Why all students should take a blockchain or cryptocurrency class

cryptocurrency class
All students, regardless of major should consider taking a blockchain or cryptocurrency class for their own benefit. Source: Shutterstock

Coinbase recently released its second annual report on the prevalence of blockchain and cryptocurrency classes in universities.

Based on a survey of 745 US students aged 16 and older, the report stated that “twice as many students report having taken a crypto or blockchain course than they did in 2018.”

These are not students who are majoring in the field, but taking a blockchain or cryptocurrency class as an additional course elective while studying for their particular degrees.

According to the report, “nearly 70 percent of crypto and blockchain classes are in departments outside of computer science, including law, the humanities, and economics.”

“56 percent of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one course on crypto or blockchain — up from 42 percent in 2018.”

Cornell University offers the most blockchain and cryptocurrency classes, topping the Coinbase 2019 Leaders in Crypto Education list.

Classes include ““The Anthropology of Money” and “Introduction to Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, and Smart Contracts.”

But more and more other prominent schools such as Stanford and UC Berkeley are also offering multiple blockchain classes.

This shows that there is a growing interest in students wanting to know more about cryptocurrency and blockchain: the newest disruptive technologies in fintech.

But first of all, what’s the difference between cryptocurrency and blockchain?

According to Blockchain.wtf, “The blockchain is the technology that is served as the distributed ledger that forms the network. This network creates the means for transacting, and enables transferring of value and information.

“Cryptocurrencies are the tokens used within these networks to send value and pay for these transactions. Furthermore, you can see them as tool on blockchain [sic.], in some cases serving as a resource or utility function. Other times they are used to digitize value of an asset.

“Blockchains serve as the basis technology, in which cryptocurrencies are a part of the ecosystem. They go hand in hand, and crypto is often necessary to transact on a blockchain. But without the blockchain, we would not have a means for these transactions to be recorded and transferred.”

Here’s why students from all disciplines should consider taking a blockchain or cryptocurrency class.

Knowledge learned from a cryptocurrency class will be useful in the future

As the world becomes increasingly digital, it will be inevitable in the future for a portion of graduates to be working in industries that utilise the blockchain.

Blockchain popularity and usage is growing rapidly after a rather slow start. According to a report by WinterGreen Research, “A $706 million market worldwide in 2017 after 10 years of being available, the blockchain market has evolved rather slowly.

“It’s biggest use has thus far been to hide the money of criminals and terrorists.  After this inauspicious beginning, it is on the cusp of phenomenal growth, ready to reach $60 billion worldwide as it creates new digital economic infrastructure.

“Moving past a nefarious history, the blockchain market moves into rapid growth mode as the digital economy takes hold.  As the banks and finance industry move into the modern age of real time transaction processing, blockchain is a core enabling technology.”

Rather than looking to upskill or struggling to keep up with the latest technology, students who have taken a cryptocurrency class would already have a foundation of knowledge.

Therefore, they will not only be prepared for work that involves knowing how to use cryptocurrency, but they would also be valuable assets to companies.

Companies today are looking for graduates who are progressive-minded and have an interest in emerging technologies. Chances are, many employers are not well-versed on blockchain themselves and are looking for employees who can bring this knowledge to a company.

It will encompass all industries

Whether it’s agriculture, law or marketing, blockchain is forecasted to be widely used across different industries.

The Coinbase report showed that there is a growing interest of students wanting to learn about blockchain and cryptocurrencies from different departments.

In current times, employees are increasingly expected to collaborate and work across different departments. Interdisciplinary research is also growing in popularity in universities.

Due to its newness, blockchain and cryptocurrencies have the potential to affect multiple industries and sometimes cross over between departments.

The University of California-Berkeley has been offering a cryptocurrency class called “Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law” that has proved very popular with students in the past few years.

According to Coinbase, the cryptocurrency class is being offered as a collaboration between three departments: the schools of engineering, business and law.

University of California Berkeley computer science professor Dawn Song explained, “On the technical side, expertise is required in things like distributed systems and software security and, of course, cryptography. But since it’s very new technology, there are also lots of open questions about regulatory aspects. And there’s also the potential for it to lead to new business models.”

Cornell University undergrad Joseph Ferrera, who formed a club for interested students called Cornell Blockchain, was quoted by Coinbase as saying, “There’s a ton of interest from the business school, the hotel management school, the medical school, even the agriculture school

“We’ve had so many professors reach out to to learn more about blockchain and see how it applies to their field. It’s really cool to be part of a community where there’s so much engagement.”

Ferrera is an example of a graduate who is benefiting from learning about blockchain at university. Having recently graduated from Cornell’s School of Hotel Administration, he is now working as the business manager of Ava labs, a start-up working to explore decentralised, blockchain-based payment technology.

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