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Blockchain courses becoming mainstream
Increasingly universities are beginning to offer course and qualifications in blockchain technology. For a few years, however, it seemed like the corporate and academic worlds were holding their breath to see what was going to happen here. However, now it is well and truly in the mainstream, there is a push to meet the demand for aspiring engineers.
Here’s a quick snapshot of the types of courses on offer and the institutions offering them. We’ve tried to pick a mixture of top universities and specialist education bodies across the globe, but this should give you a starting point.
Europe – University of Edinburgh
The University of Edinburgh will offer a course later this year, Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers which will make it one of the first major European universities to do so. Earlier this year, it teamed up with IOHK (a technology company committed to developing peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services) to develop a research lab at the University. It will also serve as the headquarters for IOHK’s network of global university partnerships.
Professor Kiayias, Chair in Cyber Security and Privacy at the University of Edinburgh and Chief Scientist at IOHK, says: “We are very excited regarding this collaboration on blockchain technology between the School of Informatics and IOHK. Distributed ledgers is an upcoming disruptive technology that can scale information services to a global level. The academic and industry connection forged by this collaboration puts the Blockchain Technology Lab at Edinburgh at the forefront of innovation in blockchain systems.”
United States – Stanford & MIT
Stanford University has been running a blockchain course for a couple of years – Cryptocurrencies, blockchains, and smart contracts . It also has the The Applied Crypto Group which is a part of the Security Lab in the Computer Science Department. Research projects in the group “focus on various aspects of network and computer security. In particular the group focuses on applications of cryptography to real-world security problems”.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers Entrepreneurship Without Borders which doesn’t focus on developing skills to be a blockchain engineer but rather looks at some of the wider business impacts of “blockchain technologies inspired by or based on Bitcoin, the first decentralised digital currency.”
It also has the MIT Blockchain and Crypto Systems Initiative which is a “large-scale collaborative university research effort that combines the research interests of existing multinationals with those of the new generation of crypto companies. For students and faculty at MIT it represents a chance to powerfully shape the future of the evolving crypto ecology and how it relates to existing industry.”
Asia – Tokyo Institute of Technology & Tokyo University
Just over a year ago the Tokyo Institute of Technology and IOHK created the Cryptocurrency Collaborative Research Chair where “researchers of both institutions will produce knowledge via joint activities as seminars and production of academic papers. Another activity is to open courses related to blockchain technologies, for example, lectures of cryptographic protocols and cryptocurrencies offered to Tokyo Tech students.”
Meanwhile, The University of Tokyo & the University of Aizu have teamed up with two commercial organisations to study “smart currency”. The Center for Global Communications (GLOCOM), and Soramitsu Co. have partnered to study “smart currency” effects on regional development.
The working groups will experiment with distributed ledger technology. The project will focus on the area around Aizu, in Fukushima Prefecture, Japan. Researchers believe innovations in smart programmable money can bring local currencies to life.
Crypto funding universities
Our story here outlines how Ripple has donated US$50m to 17 of the highest ranked US universities.
“As globalisation increases, so does the demand for technological solutions and talent to solve the world’s hardest financial problems, such as retail remittances,” says Ripple SVP of Business Operations, Eric van Miltenburg.
Ripple states the project is in response to the increasing demand for IT experts with knowledge of blockchain and cryptocurrency. It adds that last year alone over 4,500 related jobs were posted on LinkedIn, a 150% increase from 2016.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed by the author should not be considered as financial advice. We do not give advice on financial products.