The Blockchain Game: A great new tool for your classroom — Blockchain Pulse: IBM Blockchain Blog

Prof C Explains
2 min readApr 29, 2019

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Blockchain technology can be a game-changer for accounting, supply chain, banking, contract law, and many other fields. But it will only be useful if lots and lots of non-technical managers and leaders trust and adopt it. And right now, just understanding what blockchain is, can be difficult to understand even for the brightest in these fields. Enter The Blockchain Game, a hands-on exercise that explains blockchain’s core principals, and serves as a launching pad for discussion of blockchain’s real-world applications.

In The Blockchain Game students act as nodes and miners on a blockchain network for storing student grades at a university. Participants record the grade and course information, and then “build the block” by calculating a unique identifier (a hash) to secure the grade ledger, and miners get rewarded for their work. As the game is played, the audience learns about hashes, private keys, and what uses are appropriate for a blockchain ledger.

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Basics of the Game

  • A hands-on simulation centering around a blockchain for academic scores, including a discussion at the end of the simulation regarding if storing grades would be a good application for blockchain.
  • No computers. Participants are the computors and calculate blocks.
  • The game seeks to teach core concepts about a distributed ledger but can be modified to whichever use case the educator wishes to use — smart contracts, supply chain, applications and others.
  • Additional elements can be added if instructors want to facilitate the game on a computer.

Blockchain concepts taught by the game

  • Distributed ledger
  • All people (nodes) have complete ledger
  • Transparent but anonymous ledger
  • Append-only ledger
  • Each entry (block) is linked to the previous entry via some math (hash)
  • Some nodes (miners) are paid for performing calculations (proof of work)

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Prof C Explains

J Scott Christianson: UM Teaching Prof, Technologist & Entrepreneur. Connect with me here: https://www.christiansonjs.com/