Annual Report: Year 0 | 2019-20
The annual report highlighting our progress between November 2019 to December 2020.

Bittopia University Annual Report: Year 0

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Summary (TL;DR)

Bittopia University has taken many years to go through its process of metamorphosis, manifesting to its current form. It is the result of over 8 years of full-time experience within the cryptosphere, across various projects and continents.
This report outlines our progress over the last 12 months, which includes:
Apart from the logistics, the report includes workshops that we had hosted, as well as our participation within various events and interviews across the globe. These include:
We expanded our reach by producing several videos in both English and Persian. Furthermore, a documentary was produced, which will become an extension of Bittopia's decentralized educational programs. These videos include:
Lastly, the report includes some of the challenges and opportunities that we had faced throughout the year. The next step forward from here is to:
    Complete the redesign of the Bittopia University website to allow people to register as students, join groups, and engage with one another.
    Initiate the marketing phase, through the various platforms and channels available to us.
    Implement the first stage of services so that we can begin the process of decentralization as per design.

Background

Bittopia was launched in 2017 as an organization aiming to educate people on topics such as blockchains, decentralization, P2P networks, security, privacy, sharing economies, and other similar subjects. Throughout the years following 2017, Bittopia has organized a large number of workshops across various countries and continents:
    Europe
    -- The Netherlands
    -- Cyprus
    Oceania
    -- Australia
    North America
    -- Mexico
Since then the organization has transformed into a registered non-profit entity, expanding its services to cater to a greater range of topics and needs. The organization has been redesigned to become a decentralized autonomous university, the first of it's kind in the world. This is made possible by implementing various decentralized, open-source technologies and system architectures.
This report is our first annual report depicting our overall progress, as well as the many challenges that have provided us with a greater understanding of our path. Overall we are faced with one of the greatest opportunities in challenging the education industry and structure, shifting the paradigm, or as we like to refer to it, turning knowledge into a currency.

0.0 Glossary

0.1 Tācen (Token)

The origin of the word 'token' is from Germanic: taikn or old-English tācn/tācen, meaning to convey, to show, or to teach.

0.2 Proof of Knowledge (PoK)

PoK represents the successful transfer of knowledge. This non-transferable 'tācen' can only be rewarded to the students that complete a course and demonstrating sound knowledge in its curriculum.
Methods of assessment include: reports, research, publications, and advancements in knowledge.

0.3 Proof of Contribution (PoCo)

PoCo applies to the greater segment of people, as it represents contribution on any level by any individual. PoCo is rewarded via Bittopia Universities own currency: BITT.

1.0 Bittopia: Decentralized Autonomous University - Decentralized Education & Research

The system architecture of Bittopia University required that the organization be governed by various decentralized systems and protocols.
As a result, Bittopia University looked to Aragon and Ethereum to provide this requirement, to create a decentralized autonomous university, as they have proved to be the gold standard when it comes to creating and managing decentralized organizations and entities (aka DAO's), as well as the currencies that fuel such organizations.

1.1 Registration on the Ethereum Name Server (ENS): BITTOPIA.ETH

Bittopia was been registered on the Ethereum Name Service (ENS) in December 2019. You can see the original contract as well as its renewal below.

1.2 Decentralized Governance: Registered on Aragon

The Bittopia Foundation was set up on Aragon as a Decentralized Autonomous Organization, with a great deal of support and input by @mcormier. We would like to acknowledge his contributions and thank him for the time and effort he placed in helping us find the correct tools and methodologies in structuring our foundation.
Aragon allows our organization to remain transparent and decentralized to the greatest extent possible while keeping decision-makers accountable. The Aragon network also supports our desire to have a transparent channel on how funds are received and spent, as well as how and why decisions regarding the foundation and organization are made.
Link to our Organization on Aragon: https://client.aragon.org/#/TBF
The Bittopia Foundation Creation Contract Address: https://etherscan.io/address/0x2e4349120f1b4966b1230510f6af3852a046b84c

1.3 Bittopia University's Currency (BITT)

The main fuel of Bittopa University is knowledge. To turn knowledge into a currency, we have created our own currency. BITT will be used to pay for courses, reward contributions as well as those wishing to collaborate with the university and its foundation. In the future BITT will be used to fund research, think tanks, startups, as well as rewarding those wishing to make an endowment supporting the creation and ongoing funding of Bittopia University, the world’s first Decentralized Autonomous University (DAU).
BITT Total Supply: 770,000,000 BITT
Distribution model: 50% of the total tokens are frozen for 6 months (385,000,000 BITT), while the other half is held by the foundation to reward the various categories of contributions and collaborations. The segment that has been frozen will be locked every 6 months until it is needed. In the case that it is needed, we will have to put this to a vote on Aragon and allow decision-makers and the community to have an input on the process and utilization.

