DevAccelerator Spotlight: Blockchain at Berkeley (B@B)

Building privacy-preserving data collection on the Oasis Network

This is a part of a series highlighting the work of developers on the Oasis Network through the new DevAccelerator Program. Go here to learn more about the program and apply.

Tell us about yourself

Blockchain at Berkeley (B@B) is a university-based organization out of UC. Berkeley dedicated to serving the crypto and blockchain communities. B@B’s members comprise of 60+ active undergraduate and graduate students from Berkeley Engineering, Haas, and Berkeley Law, and a wealth of advisors from both industry and academia.

B@B’s diverse workforce allows for interdisciplinary collaboration across departments. The project managers on this team are Jen Hu and Jonathan Wang, the designers are Tina Teng and Pancham Yadav, the business consultants are Katherine Plotz, Jacob Libenson, and Keshav Beriwala, and the developers are Joel Kattapuram, Rushil Kapadia, Darya Kaviani, and Ryan Adolf. Additionally, we have support from other members of Blockchain at Berkeley, such as Andrea Ortega, a student at the UC Berkeley Law School who is able to provide legal advice when it comes to many topics such as KYC, data privacy, etc.

And a bit about your project?

We are creating a product that allows user data collection sites (ecommerce, surveys, etc.) to pipeline user data to the Oasis Parcel API, which provides data control and privacy. For example, merchants can easily integrate a checkout process that gives customers that option to save data to Oasis Parcel, in return for rewards.

Blockchain at Berkeley team works with other chains also. What did you find unique at Oasis that is absent in other chains?

The Oasis blockchain offers large features like Parcel that simplifies building experiences such as sharing data from ecommerce websites. The chain is a good fit for the product because once the data is saved to Oasis Parcel, users can use the Parcel dashboard and other Oasis applications to manage their data. Additionally, the Oasis platform allows for better privacy preserving methods such as private computation.

When and why did you first get excited about blockchain technology?

Although we each have different experiences getting introduced to blockchain, each and every one of us continue to find it an interesting and ever changing topic. Here are some examples of how our members got involved with blockchain:

Katherine: I first learned about blockchain technology a few years ago (early 2018). What immediately drew me to learn more was that it was unlike anything else I knew of, making secure finance decentralized and available to anyone, no longer just big corporations. I was, and still am, interested in discovering all the possible use cases for blockchain tech, specifically making investing an option for anyone, no matter their financial situation, and seeing how it can continue to make the world a better place.

Darya: I first learned about blockchain technology when researching how I could utilize technologies to make ​social​ impacts. I came across a plethora of blockchain startups that specialized in reducing overhead costs for their particular use cases and thus funneling money precisely where it needed to go (i.e. via remittances, healthcare costs, donations, etc.). Upon further research, I learned more about the core ideologies behind blockchain technology such as the privacy-preserving cypherpunk mentality that Oasis technology offers, which made me even more intrigued by this groundbreaking technology.

What made you interested in building on the Oasis Network?

What interested us most was the idea of a data marketplace. We’ve seen innumerable cases of users’ data being misused by companies, without their knowledge or consent. A marketplace where users are more in charge of their own data would shift the dynamics of how big data currently works, and place more agency in the hands of the user.

Any big milestones coming up for your project that our readers should know about?

Currently, we are working on developing/demoing both a full checkout experience that merchants can integrate into their products, as well as a post-checkout addition that merchants can tack on to their preexisting checkout systems. This milestone will make our project accessible to a wide range of merchants, allowing our Oasis Parcel integration to expansive data on a large number of consumers, providing merchants with extremely thorough and accurate data.

How can others try out your product? Learn more about what you’re up to?

Blockchain at Berkeley works on a variety of different projects utilizing the blockchain space to solve new and innovative problems. With consulting, education, and research departments, Blockchain at Berkeley explores a variety of aspects of the space.

Learn more about Blockchain at Berkeley and our projects at blockchain.berkeley.edu​.

To stay tuned with what we are working on, writing about on our Blog, feel free to sign up for our newsletter called Bytes at blockchain.berkeley.edu/bytes​.

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