What Is ODEM?
ODEM (short for On-Demand Education Marketplace) is a blockchain-based educational marketplace that can be used in academic and enterprise applications. Both educators and students store credentials in Ethereum smart contracts, which also validate courses taken. ODE is the proprietary ERC-20 cryptocurrency token used to pay for tokenized transactions.
The cost of education is always on the rise, especially in the university level. Tuition rates in the U.S. alone more than doubled from 1985-2015, according to the most recently available government data. Annual tuition across four-year, two-year, public, and private schools is over $22,000. Meanwhile, postsecondary institutions spent $559 billion on students, which ranges from $5,000 to $40,000 per student, depending on the school’s individual mission.
Both sides are being squeezed in this equation, while educational publishers like McGraw-Hill, Pearson, and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (not to be confused with Dundler Mifflin) each make nearly $2 billion a year in revenues.
And while legacy platforms like Coursera (which offers over 2400 online courses from colleges like Princeton, Stanford, and University of Michigan to over 33 million users) provide online academic courses, ODEM wants to build more of a P2P marketplace for in-person interactions.
This next generation of online learning (dubbed Education 3.0) circles back to more personal one-on-one teaching sessions, giving students an à-la-carte way to personalize their education without the boundaries of one school.
And Richard Maaghul, CEO of this Swiss project, believes both schools and business training programs are ripe for disruption. Not only could decentralized education and student records make school easier, but transitioning to the workforce is made easier too. Access to GPAs, academic progress, and research are just a few processes that could be made easier on blockchain. But is ODEM the project to do it?
Let’s start our exploration of the ODEM platform with an introduction to ODE, the platform’s Ethereum-based ERC-20 token, and its performance on the cryptocurrency market.
ODE Token Cryptocurrency Summary
ODEM has a total token supply of 396,969,697 ODE. The peak price so far was $0.547641 on August 7, 2018.
The ODEM ICO presale was held from December 10-31, 2017, and the ICO token sale was held from February 17 through March 18, 2018. A hard cap of 238,200,000 tokens were sold, raising approximately $4 million worth of ETH. This represents 60 percent of the token supply. Of the remaining tokens:
- 19 percent are held by ODEM Company
- 10 percent are held by Founding Team and Advisors
- 10 percent are reserved for ODEM Rewards
- 1 percent are reserved for Bounties
An ODEM Rewards program provides 25 ODEM tokens for each student referral, upon completion of their first program. Another 25 ODEM is awarded for every 25 students onboarded. The team also promises scholarship raffles, contests, and more financial aid-focused programs.
As mentioned, ODE is an ERC-20 utility token on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s used by students to pay for academic courses. It can also be used by educators to reserve network space for classes they wish to offer and gauge interest.
ODE is traded on a variety of cryptocurrency markets, including BitForex, DragonEX, Ethfinex, BitMart, and KuCoin. Over $4 million worth of ODE is traded on a daily basis, and trading pairs include ETH, USDT, BTC, and fiat currencies like USD.
As an ERC-20 token, ODE can be stored in any ERC20-compatible cryptocurrency wallet, including MyEtherWallet, Trust Wallet, and hardware wallets from Trezor and Ledger.
ODEM Da Education People
At its core, the goal of ODEM is to remove all borders in college education. If you want to learn about advanced technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, or virtual reality, you can create a custom learning plan across any institution offering related courses.
Imagine the ability to simultaneously take classes from MIT, Cambridge, and ETH Zurich to get the best possible education. That’s the ultimate promise of ODEM, although incorporating personal one-on-one sessions is more difficult without video conferencing tools like Skype and Google Hangouts.
Students stake a 10 percent down payment, which incentivizes professors to pick up classes. On the flip side, teachers stake 10 percent to reserve a virtual classroom for each of their courses. The ODEM algorithms constantly work to match students and educators based on the personalized academic supply and demand on the platform.
Student records would ultimately be stored on a smart contract, making them actual permanent records. By the end of your career at 65 years old, you’ll be able to look at every course you took throughout your life, at every school and company. It’s a nice dream that’s a loooooong way from implementation.
But ODEM has a platform built, and it’s actively working to onboard academic institutions, businesses, and students. It partnered with GE GeniusLink for digital certification verification, along with Southern Alberta Institute of Technology. It took some baby steps, but it’s a long way from Coursera’s numbers, and there are still students who don’t even know what Coursera is.
Breaking into the education market is made even more difficult with the variety of players involved in public and private schools around the country. ODEM needs a massive sales force to hit all ~24,000 universities around the world.
We’re definitely wishing this startup all the luck in the world, because it’ll need it to take on the giants of academic technology mentioned above. And it’s not the only blockchain-based start-up trying – EduCTX is building a similar marketplace on the Ark platform focused on micropayments in education.
Education is one of the final frontiers still largely untouched by cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. ODEM hopes to change this with a decentralized education marketplace that connects students and educators for a personalized education experience. The success of this project depends on these key factors:
- ODE is the proprietary ERC-20 token used by the ODEM platform. Students stake tokens to take classes, and teachers stake tokens to teach them.
- Student records like course completion and grade point average are tracked in immutable Ethereum smart contracts.
- Businesses are also being onboarded to help with hiring verification and corporate training certification courses. This creates an end-to-end connection from students to future careers.
With these pieces in place, ODEM has the structure in place. It just needs to convince people to start using it, and that requires buy-in from both colleges and students. It’s the burden of a two-sided marketplace that cost companies like Uber, Airbnb, and Moviepass billions of dollars to figure out. If ODEM doesn’t succeed in practice, at least we’ll all learn something from it.