[Proposal] $RLY Grants Funding for UC Berkeley Course Metaverses, NFTs & Creator Economies

Rally Community - As the NFT and creator economy space matures, we believe that creators, entrepreneurs, and developers are in need of a well-defined and organized curriculum to prepare them for the future of Metaverses. Hence, the development of UC Berkeley’s course on Metaverses, NFTs & Creator Economies, will be hugely beneficial to the upcoming generation of creators, innovators, and builders.

We are seeking 115,000 RLY (~$50,000) to fund the UC Berkeley, Metaverses, NFTs & Creator Economies for Spring 2022, offered through the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET). The Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship & Technology (SCET) within Berkeley Engineering has been offering entrepreneurship-related courses for over 15 years to UC Berkeley students of all majors and backgrounds, generally around emerging technology trends.

The course will cover the growing relevance of NFTs and creator economies using a hands-on Challenge Lab approach. As a foundational sponsor, the Rally community will benefit from branding in an educational setting, top talent access from UC Berkeley, and invaluable product/ecosystem feedback.

Please review our proposal in its entirety to learn more about course specifications and the value to the Rally community.

We’re excited to work with the Rally community and open to answering any questions on this thread.


I’m in favor of getting this proposal and glad to see Ronen spearheading it. Getting more involved in academic crypto circles, particularly Berkeley/Stanford/MIT, offers multiple benefits for the Rally ecosystem!


Thanks for the support @mvellank :slight_smile:

I’m confident we can replicate this model after proving its beneficial to our community.

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Interesting! Formal introduction into academia could definitely be one way to seed knowledge. To clarify and draw out specifics which I think do exist in the provided links and proposal…a few questions:

  1. How many students are expected to go through the course?
  2. Will the course or materials be made available outside UC Berkeley?
  3. Will we get to see any of the MVP pitches?

I took a class through this center a while ago and was really disappointed in the quality. As such, a few questions.

  • How is the quality of the curriculum ensured?
  • Who is responsible for creating the content?
  • Agreed with Davey that we, the community, should be able to see the finished work products. After all, this space promotes transparency and auditability
    *Why $50k USD? Seems like an awful lot to pay a part-time teacher



As a follow on, why Berkeley? Currently doing my masters at Stanford (But I will always be a Golden Bear at heart) and really recommend their equivalent entrepreneurship efforts.

I really do like the idea of involving students but I also want to make sure it goes well the first time so it can be replicated with many more students over the years to come.

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Rally CEO went there and more than likely knows him.
This is a good project as far as I am concerned. Asks for a reasonable amount and it is a logical way to help others and get the word out.

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@davey and @jonsnow, thank you for being engaged and providing critical feedback and questions to ensure we’re supporting the right causes with the community treasury. I will try to address each of your questions separately and do let me know if I missed anything :slight_smile:

1. How many students are expected to go through the course?

45 to 60 students typically enroll in each of our Challenge Lab courses, depending on the topic and interest level among students. Given the demographic of this topic, it will likely be appealing to college students, and as such, we anticipate enrollment will be on the higher end of this range. Also, we generally limit these courses to 60 students to maintain quality, but it can be adjusted at the discretion of the instructors and depending on the level of demand. The classroom reservation request for this course is to accommodate 65 students; we are awaiting specific classroom assignments.

2. Will the course or materials be made available outside UC Berkeley?

UC Berkeley course material copyright is retained by the originator/author. So, it would be up to the instructors to make any materials ‘open source’, but we can certainly request that. University of California copyright policy: https://copyright.universityofcalifornia.edu/

Also, SCET has often made past course materials ‘open source’, as in SCET’s Data-X course modules (https://datax.berkeley. edu/dx-online/) and the majority of lectures from the Distinguished Innovator Lecture Series on YouTube (https://www.youtube. com/playlist?list=PLEB00B77318BDAA72) (exceptions are where the speaker requested the video remain private). See the next answer for how to view the final presentations at semester-end.

