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

 

Bitcoin Mining Pool Tries to Help Tone Vays Win $10K Bet Against Roger Ver

Cryptocurrency mining pool SlushPool has recently manually added a BTC transaction into a block to help Tone Vays, a derivatives trader and analyst, win a wager mage against BCH proponent Roger Ver.

The wager was made at the 2019 Malta AI & Blockchain Summit, during a debate between bitcoin (BTC) proponent Tone Vays and Bitcoin.com CEO and BCH advocate Roger Ver. In it, Ver argued BTC transactions are too expensive for business use due to the cryptocurrency’s small block size.

Vays, on the other hand, argued segregated witness (SegWit) and second-layer scaling solutions like the Lightning Network allow users to make small transactions without paying high fees, and that he has been using BTC on-chain without paying too much for transactions.

The debate ended up seeing Vays send Roger Ver $5 worth of BTC with a one satoshi per byte transactions fee – equal to the fees paid on the Bitcoin Cash chain – to see if it would confirm the same day. If it did, the CEO of Bitcoin.com claimed he would donate $10,000 to a charity of Vays’ choice.

During the debate, both parties noted the transaction was “priority 23,836 out of 24,355 transactions,” meaning that most transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain had to clear before miners picked that one up, at least according to fees paid for transactions.

As Vays soon noted on social media the transaction cleared after 10 hours. Some, however, found it strange. Cobra Bitcoin, the pseudonymous co-owner of Bitcoin.org and Bitcointalk, pointed out on social media that SlushPool – the mining pool that found the block the transaction was included in – manually added it to help Vays win the bet.

Cobra Bitcoin figured it wasn’t mined “naturally” as it was the second transaction included in the block – right after the coinbase transaction – despite the fee being less than 1% of that of all other transactions included in the block.

On Reddit, users pointed this out and accused SlushPool of manually adding the transaction. The mining pool, according to some users, is known for supporting BTC and being against Bitcoin Cash.

Should Roger Ver Pay?

The wager quickly became a controversial topic that seems to bring back memories of the scaling debate that was going on before Bitcoin Cash forked off of the Bitcoin network back in August of 2017.

Some argue that Roger Ver’s point stands as the transaction wasn’t “naturally” confirmed, but manually included in a block. Moreover the CEO of Bitcoin.com claimed he’d donate the money if it confirmed that day, and when the transaction did confirm it was past midnight in Malta.

On the other hand, some claim the transaction did go through anyway, and as such Roger Ver should donate the funds to a charity of Tone Vays’ choice. Moreover, Vays himself argued BCH supporters could have spammed the BTC mempool with two satoshis per byte transactions to stop his from clearing on time.

On Twitter, Vays created a poll that was retweeted by SlushPool and admitted the mining pool did prioritize the transaction. It currently shows most users believe Roger Ver should donate the funds. As one commenter pointed out, however, the results may change if Ver and other BCH supporters retweet the poll.