Crypto May Boost Student Finance

It’s no secret that, in the US, UK, and the rest of Europe, students are having a hard time financially.
Fortunately, a growing number of startups are building crypto- and blockchain-based platforms that promise to help them with their money woes.
But while the solutions these startups are offering will no doubt help educate students about cryptocurrencies and may provide a more efficient way for them to purchase goods and transfer money, their offers of crypto-investments may be risky at a time when markets remain so volatile.

CampusCoin is a Delaware-based startup that, founded in 2017, is building a P2P (peer-to-peer) network for students, who will use the CampusCoin currency (CMPCO) to purchase goods/services offered by participating businesses.
Having already released the CMPCO wallet and completed an initial airdrop of tokens at the end of last year, its CEO Bryan Dube explains to Cryptonews.com that it’s about to release its mobile app.
“The CampusCoin Mobile app will enable the students to carry out transactions from their mobile internet connection,” he says. “These transactions may occur phone to phone through use of QR codes, or manually entered.”

CampusCoin affirm that paying for goods/services and receiving money transfers from parents is easier, more efficient and cheaper with cryptocurrency. But on a deeper level, Dube also contends that cryptocurrency offers students more value than fiat currency simply because its decentralization prevents it from political abuse and devaluation.

“While cryptocurrency uses the blockchain, proof of stake, proof of work, and new and emerging technologies to ensure that tokens are created through defined and open parameters, this cannot be said of fiat,” he explains. “Cryptocurrency offers a path to diversify away from fiat, as opposed to remaining in a ‘solution’ that continues to be further debased over time.”

These are strong words, but other companies offering similar solutions would indicate that CampusCoin aren’t the only ones who believe cryptocurrencies can help students ease the financial burden of higher education. Aside from the similarly named CollegeCoin (which now appears to be inactive), there’s also Student Coin.
Running on the Ethereum-based Seratio Platform, the UK-based Student Coin will also let students use crypto to pay for things. But added to this, it will provide users with “the latest and relevant offers, investment schemes and money management tools,” as founder Benjamin Stone wrote in a February blog.

Its decentralized app (dapp) will give students a wallet with smart-contract control, access to discounts and loyalty schemes, micro-loans, and also cryptocurrency investment intended to “to pay off student fees and loans.”
Loyalty Programs and Investments
With its initial coin offering (ICO) scheduled for this October, Student Coin still has some way to go before its plans to offer crypto-purchasing, discounts, loans and investments comes to fruition, yet there is already precedent for a crypto-powered loyalty scheme that might give it extra hope for success.

At the end of last year, Australian students at the University of New South Wales helped to trial loyalty program that rewarded them with ten Australian dollars’ worth of Ethereum for every ten purchases they made. According to the trial’s organisers, participating students were very excited to receive ETH, with the students who chose to HODL their rewards enjoying gains.
However, it’s still an open question as to whether investment in cryptocurrencies is really the safest method for paying off student fees and loans, given the current volatility of Bitcoin and altcoins alike.

On top of this, there’s also the issue of adoption. The success of platforms such as CampusCoin and Student Coin depends on there being enough businesses willing to accept their cryptocurrencies, and at the moment CampusCoin isn’t offering any indication of how many merchants it has on board.
“CampusCoin cannot disclose that information at this time,” says Bryan Dube. “We can say that we are populating our app with a selection of more than 20k universities. CampusCoin has intent to engage in this space at the international level.”
Once again, these are lofty aims. But at the very least, research released in March shows that using loans to invest in crypto is already popular among students, so apps that help them use crypto in a more responsible way may end up being even more popular.


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Author: Simon Chandler
Image Credit: iStock/D-Keine

Coinbase Survey Shows 18% of US Students Now Own Cryptocurrency

University students are clamoring for more courses about cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

That’s according to a nationwide survey of 675 students, commissioned by crypto exchange Coinbase and released today. According to the survey, 21 of the top 50 U.S. universities, as ranked by U.S. News and World Report, now offer a class on blockchain technology or cryptocurrency, and at least 11 colleges offer more than one.

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“Students today are really thinking deeply about economic issues and alternative economic futures,” Bill Maurer, the dean of the School of Social Sciences at the University of California Irvine, said.

He continued:

“Teaching about this kind of stuff now can be really powerful for students that are trying to find their own way and envision what kind of possible alternatives there might be to the prevailing economic system.”

And that interest in alternative economics isn’t just relegated to the expected departments, such as finance or business or even computer science.

Instead, the Coinbase survey found that there’s high demand for crypto and blockchain courses across a diverse spectrum of students.

