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.

Tron Foundation Explains How the DAppChain Project Will Take ‘Quality and Quantity’ of DApps ‘To the Next Level’

The TRON Foundation officially introduced the Sun Network, a second-layer scalability solution for Tron ( TRX ), one of the largest platforms for deploying decentralized applications (dApps), on April 8th, 2019.

The Sun Network aims to “incorporate a series of scaling projects” including sidechains for smart contract application development and “cross-chain communication,” which has been designed to “further expand the overall capacity,” or throughput, of the TRON blockchain network.

This, according to a blog post published on April 24th, 2019 by the TRON Foundation, which revealed that the Sun Network will help “improve the transactions per second (TPS) rate and smart contract execution efficiency” on the TRON platform.

DAppChain, Tron’s Main “Sidechain Scaling Project”

The post added that “among the projects, DAppChain is a sidechain scaling project designed for TRON’s smart contracts .” The DAppChain is being developed in order to significantly “increase the capacity” or TPS rate of Tron-based DApps, while also “realizing [the] on-chain operation of DApps with low energy consumption.”

Moreover, TRON’s DAppChain project aims to “enhance security and efficiency via customizable methods,” the Foundation’s blog post explained. The first phase of the DAppChain project is scheduled to begin “on May 30, 2019,” the blog mentioned.

Commenting on the basic idea behind the Tron network scaling solution, Marcus Zhao, confirmed:

[The] Sun Network is a TRON scaling solution, incorporating a series of scaling projects such as sidechain and cross-chain communication [protocols]; DAppChain is part of the TRON side chain solution. Other details of the side chain solution will be announced later.

Zhao also claimed that Tron’s TPS rate is “considered very high compared to Ethereum.” He added that the fast-paced development of the Tron DApp ecosystem makes it is “necessary to continue to expand the TPS of the smart contract transactions on TRON." He explained that this ensures that “the DApp ecosystem [will continue to] attract more developers” and users.

According to Zhao: “The overall technical architecture of DAppChain is the decentralized chain guaranteed” by the delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus protocol.” When “compared to other scaling solutions,” Zhao believes the DAppChain is a better alternative as it “supports smart contract transactions and focuses on improving the TPS of the smart contract transactions on the mainnet” itself.

He also thinks that the DAppChain implementation will help to “lower the transaction fees” and that the sidechain would be able to “support more customizable requirements.” Zhao further noted that “major dApp vendor alliances can [also] customize some of the sidehain properties based on their own characteristics,” including creating various “sidechain incentives, transaction rates, block generation speed, and transaction confirmation speed.”

“Biggest Advantage Of DAppChain” for Developers

As Zhao explained:

The biggest advantage of DAppChain for dApp developers is that the Energy fee is very low; the confirmation time of the sidechain transaction can be shortened, thus speeding up the game and supporting more game genres. These advantages are mainly realized by sidechain’s support for smart contracts and the customizable features of side chain.

He continued:

DAppChain interacts with the main chain through a smart contract which defines a series of standard interfaces, allowing main chain to mirror assets such as TRX, TRC10 and TRC21 on the side chain and withdraw the assets to the main chain, etc. An essential principle is that all the valid assets on the side chain must come from the main chain, ensuring that the side chain is an extension of the main chain, instead of a hard fork.

How DAppChain Will Be Implemented

In the first stage of its implementation, the DAppChain will “adopt the DPoS mechanism of side chain to ensure the consensus and correctness of sidechain transactions themselves,” Zhao noted. He also stated that smart contracts would be used “on the main chain and sidechain” to ensure that “assets on the sidechain are safe” and users are able to make withdrawals without any problems.

Zhao also clarified that the MainNet will be able to “support the launch of many sidechains instances simultaneously, and the transaction pressure between different instances will not be transmitted to each other.” This, Zhao explained, would ensure that the “transaction pressure of the sidechain” will not negatively impact the MainNet’s performance. Because of this optimization, Zhao noted that the “transaction cost on DAppChain” can be reduced significantly.

He explained that “if one sidechain is nearly congested, [users would] just need to transfer excess transactions to other sidechains.”

Zhao believes:

The key to [properly implementing] a DAppChain is the single connection of smart contract between the side chain and the MainNet. Smart contracts on the MainNet are responsible for the entrance and exit of assets on the sidechain. Whereas the sidechain is responsible for the consensus of transaction details.

He further noted:

DAppChain is an important guarantee for TRON to take the quality and quantity of its DApps to the next level, laying the foundation for a more prosperous ecosystem of TRON. Each DAppChain can be a micro-ecosystem itself, constituting the entire ecosystem when brought together.