Blockchain

Want to learn more about blockchain? Check out these 8 Pittsburgh communities, resources, and people to follow

Want to learn more about blockchain?  Check out these 8 Pittsburgh communities, resources, and people to follow

Blockchain is confusing.

Although blockchain technology is becoming increasingly popular thanks to the rise of non-fungible tokens (aka NFTs), cryptocurrencies, decentralized autonomous organizations and the like, there are few in the mainstream discourse who seem really understand what it is, exactly, and how it is. can be applied.

As with many things, the best way to learn is to go to the source.

From meetups to local thought leaders to free academic journals focused on blockchain technology, this short list of resources is a way to get more involved in the local buzz around this technology. Although it remains a divisive topic in some crowds, the emergence of blockchain applications has already started sending massive waves across the web in a way that all technologists should be familiar with.

So if you’ve fallen behind on your blockchain homework, here’s a list of resources to get you started. Know of one we missed? Let us know by sending a note to [email protected] and we’ll add it to the list.

Since 2019, this informal gathering has brought together Pittsburgh residents interested in all applications of blockchain technology, from NFTs to cryptocurrency to decentralization. Featuring both presentations and informal discussions, this meetup was originally initiated to gauge the interest and needs around blockchain in the Pittsburgh tech community. Since then, it’s become a chance for attendees to network and learn more about how they can apply the fast-growing technology in their own industries. Mark your calendar for the next event, coming at the end of March.

Originally launched in 2012, this local meetup has now been around for almost a decade, bringing together Bitcoin users, technologists and more in the iconic Roland Seafood Grills in the Strip area. Held on the first Wednesday of each month, this free and informal gathering promotes discussion about cryptocurrency at all levels of understanding. There’s never been a better time to learn more about the ideas behind this hugely popular technology, so be sure to attend if you’re looking to understand Pittsburgh’s role in shaping the future of cryptocurrency.

Technical.ly’s already written about this new monthly meetup, organized by Stronghold Digital Mining Vice President of Corporate Development Kit Muller and other partners. The first event took place last month, with discussions on decentralized finance, decentralized autonomous organizations and NFTs. At the next meeting on Wednesday, March 23, the evening speakers will focus on NFTs as they relate to the music industry and owning collectibles on the blockchain, courtesy of mint songs Director of Growth Nick Merich and Courtyard.io engineering manager Joseph Patrick, respectively. A third speaker and topic is TBA, and those interested in presenting at this or future events can contact the organizers.

the CyLab Security and Privacy Institute at Carnegie Mellon University recently launched a blockchain-centric research initiative – called the Secure Blockchain Initiative – with areas of interest in economics and politics, cryptography, security and anonymity, programming languages ​​and systems. Although the research is taking place in academia, professors working on the initiative are looking for collaborators in local businesses and organizations interested in using blockchain technology. The co-directors of the initiative are Nicholas Christin, Elaine Shi and Ariel Zetlin Jones.

While CMU focuses on the technical side of bitcoin through the CyLab research initiative, this group focuses on its use cases in the business world. Through the Tepper Business School connections to thought leadership in academia, industry and more, this initiative is meant to be a hub for innovation in the blockchain space from faculty, students, alumni, policymakers and industry leaders. ‘industry. The website is a great place to learn more about the work the university has done with blockchain over the past few years, including the notable CMU Currency cryptocurrency competition a few years ago.

Launched in 2015 from University of Pittsburgh, Ledger is the premier peer-reviewed journal for blockchain and cryptocurrency studies. The academic journal is free and publicly available and publishes one volume per year with multiple articles included on blockchain behaviors, structures and more. Although the journal is published by the Pitt Library System, its editorial team is located around the world, bringing together a wide range of thought on this emerging technology.

If you feel comfortable with basic blockchain and cryptocurrency topics, it might be time for you to follow some local talk on social media. A head person who has ties to Pittsburgh institutions is Kishan Patelco-founder of CMU’s Tech & Entrepreneurship community and senior software engineer at Soft. Often tweeting about NFTs, decentralized finance, cryptocurrency and more, Patel shares his own insights as well as potential connections through retweets. If you’re looking to take blockchain steps with your business, it’s a must.

Like Patel, Shi (who is one of the co-directors of the CyLab initiative) also frequently tweets about blockchain technology. While she doesn’t often share more in-depth insights or explanations — admittedly hard to do in just 280 characters — she does a great job of flagging community events and winning in the blockchain space. So if you’re looking for webinars, articles, or other resources for a more advanced understanding of blockchain and cryptocurrency, be sure to follow Shi.


Sophie Burkholder is a 2021-2022 corps member of Report for America, an initiative of The Groundtruth Project that pairs young journalists with local newsrooms. This position is supported by Heinz endowments. -30-