Coinbase partnered with Qriously to ask students directly about their thoughts on crypto and blockchain. They found a growing roster of crypto and blockchain courses amid a steady rise in student interest.
- 42 percent of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one course on crypto or blockchain
- Students from a range of majors are interested in crypto and blockchain courses. Universities are adding courses across a variety of departments
Blockchain Courses at Top Universities
When David Yermack, the finance department chair at New York University Stern School of Business, first offered his course on blockchain and financial services in 2014, 35 students signed up.
By spring 2018, the number of enrolled students climbed to 230, forcing Stern to move the class to its largest auditorium. This academic year, Yermack will teach the blockchain course both semesters to meet interest from students.
Yermack says he first developed the class because he was interested in Bitcoin and how quickly interest in the cryptocurrency was growing. But other reasons soon emerged, notably demand from companies for people who understood cryptocurrency-related issues. Now, he sees his class as a way to give students the skills they’ll need for jobs in the future. One possible reason for such diverse interest in blockchain is its potential to impact society across many domains.
Meeting Rising Demand
With the growing demand for jobs in the blockchain sector and an increase in adoption every day, the demand for more trained job seekers is emerging. Universities are introducing cryptocurrency classes across a variety of departments, including anthropology and finance — not only computer science.
They are adding research centers and adding more crypto-related courses, in part to meet rising demand and also because they now see cryptocurrency as an area worthy of serious academic study.
With an inflow of trained candidates, the old school firms are also becoming more welcoming and adopting blockchain tech in their day to day activities. Law firms have already started implementing blockchain for data Analytics and storage of confidential material.
Among students, interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain cuts across fields. In fact, more social science majors said they were interested in learning about cryptocurrency than computer science and engineering majors.
There’s tremendous excitement amongst students right now, most of them being futuristic millennials. Similarly, 18 percent of students said they own (or have owned) cryptocurrency, twice the rate of the general population. 17 percent said they consider their knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain very good, compared to just nine percent of the general population.
“There’s tremendous excitement” among students right now, says Benedikt Bünz, a doctoral student at Stanford focusing on cryptocurrencies. He was pursuing a master’s degree in artificial intelligence when he took a cryptography class. That sparked his interest in cryptocurrencies, setting the direction for his doctoral degree. People often approach Bünz asking if he’d be able to recommend someone with knowledge of cryptocurrencies for a job, he says the high demand means all the candidates he knows already have positions secured.
These days, ” If you’re an expert in cryptocurrencies and cryptography you’ll have a difficult time NOT finding a job.”
There are also plenty of options for people not currently enrolled at a university to learn more about crypto. Online learning sites like Udemy, Coursera, edX, and Udacity offer hundreds of courses, including general lessons in foundational cryptography and more specialized classes on blockchain and cryptocurrency. These classes draw on a range of experts, including professors from some of the top 50 global universities and practitioners in the field.
Academia isn’t known for moving quickly. But, professors say that the maturation of blockchain and cryptocurrency and their adoption by businesses and other groups have made it clear that it’s a field with the potential for wide-ranging impact. And that’s causing universities to take it seriously.