Berkeley Blockchain Lab Taps Steve Chen As Co-Lead

Blockchain, Education, Job Appointments | December 8, 2017 By:

EchoLink founder Steve Chen has been appointed industry co-lead of the new Berkeley Blockchain Lab, a platform for students to gain real-world experience working with blockchain technology.

The Berkeley Blockchain Lab is an initiative of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET), which has been experimenting with blockchain programming for several years. It will give Berkeley students one unit for participating in the EchoLink project through The Berkeley Blockchain Lab toward the five required to earn a Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Technology. The SCET has helped create the foundation of Berkeley’s entrepreneurship ecosystem by launching institutions and programs such as SkyDeck, the Fung Institute for Engineering Leadership, the Engineering Leadership Professional Program, Global Venture Lab, and cultivating an extensive network of Silicon Valley and global partners.

The lab will focus on off-chain data inputs, distributed storage, and web-based blockchain query systems. App development will be evaluated with the objective of minimizing the cost of running decentralized applications (Dapp). A secondary objective will be developing a Dapp that can process data in batches. The application focus will be bringing trust-based credentials from off chain including degree certificates onto various blockchains.

Chen said he pitched the idea of a blockchain research lab to the SCET to offer students a single point of entry into the blockchain industry, as well as to sponsor blockchain research projects. His company, EchoLink, donated more than $50,000 in the form of bitcoin to the lab.

“UC Berkeley is an ideal first pilot educational institution because of its active student blockchain enthusiast community,” said Chen. “With Berkeley’s reputation for strong economics and computer science programs, combined with its culture of student activism forged in the 1960s, the school is well-positioned culturally to take advantage of the focus on decentralization and the elimination of ‘middlemen’ and central authorities that blockchain startups often promote.”