Unless you live at Hogwarts or Antarctica, a major college campus near you is probably offering a course on blockchain or cryptocurrency. And for the record, cryptocurrency and charm spells would be a dream major.
Courses on blockchain and cryptocurrency are popping up faster than you can say Satoshi Nakamoto, or maybe you know, two easier words to say. But if you’re debating between majoring in bowling alley management or advanced bagpiping, both noble professions, maybe check out the crypto and blockchain offerings at your local college.
New York University (NYU) – NYU may have started it all. We found a course called, “Law and Business of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies”, offered as early as Fall 2014, long before your grandma was asking you about bitcoin, the mainstream media talked about it 24 hours a day, and your neighbors started shilling you the latest ICO (Sorry Greg, we’re going to pass on that decentralized donut ICO). Nowadays, NYU is offering a new course, “Digital Currency, Blockchains and the Future of Financial Services”.
Syllabus highlight: “Students are expected to complete a term paper of 15-20 pages in length for this course.” Wonder if anyone’s tried to submit a whitepaper?
Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) – CMU is taking it to the next level. They’re in the process of developing their own cryptocurrency! How cool is that??!! May we suggest the coin be called, Coinegie Mellon? When moon, Mr. Dean of CMU, Sir? Naturally, CMU also offers two courses, titled, “Blockchain Fundamentals” and “Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains, and Applications”.
Syllabus highlight: “As a matter of courtesy to the instructor and other students, please refrain from reading the news, participating in social networks, or checking your email using your wi-fi connection during lectures.” So… does that mean students can check their blockfolio every 30 seconds using their mobile data instead of wifi??? Ah-ha – loophole discovered! (AKA famous last words before getting asked to leave the class...)
Cornell University – Cornell University is so deep into blockchain it even has its own blockchain organization! Their mission: “To educate and train the next thought leaders by connecting the worlds of business and technology” Recently named the #1 University to study blockchain by Trustnodes, Cornell offers multiple courses in cryptocurrency: “Applied Cryptography”, “Principles & Practice of Cryptocurrencies”, and “Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, and Smart Contracts”.
Syllabus highlight: There are 3 key challenges to developing a cryptocurrency: (1) No stealing; (2) Fair minting; and (3) No double-spending. The introduction slides for this course are online! Check em out here.
Duke University – Duke jumped on the blockchain bandwagon early on when they established their own blockchain lab. Probably just to tell us, they’ve got blockchain’s early albums and know blockchain’s bassist. Its goal: “Educate a generation of students to be fluent in blockchain technology and its applications.” Duke’s blockchain course, “Innovation and Cryptoventures”, has been offered since 2015.
Syllabus highlight: “If you do not have a bitcoin wallet, you must get one. I recommend Coinbase app (founded by a Duke grad). You do not have to add any money to the account. Then send me a request for $10”. Whoa! That $10 of BTC in 2015 would be worth over $300 today! Did the students HODL?
Massachusetts Institute of Technology – If Family Feud asked “Which college offers a course on blockchain?” we’re guessing Steve Harvey would turn and say, “Show me, MIT. In addition to offering courses, MIT hosts a blockchain group, a digital currency initiative, and its own bitcoin club. MIT offers three courses on blockchain: Cryptocurrency Engineering and Design, Shared Public Ledgers: Cryptocurrencies, Blockchains, and Other Marvels, and Entrepreneurship Without Borders.
Syllabus highlight: One course has a final project which asks students to “pose and solve an interesting problem”, and give a presentation plus a 4-page paper on the topic.” Hmm. A presentation on the wonders of coffee would be easy... but 4 pages could be a struggle. Do pictures count?
Departments: Computer Science, Media Arts & Sciences, Management
University of California-Berkeley (UC Berkeley) – UC Berkeley hosts a large student blockchain group, and also has its own blockchain lab. The demand for the blockchain course at UC Berkeley paints a clear picture of just how popular cryptocurrency and blockchain are today. Their mega-course, Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law, is taught by instructors from three different departments, and was standing-room only with an enrollment of over 200 students. And those are the lucky ones - over 600 students got turned away because there simply wasn’t enough room! At this rate, you might have to check Stubhub for seats.
Syllabus highlight: “The final project/deliverable will be small team presentation on a new application of blockchain (with a legal and business analysis).” How about a payments app that turns the current payment system on its head and pay users a small cryptocurrency reward for making and receiving payments.
University of Maryland (UMD) – UMD joins Cornell and UC-Berkeley as one of the three universities on the receiving end of a $3m dollar grant from that National Science Foundation to research cryptocurrency, which will go a long ways towards the work done at their Bitcoin Research Lab. Students at UMD may take the course Bitcoin and Other Cryptocurrencies.
Syllabus highlight: There’s only one required ‘textbook’... and it’s the Bitcoin Whitepaper. The best kind of class books, aka FREE! Take note, professors out there who require a book that can only be purchased from the campus bookstore and costs $200. And no, being able to sell the book back for $20 at the end of the semester does NOT make up for it. Wasa wasa wassup with that horrible return on [book] investment?
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All images sourced from Unsplashed.