Written by FEjobs.com
Thursday 21st June 2018
Universities and business schools are racing to
offer courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, due to the so-called ‘crypto
boom’ requiring greater understanding of the technologies.
The Financial Times notes how debate over the future
of cryptocurrency education is growing, and demand for courses on this
technology – as well as the blockchain technology that underpins it – is rising
More specifically, interest in bitcoin – the main
cryptocurrency – has spiked due to fluctuating shifts in its value.
Universities and business schools are keen to
educate pupils in a specialism that has only recently been hurled into the
mainstream. No longer is it only banks and governments evaluating how to use
these technologies; sectors from mining to logistics want to explore how they
could benefit from them, too.
“This is moving much faster than people
expected. Business schools will have no choice but to update curriculums,”
commented David Yermack, professor of finance and business transformation at
the New York University Stern School of Business.
Yermack began teaching one of the very first
cryptocurrency and blockchain courses in 2014. A total 230 students enrolled in
the most recent course, twice the number than in the previous year. This forced
Yermack to move teaching the course into the largest auditorium in the school:
“The growth is exponential,” he said.
The value of Bitcoin doubled in just one month,
peaking at around $20,000 in December before dropping to around $6,500 last
week. It was this spike that led to excitement about other cryptocurrencies and
initial coin offerings (ICOs), a crowdfunding system where people trade their
own digital coins or tokens for software or other services.
Blockchain, the technology powering
cryptocurrencies along with numerous ICOs, is also an emerging field.
Blockchain enables encrypted data to be shared instantly on databases that are
public or restricted to certain parties.
“The increase in value in the cryptos played a
large part in the increase in public interest,” Jens Martin, programme director
of the University of Amsterdam Business School, acknowledged. The school offers
a course on blockchain and cryptocurrencies as part of its master in
“We see many applications not only from people
with a banking background, but a more diverse group who are interested in
applying these concepts to finance,” he noted.
Some academics note the difficulties of teaching
such a course, due to the pace the technologies are adapting. “You could be
walking into the classroom and something in your course becomes redundant,”
noted Campbell Harvey, of Fuqua School of Business at Duke University in North
Still, Harvey is sure that engaging with
cryptocurrencies is crucial. “Schools should be preparing students for the
future not the past. Unfortunately most […] don’t have these courses that are
focused on the future.”
Do you agree that offering courses in these
technologies should be a priority for universities and business schools?
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