facilitator: Chang Lu, Blockchain@UBC Postdoctoral Researcher

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.

Bitcoin Layer 2 Development with Taylor Singleton Fooks (Wednesday May 29, 9am-5pm, BUCH B125)

A combination of Bitcoin and open-source community infrastructure may replace the current financial system. To prepare, we can learn how to install and use the software that validates the new rules. Join for a deep dive into the AO, a JavaScript web application and server that helps communities to rapidly bootstrap and replicate alternative spaces and cultures. Students will set up bitcoind, a bitcoin lightning node daemon (lnd), a node of the Autonomous Organization, and learn the mathematics & physics that underpin decentralized trust. During class, we will experiment with using the AO to facilitate class discussion and decision making, and form a lively new distributed network we can use to keep in touch and meme after class.

Facilitator: Taylor Singleton Fooks


Envisaging a Self-Sovereign Future (Thursday May 30, 9am-12pm HA 039)

Identity and data self-sovereignty is the idea that every individual is recognized as the legal owner and custodian of their digital identity and personal data, and that any access to or use of this data requires the data subject’s explicit consent.  It also, in some contexts, encompasses the idea that, if a data subject’s data is used by someone who will profit from its use (e.g. a corporation that stands to earn profits from reselling it to another corporation), the owner of that data should be fairly and financially compensated. This workshop will bring together different perspectives on the idea of self-sovereign identity and data (SSI/D) to critically examine the potential for blockchain technology to support new socially transformative possibilities arising from SSI/D.

Facilitator: Dr. Victoria Lemieux, Associate Professor and Blockchain@UBC Cluster Lead

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.

"Trust Machine" Movie Screening and Discussion with John Lyotier ​(Thursday May 30, 1:30pm-5pm, HA 039)

Get your popcorn ready. In this session participants will view the 2018 documentary: "Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain", followed by a discussion with John Lyotier, CEO of the RightMesh project who is featured in the film. Participants will have an opportunity to ask John about his views on how blockchain can help to address large-scale social challenges, including world hunger and income inequality, and gain insights into how he is helping to address these with RightMesh.

Facilitator: John Lyotier, CEO of RightMesh.

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.

Theoretical Foundation of Blockchain Technology with Chen Feng (Thursday May 30, 9am-12pm, BUCH B125)

Despite its great potential, blockchain technology is still in an early stage and is sometimes misunderstood by the general public. For instance, some people say that blockchain will soon become the biggest new technology since the Internet or even end world poverty, while others claim that blockchain is quite slow and energy-hungry, making it impossible for mass adoption.

In this workshop, Assistant Professor, Chen Feng  (UBC Okanagan)  will explain the theoretical foundation of this emerging technology, focusing on its fundamental limits and efficient algorithms. We will survey this area highlighting its connections with other scientific fields, such as information theory and wireless communications. In particular, we will cover some of the following topics: security analysis, throughput and delay analysis, consensus algorithms, selfish mining strategies, Layer-2 protocols and side-chains.

Facilitator: Dr. Chen Feng, Associate Professor, UBC Okanagan School of Engineering and Blockchain@UBC Cluster Lead (Okanagan Campus)

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.

Ethereum Layer 2 Development with David Wang (Thursday May 30, 1:30pm-5pm, BUCH B125)

While Summer Institute participants will receive training in the Ethereum platform during the second week, those developers that already have a familiarity with Ethereum have the option to attend this session. Ethereum is a well-known public ledger running with Proof-of-Work (PoW) consensus algorithm. With a smart contract written in Solidity, Ethereum Virtual Machine can execute most of daily business logic in a Peer-to-Peer environment. However, the low throughput of Ethereum in terms of transaction per second is the bottle neck when using Ethereum at large scale. The "state channel" is a technique that can solve the problem to an extent. The basic idea is that if there are only several parties who are interested in a series of changing states, they can sign and exchange the signatures in an off-chain manner to indicate that they have agreed with each other on a specific state. If all involved parties collaborate, only the "final state" needs to be logged in blockchain if the "intermediate states" are not of interest to the public. This idea can be implemented for micro-payment channels when people split the money in an escrow account, for online games when opponents agree on the game’s state after each move, for daily business when participants agree on the state in a business logic. In this workshop, we will first review the traditional PoW consensus algorithm. We then introduce signing signature and signature verification in Ethereum blockchain and implement a simple payment channel smart contract for a customized ERC20 token. The workshop will be concluded by a group discussion and giving participants an approach for building an online game with “state channel”.

Facilitator: Zehua (David) Wang [], Adjunct Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering UBC.

Assumed Background: Knowledge and experience using Ethereum.


