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The future is here: Demand for cryptocurrency degree courses surges

Universities have started offering courses in cryptocurrency and blockchain. Source: Shutterstock.com

The days of cryptocurrency being a futuristic concept used for deep-web transactions are buried in history.

Today everyone from banks and governments to tech-savvy university students are investing both their faith and their money in cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin, are exponentially growing in popularity and demand. Their decentralized, digital nature is making transactions more secure, payment fraud impossible, and the removal of the “middleman”.

As the use of cryptocurrency increases, the need for “miners” – as they’re known – also becomes more crucial.

Miners’ role in the cryptocurrency network is to add “blocks” to the “blockchain” which ensures the confirmation of transactions and prevents cryptocurrency from disappearing into the Internet stratosphere. When a new block is made, the miner who created it is rewarded with valuable cryptocurrency.

Although cryptocurrencies are a relatively new concept to the majority of tech mortals, the crypto-geeks know that making it as a ‘miner’ is the real way to make money in the crypto-world. And, as a result, the demand for university courses teaching the computer science of cryptocurrency and blockchain coding has surged.

Universities have already seen the startup of cryptocurrency societies, with the Blockchain Education Network (BEN) acting as a central hub for ideas among student societies.

And just like with cryptocurrency, as demand fluctuates, the market responds. The crypto-trend has seen the emergence of university courses such as “Digital Currency, Blockchains and the Future of Financial Services”’ at NYU Law.

Edinburgh University is also set to launch the first course of this kind in Europe. Aggelos Kiayias, chair in cyber ecurity and privacy, and director of the blockchain technology laboratory at the university, told the Financial Times:

“Blockchain technology is a recent development and there is always a bit of a lag as academia catches up.”

According to data received by the Financial Times from LinkedIn, there were more than 1,000 blockchain-related jobs advertised in June – three times the amount advertised last year.

“Students currently have the chance to be involved in the early stages of a technological revolution,” George Benton, co-founder and co-president of Leeds University Union Cryptocurrency and Blockchain Society, told Study International.

“The decentralized nature of blockchain technology resonates with my generation because of the power it gives to individuals.”

Tamar Menteshashvili, blockchain technology and financial innovations researcher at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, said: “Blockchain is a technology that has potential to disrupt many industries. Yet, currently it poses a number of interesting intellectual puzzles that need to be solved in order to achieve the realization of its full potential.

“That is where students can contribute, while at the same time greatly broadening their career horizons. It is a next-generation technology that will continue to offer a vast variety of possibilities. While choosing blockchain as a research point, each student is joining a cohort of future-engineers.”

With industry experts predicting cryptocurrency to become the finance of the future, it is only a matter of time before more universities begin offering specifically-directed courses to help produce the digital miners of the future.

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