Metaverses, NFTs and Creator Economies with Blockchain

Challenge Lab

INDENG 185 (4 Units)

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Metaverse NFT Image

Class Description

Come learn why Mark Zuckerberg said “Our overarching goal across all of these initiatives is to help bring the metaverse to life.”  The metaverses, NFTs and creator economies are all having a moment.

Join us as we explore how these various concepts intersect and build your own MVP solution with guidance from leaders in the space.  

On the metaverse from the Verge article of Jul 22, 2021, “In January 2020, an influential essay by the venture capitalist Matthew Ball set out to identify key characteristics of a metaverse. Among them: it has to span the physical and virtual worlds; contain a fully fledged economy; and offer “unprecedented interoperability” — users have to be able to take their avatars and goods from one place in the metaverse to another, no matter who runs that particular part of it. Critically, no one company will run the metaverse — it will be an “embodied internet,” Zuckerberg said, operated by many different players in a decentralized way” which infers a blockchain

As the NFT and creator economy space matures, we believe that creators, entrepreneurs, and developers are in need of a well-defined and organized curriculum to prepare them for the future of Metaverses.  Hence, the development of UC Berkeley’s course on Metaverses, NFTs & Creator Economies, will be hugely beneficial to the upcoming generation of creators, innovators, and builders. The course will cover the growing relevance of NFTs and creator economies using a hands-on “Challenge Lab” approach, developed by the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology. 

Further Background - It is safe to say that 2021 is the year of the non-fungible token. The NFT market as a whole has seen tremendous growth in activity and value transacted in H1 2021. According to data by NonFungible, NFT sales volume has grown exponentially in 2021 leading to increased media coverage and public awareness. 

While NFT sales volume has contracted since its peak in May, volume still remains consistently higher than prior years. Moreover, with the increase in mainstream media coverage, NFTs are here to stay despite the recent slow-down. The increasing relevance of the NFT economy presents a very lucrative long-term growth opportunity. 

Creator economies have also seen rapid growth in recent years. The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic catalyzed digital entertainment as the world moved online. The growth of creator economies is evident with over 50 million people identifying as creators and the majority of these creators as amateurs. With this growth, consisting primarily of aspiring amateurs, we expect the expansion of the creator economy in the coming decades especially as creators find additional ways to sustainably diversify their revenue stream. To some extent, the growth of creator economies and NFTs are intertwined. NFTs provide a way for creators to increase their audience as well as diversify their revenue stream by selling NFTs to followers. And, finally, all these digital formats become integral in future Metaverses.  

Application

This class requires an application for enrollment consideration. Students from all majors, both undergraduate and graduate, are welcome; no blockchain experience is needed.  ~40% of seats are reserved for technical/engineering majors to ensure an adequate depth of CS skills are available to each team to fulfill the technical obligations of the team.  All other majors are also encouraged to apply to meet the business and entrepreneurial obligations of the team. Team selection will be guided to ensure teams are multidisciplinary in nature.  The goal is to build a course full of passionate students willing to push their boundaries and build an amazing startup. See application button by scrolling down to "Submit Spring 2022 Blockchain Class Application."  If you are interested in enrolling, please submit the application.  Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis and you will be notified when a decision has been made.  If admitted, you will be given permission to enroll.

Challenge Lab

Challenge Labs (INDENG 185) are classes for students of all academic backgrounds who seek a rigorous, interactive, team-based, and hands-on learning experience in entrepreneurship and technology. This course uses a unique pedagogy, The Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship that involves the use of games, industry guest speakers, team exercises, videos and labs to cover the early part of the startup lifecycle. Each Challenge Lab has a different theme. In this highly experiential course, students form start-up teams to create technology solutions or services to address a broadly-defined problem posed by an industry partner or social challenge.

Instructors

Luke Kowalski

Co-Instructor

Luke Kowalski works at Oracle as a corporate executive reporting to one of Larry Ellison’s EVPs and specializes in working across multiple disciplines. Before Oracle, he worked for various startups in technical, design, and business roles, as well as for Netscape's Server and E commerce division. He holds several patents and professional certifications, serves as an ISO representative for US through ANSI and lectures frequently at conferences and universities. His educational background includes advanced degrees from UTA, Pratt Institute, and Columbia University. Luke has worked on information security, physical security, and other aspects of cyber for over a decade. He firmly believes that blockchain has the potential to disrupt established technical and business patterns around the world. It is also a perfect foundation and universal concept for launching a startup. He also has experience with financial ERP apps, where he was one the lead designers and contributors, in addition to working on an acquisition in the fintech space.

Michael Morris

Co-Instructor

Michael Morris works as Forte’s Information Architect, designing knowledge management solutions and leading internal education efforts around gaming, blockchain and Forte’s platform. Prior to working in blockchain infrastructure, he worked in fundraising and community development for a social enterprise and nonprofits in education. Michael has long enjoyed learning about applications for blockchain technology by participating in the growth and development of web3 native communities. Nominated to Rally.io’s first Creator Review Council, Michael spearheaded several community driven $RLY protocol development efforts and co-developed a framework for approving new creators to the platform for tokenizing their economies. Michael looks forward to sharing insights and connections that can inspire his students to innovate across the metaverse, NFTs and creator economies.

Ronen Kirsh

Guest Lecturer

Ronen Kirsh is an entrepreneur and investor who has founded and invested in multiple organizations and initiatives with the overarching mission of promoting greater adoption of cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and privacy technology for real-world application. Some of the notable projects he has been involved in are Forte, Dekrypt Capital, Aleo, San Francisco Blockchain Week and CryptoEconomics Security Conference, Evmos, Rally, Blockchain at Berkeley, ZeroHash, MatterLabs, Mina Protocol, and others. Ronen is passionate about spending time with and advising young entrepreneurs and donating to community-centric organizations.

Collaborators

jocelyn-weber

Jocelyn Weber
SCET Director
X-Lab and Xcelerator Programs

The Berkeley Haas Blockchain Initiative is a partnership with Ripple to advance academic research and student engagement, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

Related News

View current and previous class offerings of Challenge Lab.

Refer to our Courses page for a full list of SCET courses and current class offerings

and our Certificate page for more information on our Certificate in Entrepreneurship & Technology.

Contact

Contact SCET Academic Program Manager Michelle Lee at lee.2293@berkeley.edu for additional questions.