Crypto Education: Stanford, UC Berkeley, MIT Now Offer Comprehensive Courses on Blockchain

  • Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies have many emerging use cases.
  • Crypto industry professionals have increasingly begun to teach courses are top-ranking universities.

As the crypto and blockchain industry continue to evolve, there’s also a growing demand for professionals who are trained and properly qualified to fulfill key roles in this emerging field of technology. To meet this requirement, there are now many centers of higher learning that offer comprehensive courses on cryptocurrencies and distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Management Courses On Cryptocurrencies

Stanford University, a private California-based research-focused university, has been offering an increasing number of courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology. Kathryn Haun, a general partner at Andreessen Horowitz and former US Justice Department (DOJ) attorney, has taught a cryptocurrency management course at Stanford.

Haun is currently managing, or overseeing, many projects under a16z, which is Andreessen Horowitz’s cryptocurrency fund. The former federal prosecutor believes digital currencies have the potential to give “power back to the people.”

Although crypto industry professionals may have different views about cryptos and blockchain technology, academic courses on these subjects must be taught by professionals with industry experience.

Notably, Stanford’s management course on digital assets was also taught by Dr. Susan Athey, who has been working with Microsoft as a consulting economist for over 10 years. Athey is also a member of the board of directors at Expedia, Inc.

Course On Bitcoin

Balaji Srinivasan, the chief technical officer (CTO) of crypto exchange Coinbase, helped teach a course on Bitcoin (BTC) at Stanford. Blockchain industry professionals have not only contributed by teaching courses at the top-ranked university, but they have also invested in various crypto-related education programs.

The Switzerland-based Ethereum foundation and various other crypto firms helped fund and launch the Stanford Center for Blockchain Research (CBR) - which is a collaborative effort that “brings together engineering, law, and economics faculty, as well as post-docs, students, and visitors, to work on technical challenges in the field.”

UC Berkeley, New York University, MIT

University of California, Berkeley, a top-ranked research university, also offers DLT and applied cryptography-related courses such as “Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law.”

As stated in the course description: “Blockchain is ... one of the most interdisciplinary areas, bringing together new questions and opportunities at the intersection of technology, business and law.”

Because of its interdisciplinary nature, the course’s instructors aim to help students “explore current and potential real-world applications” of blockchain in many different industries. As covered by CryptoGlobe, New York University (NYU) allows students to enroll in graduate-level specializations in cryptocurrencies.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) offers some of the most technically in-depth courses on blockchain-based systems such as “Cryptocurrency Engineering and Design” and courses on “shared public ledgers.” Many of MIT’s courses are jointly taught by Neha Narula, who previously worked as a senior software engineer at Google and currently serves as the director of MIT Media Labs’ Digital Currency Initiative.

Central Banks and Cryptocurrencies: Natural Born Enemies, or Soon-to-Be Friends?

Oli Weiss

The frosty and (some have speculated) internationally coordinated response from central bankers to Facebook’s Libra was received with little surprise by crypto entrepreneurs and investors.

Officials from across the G7 economies were keen to stress not only the regulatory hurdles Libra would need to clear before it got the green light, but also their ongoing commitment to the tacit proposition that there must remain a legal and technical firewall between fiat and cryptocurrencies.

Steve Mnuchin, U.S .Treasury Secretary, was at pains to emphasize that Facebook’s proposed coin is “a very long way” from being approved by U.S. regulators, and the Governor of the Bank of England, Mark Carney, has been quoted expressing similar sentiments that Libra must be “rock solid” well before it’s launch.

However, it is French Finance Minister, Bruno La Maire, who has been most explicit in a recent interview with the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera where he stated that, “the red line for us is the Libra must not transform into a sovereign currency.”

Inside Singapore’s Crypto Laboratory

This context of mistrust and sometimes outright hostility from central bankers towards cryptocurrencies makes two developments in Singapore all the more significant; firstly Project Ubin led by the Monetary Authority of Singapore, and secondly the recent decision to allow five new digital banking licenses.

Project Ubin is a joint venture by the de facto central bank of Singapore and leading global financial institutions including HSBC, JP Morgan and Bank of America Merrill Lynch. In essence, the project seeks to explore the possibility that blockchain distributed ledger technology can be used to make the settlement of inter-bank payment quicker and reduce processing times whilst maintaining high levels of security and data privacy.

So far, the project has begun to demonstrate that a tokenized Singaporean dollar can in fact function as a method of inter-bank settlement for day-to-say business, and work has commenced between the Project Ubin teams and the Bank of Canada on how the system can be scaled to allow for international payments.

One obvious question arises from this: if this system works and could hypothetical be generalized elsewhere, what would this mean for the role of central banks in the future?

One possible answer is also starting to emerge from Singapore, where Ministers have just approved the issuance of banking licenses to up to five new digital banks.

This further enshrines the contestability of the financial sector in Singapore, and provides room for the type of new, innovative entrants likely to take advantage of Singapore’s world-class crypto infrastructure and flexible regulatory environment.

As such, there are signs emerging that the cold war between central bankers and crypto innovators may be starting to pass, and a strategic partnership between the two could be possible in other financial centers like Singapore. For now, one thing is certain: Singapore is, and almost definitely will remain, one of the key centers of crypto and fintech dynamism, due in part at least to the bold actions of the Singapore Monetary Authority.