The $6 trillion international education and training industry is poised for revolutionary change as a result of the emergence of blockchain technology, says Richard Maaghul, co-founder and CEO of ODEM.IO (https://odem.io/ ), the world’s first On-Demand Education Marketplace.
Blockchain, the encryption system that underlays digital tokens such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, has the potential to “both disrupt institutional norms and empower learners” in the education sector while reducing costs, improving efficiency and bolstering records’ security and authentication, the European Commission’s Joint Research Centre last year said in a 132-page report ( https://ec.europa.eu/…/eur-scientific-and-technical-research-reports/blockchain-education ).
ODEM, a Swiss technology company, is using blockchain, or distributed ledger technology to hammer down education costs and promote equality of access by streamlining the organization and presentation of in-person educational programs. By empowering students to own their education, ODEM is creating a venue for top professors and lecturers to actively market their expertise and personal brands.
“We’re taking the waste out of the education ecosystem by using distributed ledger technology and automation,” said Maaghul, a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur. “The result is better education outcomes at a lower cost.”
ODEM, which aspires to be the Airbnb of international education, is partnering with Cambridge, Massachusetts-based Excelorators Inc. in the design and rollout of the ODEM Platform. ODEM is currently raising capital to speed development by selling ODEM Tokens in a crowdsale conducted in accordance with Swiss cryptocurrency guidelines. ODEM has already raised EUR 2,493,547 (US$3.06 million).
“The upshot is that ODEM is no run-of-the-mill blockchain project,” says Maaghul. “By combining the power of blockchain technology with Excelorators’ existing business, we’re souping up a rocket that was already bound for the moon, albeit at a slower pace.”
Excelorators has existing relationships with more than 200 professors and lecturers who are likely to become early adopters. Over the next 12 months, ODEM and Excelorators expect to generate $10 million sales as they transition Excelorators’ customer base into a beta version of the ODEM platform. Students, who will use the platform free of charge, stand to benefit the most from ODEM’s focus on reducing the cost of education.
“Our research shows that most top universities work on a gross margin of 60-to-70 percent when they increase the cost to pay for expenses for the campus and administrative staff,” says Bill Bayrd, ODEM’s chief operating officer. “We’re confident we can cut the price the student pays for a typical course by 50 percent or more.”
ODEM Tokens will act as software license for users of the platform. Within the platform, suppliers of education will be incentivized to join the community through the initial distribution of free tokens.
ODEM.IO, meanwhile, is continuing to process Know-Your-Customer (KYC) registrations for its public crowdsale. All participants must show proof of identity and residency before being allowed to acquire tokens. The disclosures reflect international guidelines to ensure that all funds raised in the sale are legitimate.
KPMG Switzerland is ODEM.IO’s legal advisor while SICOS (Lux) S.C.S. has provided ODEM with advice and counsel on the crowdsale and its structure. —