Crypto-Based Education on the Rise at World’s Top Universities
Bitcoin (BTC), Cryptocurrency–Despite the crypto markets entering their ninth month of a bearish cycle from the last all-time high in valuation, adoption for the industry and blockchain has continued to grow exponentially throughout 2018. With recent news about the rise of cryptocurrency adoption in inflation-prone countries such as Venezuela, it’s clear that crypto has a significant role to play in the future of money–whether or not it continues to be a valuable asset class for investors looking to make a quick profit.
In a study conducted by popular U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, in conjunction with the survey company Qriously, 675 U.S. college students and 50 international universities were examined for their curriculum in offering blockchain or cryptocurrency courses. Results were overwhelmingly positive for the growth and adoption of the cryptocurrency industry, with 42 percent of the world’s top 50 universities having at least one course offered on crypto and/or blockchain development. The majority of the courses listed fell under the umbrella of economics, finance, law and business departments, with a much smaller fraction being listed in social science departments. United States based universities and colleges were the most popular choice for finding blockchain and cryptocurrency courses, with Stanford and Cornell leading the pack with 10 and 9 classes offered, respectively. University of Pennsylvania also made the top of the list, by offering 6 classes related to blockchain and cryptocurrency.
Coinbase also interviewed several professors and students at these universities to gauge the excitement and response towards the growing educational field. 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,” stated that her curriculum was being met with high amounts of enthusiasm, stating that she was forced to turn away over 200 students who wanted to participate in the 70-person class. She also expanded on how she viewed an education in crypto and blockchain as having significant overlap with other fields in the future, drawing on the widespread interest,
“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.”
Coinbase reports finding that students from across a large range of majors had interest in taking or participating in a blockchain/cryptocurrency based course, with more universities finding ways to incorporate education over the growing industry in a variety of discourses.
David Yermack, 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, his enrollment had leapt to 230 students, with Yermack echoing Professor Song in seeing blockchain and cryptocurrency as a way to future-proof educational offerings,
“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.”
Regardless, as the price-focused approach to cryptocurrency gives way to greater focus on growth and adoption, education at the university and collegiate level should spur more development interest.