3. Will we get to see any of the MVP pitches? and will the community be able to see the finished work by the students?

It would be up to the individual course instructors as to whether they have a course-specific “demo day” where they would invite guests. This is not uncommon at SCET for this Challenge Lab-type of course. Typically, courses who have sponsors would provide a course-specific demo day and invite guests from the sponsoring agency to attend and perhaps serve as judges of the presentations. In addition, the winning pitches and teams from each course at SCET are invited to present at the semester-end competition event, named the Collider Cup; you can see those past Collider Cup pitch recordings (https://www.youtube. com/playlist?list=PLpSNN4-wVM4Of-XQAUUtQ84V9zkMfYgcZ). If the event is in-person, anyone from the public or among the student body may register to attend. If the event is virtual, it will be live-streamed and a recording will be posted, as was done during the pandemic. Regarding the final presentations in the course, many students share these as part of their portfolio of work on their LinkedIn profiles.

In addition, often instructors write a semester-end blog in the News section of the SCET website that summarizes the key outcomes and learnings during the semester; you can see an excellent example (https://scet.berkeley. edu/pivoting-from-adversity-to-opportunity-in-the-spring-2020-emerging-tech-and-social-impact-challenge-lab/) by the proposed instructor for this course, Luke Kowalski, a member of SCET’s industry faculty. At the bottom of this linked page is also a short highlight video from the Fall 2019 projects and a video with messages from faculty and leaders on campus, encouraging students during the pandemic.

Note that due to student privacy guidelines, students are not required to participate and must approve their recording before it is posted.

4. How is the quality of the curriculum ensured?

At the end of each semester, SCET carefully reviews all feedback from students and in the past 3 semesters has made a concerted effort to collect both mid-semester and end-semester feedback. The academic program manager visits the classrooms (virtually during the pandemic) to personally administer the survey and ensure time is allocated to the students to provide anonymous feedback. The academic planning team for SCET has also started doing in-class observations of instruction. In addition, SCET reviews all feedback with each instructor and the Chief Learning Officer of SCET. SCET has also encouraged two significant changes to the format of Challenge Lab courses to further improve the student learning experience -

  • First, this Challenge Lab course will meet 2x per week for 2 hours vs one 4 hour block, which during the pandemic proved especially to be too long in a virtual environment.
  • Secondly, Challenge Lab courses are now often taught via a 2 instructor model; one instructor with experience in teaching the Berkeley Method of Entrepreneurship and the Challenge Lab team-based course format, and a second instructor who provides deep industry knowledge in the specific Challenge Lab topic area. For this Metaverses, NFTs and Creator Economies course, we are proposing that two members of the Rally community assist with the content creation and curriculum. In addition, the course will include lectures and mentoring from industry experts in these topic areas.

5. Who is responsible for creating the content?

The instructors are responsible for creating the content and the Chief Learning Officer for SCET, Ken Singer, provides mentorship and oversight for the instructional teams. For this Metaverses, NFTs and Creator Economies course, SCET will be drawing extensively on the expertise from industry experts and the co-instructor(s) currently working in this subject area in industry.

6. Regarding the request to the Rally community for 115,000 RLY (~$50,000).

These funds will be used for classroom expenses, “course capture” for Berkeley students if the assigned classroom has these capabilities (we have requested that), two co-instructor salaries and benefits, student course coordinator salary, overhead for course administration and promotion within the student community, and small miscellaneous expenses including parking passes for industry guest speakers, etc. The total expense to SCET for offering a course such as this is not covered by tuition, as it is an elective course. The course is approved toward earning SCET’s Certificate in Entrepreneurship and Technology (https://scet.berkeley. edu/students/certificate-in-entrepreneurship-and-technology/).

7. As to “why Berkeley” and ensuring it is replicated?

Berkeley has been a key contributor to the blockchain / digital asset industry over many years through -

  • The work of key faculty - Shafi Goldwasser (co-inventor of zero knowledge proofs, leads Simons Institute for Theory of Computing), Dawn Song (Oasis Labs founder, EECS Prof.), Alessandro Chiesa (Zcash, StarkWare, EECS Prof.), Christine Parlour (Haas Finance Prof., co-instructor new DeFi course), Rich Lyons (Chief Innovation & Entrepreneurship Officer, former Haas Dean, stablecoin researcher - and
  • The Blockchain at Berkeley student club - whose alumni are founders of Aleo, Opyn.co, Dekrypt Capital and whose club has been the “early pioneers” in offering blockchain courses, including a free, “open source” course on EdX - more on those course offerings here: https://blockchain.berkeley. edu/courses/

