Blockchain goes to school — and beyond

“The AG [New York Attorney General] doesn’t have any authority over us. Two things I really hate are bullies and hypocrites, and this guy is both.’’ — Jesse Powell, CEO Kraken

The Big Block

When the internet began to explode as a consumer and business phenomenon, ironically one of the sectors caught most off guard were the very universities that birthed the global network. In a span of just a couple of years, the primarily academic network was being used for all sorts of communication, commerce, et al. and colleges scrambled to keep up. Curriculum development followed and the next generation of coders, businesspeople, and — really — all students could learn about internet tech and how it would change not just their professions but also the world.

As blockchain and cryptocurrency gain popularity and business uses begin to become real, universities are trying to get ahead of the curve this time with classroom offerings that recognize the inherently multi-disciplinary nature of the technology. Wired took a deep look at how some schools are embracing blockchain and one observation crystallized this notion well: “Blockchain as a technology requires that you understand a bunch of other things first: cryptography, distributed systems, operating systems,”said Andrew Myers, a computer science professor at Cornell University.

Of course, that’s just the technical side of blockchain, which most longer-term users won’t much care about. Myers noted that even on the tech side, there are many prerequisites it helps to have to properly learn blockchain — and he didn’t even mention the idea that having a grounding in the fundamentals of traditional, accounting-style ledgers would also be rather useful. Myers further mused that, “You need textbooks, and a lot of that knowledge just hasn’t been distilled into a form that lets you really teach a good undergraduate-level course yet.”

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