1.3.1 BITT Creation Contract Address:

1.3.2 BITT Contract Address:

1.3.3 Vault #1: Transfer of BITT to The Bittopia Foundation on Aragon

1.3.4 Vault #2: Freezing 50% of the total BITT supply (385M)

1
dao acl grant tbf 0xd5323227c25D92362beAbd010F23D39194d95805
2
CREATE_PAYMENTS_ROLE 0x387eacfd4dcb6a983cb537128e3f3fa5c645a080
3
"TIMESTAMP_PARAM_ID,GT,1603238400" --env aragon:mainnet
Copied!

1.4 Registration of The Bittopia Foundation as a nonprofit organization in Wyoming, USA

The Bittopia Foundation was registered as a public benefit nonprofit corporation in the state of Wyoming, USA, on the 6th of February, 2020.
We formed this legal structure through our partner, Etherize, an organization that specializes in creating legal entities for decentralized projects.

2.0 Chapter 1: Genesis

Although the journey for Bittopia had begun many years ago, its evolution to a decentralized autonomous university was inspired in November 2019, as the first draft version of the whitepaper was written.
The draft version of the whitepaper outlined Bittopia University's intention to build the worlds first decentralized autonomous university by intertwining several existing and available decentralized networks and technologies. This proposed concept was evaluated with regard to accessibility, transparency, accountability, and immutability.
The purpose of Bittopia University is to accomplish the following goals:
    Preservation of Knowledge and Information
    Accelerate the Transfer of Knowledge Between Populations
    Reduce Student Debts While Transforming the Paradigm
    Democratize Curriculum’s Thus Enhancing Accessibility
    Evaluate Decentralized Education and Research Models

2.1 Episode 1: San Cristobal | Mexico | Jan 2020

Shortly after the whitepaper, I decided to reach out to DAOFest, an organization that, at the time, was helping people gain a better understanding of DAO's (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) through workshops and events. I had spoken at one of their events in Amsterdam and wanted to collaborate further as some of our intentions aligned. In January 2020, with the support of DAOFest, we held our first official workshop in the city of San Cristobal, situated in the state of Chiapas, a region in the southeast of Mexico.
This event was the proof-of-concept (PoC) required to demonstrate the feasibility of the concept, as well as setting the necessary foundation for future workshops.
During this event, I had asked the people who had attended to fill out a questionnaire. This form was the manifestation of two concepts that will be rewarded and verified via decentralized systems:
- Proof of Knowledge (PoK) - Proof of Contribution (PoCo)
The questionnaire was split into two sides. One side contained the questions that we wanted to ask the attendees (PoCo), and the other was to verify the successful transfer of knowledge, as each component of the curriculum included an exercise that the attendee was required to complete to demonstrate the successful transfer of that aspect of knowledge and its application (PoK).
Bittopia University's questionnaire

2.1.1 Analysis

The answers were placed into a word cloud software so that we could figure out what were some of the reasons as to why people had not been involved with Bitcoin and its underlying system architecture is known as a blockchain, despite its many applications and advantages. The output was the following word cloud image:
Word cloud analysis
As seen above, we can gather that the most important piece of people's comments as to why they had not adopted Bitcoin, was knowledge, thus validating our hypothesis that education, or lack thereof, was the most important component in halting progress.

2.1.2 Full Report

Read the full report for the San Cristobal Event:

2.1.3 Photos

2.1.4 Video Recap

2.1.5 Conclusion

This event was vastly successful in demonstrating concepts discussed in the whitepaper, leading to greater reasoning as to why Bittopia University was viable.
https://twitter.com/ev0k3d/status/1221165775345549312
The excerpt below was written by one of the students who had attended the event:
"...Amin is a bitcoin and blockchain educator who’s working on creating a decentralized autonomous university. Matt helps Amin, but also has a bunch of other side businesses. And Rebecca is a published author who’s incredibly candid about her love life (her blog about her love life got turned into a book).
I’d always thought Bitcoin and Blockchain were for finance bros, some fad that I didn’t really want to get into. Instead, I learned all about how they were being used for democracy and decentralisation." -- The Way of the Potato, 2020

2.2 Episode 2: Anarchapulco | Acapulco, Mexico | Feb 2020

Shortly after the event in San Cristobal, I received my confirmation to be a speaker at the globally renowned event: Anarchapulco. Naturally, I saw this event as the next step in the evolution of Bittopia University. We had an opportunity here to not only present our concept to a large audience but also to host a paid workshop, further demonstrating the capabilities of the project and its methodologies.
Proof of Attendance

2.2.1 Anarchapulco 2020

Once we arrived in Acapulco, the city in which Anarchapulco was being hosted, we organized our time so that we could spend the first two out of four days of the event promoting the workshop, as well as an Incubation promotion that we had decided to include in partnership with DAOFest and Etherize.
Our booklets and flyers that were placed around the location of the event.

