The Blockchain Innovation Society (BIS)
Arizona State Universities Blockchain Innovation Society (BIS) has come a long way over the last year since its formation. BIS was created to provide an opportunity for students at ASU to learn, discuss, and work on blockchain/cryptocurrency related projects. The founding members of the organization realized how many of their fellow classmates and community members were interested in the technology but lacked a place they could go to explore this passion, thus the Blockchain Innovation Society was formed. Originally the vision was to have a very niche group of members, with a goal of around thirty people attending each meeting. However, that vision and goal of BIS would change quickly as they realized that the demand for an organization like this was far larger than they had ever expected. Over one hundred people attended the first meeting, and soon the organization was forced to find a bigger meeting room and re-evaluate the vision of the society. As the organization grew in scope, so did its goal, instead of simply providing a niche community for passionate members, they realized that they could be contributing to alleviating one of the biggest problems the greater blockchain community faced: education. It’s no surprise to anyone that within an emerging technology like blockchain one of the largest problems the community faces is a lack of understanding and general knowledge by the public. This intellectual roadblock was noticed by BIS founding members and they soon decided to expand the scope of the organization beyond ASU and into the surrounding Phoenix community.
BIS originally consisted of four different committees; Education, Investment, Research & Development, and Consulting, these subsegments of the larger organization were intended to provide members with the opportunities to take what they learned from the general meetings and apply them to their area of interest. The consulting committee, lead by Marcus Jones was created for more business-minded learners to work with local businesses who were exploring the idea of getting involved in the space. The education committee lead by Abhik Chowdhury was initially created to allow general members of the organization to create outward facing educational material, however, this quickly transformed into the committee creating more inward focused presentations. Next up is the investment committee lead by Dylan Yarbrough and Thomas Shivers, this segment of the organization has since been dissolved but while it was in operation acted as a place for students to discuss, and analyze projects that were being created at that time. Lastly was the Research and Development committee lead by Jeremy Liu, this committee was created to work alongside the consulting committee to allow its members to get real-world experience doing research and building out blockchain focused projects. Along with the four committees mentioned above, an Advanced Group was also created for the more experienced members of the organization. The BIS Advanced Group met an additional time throughout the week to discuss and cover more technical focused concepts.
At the start of 2018, some of the founding members of the Blockchain Innovation Society decided to come together and once again re-evaluate their long-term goals of the organization. Following their commitment to educating local businesses, creating online material, and speaking at local blockchain events in Phoenix, they decided to expand their reach once again by turning their ASU organization into an international non-profit. Following their filing of a 501(c)(3), their now beginning to build out an online platform focused on creating a positive educational environment for those who want to learn more about the technology. With plans to charter out BIS to other academic institutions throughout the world and expand their consulting commitments to local, regional and national organizations.
The Blockchain Innovation Society has changed dramatically over the last year, from a niche community of a couple passionate ASU students, to a non-profit working towards creating a nationwide ecosystem of education, collaboration, and innovation. Now, not simply focused on educating college students but creating a blockchain based curriculum for anyone from high schoolers to industry professionals. Along with their mission of education, BIS plans to continue their focus on research and development, as well as consulting with various local businesses and ASU partnerships. For universities that are interested in starting a blockchain based organization on campus, BIS provides access through their online platform for charters to publish their independent research, videos, articles and other content their organization creates.BIS also provides charters with lecture slides and educational material to grow their member base and guarantee the information they’re presenting is accurate. For local business and organizations who are interested in either exploring an opportunity of getting involved in the blockchain space or who simply wish to educate their employees on the technology, BIS has a dedicated team of students and professionals who have experience in the industry. Arizona State University and the Blockchain Innovation Society are always searching for industry partners that want to learn more about blockchain technology, who want to educate their employees or have plans of integrating blockchain into their business practices.