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Featured Startup

Lirn: Building the Proof of Education Protocol

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Alexandra Wewel
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None of the Lirn Co-Founders have a college degree. They say this with pride and honor. They took the alternative pathway of educating themselves: using the internet and its resources to develop new knowledge and skills.

However, by taking this alternative route, they experienced a tremendous amount of pain points ranging from career progression to social signal. The three knew that a new educational system to showcase one’s knowledge and skill was necessary. More importantly, such a system could be created by tracking people’s educational activity.

About Lirn

Lirn is the education system for the internet. The problem is a macro one, but the technology to build this infrastructure is now available. Specifically, this can be accomplished with "Web3" technology. Lirn.io is building a protocol for Proof of Education on the blockchain.

Since the term “educated” cannot be objectively defined, the team took the liberty to base their definition on three axioms: Knowledge, skill, and sentiment. These tenants are the ubiquitous components that cover the entire spectrum of what it means to be educated. They define knowledge as conceptually understanding a domain. Think of how someone can understand the physics of how to ride a bike.

The next axiom is skill. This entails the execution of knowledge that leads to an outcome. In this case, think of someone riding the bike: They balance themselves, pedal their feet in a circuit, and move the handlebars to navigate the bike.

Sentiment is how people perceive the signal of someone’s knowledge and skill. In the case of the bike rider, people can focus on aspects such as: What type of bike is the person riding? What are they wearing? What awards has the rider received?

The team at Lirn have created specialized smart contracts that add a layer of integrity to the data they provide. All data issued by Lirn goes through a system of rules to solidify what it means to prove knowledge and skill. Moreover, the issued data cannot be transferred from account to account. This prevents people from purchasing legitimately issued data. In the industry, these tokens are called "soulbound" tokens, or NTTs. Within the Lirn platform, these NTTs are called "Lirts."

How does the protocol work?

Since Lirn defines knowledge as conceptually understanding a domain, the platform has processes to test just that. Take a multiple choice test for example. If the person gets enough of the questions correct, it can be a form of verifying that the person conceptually understood the questions of the assessment.

A more advanced assessment is to administer a test in a timed manner and have a subject matter expert vet the level of understanding based on the answers given. If someone passes the educational assessment, they receive a Lirt for proof of knowledge. For proof of skill, the vetting would be based on empiricism and the execution of knowledge demonstrated.

Proof of skill is a bit more complicated. The grading mechanism for skills are less of an objective test. Grading someone’s creation deals with dynamic variables that cannot be accounted for. For example, if someone created an algorithm with one-hundred lines of Python code, compared with someone who created the same algorithm with 200 lines of Java code, how do you judge which is better?

They both accomplish the same objective, but got there in different ways. For the time being, there is too much complexity to make this a binary experience. Eventually, the vetting mechanism will need to be interpreted by Oracle. In this case, they will be subject matter experts, with limited power.

"Our aim over time for this protocol is to decentralize the process of vetting education while incentivizing participants to act in the most integral manner"

The future of education

Education is entering a new paradigm. Educational activity can have a shared source of truth for people to prove their knowledge and skills. The data sent via blockchain now carries specific context that allows people to rationalize sentiment. The process introduces transparency and verifiability to online educational activities.

Lirn aims to build a new, trustworthy system of what it means to be educated. More specifically, they want to create the educational system for the internet. We are at a point in time where technology can support an innovation so grand that it can disrupt a field in an unprecedented manner. Information has been commoditized, data can be sent on-chain, protocols can create new trust methods, and education can be Edchain.

How You Can Help

Take control of your education. If you want to dive into the world of Web 3, head over to Lirn. Take a quiz  and discover how you can "Lirn" online today.

Help create the next evolution of education. Lirn is looking to meet with investors to propel them to the next inflection point. Interested parties should reach out to Agustin at agustin @ lirn.io.

Advice to Fellow Founders

"Go to the absolute granular and first principle of the problem you are aiming to solve. In the case of education, we went to the extremes of epistemology, blockchain, and information systems. To be a founder you need to have the foresight exponentially advanced from the general public. On top of that, the sheer amount of grit it is going to take will be more than you can imagine."

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