2.2.2 Workshop: How to Get a Swiss Bank in Your Pocket

We had put together a tailor-made curriculum for the event. This two-hour workshop was priced at $99 USD per person: https://anarchapulco.com/product/how-to-get-a-swiss-bank-in-your-pocket/
This 2-hour workshop will teach you how to setup a wallet, securely transfer funds, and conduct transactions using Bitcoin and deep dive into the future of decentralization through structures known as DAOs.
Module 0: Introduction to Decentralized Currency
Module 1: How to Setup a Wallet
Module 2: Wallet Security 101
Module 3: How to Buy Bitcoin
Module 4: How to Send/Receive Funds
Module 5: Online Transactions
Module 6: What is Ethereum?
Module 7: What is a DAO?
** Course includes live demonstrations and in-workshop exercises.
Our workshop during Anarchapulco 2020

2.2.3 Anarchapulco Photos

2.2.4 Video Recap

Video recap of Episode 2

2.2.5 Conclusion

Anarchapulco was exactly what we needed to amplify our efforts and measure our ability to expand on our vision. The event inspired many new thoughts and ideas, and overall supported the evolution of Bittopia University.
The 2-hour workshop proved to be a successful proof of concept. People were very happy about the depth of the curriculum, and the knowledge that we had shared with them. It was at times challenging to answer all the questions people had while making sure that we cover all the topics in such a short timeframe, though we managed to satisfy the inquiries and finish all of the components within the curriculum.
During the event, we met a lot of individuals who showed great interest in Bittopia University's framework and understood its importance.
On the last day of the event, we finally had the time to take part in several interviews. One with The Crypto Show, and the other with Patriot's Lament Radio.
Interview with The Crypto Show
Video of our interview with Patriots Lament Radio

2.3 Episode 3: Bitcoinference

We were referred to Bruno Ver by a colleague from Amsterdam, who had mentioned that Bruno was going to be hosting a blockchain event in the city of Cancún, northeast of Mexico. We were excited about this collaboration as it would mean we could host a full-day workshop alongside the event.
After much discussion with Bruno, we came to an agreement and sponsored the event:
As per our discussion on WhatsApp, we would like to accept the final offer of $1750 USD for our participation in your event bitcoinference.io, taking place in Cancun, for the month of May 2020 with the following:
    Logo tickets, nametag event, booklet event and website
    Video and written interview website, YouTube and booklet
    Interview AltCoin magazine
    Social media mentions/posts 6
    4 entrance tickets
    2 VIP
    Small booth
In return for this partnership, we would like to offer 10% of our revenue from our side event to you (after expenses).
Unfortunately, due to the events of 2020 and COVID-19, we realised that the event would not take place. We requested that our funds be returned, though, despite no such policy listed on the website or an agreement forming between Bittopia University and Bruno for such a condition, Bruno refused to return the payments made:
Dear participants
With some of you we already have had a chat, with others not yet. But first of all be safe!
Corona is a pandemic, our insurance does not cover pandemics, it’s forced by majority... we have decided to not give refunds, we give you a spot in the new date of the conference that will happen later this year.
Best regards The Bitcoinference team
As such, we had to forfeit $1,150.00 USD.

2.5 Episode 4: Paralelni Polis: Hackers Congress 2020 #HCPP20

I was invited to speak at to Paralelni Polis's seventh Hackers Congress. My sixth year speaking at what I would consider being the gold standard of crypto and privacy events. A one of a kind event taking place annually in the city of Prague, located in the Czech Republic. The event took place from October 2 to October 4, 2020. This was the perfect place to announce Bittopia University.
Paralelni Polis HCPP20
Metaphors, narratives, concepts, and explanations change – and fail to grasp what is ahead of us.
Information is power, and software – its embodiment – eats the world. While some cling to the ideas and ways of the overcome age, the new is still too fresh to fully embrace.
The old guard is building a prison of bits and bytes, drones, cameras, databases and hostile AI.
Their goal: To cement the old structures of power for eternity while the masses continue to blissfully consume their selves. That may not happen.
It is up to us to chart the new waters, draw the maps, tell the stories, and build the tools that will shape our future for lifetimes to come.
Our time is now. Ready or not, the digital totality is upon us." -- Paralelni Polis, Hackers Congress 2020

