Brazilian University Launches World’s First Master’s Degree In Cryptofinance

  • A Brazilian University has launched the world's first Master's Degree in cryptofinance. 
  • The course's students are set to analyze cryptocurrency markets from an objective, academic perspective, as opposed to a speculative one.

Yesterday, various news outlets reported that it is now possible to get a master's degree in cryptofinance. The gist of these reports was that Brazilian University Fundacao Getulio Vargas (FGV), also known as the Sao Paulo School of Economics, claimed that it is offering the world's first master's degree in cryptofinance.

Although universities have been offering courses in blockchain and cryptocurrencies as early as 2014 -- when NYU Stern School of Business became the first major university to launch such a course -- a master's degree solely focused on cryptofinance is unique.

A look at the relevant section of the university's website, shows that FGV has a Master's Program in Economics (MPE) that offers specializations in one of four subjects: Portfolio Management, Risk Management, Data Science, and Cryptofinance. In the second semester of this four-semester program, those specializing in Cryptofinance must take the following courses: "Cryptofinance"; "Cryptoeconomics"; and "Laboratory of Cryptofinance and Economics".

Ricardo Rochman, the program’s coordinator, claimed it was born out of a need for specialized education in the cryptocurrency industry. Per his words, it is a “market with a profound lack of people with expertise.” Students are set to study the markets from a more objective, academic perspective, as opposed to a speculative one.

Michele Araujo, a 26-year-old economics student at FGV noted that learning about cryptocurrencies can be beneficial:

"There is a conceptual gain of knowing both the practical applications of the technology and cryptocurrency as an alternative investment.”

Michele Araujo

Universities in Brazil, the country with the largest crypto market in South America, are seemingly responding to the huge amount of interest in cryptofinance, while refusing to be discouraged by what Ilan Goldfajn, the governor of Brazil's central bank, said about Bitcoin last October:

“The bitcoin is a financial asset with no ballast that people buy because they believe it will appreciate. That is a typical bubble or pyramid [scheme]…The central bank is not interested in bubbles or illicit payments.”

Ilan Goldfajn, governor of Brazil's central bank


Binance Getting Ready to Launch a New Fiat-Crypto Trading Platform for UK Residents

On Wednesday (June 17), Reuters reported that Binance is preparing to launch, later this summer, a new dedicated crypto trading platform for UK residents.

According to Reuters' report, this platform "was designed to allow both institutional and retail investors to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using pounds and euros," and it will be regulated by UK's Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

The report went on to say that Binance is considering up to 65 cryptoassets for this launch.

Apparently, Binance's upcoming UK platform will support deposit/withdrawals for buying/selling of crypto via UK's Faster Payments service for GBP transfers and Single Euro Payments Area (SEPA), which is "a payment-integration initiative of the European Union for simplification of bank transfers denominated in euro", in the case of EUR transfers, 

Teana Baker-Taylor, who joined Binance as its UK director on May 6, told Reuters:

"Interest and participation in the UK digital asset markets is growing; not just in-depth with its current participants, but also in breadth.

"As crypto services mature and evolve, we’re able to create new options to engage and capture interest from a wider audience with varying risk appetites, such as products that earn a yield for participation, like staking and passive savings."

In the past, Binance has "established joint ventures with leading global partners in Singapore, Korea, Uganda, Jersey and the United States to create fiat-to-cryptocurrency trading platforms."

In a blog post Binance published last month, it said that its new UK director would be "developing Binance’s presence in the U.K. and leading expansion across the European region," and that Baker-Taylor would also "focus on government relations and work with regulatory bodies to develop and implement best practices and policies to support compliant operations."

This is what Binance said back then about the background of Baker-Taylor, who was "awarded the Blockchain Leader award in 2019 by Women In Tech":

"Teana joins Binance with more than 20 years of experience in commercial strategy, regulatory and governance advocacy, marketing, and communications within the digital assets and financial services sector, including Coinfloor, HSBC, Citi, Fiserv and Royal Bank of Scotland. 

"Prior to Binance, Teana served as the Executive Director of Global Digital Finance, an industry body fostering global policy and governance for blockchain and digital assets with policymakers, regulators, and industry participants.

"In her previous role at HSBC as the Global Head of Client Strategy, she was responsible for driving strategic growth across its Global Banking and Markets and Commercial Banking propositions."

On Monday (June 15), Binance UK announced that it would be a holding a virtual meetup at 13:00 BST (or 12:00 UTC) on June 17:

The biggest challenge for any digital asset exchange that wants to launch in the UK is to find a UK-based banking partner, which is not too easy given how nervous banks are about giving accounts to crypto businesses.

For example, consider what happened to Coinbase, which first launched its services in the UK on 28 April 2015.

According to a report by Bloomberg, in July 2019, Coinbase stopped being able to offer near real-time GBP transfer for its UK customers due to a break-up with its banking partner, Barclays PLC, and it was only three months later, after it formed a banking relationship with ClearBank (which became a direct participant of Faster Payments in March 2017), that it was able to resume this service.

However, since Binance seems to have confirmed to Reuters that it is launching a UK platform this summer, it is safe to assume that it already has found a UK banking partner.

Featured Image Courtesy of Binance