Chicago Based Universities To Start With Bitcoin Classes & Cryptocurrency Courses
With the growing popularity of cryptocurrency across the globe, it is becoming imperative for educational institutes to launch cryptocurrency courses. Maybe this is the very reason behind the launch of Foundations of Finance course at the DePaul University based in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. Bitcoin had till now appeared only in the end of the undergraduate and graduate finance classes conducted by assistant professor Lamont Black. While discussing about the cryptocurrency class, Black described it as “the fun day.” But things have undergone a drastic change at present times with digital currencies being discussed since the very beginning of the semester whenever professors talk about the concept of money.
Black was quoted as saying that, “My students are starting the class thinking about it now.” This growth of cryptocurrencies in the sphere of mainstream education is similar to its emergence as a major discussion topic making it to newspaper headlines. Whereas some professors are altering their lesson plans to bring the subject of cryptcurrency within its scope, others are introducing completely fresh cryptocurrency courses to spread the crypto knowledge amongst those who wish to learn the same. The price of bitcoins reached a record height last year causing a meteoric rise in its demand amongst people who till then had zero knowledge about cryptocurrencies other than the fact that it brought about meteoric returns.
CBOE Futures Exchange added fuel to the fire by launching bitcoin futures trading in early December. Chicago Mercantile Exchange followed suit soon after by launching cryptocurrency futures trading in its exclusive platform. These two events served as a milestone in the history of cryptocurrency evolution by imparting greater legitimacy to bitcoins. Coming back to present time, public interest in this matter is still going strong in spite of a substantial reduction in its price. Market experts share diverse opinions regarding the future of this dynamic cryptocurrency. But one thing is for sure and that is its ever-increasing knowledge demand which is largely being felt.
Sarit Markovich, an associate professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, revealed that, “It’s not so much about being ahead; it’s making sure that you’re not going to be behind.” Starting from financial institutions like Northern Trust to lone coders, blockchain technology has found its acceptance in a plethora of fields. The decentralized and public ledger of blockchain helps in keeping track of transactions entered into using cryptocurrencies in a chronological fashion. Transactions can also be verified by implementing this software although other documents can also be coded and inserted into the blockchain.
Markovich started talking about both blockchain and bitcoin in a course developed by her five years back which focuses mostly on innovative activities taking shape in financial markets. Coupled with a prestigious doctorate degree in computer sciences and economics, Markovich wishes to spread her knowledge about financial technology amongst her students. However, the scenario was completely different five years back when she started out.
She said that,
“It was hard for me to fill up the course. Students were interested in typical traditional banking. They were like, ‘We don’t want to hear about that. … Tell us about mergers and acquisitions.’”
But a mammoth change took shape last year with more than 50% of the class showing extreme eagerness in learning more about financial technology. Her alumni have even reached out to students who have crafted independent studies on blockchain and cryptocurencies. Markovich received an approval last week of building a cryptocurrency course and blockchain course. The course which is expected to launch next year shall cater mostly to students enrolled in the Master of Business Administration program.
Illinois Institute of Technology is all set to open its gate to blockchain education this summer onwards. Full-fledged cryptocurrency classes are not yet offered by the University of Illinois at Chicago. However, professor Gib Bassett, the head of finance department is pondering over the launch of a panel discussion on the topic of Bitcoin in his Chicago Exchanges MBA course during the latter part of this month. Bassett said that this is going to be the very first time that a course taught by him shall explore the possibilities of bitcoin which has largely been influenced by the changing requirements of the students. He drew comparison to the tulip bubble of Holland while stating that:
“They want to hear about bitcoin. Their parents have told them it’s a tulip bubble. It’s crazy, it’s ridiculous, and their friends who invested three years ago are millionaires. … There’s clearly a generational component to this.”
Johny Roumanidakis who was found attending Black’s class at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business feels much more intrigued by the blockchain technology compared to CME future contracts which was primarily chosen as the topic of discussion by his group. 24-year-old Roumanidakis who will graduate very soon with a master’s degree in finance plans to work in the manufacturing business of his family based in Wheeling. He agreed to the fact that both blockchain and bitcoin are extremely tricky concepts but definitely worth the look.
Just before initiating class on Tuesday he revealed that:
“We just wanted to see if we could wrap our heads around the technology and what drives the value behind it. It seems so controversial, and not many people understand it.”
Just a row over, two classmates of Roumanidakis’ were deeply engrossed in the formal crypto education which was being imparted to them. Fifth-year accounting and finance student Nick Ricciardella and fourth-year computer science and math student Dan Gordon ran two start-ups dealing with crowdfunding. Ricciardella feels that the knowledge regarding blockchain technology they shall gain from the classroom teaching shall be of great help in implementing into their work.
Andrew Miller, assistant professor of computer and electrical engineering at University of Illinois revealed at the Urbana-Champaign that students have been mesmerised by the immense potential which blockchain involvement holds. Miller had previously taught on topics regarding computer programs and smart contracts based on cryptos. He was initially apprehensive about whether his class starting mid-semester would fit into the pre-determined schedule of students.
But his class filled up just within a few hours urging him to increase the capacity of students to 64 which again got filled up. Miller said that certifications and exams were necessary for participating in traditional finance industry which in turn could only be accessed through a proper financial institution. Blockchain on the other hand imposes lower entry restrictions. “A whole lot more seems possible,” said Miller while speaking about the strong and active community drawing in more and more engineering and computer science students with its vast potential.
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