2.5.1 Summary

Due to travel restrictions imposed on a global scale, a great number of people attended the event online rather than in person, including myself. This was very different from the previous years of being submerged in the atmosphere.
Regardless of the limitations, the event organizers put together a wonderful event, bringing together a large number of people.
Bittopia University Paralelni Polis LinkedIn
During my presenation I had the opportunity to discuss the importance of decentralized education as well as decentralized research and how Bittopia University was building the world's first Decentralized University to encapsulate such concepts.
Overall, a great event and opportunity to present Bittopia University.

2.5.2 Interview with Criptonoticias

Interview with Criptonoticias

3.0 Bittopia University: Season 1 (Video Series)

To demonstrate some of the topics which would be included in the course "Introduction to Decentralization", and the type of concepts that would be covered, I decided to record one short video per week discussing various topics for 10 weeks. These videos included topics such as privacy, security, custodial wallets vs non-custodial, and many more.
After the third week, I decided to introduce similar concepts for the Persian speaking populations.
I had intended to include some videos in the Spanish language, though due to time constraints, this was reallocated for the future.

3.1 Bittopia University: Episode 1-10 (English)

List of episodes and links:

2.4.2 Bittopia University: Episode 1-7 (Persian/Farsi)

4.0 Bittopia Docos Series

Expanding on the existing educational framework, I decided to introduce a new concept. This concept was designed to demonstrate the decentralized nature of education, in that you do not need to be a professor from an Ivy League school to share highly sought after knowledge. Documentaries that would be based on various topics, raising awareness, highlighting another segment of Bittopia University's educational program.
The proof of concept was based around Gerardo Gonzalez Miranda, an inspirational person that I had interviewed while living in the city of San Cristobal, a city in the south of Mexico.

4.1 Docos Series: El Caracol (The Snail)

El Caracol (Spanish for 'The Snail') was a documentary that I set out to put together for the first episode of the Bittopia Docos Series.
I had been working on this documentary for about a year and completed it just in time for the Hackers Congress, hosted by Paralelni Polis. This gave me the opportunity to request for the documentary to be played during the event. Given the calibre of the event and the audience, I could not think of a better location to premiere "El Caracol".
My proposal was accepted and thus the documentary was played on the last evening of the event:
"In addition, HCPP20 event participants will be able to view “El Caracol” (The Snail), a documentary by Amin Rafiee. This documentary explores the life of Gerardo Gonzalez Miranda, an activist, humanitarian, journalist, and musician living in the city of San Cristobal, and his ideas about anarchy, ecology, capitalism, the impact of corporations such as Monsanto and Coca-Cola, and the emancipation of the local population through the Zapatista movement, one of the most successful, yet unheard about anarchist movements in modern history." -- Digital Totality: Hackers Congress Paralelní Polis Reveals Event Agenda and Final Speaker Lineup for the 2020 Event

4.1.1 El Caracol: Redirect by Andrés Perona

Shortly after the documentary was played at the Hackers Congress, I was contacted by Andrés Persona, a filmmaker and editor residing in Prague. He had seen the documentary during the event and reached out to collaborate.
After some initial discussion, I saw the impact his contribution could have on the documentary and Bittopia as a whole. So we came to an agreement, which was posted in our telegram group for transparency:
I have been speaking with Andrés about the 'El Caracol' documentary and after some highly productive discussions, I have come to see the potential in his contribution towards remaking it so that we can improve the narrative, include Bittopia with a greater focus on what Bittopia University is about, and raising the bar on the end result. As mentioned by Andrés:
"The initial estimations we talked about were 4 hours of work every day for about eight weeks, which would amount to 160 hours. This would include:
    Re-cutting the entire amount of raw footage, both Gerardo's interview and the insert shots you made yourself while in Chiapas.
    Going through all the pictures available, the ones you took yourself and the ones which we might access via local photographers, selecting the ones that works the best with Gerardo's spoken narrative, and animating them as motion graphics.
    Refining the script to align seamlessly with the framework of Bittopia University, both in terms of values (as we said, that you can perceive as a viewer that the ideas discussed by Gerardo actually dialogue with the core values of Bittopia) and aesthetics (same fonts, similiar color palette).
    Sound-mixing music, voice and effects.
    Designing the closing credits sequence.
    Color correcting and color grading the whole final assembly."
Andrés mentioned that such a job would cost more than $5,000.00 USD, though he was willing to do it for less due to the interest he has in the project and the documentary. I do not want people to be devalued, and the purpose of BITT (Bittopia's currency) is to reward contribution, similar to that of proof of work. So the final offer from my side was:
    $4,500 USD in BITT (through our organization hosted on Aragon).
    $500 USD in BTC (to be re-compensated back to me once funds come through the platform).
Andrés has agreed and I am very grateful for his approach, thoughts, and contribution. This can be a milestone in our path and an example of how you can be rewarded by approaching and being proactive in your cause. I am very excited for this collaboration."