Introduction to Hyperledger Fabric (Friday May 31, HA 039)

This workshop will introduce students to the basics of Hyperledger Fabric. The workshop will begin with an overview of Hypledger Fabric and review of several use cases. Students will then move on to the basics of architecting solutions on Fabric, and will look behind the scenes of a live solution to understand and explore more technical concepts and components of an architected soluton.

Facilitator: Curtis Miles, Founder & CTO, Digital Brilliance, Inc.

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.


Legal and Regulatory Issues in Blockchain (Monday June 3, 9am-12pm, ICICS 288)

How do we teach an old dog new tricks? New and innovative behaviours constantly push the bounds of existing laws and regulations. How should you think about the law when you are doing something that they were clearly not designed to cover? What are the key factors to consider when trying to determine how the law will be applied to novel behaviour? These are the kinds of questions that will be tackled by the panel of three legal and industry experts.

Facilitators: Jon Festinger, Q.C., Centre for Digital Media, Zarah Tinholt, VP Corporate Development at iComply Investor Services Inc., and Stephen Pederson, legal researcher at

Assumed background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains or the law will be assumed for the workshop.

How Blockchain Changes Information Governance (Monday June 3, 1:30pm-5pm, ICICS 288)

This workshop presents the findings of a new ARMA Report, Blockchain Technology and Recordkeeping, providing an overview of blockchain technology that offers information professionals knowledge useful to addressing the challenge of effectively managing organizational information in these emerging recordkeeping environments. The report responses to an initial set of questions from the ARMA International Education Foundation’s call for proposals for a study on blockchain, records and information management, including where and how is data recorded and stored on a blockchain? How does this affect privacy law (e.g., EU General Data Protection Regulation) compliance? Who owns blockhchain data and records? The report findings highlights the authors’ current state of understanding with a view to help prepare those with responsibility for strategic information governance (CIOs, CIGOs, risk managers, privacy officers and information and records managers) with answers needed to manage information effectively in blockchain world.

Faciltator: Darra Hofman, Doctoral Candidate, UBC iSchool

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.

Advanced Hyperledger Fabric (Monday June 3, 9am-5pm, BUCH B125)

This workshop is for those interested in developing more advanced Hyperledger Fabric architecting and development knowledge and skills. The workshop will review the technical concepts and components of Hyperledger Fabric solutions, and discuss considerations for blockchain developers, operators and architects. It will then move into a series of hands on labs using Hyperledger Fabric Composer to develop a blockhain solution for a specific use case, touching upon concepts and modelling, applications and tools, and issues of integration with existing systems.

Facilitator: Curtis Miles, Founder & CTO, Digital Brilliance, Inc.

Assumed Background: Introductory Hyperledger Fabric Knowledge and coding ability.


Introduction to Hyperledger Indy (Tuesday June 4, 9am-5pm, ICICS 288)

This workshop will dive in and teach you about the Linux Foundations's open source Hyperledger Indy project — a blockchain-based distributed public ledger, purpose-built for decentralized secure and privacy respecting peer-to-peer data exchange (including personal identity).  In this full day session we will look at Indy from both a business and technical perspective, get hands on with the technology and demonstrate the powerful possibilities Indy enables.  This workshop will cover Decentralized Identifiers and Verifiable Claims and describe the underlying technology, as well as demonstrate business applications that can be enabled with this technology, including the Government of British Columbia’s Verifiable Organizations Network (VON) open source initiative.  This workshop will include a hands-on exercise interacting with Hyperledger Indy Agent software.

Presenters include core maintainers of the Hyperledger Indy and VON open source projects, and representatives of the Sovrin Foundation.

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no prior background is assumed.


New Models Module: Imagining Collapse (Wednesday June 5, 9am-12pm ICICS, 288)

Through a multimedia presentation and lecture, a Q&A, and interactive exercises we will explore some of the foundational concepts, teleologies, and online communities engaged in the discussion around climate change and collapse, moving away from the impossibility of ‘sustainability’ and resilience and towards a strategy of "relinquishment." The workshop will look at the diverse and interlocking memeplexes that are developing ways of coping with and maintaining dignity in the face of impending climate collapse. 

Developed by New Models (Berlin) and presented by 221A (Vancouver, Unceded Territories)

Why Games Matter in Blockchain with Dapper Labs, Creators of CryptoKitties (Wednesday June 5, 1:30pm-5pm, ICICS 288)

Dapper Labs uses the power of play to shape the future of technology. It created CryptoKitties to help mainstream audiences experience the value of blockchain technology for themselves. Fun and games may seem silly, but they offer everyday people a way to engage with, learn from, and ultimately understand new concepts and technology. 

