Open Source University (EDU) ICO Analysis: A platform for Academic Training and Employment Opportunities

in blockchain •  18 days ago

Executive Summary

Project Description

Presently, there is a disconnect between the academic world and the corporate world. After graduation, job seekers have to prepare a CV and update it constantly. However, there is a lack of trust and corporate outfits spend time and money to independently verify the certificates and qualifications submitted to them. Furthermore, job seekers have to spend some time before they can find job openings that match their interests and a lot of them end up developing new skills to suit the jobs available. Conversely, businesses struggle to find the right candidates and in most cases, institutions of higher learning cannot tell for sure which of their courses provide students with the skills businesses out there demand for.

Open Source University wants to bridge this gap by providing a blockchain-based platform for academic and career development. On this platform, all 3 tiers — academia, learners, and businesses — can connect and share relevant information amongst themselves. Academia refers to learning institutions e.g. high school, universities, corporate training providers etc. and on the OS.University platform, they will be able to market their services to people from all over the world. OS.University will also give them an opportunity to modernize educational operations.

Learners are students, employees seeking new knowledge and other people with a passion for learning. Using OS.University, these people will have access to various learning and development opportunities, and social, economic, or geographical barriers will not have a restricting effect on the opportunities available to them. Additionally, all Learners may upload and verify their certificates, thereby removing the inherent lack of trust and the constant need to update CVs. Learners are expected to retain control of their data and may choose to attach a price for contacting them, warding off time-wasters as a result. On the OS.University platform, Learners may also promote their blockchain-verified portfolio. User information on the platform is to be protected by current active regulations and GDPR restrictions.

Businesses i.e. companies with varying size and influence from startups to enterprises, NGOs, and global corporations may benefit from the pool of talent OS.University aims to provide. Using specific search parameters, they should be able to identify and contact skilled candidates close to their location. This is a more effective system than what is currently in use, and it will help them save time, money and effort.

Accounts on OS.University may be used to represent all 3 stakeholders in the ecosystem e.g. Learner accounts may create and switch to an Academia profile in order to market a course they produced.

Open Source University’s token, EDU, will be ERC20-compliant and in addition to acting as a utility token on the platform, it should also provide users with access to the OSU DApp. Transactions between Academia, Learners, and Businesses will attract 5% fees and the commission will reportedly go towards sustaining the project. It is important to note, however, that fees will not be charged for transactions done using EDU tokens.

Existing Product

The project plans to release an alpha version of their platform by Q2 2018.

Roadmap

Milestones, H1 2018:

  • Detailed design of all smart contracts, circulating in the blockchain.
  • Develop the final functionality of L2B smart contract and deploy it using upgrade-ability function designed at a first place.
  • Upgrade the supporting contract taking care of the messaging encrypted communication between learners and businesses.

Milestones, H2 2018:

  • Verify communication between smart contracts and platform.
  • Advanced development of the OS.University platform, fixing issues during earlier development.
  • Fully integrate their API within EdX platform and upload of all the key values in the blockchain.
  • Set up a partnership network of innovators working in the field of blockchain and its application in education & career development.
  • After finishing the development of the OS.University platform, finalize the integration with EdX e-learning platform.

Milestones, H1 2019:

  • Implementation of algorithms for forecasting of the burning process of EDU tokens.
  • Finalize peer-to-peer features for easy and maximum secure connection between all participants using OS.University platform.
  • Onboard courses from Coursera and fix primary technical constraints.
  • Testing and verification of the end-to-end cryptocurrency flow through OS.University platform.

Milestones, H2 2019:

  • Additional upgradability functions for final adjustments to enable their platform to be a standard for communication and building trust between learners, businesses and academies.
  • Link and store all diploma certificates based on the courses which are already in the blockchain.
  • Initiate the process of adoption of their platform by Udemy and clarify all technical constraints related to the specifics of Udemy platform.
  • Preparations for world’s leading enterprises to start joining the platform.

Hard Cap and Valuation

There will be a total of 48 million EDU tokens and the project aims to raise 34,000 ETH for 72.5% of the total. The remaining 27.5% is to be distributed thus: 17.5% is reserved for sustaining the platform, 8% is to be shared among the project’s team and advisors, and the final 2% should be used for bounty campaigns.

The team tokens will reportedly be vested for a year.

Price Per Token

For the first presale, 1 EDU = 0.000741 ETH.

For the second presale, 1 EDU = 0.000833 ETH.

For the crowdsale, 1 EDU > 0.00133 ETH.

Important Dates

The second presale is going on at the moment.

Token sale should start after their alpha release and that is scheduled for Q2 2018. Interested parties can join OS.University’s whitelist.

In March 2018, the project airdropped 500,000 EDU tokens.

Marketing Power

As of the time this post was published, OS University had over 55,000 members on Telegram, 5,400+ subscribers on Facebook, 10,300+ followers on Twitter, 175 followers on Medium, 100+ followers on Steemit, and over 90 Reddit readers.

Prominent Advisors

Ian Scarffe

  • “Top 5 Rated Expert” at ICO Bench.

Well-Known Team Members

Prof. Kevin Dowd

  • Professor of Finance and Economics at Durham University Business School.
  • Author of several books on private money and free banking.

Team Members’ Areas of Expertise

Business experts

Jordan Jambazov, Technology Lead.

  • Co-Founder of IO Era (previously Code Ideo), a technology consulting firm, for almost 3 years.
  • Founder of Empybit, a software development startup, for over 5 years.