While 34 percent of computer science and engineering majors indicated interest in learning about the nascent technology, 47 percent of social science majors are interested in the same, according to the survey.

Speaking to the enthusiasm within the social sciences, or those related to the study of human society and social relationships, Maurer said, learning about financial systems prepares students in all programs for the job market today.

“There’s a huge demand out there, especially in the design space, for people that have the skills that we train anthropologists with, understanding the human side of technology,” he said.

TIP

Increasing interest

Meanwhile, universities like Cornell, Stanford, and Georgetown are beefing up their blockchain research opportunities to accommodate swells in curiosity.

And at New York University, David Yermack from the Stern School of Business said that to meet growing demand, his blockchain course will now be offered both semesters (when it was originally only taught during one), according to a blog post published by Coinbase outlining the results.

During the first session of the course in 2014, only 35 students enrolled. But in the spring of 2018, 280 students had enrolled.

Not only are students eager to learn, but an increasing number are also trying the technology out for themselves – 18 percent of respondents in the survey said they own some cryptocurrency.

Dan Boneh, a computer science professor at Stanford, who is also seeing rising demand for blockchain and cryptocurrency-related classes, told CoinDesk:

“It’s a pretty exciting time. It feels like the beginning of something.”

Marketable skills

The surge in interest in education surrounding the technology is, in part, a reaction to the broader job market.

Benedikt Bunz, a doctoral student at Stanford, who spoke to Coinbase about the survey results, said cryptocurrency experts have an easy time finding jobs after graduation since such skills are in high demand.

Case in point, Coinbase is ramping up its efforts to recruit college students and recent graduates throughout this academic year.

“It’s exciting to see widespread interest in cryptocurrency and blockchain technology taking off in the global academic community, including students attending the top universities in the world,” Nat McGrath, vice president of people at Coinbase, told CoinDesk. “That’s one of the reasons we’re focused on building partnerships with underrepresented student groups across college campuses, and we look forward to expanding these efforts in the spring.”

Beyond the Ivy League schools included in the Coinbase survey, Howard University, a historically African-American college, and the women’s liberal arts school Smith College are two notable additions to McGrath’s recruitment plan.

Given the high quality of students that are showing an inclination towards the field, Boneh said he’s sure something groundbreaking will emerge over the next few years.

He concluded:

“I think [demand] has to do with a lot of talent going into the space. Very smart people are working on blockchain projects.”


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Author: Leigh Cuen
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Imagining A Blockchain University

A couple of Oxford faculty imagine a different kind of university, one that is distributed and democratic. Joshua Broggi, Faculty of Philosophy, is the founder of Woolf Development, a platform startup that aims to leverage distributed ledger technology to remove higher education intermediaries, support decentralized governance structures and ensure the security of data.

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Blockchain, and other distributed ledger technologies (DLT) can address several other problems. First, a distributed ledger eliminates the risk that individuals claim a degree from an institution they did not graduate from. DLT also addresses the risk that an individual earned a credential from an institution that goes out of business. A third benefit of a DLT could be the efficiency of accumulating credits from multiple providers over time. A final benefit is cost savings from automating a number of administrative procedures and reducing overhead.

“We use a blockchain to create efficiencies by managing custodianship of student tuition, enforcing regulatory compliance for accreditation, and automating a number of processes,” said Broggi.

Ambrose, the first college on the platform, will be formed by Oxford academics in the fall of 2018. The plan is for a digital version of Oxford tutorial system at $400 per session. If that sounds expensive, it’s less than half of a traditional degree. Future programs could feature larger groups and lower costs.

Professors could earn $50,000 to $100,000 teaching a comfortable online load. Think “Uber for students, Airbnb for academics”.

“Our blockchain-enforced accreditation processes are such that teachers and students from outside the EU can join our platform and earn a full EU degree – a non-EU student with a non-EU teacher in a non-EU language,” added Broggi.

A series of student and teacher “check-ins” are key to executing a series of smart contracts that validate attendance and assignment completion. A check-in could be a simple as clicking a button on a phone app but it executes a smart contract that pays the teacher and provides micro credits to the student.


Here at Dollar Destruction, we endeavor to bring to you the latest, most important news from around the globe. We scan the web looking for the most valuable content and dish it right up for you! The content of this article was provided by the source referenced. Dollar Destruction does not endorse and is not responsible for or liable for any content, accuracy, quality, advertising, products or other materials on this page. As always, we encourage you to perform your own research!
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Author: Tom Vander Ark
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