This article was originally published on 01/22/2019
The growing world of blockchain has made its way to Howard University with the help of a team of current students and alumni.
Howard Blockchain Lab was founded in 2017 by Yohannes Ghebreyesus and Alston Clark, now graduates of the university, and civil engineering major, Johan Greene, after students on the campus began wondering about blockchain’s many uses.
The lab organizes events, meetups, and informational sessions to teach students and people in the greater Washington, D.C.-area about the uses of blockchain and cryptocurrency.
“The semester was just starting and there was a buzz on campus about cryptocurrency,” Clark said.
That year, Ghebreyesus created a group chat with students around campus who were interested in learning about cryptocurrencies. Greene, in a separate venture, was building a team of students who wanted to be on the engineering side of blockchain.
“Watching these two make moves on opposite sides of the campus let me know that there was a movement about to start,” Clark said.
Weeks later, the group began offering workshops and meetups to educate students on initial coin offerings, Bitcoin, Ethereum and more. Clark said he was surprised, but happy to see so many students at Howard Blockchain Lab’s first event. Last fall, the team hosted a workshop on Solidity in at the Inclusive Innovation Incubator.
“Having so many students there and eager to learn was a beautiful thing to see,” Clark said.
According to the Ibinex Global Cryptocurrency Report Market, only 8 percent of Americans plan on owning cryptocurrency in the future. Crypto ownership in the U.S. is led by millennials — 17.2 percent of the age group owns alternative coins. Generation X follows with 8.7 percent of the group owning cryptocurrency.
According to the report, most Americans decided to buy cryptocurrency based on independent research, a coin’s social media presence, news reports and whether their peers profited from the coin.
Since its creation, Howard Blockchain Lab has partnered with blockchain software ConsenSys and Blockchain at Berkeley, a student-run organization hoping to be the “blockchain hub of East Bay.”
Ghebreyesus, the president of Howard Blockchain Lab, said the team is now working to expand to other historically black colleges and other universities.
“We strongly believe that this space will have as large an effect as the internet has had on the world,” Ghebreyesus said. “Getting more minorities involved — sooner rather than later — would be extremely advantageous for our collective future.”