Any good spec starts with a picture:
A generalised template for online educational courses.Abstract¶
The following specifies a set of contracts capable of supporting free online educational environments for learners, while ensuring that educators are rewarded for the content they create. This standard allows for the creation of any kind of course and only expects educators to ensure learners can claim their fee back after some period of time.Motivation¶
Student debt and underpaid teachers are two pivotal problems of our age. While an abundance of information exists online, especially in the open source world, we cannot simply make all resources free, as that ensures teachers become even more undervalued than they currently are. There must be some way of using programmable money to both erase student debt, while ensuring educators receive due recompense for the critical role they play in society.
These contracts present exactly one such solution. An epistemic community of learners who choose to mint (increasingly valuable) LEARN tokens at the end of their course, rather than just claim their original fee back, is the emergent result.Specification¶
This contract contains the logic for creating courses, registering learners, and tracking whose money has gone where and how much of the initial fee can be redeemed at any given time.
This contract contains the logic for minting and burning LEARN based on the collateral that is sent to it. Importantly, it is open to anyone, which is what allows secondary markets for LEARN to form easily. The more collateral locked, the less LEARN is minted, using an exponentially decaying function. This ensures that the price of LEARN - defined as the number in existence divided by the underlying collateral in this contract - increases linearly. Please see this spreadsheet for the source of the graphical depiction below.
Where does this magic constant come from? We were inspired by Uniswap's constant product formula and the simplicity it represents. While our setup is slightly different, we need some constant which defines the slope of the linearly increasing price function for LEARN. We do not think it possible, in principle, to model this with complete certainty. All we can do is ask increasingly precise questions about the kinds of outcome we might wish to see, especially in terms of how many LEARN will be minted by the course fee, if the learner chooses that option.
because this means that 1M DAI must be locked as collateral before your course fee for the initial KERNEL course mints just 1 LEARN, an important psychological fact if nothing else.Rationale¶
k = 10000
There are no special accounts or privileged roles in these contracts. There are no fees collected by a specific account. That is because we are very serious about building a general template for online education that cannot be co-opted and that both makes learning free, while also ensuring there are rewards available for educators.
We are sure that there are even better ways to achieve this, and so have tried to outline in detail all our assumptions in order that this may be the beginning of a fruitful conversation about how programmable money might solve incentive problems surrounding the transfer of knowledge.
The state of Ethereum will be around for a long, long time to come and so we are not here to get rich quickly, we are here to play with this vastly expanded temporal boundary. We have not written this for ourselves, but as a work of love and devotion to those yet to come.
Education is the original gift and is especially interesting in gift-giving economies, because knowledge is given within a context that still demands effort and attention in order to be learned. Valuable knowledge may present itself for free, but it must be given attention and reflection in order to become personally meaningful. It is this paradox which makes educational gifts the seed around which a community crafting new value models can flourish.
As Buddha said: “a single flower blooms, and throughout the world it is spring”.