Gordon Kerr, Senior Investment Advisor.

  • Founder and CEO of Cobden Partners, a London-based investment consultancy.

Aly Madhavji, Senior Strategy Advisor.

  • Co-Founder and CEO of Global DCX, a digital currency exchange, for 12 months.
  • Western European Corporate Strategy at Paypal for almost a year.

Kalin Tsekov, Senior Technology Advisor.

  • CEO at Navigato, a partner of OS University, for 3 years.

Target market experts

Detelina Smilkova, Senior Academia Advisor.

Prof. Kevin Dowd, Token economics Visionary.

  • Professor of Finance and Economics at Durham University Business School.

Hristian Daskalov, Project Lead.

  • Former R&D strategy adviser to the Bulgarian Ministry of Economy.

Marketing experts

Teodora Alexieva, Marketing Manager.

  • Marketing Assistant at Pulse Fitness for 4 months.
  • Sales Assistant at Business Platform Ltd. for almost 2 years.

Legal experts

No team member with legal expertise.

Software engineering experts

Jordan Jambazov, Technology Lead.

  • Founder of two Software Development firms (see above).
  • Python Developer at several firms, including Strypes, Antelope Audio and DZone.

Momchil Jambazov, Creative Technologist.

  • Founder of IO Era (see above).
  • Front-End Developer at Deltastock AD, a licensed Forex and CFD Broker, for over 5 years.

Dobromir Kovachev, Blockchain Developer.

  • Scrum Master and Technical Manager at Strypes for 3 years.
  • Software Developer at Geo Plus Ltd. for over 7 years.

Vsevolod Okhrimenko, Software Developer.

  • Front-end developer at IO Era for 4 months.

Blockchain development experts

No team member with blockchain development expertise.

Token sale structure experts

Ian Scarffe, Senior Crypto Advisor.

  • Advisor to several ICOs, including Nauticus blockchain and Morpheus Labs.
  • “Top 5 Rated Expert” at ICO Bench.

Aly Madhavji, Senior Strategy Advisor.

  • Advisor to Polymath and Cryptyk Inc.

Kalin Tsekov, Senior Technology Advisor.

  • Advisor to Vibeo Ltd.

Token economics experts

No team member with token economics expertise.

Conclusion

Strengths

  • Big community (57,000 telegram members).
  • Several partnerships (Cobden Partners, Navigato, etc.).
  • Solid use-case.
  • Good team, especially their advisors.

Potential risks for investors

  • No visible listing initiatives. The token value strategy may not be built to suit the ICO investor’ interests.
  • No team member with blockchain development experience.
  • Education is a very competitive business. Detailed market research and a good marketing strategy is necessary for the success of the project (not present at the moment).

Disclaimers:

  • Nothing written in this article is a legal or an investment advice.
  • Information is provided on a best-effort basis and is subject to change without prior notice. Be sure to verify everything you read with a project team.

The analysis was produced by Research Center team members: Alexander Hinz, Mark Jedd, Anna Muratova.

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Although I applaud any effort to improve the match between our (formal) education systems and the real world, I not so sure whether this project is solving a big problem. It might be a real world problem but it doesnt mean we need a blockchain to solve it. Also, I am not sure whether this really is a big problem.

I'll pass on this one :-)

What do you guys think?

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Hey, pleasure meeting you. Thanks for your interest. Are you sure we are not solving the right problem with the right technology? Because a recent report of the European Commission, which are partners of ours, says exactly the opposite - https://ec.europa.eu/jrc/en/publication/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/blockchain-education According to EU, blockchain has disruptive potential in the filed of education and will empower learners. This is a statement of high-profile public officials that are in charge of the educational agenda, not ours. What other technology is there to enable validation and verification of learners credentials beyond institutional borders - you cannot solve this though a propitiatory institutional database. Is it normal for businesses to spend months to rung background checks for these credentials? Do you know that this doubles the hiring process and costs, according to market research? Is it normal for learners to wait 6-12 months for their credentials to be verified from one university to another when they change countries of study? Is it not a problem the lack of credit mobility? Don't you know that 30+ million learners in the States are with some college, no degree, due to lack of credit mobility? We are sure you are not aware of these issues. That's why we published our research at www.os.university/book. We hope you download the e-book and change your mind, based on the data.

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Thanks for the reply, I appreciate it :-)

You're making some good points. I am sure you address some problems, I am just not sure whether in all cases it is the right problems or whether blockchain in all cases is the right means to solve the problem.

For instance, one of the problems you mention is the problem of background checks and how long they take. Theoretically 1 big database with all info on students grades and credits would suffice right. It just needs to be a great searchable one. The problem isn't with the institutions, it is with those that cheat and invent diplomas and grades.

Also, I am a big believer that the stuff you learn at school/university which can be graded, are never the real world skills that you actually hire people on. If you need to know about Google Adwords for a certain job, of course you want to have somebody that has seen it before. But that is a filtering mechanism, just like educational level. You hire someone based on their attitude, communications skills, problem solving skills, likability, integrity etc. So the problem is not that grades and diploma's need to be verified, the problem is that we need to be able to somehow provide insight in soft and macro skills.

In my opinion there is a certain order in which certain problems need to be tackled. I'm not convinced that you will be solving the right problem at the right time. To me it sounds like you are a bit too early and that makes it very hard to achieve a critical mass and the right adoption rate.

Anyway, I still wish you a lot of luck on your project. Prove me wrong please ;-)

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We will! Thank you for the feedback, though - it is highly appreciated :)

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