Author: Hui Xian
The Singapore University of Social Sciences (SUSS) hosted a smart contract workshop for adults and students keen in the coding aspects of the industry. The workshop focused on the basics of interpreting and writing smart contracts – a popular system of codes used by various blockchain companies such as Ethereum.
According to Dr Swee-Won Lo, lecturer of SUSS School of Business, the workshop fulfils one of the university’s goals “to train and equip our learners with the necessary skills required for the digital transformation at the workplace as well as the right mindset and passion for serving the society with what they have learnt”.
The two-day event, which concluded on August 3, was conducted by Dave Appleton from Hellogold, a blockchain enabled platform that is dedicated to the financial empowerment of the underserved. Dave Appleton, an experienced coder from Hellogold, facilitated the workshop by simplifying the complex codes into easy and understandable context for beginners. During the workshop, attendees get hands-on experience with Remix, an open source tool, to write, deploy and run Solidity Smart Contracts.
What is a Smart contract?
Smart contract is not a contract but a programme that runs codes to automatically validate a condition when an asset is transferred into the programme.
To simplify, a smart contract is a system of codes that allow smooth executions of action with the given scenarios. Imagine you are creating a platform to lend books to others. The smart contract would execute the codes imputed to allow the users to select the books, and subsequently, accept payments from the users.
With the utilisation of smart contract, small and medium-size businesses with scarce human resource can benefit from the automation.
When asked about benefits of Smart Contract for businesses, Dr Swee-Won Lo said, “blockchain helps businesses such as the small and medium enterprises to scale, and it can also provide financial services to the unbanked. SMEs can use blockchain to scale up in the market. The use of blockchain to serve the unbanked will improve social welfare. There is potential to match demand and supply efficiently.”
The importance of being code-literate
In 2018, KPMG, one of the ‘Big Four’ auditors, released a report on developments of the blockchain, which shows that the amount invested on blockchain projects in first of the year has already surpassed the total amount invested in 2017. However, many investors do not understand the projects that they have invested in. Other than analysing the company’s suite of c-levels and sponsors, an investor can also check the codes updated on Github to find the technical progress of the project. The ability to decipher the codes would help an investor in determining the status or even the quality of the project.
Dave Appleton presents the image to illustrate the simplified version of the buggy codes that lead to the DAO attack.
For instance, the DAO attack which resulted in 3.6 million loss of ether is an example of a failure to audit the codes; the attacker uses recursive calls on unintended ether flow to steal ether. Moreover, the bugs in the codes could not be recalled once launch and lost transactions and ethers could not be recovered.
Therefore, it is of utmost importance to be code-literate to protect oneself from fraudulent projects.
The finale of the workshop requires attendees to take a short assessment and thereafter receive Certification of Participation.
One of the attendees who holds a managerial position in the government sector said that he felt more confident when communicating with the technical team after attending the workshop.
Another attendee, a 24-year-old, marketing student from SUSS, said he acquired new technical knowledge to develop different applications with the use of the smart contract.
The workshop marks a further commitment in the involvement of the blockchain industry for SUSS, which has been heavily involved in educating and building the sphere of blockchain since 2017.
“SUSS works closely with over 90 SUSS Fellows, who are founders and thought-leaders in the Fintech & blockchain industry, to conduct executive courses, meet-ups and seminars on the latest developments of FinTech & blockchain. To date, SUSS has also organised two conferences on FinTech & blockchain which saw the attendance of a total of 3,000 participants and more than 210,000 online viewers globally. Both conferences brought a total of more than 300 speakers who are practitioners and thought leaders from all over the world to SUSS for an intense discussion on the application of blockchain.” SUSS School of Business’s Professor David Lee shared in further comments.
As the fourth industrial revolution approaches, individuals and corporations can learn more about the FinTech industry by attending workshops and picking up essential technological skills.