NYU Offers First Crypto Major in US, Sees Exponential Increase in Interest

New York University, a prestigious college found in 1831, has started to offer the first crypto major course in the US.

Adjunct professor Andrew Hinkes told CBS New York in an interview that the institution is helping students understand both the legal and the business implications of crypto and blockchain technology.

Hinkes said:

“We hope to establish a groundwork so that the students can understand what’s really happening under the hood, so that they can understand both the legal and the business implications, and prepare them to go out and tackle this new market.”

Crypto Boom at Universities

Throughout 2018, the demand for crypto-related courses at colleges has increased significantly, ever since prestigious institutions like Stanford and MIT started offering programs covering cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology.

As Mustafa Khan, a student at NYU who enrolled in the crypto major, it has become important for millennials to understand and study an emerging asset class that is rapidly integrating into the global finance sector.

“In the environment we live in today, it’s become especially relevant to get a hold of how new technologies work and how they interact with the legal system,” Khan said.

David Yermack, finance department chair at NYU, stated that students who previously graduated at the college have come back to take crypto courses to obtain a better understanding of the rapidly growing market and the industry surrounding blockchain technology.

“There’s a few people who graduated some years ago but have come back to sit in on this just because of the novelty and the edginess of the topic,” Yermack added.

Similar Movement in Institutional Market

Influenced by the initial entrance of Goldman Sachs into the cryptocurrency sector through Bitcoin futures clearance, an increasing number of major banks have started to develop crypto custodian solutions to serve institutional investors.

Banks are required to adjust to the demands of its clients and consumers and as such, depending on the trend of the market and the needs of investors, banks tend to add more lucrative services onto their existing range of products to ensure that it can facilitate the interest towards new asset classes and markets from investors.

According to Coinbase vice president Adam White, the education industry has seen a similar trend, as students began to ask universities to offer education on a new industry that is seeing similar levels of interest and developer activity as the Internet in its early days

“This is a grassroots movement. These are students saying, ‘hey, university, I want to take a class on this.’ I think they see the development, the birth of a new industry. In many ways, we look at things like Bitcoin and Ethereum and blockchain as the internet 3.0,” White said.

The integration of crypto and blockchain technology into New York Unviersity’s major courses is expected to lead to other prestigious and well recognized institutions in the US offering similar programs.


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Author: Joseph Young 
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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.


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Author: Tom Vander Ark
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