5.0 Challenges & Opportunities

The last 12 months has not been smooth sailing. We faced many challenges and opportunities along the way. Despite all that has occurred, we have done our best to push forward and keep building.
We would like to give a special thanks to Gitbook for providing us with a complimentary account due to our open-source and non-profit status.

5.1 Coinomi Issues

Coinomi had always been the wallet of choice for the workshops I had held in various countries, as it provided one easy to use interface to interact with many cryptocurrencies. Unfortunately during several workshops, we faced issues with the wallet sweep function on iOS devices, from a paper wallet.
We had reported this issue to the team and was told that this was a known issue and that it would be resolved in time. At the time of writing this report, we have not yet been informed of a solution.
Furthermore, we were unable to find a way to collaborate with the organization, despite our many attempts at creating a conversation for joint opportunities. For several months we were continuously told by several members that they would get back to us to set up a meeting or reach out for a conversation, but this led nowhere. This did not align with our vision of the decentralization culture that had given birth to Bitcoin, as we were looking for a symbiotic partnership.
The wallet had also included several exchanges, which could create problems as the user could send coins to exchange and be told to verify themselves before receiving their funds. This could create a hostage situation, which again, goes against the principles of decentralization.
The following was written by Juraj Bednár, one of the co-founders of Paralelni Polis and translated to English by Peter Kožuch:
"To make matters worse, many wallets (including Coinomi or Trezor) have integrated access to exchanges. So not all apps where you can change cryptocurrencies are automatically exchanged. In Coinomi or Trezor, you can exchange Litecoin for Bitcoin, for example, through stock market integration. However, the difference is that the currency sold on the exchange will go to the moment of the transaction and the selection of the purchased cryptocurrency will come to your wallet immediately. The exchange, therefore, has access to your money only for the duration of the transaction. This still doesn’t necessarily mean that the transfer will take place immediately (even such an exchange will wait for the transaction to be confirmed and may sometimes ask for additional documents." -- Cryptocurrency wallet vs exchange – what’s the difference?, 2020
I reached out to Juraj to share my thoughts regarding the above comments. You can see the full conversation as well as other reasons as to why we stopped supporting Coinomi via the link below:

5.2 Opportunities & Notes

Bittopia University was formed before the current global emergency, to do to the Educational Industry what Bitcoin did to the Financial Industry. The timing has placed Bittopia University in a position of great advantage, as situations have led to an increase in demand when dealing with online education. While there are no opponents when it comes to what we are building with Bittopia University, we can say without a doubt, that we are on the right path to reach our goals and create great value within the decentralized education arena.
This path has not been without its challenges, though challenges can form opportunities, depending on how they are approached.
Observation has led me to conclude that we are facing an era where due to the global issues facing us, student's are reconsidering their place within universities. The legacy models and structures are being challenged. We have seen that people would rather work and study from home than to commute for long hours through busy lines and roads to get to their destination.
The existing paradigm and framework within the educational framework introduce a great number of systematic risks towards the students. We have redesigned and re-engineered these systems to place both the students and teachers in a safer place. We do not believe in packaged courses that offer artificial methods of learning via pre-recorded videos. The core of human existence is our ability to connect, and thus we have included this in our design, as well as many other exciting protocols that we are thrilled to show the world in the years to come.
Since its inception, Bittopia University has grown organically, gathering a healthy number of followers. We are yet to initiate the marketing phase, which will follow our redesign of the website to allow the community to interact with the University. We are pleased to take the lead on this huge undertaking and are looking forward to future contributors and collaborators.

6.0 Contributors & Collaborators

We are looking for organizations to partner and collaborate with as well as individuals looking to contribute with their skills, knowledge, or financially. You can reach out to us via: connect <at> bittopia <dot> org
Alternatively, you can reach out via our telegram group or social media channels:
Last modified 9mo ago