During this interactive session, participants will:

  • Learn by playing! You'll get a chance to breed a CryptoKitty and experience blockchain for yourself.
  • Experience the future of fun and try our yet-to-be-released games and tools.
  • Debate the philosophy behind non-fungible tokens, the technical innovation that CryptoKitties pioneered on Ethereum.
  • Discuss what the future looks like when you have the interoperability that blockchain facilitates.

Facilitator: Dapper Labs, Creator of CryptoKitties, subsidary of Axiom Zen.

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.

Advanced Hyperledger Indy (Wednesday June 5, BUCH B125)

This developer-oriented workshop will teach you the fundamentals of writing applications that interact with a Hyperledger Indy network, including applications that can create, maintain and validate Decentralized Identifiers, as well as create and validate Verifiable Credentials.  The workshop will cover interaction with the Indy network using the low-level software development kit (Indy-sdk) as well as the frameworks and protocols supporting development of independent software agents.  The workshop will include software developed by the Government of British Columbia as well as an in-house framework developed for a UBC research project on personalized healthcare.  The workshop will primarily be delivered using Python, however pointers to other sdk-supported languages, such as Java, .NET and Node.js, will be provided.

Presenters include core maintainers of the Hyperledger Indy and VON open source projects, as well as UBC graduate students working with the Indy framework.

Assumed Background: No prior background is assumed, however it is recommended to attend the Introduction to Hyperledger Indy, or have some prior knowledge of the Hyperledger Indy framework.


Introduction to Ethereum (Thursday June 6, ICICS 288)

This workshop is for non-coders or those making a first foray into developing on the Ethereum public blockchain platform.  Topics to be covered include:

  • Introduction to blockchain (recap)
  • Ethereum and its history
  • How does Ethereum work (high level)
  • Current applications on Ethereum
  • Interacting with the Ethereum blockchain
  • Interacting with Smart contracts on Ethereum
  • Limitations of the Ethereum blockchain

Facilitators: Patrick Guay, Independent Ethereum Developer

Assumed background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.


Pathways to Decentralization (Friday June 7, 9am-12pm, ICICS 288)

While blockchain presents significant opportunities to circumvent intermediaries and empower individuals to own and control their personal data, there is still significant work to be done. The goal of this session is to conceptualize decentralization via blockchain (and similar technologies) as a process, as well as a destination. Given the legacy systems we have today that can create inertias for large-scale changes, this process can be potentially messy and significantly challenging. This session will help participants to analyze the world we have today, to be able to identify and analyze challenges and opportunities to moving to more decentralized models. Topics covered will include:

  • How we can identify and analyze problems in the world that could be addressed by blockchain and similar technologies that enable distributed trust
  • Identifying the basic elements and design features of blockchain technologies that could be deployed to address these problems
  • Unpacking and understanding the challenges to moving to more decentralized solutions

Facilitator: Dr. Chris Rowell, Blockchain@UBC/Sauder School of Business Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Assumed Background: Some background in blockchain technology will be helpful, particularly a basic understsanding of how blockchain enables individuals to own and control their personal data and engage in economic transactions without relying on third-party intermediaries. Such a foundation can be gained during the Summer Institute; e.g. in the "Envisaging Self-Sovereign Futures" and "Trust Machine" sessions on Thursday May 30.

Panel Discussion and Networking: Experiences and Challenges of Early Blockchain Adopters (Friday June 7, 1:30pm-5pm, ICICS 288)

First movers with new technologies have the potential to reap substantial benefits, though the roads to these are paved with significant uncertainty and risk. This panel discussion, moderated by Tejinder Basi (Cyberium Consulting), brings together prominent actors in the emerging blockchain space to convey their first-hand experiences and discuss some of the decision-making processes, opportunities, and challenges of implementing DLTs. This session will appeal to anyone interested in how the business of blockchain is unfolding, and will also elucidate many of the lenses and concepts that Blockchain@UBC Summer Institute participants will have encountered over the course of the two-week program.

Facilitator: Tejinder Basi, Founder, Cyberium Consulting, and Adjunct Professor, UBC Sauder

Assumed Background: The workshop is self-contained and no background in blockchains will be assumed for the workshop.

Advanced Ethereum (June 7, 9am-5pm, BUCH B125)

This workshop is for coders/developers and those knowledgeable about the Ethereum public blockchain. The workshop will cover more advanced topics including:

  • What are Smart contracts?                  
  • The solidity language
  • ERC20s and ERC721s
  • Security considerations
  • How to deploy a contract
  • How to interact with a contract
  • Creation of a simple Dapp
  • Technicals of Ethereum

Facilitator: Patrick Guay, Independent Ethereum Developer

Assumed Background: Introductory Ethereum Knowledge and coding ability.