Crypto college classes are in high demand

Posted: 9 February 2018 1:11 pm
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An overwhelming enthusiasm for cryptocurrency and blockchain courses throughout American universities.

Several leading colleges throughout the United States now offer dedicated classes examining the increasingly popular cryptocurrency industry and the still-developing blockchain technology that supports it.

Graduate-level classes are being held at Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duke, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of Maryland and more, according to an article published in The New York Times.

There was some gentle ribbing from my colleagues when I began giving talks on bitcoin. But within a few months, I was being invited to Basel to talk with central bankers, and the joking from my colleagues stopped after that.

New York University business and law professor David Yermack.

Yermack, who taught one of the first credit-approved courses on cryptocurrency in 2014, told the NY Times that there has been an overwhelming enthusiasm for classes this semester, with 225 students already signed up.

Princeton computer science professor Arvind Narayanan’s online course, available via online learning website Coursera, covers bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies and has attracted a significant level of interest.

The underlying technology that powers cryptocurrency transactions — blockchain — has a vast range of implications across a variety of different industries, including finance, business, science, cyber security, voting, charity, government, retail, real estate, public benefits, online music, energy and more.

Last month at the University of California, Berkeley, there were just 75 spots available in the school’s maiden cryptoeconomics class. The places had to be divided evenly among the law school, the business school and the engineering department, as there was substantial demand across the board for the contemporary course.

The study of cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology poses questions about the future of money, the efficiency of business administration and technology’s ability to revolutionize society, among others.

The fact that a number of high-profile schools across the country are investing time and resources into exploring the applications of digital currencies and associated technologies brings further credibility to the emerging industry. Teaching students about cryptocurrencies may also help to alleviate critics’ concerns.

The crypto industry’s legitimacy is a hotly debated topic among economists and trading strategists.

UBS chief economist Paul Donovan wrote that the “bubble to end all bubbles continues,” in a note to investors in December last year. He also suggested that “cryptocurrencies only have value if accepted as currencies”.

In September, Bridgewater Associates founder Ray Dalio told CNBC’s Squawk Box he didn’t believe in bitcoin.

“You can’t make much transactions in it. You can’t spend it very easily. It’s not an effective storehold of wealth because it has volatility to it, unlike gold. Bitcoin is a highly speculative market. Bitcoin is a bubble,” Dalio said.

However, at the same time that these perceptions were voiced, U.S. options exchange CBOE launched bitcoin futures trading, offering investors their first opportunity to bet on whether its value will rise or fall over time.

There are daily developments, both positive and negative, that steer the volatility of the crypto industry.

The World Gold Council has refuted remarks from industry and social commentators that cryptocurrencies could replace gold as a leading global asset, despite acknowledging bitcoin’s “parabolic price rise” in 2017.

Multinational courier delivery service FedEx recently revealed plans to integrate blockchain technology, joining the Blockchain in Transport Alliance (BiTA) to develop industry standards for transportation companies.

Singapore Airlines’ KrisFlyer frequent flyer programme will assist customers to trade their earned rewards for point-of-sale retail transactions through a new digital wallet app, created using blockchain technology.

Earlier this week, the New York State Department of Financial Services (DFS) released new guidelines for all locally licensed digital currency entities to assist in preventing fraud. Meanwhile, Digital exchange Coinbase distributed end of year tax documents, via email, to U.S. customers to assist with voluntary compliance.

A Senate Committee met in open session for a hearing to discuss U.S. regulators’ roles in monitoring and policing the fast-growing crypto industry, highlighting the potential for systemic effects. Additionally, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) compliance department highlighted the need to carefully monitor risks associated with initial coin offerings (ICOs) in 2018 as part of its annual list of priorities.

Internationally, China is blocking offshore crypto platforms to protect against illicit issuance and fraud, while South Korea is trying to outlaw anonymous accounts but has no intention of banning cryptocurrency trading.

Go beyond bitcoin to discover alternative cryptocurrencies and gain further insight by exploring our guide.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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