Crypto Craze Reaches Universities

Back in 2014, the NYU Stern School of Business was the first major university to launch a course in blockchain and cryptocurrencies. The course has grown to more than 100 students over that period, and 300 students are expected to take the course next year. This is obviously a success, and the school is planning to launch an undergraduate course in blockchain and cryptocurrencies, the only problem is lack of experts who could teach the course.   

Virtual currencies are worth studying not only because of their surging price, say both professors and students. Cryptocurrencies are of a special interest to lawyers, as they have posed a challenge to traditional legal categories, such as a security or a commodity, while regulators were taken aback to see entrepreneurs sell virtual currencies without using traditional fund-raising channels. Business and economics specialists, in their turn, have to think what the appearance of cryptocurrencies could mean for the nature of money.

The “Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics and the Future of Technology, Business and Law” course at the University of California, Berkeley, is offered for students of the law school, the business school and the engineering department. A representative of one of the departments said there were 100 applications for 25 places set aside for one department. 

Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duke, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland and many other universities recently introduced graduate-level courses on cryptocurrencies. Apart from that, there are online courses available to everyone. A course created by a Princeton computer science professor, Arvind Narayanan, has been the fifth-most-popular class on Coursera. “After this course, you’ll know everything you need to be able to separate fact from fiction when reading claims about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. You’ll have the conceptual foundations you need to engineer secure software that interacts with the Bitcoin network. And you’ll be able to integrate ideas from Bitcoin in your own projects,” that is what authors of the course promise to potential students.

According to Oliver Bussmann, former chief information officer at the Swiss bank UBS, the more people can learn about cryptocurrencies, the more understanding they will have of what financial services will look like in five years. These courses are both beneficial for the industry and academia, they will help set up standards of the industry and clear up all the issues, while some of the students may contribute to academic efforts in the future by joining in as professors.