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New York University Launches Blockchain Major for Undergraduates

NYU’s Stern School of Business was early to market with an MBA course on Bitcoin and blockchain that snowballed in popularity thrusting the professor teaching the course to lecture to a packed auditorium.
BY BrainGain Magazine Staff Writer |   24-09-2018


New York University is stepping up its course offerings on blockchain technology so that students can now pursue the subject as a major to earn an undergraduate degree.

NYU’s Stern School of Business was early to market with an initial business school course on Bitcoin and blockchain, offered in the Fall of 2014 and co-taught by NYU Stern Professor of Finance David Yermack.

When Professor Yermackfirst offered his fintech course on blockchain and financial services, he says only 35 people signed up. But by spring 2018, the course became so wildly popular, that the professor found himself lecturing to an auditorium packed with 235 students.

Now Stern is expanding the course to offer undergraduates the opportunity to major in bitcoin’s technology endoskeleton, blockchain.

“We hope to establish a groundwork so that the students can understand what’s really happening under the hood, so that they can understand both the legal and the business implications, and prepare them to go out and tackle this new market,” Professor Andrew Hinkes at Stern, told CBS.

According to associate professor Kathleen Derose, the university expects companies in the space to partner with students in the training program.

Blockchain: Hot New Course on US Campuses
US universities are warming up to the worlds of cryptocurrency and blockchain, the popular new technology that creates a permanent ledger across multiple computers. According to a study by digital currency exchange Coinbase, 42% of the world’s top 50 universities have at least one class on crypto currency and blockchain.

Of the 172 classes reviewed in the study, 15% were offered by economics, finance, law and business departments, while 4% were in social science departments. Finally, the report found that interest in blockchain was particularly strong at American universities.

Cornell University
Among the classes on offer at Cornell University this year are “The Anthropology of Money” and “Introduction to Blockchains, Cryptocurrencies, and Smart Contracts.” Those are just two of the 28 courses at the Ivy League school related to blockchain.

University of California
Computer science classes cover the bits and bytes behind blockchain, but it’s tough to find a course that actually demystifies the disruptive business, legal, and regulatory implications of the new technology. That’s about to change. In Spring 2018, University of California’s Haas School of Business started a cross-listed class — Blockchain and the Future of Technology, Business, and Law — to business, engineering and law students.

The class is made up of 60 students and is limited to 20 students each from the Haas School of Business, Berkeley Engineering, and Berkeley Law. They’ll work in mixed teams of six to draw up a business plan for a workable blockchain related business. Judges from San Francisco’s venture capital community will evaluate the students’ pitch decks and their computer code, as well as their legal memos.

Interest in the course and in blockchain across the University of California campus is strong. “Blockchain at Berkeley,” created in 2016 now over 1,600 students participating in the club’s activities.

MIT Sloan’s Blockchain and Money Class
On the East Coast, a new class at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) will teach the technology’s practical application in finance, entrepreneurship, and elsewhere. This Fall, MIT’s Gary Gensler — whose career spans both Wall Street and public service — will teach a new course that shows students how to use the technology. The class will cover most of the fundamentals, such as distributed ledgers and smart contracts, in addition to real-world examples and the thorny global issues that make headlines every day, such as regulatory concerns.

A senior lecturer at MIT Sloan and a senior adviser at the MIT Media Lab, Gensler told the MIT Sloan School Newsroom that there are “plenty of reasons” for students to delve into the world of blockchain.

“This technology has real potential as a catalyst for change in the world of finance and the broader economy,” said Gensler.



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