Blockchain tech is new hot topic for universities around the world

Blockchain tech is new hot topic for universities around the world
  • Blockchain is becoming more prevalent and with it, the need for blockchain developers, opening up an entirely new job market.
  • More universities are jumping on the band wagon and offering courses on blockchain development
  • Courses you can learn and how you can use the advancement of blockchain to get ahead

According to new research carried out by Coinbase, we're witnessing a significant rise in the number of universities teaching their students about blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

It turns out that 42% of the world's top universities are now offering at least one course on either cryptocurrencies or blockchain technology. While previously these courses only garnered interest from those studying math or computing-related subject, they now have students from a large range of majors.

Which Universities Are Offering Courses on These Subjects?

Universities have been teaching and researching distributed ledger technology since before cryptocurrencies were mainstream.

However, the number of universities offering such courses has rapidly increased over the past couple of years, and will continue to rise for the foreseeable future.

Coinbase Reports has even created a chart to show the number of cryptocurrency and blockchain courses being taught at some of the top universities around the world.

Nir Kabessa, the President of Blockchain at Columbia stated::

"Schools such as Berkeley, MIT, Columbia, and Stanford are leading the race. MIT's Bitcoin Club is a legendary organization which led to the formation of the Blockchain Education Network, a community of top blockchain labs and chapters.

Columbia University is gradually adding for-credit courses on blockchain, but its main source of education stems from its innovative institutions such as the DSI-IBM Research Center, Blockchain at Columbia, and Columbia Blockchain Studio. It is important to differentiate what type of education one is looking for."

Each institution has its own pros and cons. Whilst some universities are famous worldwide for their intensive research into blockchain, their education department is lacking. Meanwhile, some of the institutions with the best teaching reputations have comparatively low scores for their research.

Can I Take These Courses Online?

As well as enrolling in these courses in universities, there is also the option to learn more about blockchain technology - and even gain professional qualifications - by studying online.

For instance, Coursera's free course on Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies was created by Princeton University. So far it's been rated by over 1,700 users and has received an average rating of 4.7 out of 5. New enrollments open every few days, and you can work the assignments around your schedule.

Similarly, Udemy's Blockchain Technology: A Guide to the Blockchain Ecosystem teaches you to understand the entire blockchain ecosystem from the ground up.

If you're a developer who wants to get involved in blockchain technology but have little to no experience, IBM is even offering a free Blockchain Essentials course that will teach you how to create your own private blockchain network on IBM Bluemix.

Do I Need to be a Computer Geek to Enroll?

Many people still associate cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin with computer geeks, cyber-criminals, and hackers from the dark web. However, this couldn't be further from the truth.

Blockchain technology is still a very new concept, but it has advanced rapidly over the past few years. As time progresses, it's becoming clear that the technology will only continue to become a more and more vital part of our society.

David Yermack, the finance department chair at NYU Stern School of Business, first began to enroll students in his course on blockchain and financial services back in 2014. He started the course because he was interested in how fast Bitcoin was growing.

However, he now sees the course as a way for students to gain the skills they will require for jobs in the future.

In an interview, he stated, "A process is well underway that will lead to the migration of most financial data to blockchain-based organizations. Students will benefit greatly by studying this area."

How Can I Use These Courses to Make Money?

Between 2017 and 2018, the blockchain job market has witnessed tremendous growth.


Perhaps one of the most obvious ways to use these courses to make money is to become a blockchain developer. Between January 2017 and January 2018, the demand for blockchain engineers on Toptal has grown by 700%.

In addition, websites such as Indeed.com, AngelList, LinkedIn, Crypto Jobs List, Blocktribe, Blockchainjobz, Joblift, and Upwork have seen a huge surge in the number of blockchain jobs available.

According to data collected by Indeed, the average salary of a blockchain professional in the US ranges from $63,000 per year to $157,000 per year - with marketing specialists being on the lower end of the scale and senior managing consultants being on the higher end.

A report from Bloomberg stated that the highest demand in the industry is for software development and financial services.

The Future of Blockchain

Blockchain technology has made a lot of progress over the past few years alone, but this is still just the very beginning.

Job positions are opening far faster than they can be filled, and right now is the prime time for those with the right skills to get involved.

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Volcanoes to power bitcoin mining in El Salvador

The first nation to make bitcoin legal tender will use geothermal energy to mine it.

Credit: Aaron Thomas via Unsplash
Technology & Innovation

This article was originally published on our sister site, Freethink.

In June 2021, El Salvador became the first nation in the world to make bitcoin legal tender. Soon after, President Nayib Bukele instructed a state-owned power company to provide bitcoin mining facilities with cheap, clean energy — harnessed from the country's volcanoes.

The challenge: Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a digital form of money and a payment system. Crypto has several advantages over physical dollars and cents — it's incredibly difficult to counterfeit, and transactions are more secure — but it also has a major downside.

Crypto transactions are recorded and new coins are added into circulation through a process called mining.

Crypto mining involves computers solving incredibly difficult mathematical puzzles. It is also incredibly energy-intensive — Cambridge University researchers estimate that bitcoin mining alone consumes more electricity every year than Argentina.

Most of that electricity is generated by carbon-emitting fossil fuels. As it stands, bitcoin mining produces an estimated 36.95 megatons of CO2 annually.

A world first: On June 9, El Salvador became the first nation to make bitcoin legal tender, meaning businesses have to accept it as payment and citizens can use it to pay taxes.

Less than a day later, Bukele tweeted that he'd instructed a state-owned geothermal electric company to put together a plan to provide bitcoin mining facilities with "very cheap, 100% clean, 100% renewable, 0 emissions energy."

Geothermal electricity is produced by capturing heat from the Earth itself. In El Salvador, that heat comes from volcanoes, and an estimated two-thirds of their energy potential is currently untapped.

Why it matters: El Salvador's decision to make bitcoin legal tender could be a win for both the crypto and the nation itself.

"(W)hat it does for bitcoin is further legitimizes its status as a potential reserve asset for sovereign and super sovereign entities," Greg King, CEO of crypto asset management firm Osprey Funds, told CBS News of the legislation.

Meanwhile, El Salvador is one of the poorest nations in North America, and bitcoin miners — the people who own and operate the computers doing the mining — receive bitcoins as a reward for their efforts.

"This is going to evolve fast!"
NAYIB BUKELE

If El Salvador begins operating bitcoin mining facilities powered by clean, cheap geothermal energy, it could become a global hub for mining — and receive a much-needed economic boost in the process.

The next steps: It remains to be seen whether Salvadorans will fully embrace bitcoin — which is notoriously volatile — or continue business-as-usual with the nation's other legal tender, the U.S. dollar.

Only time will tell if Bukele's plan for volcano-powered bitcoin mining facilities comes to fruition, too — but based on the speed of things so far, we won't have to wait long to find out.

Less than three hours after tweeting about the idea, Bukele followed up with another tweet claiming that the nation's geothermal energy company had already dug a new well and was designing a "mining hub" around it.

"This is going to evolve fast!" the president promised.

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