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December 11, 2018

Crypto on Campus: The Rise of Blockchain Tech in Higher Education

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From fringe technology to mainstream conversation topic. Beyond the flux of Ethereum or Bitcoin, a more concrete indicator of its importance is how seriously higher education is taking blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. More and more, universities are beginning to offer it as a learning area across departments. Here's an assessment of the current landscape.


Meeting a rising demand

A recent report by Coinbase, a popular cryptocurrency exchange, and Qriously, a data startup, studied the educational opportunities offered in cryptocurrency and blockchain by institutions of higher education, as well as college students’ interest in these areas.

They found that 42 percent of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one course focused on blockchain or cryptocurrency, 22 percent offer more than one, and 9 percent of students have taken a course.

David Yermack, the finance department chair at the New York University Stern School of Business, first offered a course on blockchain in 2014, with 35 students signing up. By spring of this year (2018), his enrolment had leapt to 230 students.

Interestingly, compared to the percentage of the general US population, more than double the percentage of university students own cryptocurrencies themselves – proving the fascination with cryptocurrency in an educational setting. 

But more than just teaching a topical, in-demand subject, Yermack noticed that the industry demand for individuals with blockchain and cryptocurrency-related experience had exponentially increased. Now he views his class as a way of preparing students for the careers of the future. When speaking about his classes, he said, “A process is well underway that will lead to the migration of most financial data to blockchain-based organizations. Students will benefit greatly by studying this area.”

Multi-discipline application


Quote sourced from Coinbase blog

Cryptocurrency is not just important for those in technology or finance. An interdepartmental approach is emerging as a hallmark of cryptocurrency and blockchain education, further increasing its popularity among students and in universities.

The almost unlimited applications of cryptocurrencies in a variety of fields are clear. Many students across a wide range of majors are interested in taking cryptocurrency and blockchain focused classes. These classes are also offered by a multitude of university departments, ranging from the classic business, economics, finance, and law, to social sciences like anthropology, history, and political science.

Dawn Song, a computer science professor from the University of California at Berkeley and creator of the course “Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law,” said “Blockchain combines theory and practice and can lead to fundamental breakthroughs in many research areas. It can have really profound and broad-scale impacts on society in many different industries.” She also noted that she had to turn down over 200 applicants, so high was the demand for her course.

There is no doubt that cryptocurrency is one of the hottest fields right now. There is no better time or greater need for it in higher education.

As Benedikt Bünz, a doctoral student at Stanford focusing on cryptocurrencies, says, “if you’re an expert in cryptocurrencies and cryptography you’ll have a difficult time not finding a job.” Campbell Harvey, a professor at Duke University, agrees, stating that “law students that are trained in blockchain don’t need to apply anywhere. People are just asking them to join their firms.”

But studying Crypto and Blockchain at university is not the only way to augment your education with the skills you need in the industry. Taking a summer course, like the kind iXperience offers, will equip you with the knowledge and practical experience you need to apply blockchain tech a multitude of fields. With a hands-on approach, the iXperience course in Blockchain for Business will help you to master the practical skills you need to be job ready for the industry you're most interested in.

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