In addition to the work by key faculty and Blockchain at Berkeley, SCET also offered some of the earliest courses on campus involving blockchain technology, as referenced here: https://scet.berkeley. edu/blockchain-technology-collider/…

Also, SCET, in collaboration with the Haas School of Business Blockchain Initiative(https://haas.berkeley. edu/blockchain/) and Blockchain at Berkeley leads the Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator (https://www.xcelerator.berkeley. edu). Launched in January of 2019, the Xcelerator is a non-dilutive accelerator with the mission of education and opportunity creation for our students and the entrepreneurs from around the world who join us, and working to move the industry forward responsibly and to provide a skilled talent pipeline to the blockchain/crypto industry. The Xcelerator has worked with 45 past teams (https://www.xcelerator.berkeley. edu/portfolio) and currently offers programming to the 20 teams in the 2021 cohort (https://medium. com/berkeley-blockchain-xcelerator/berkeley-blockchain-xcelerator-announces-selection-of-the-2021-cohort-cdf02cdb7354).

SCET also works to broadly educate in this area as demonstrated by our public discussion and panel in April of this year on innovation in the digital asset and cryptocurrency realm - see that public recording here:https://innox.berkeley. edu/event/innovation-x-roundtable-whats-next-for-digital-assets-and-cryptocurrencies/. Lastly, Berkeley has ~35,000 undergraduates and ~10,000 graduate students enrolled each academic year, so the scale of blockchain activity and work at Berkeley is notable.

Regarding ensuring that this course is offered in future years, SCET has developed a process for retaining our most valued industry faculty and preserving course content through a variety of means (bCourses - a Canvas platform, archiving past presentations by students, video capture of key lectures, etc.). In addition, UC Berkeley is renovating/updating many classrooms for full course capture capabilities; we have requested a classroom with full course capture capabilities. Also, if a course is well-reviewed and the topic remains popular with students, it is often offered again in subsequent semesters.

Happy to expand on each of these points as needed.


Hi @RonenK cool to see this proposal. I’ve been a guest you-name-it at so many of these types of classes, and am a big fan of the model in general.

I’m of two minds about your proposal – on one hand, it is a killer idea in spirit. On the other, I kind of wish it was less of a sandbox…where students were more deeply engaged in the community conversation (ie. what if instead of a private slack, it was a gated discord channel in the rally discord server; what if students were plugged in on the canny boards, developer meetings, creator meetings; what if their was some sort of roundtable discussion with community leaders, etc), and also that the problem/solution was a little more linked to our daily conversations. As it reads now, this proposal could be for any company or project.

It seems like there is such a fertile ground within the Rally community to work from that it would be a shame to start students from a standing start.

Please correct me if I misread! And also I’d be happy to help shape it a bit more.

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This is a great idea and can get talent around Rally. Love it.

Just want to make sure that the Rally community interest is aligned - I think it is important that the Rally branding as a sponsor will be very clear to the class participants, with the Rally logo stated on at least a few slides + explicitly stating this class was funded by a Rally grant.

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Hi @stephanie

We of course can offer all of these ideas to Berkeley student teams working to build on Rally. In all SCET classes, we encourage the students to use all the latest tools and resources available to them as they work on their projects. As some teams will be working on metaverses, some on NFTs, and some on creator economy solutions, we will encourage all of them to take advantage of all the Rally resources, such as the ones you suggest. And we will have the Rally community involved in speaking sessions in the course, as we always highlight people in the industry in guest speaking sessions throughout the semester.

If the proposal is approved, we’d LOVE to work with you to shape the course :slight_smile:

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Thanks for bringing this up @Idan_Levin.

Yes, as a Foundational Sponsor, Rally will be the leading sponsor for the course which will include branding across content and marketing materials.

Once approved, if you or other community members encounter an issue with Rally’s branding associated with this course, I’d love to hear about it and address it with UC Berkeley asap. I have Rally’s best interest in mind so please use me as a resource and/or PoC for this initiative.