website states that Woolf is the first university powered by DLT and that
it has been designed to disrupt the economics of higher education and provide
new opportunities for both students and academics.
The Woolf platform runs on top of the Ethereum blockchain, but the
team behind the project has indicated that it is willing to move to another
to another Forbes article, the costs of four-year
institutions in the U.S. have increased by 4 to 6 percent per year since 2000.
The cost for Harvard tuition, for example, has gone up from $33,000 in 2000 to
about $68,000 today. Blockchain solutions like the Woolf platform are meant
to streamline administrative processes with smart contracts, thereby reducing these
rising overhead costs.
“Woolf will be a borderless, educational society which reimagines
how teachers and students connect,” according to the Woolf website. “It will
rely on blockchains and smart contracts to guarantee relationships between
students and educators."
The advantages of DLT for higher education go beyond cost
reduction. In fact, the key advantage of DLT is the fact that all records are
stored in a tamper-proof decentralized ledger, and permanently available for
inspection. Therefore, dishonest people can’t claim a degree from an institution
they did not graduate from, and students are protected from the risk that the
institution from which they received a degree could go out of business. Also,
DLT can simplify the process of accumulating credits from multiple providers
The Woolf platform has the ability to store data on critical
interactions between students and teachers, including proof of payment. It can
also record information on course and exam performance.
The Woolf platform, which will be available to other partner
institutions, could also help other universities to reduce their administrative
costs, and free up resources for their core educational mission. “Ambrose, the
first college on the platform, will be formed by Oxford academics in the fall
of 2018,” as reported by Forbes.
“The plan is for a digital version of Oxford tutorial system at
$400 per session,” per Forbes. “If
that sounds expensive, it’s less than half of a traditional degree. Future
programs could feature larger groups and lower costs.”
According to the Woolf
FAQs, the Woolf platform is suitable for both on-site and online
education, including massive open online courses (MOOCs). It’s worth noting
that remote online education has obvious advantages for both teachers and
students, because it offers everyone options independent of geographical
“Underemployment among academics, and poor coordination with
students, is the intellectual equivalent of allowing the most expensive real
estate in London or New York to sit empty,” according to the Woolf website. “In
the same way that we saw Airbnb allow for a more refined allocation of real
estate resources, we believe that Woolf can make better use of academic
Forbes noted that “professors could earn $50,000 to $100,000 teaching a
comfortable online load.”