Business

Erik Gibbs

London School of Economics launches online crypto course

While other higher education institutions have already added cryptocurrencies to their curriculum, none can boast of the credentials held by the London School of Economics (LSE). The school, which has seen 18 Nobel Prize winners and several world leaders pass through its doors, has announced the launch of an online cryptocurrency course that will be available starting August.

The course, “Cryptocurrency Investment and Disruption,” is designed to give course takers “practical skills to interact with cryptocurrency exchanges.” It will include, among other topics, cryptocurrency wallets and how to discern the pros and cons of initial coin offerings (ICO). The course will officially be offered as of August 28.

LSE indicates that it created the course to assist “private organizations, individual investors, financial service firms, governments and regulatory bodies (to understand the) highly disruptive trend” of cryptocurrencies. It further explained its timing in offering the course, saying, “The exponential growth and volatility of cryptocurrencies and the distributed ledger technology underpinning them has led to a global interest in cryptoassets, ICOs and the distribution of digital wealth.”

According to the course description, the students will “explore how cryptocurrencies and blockchain will shape the future of money, markets and industries with your international cohort of professionals. Set against theoretical frameworks from LSE, the knowledge [gained] in this course will enable [students] to critically engage with and assess the causes of things in the cryptoasset world—not only in today’s volatile cryptocurrency market, but for years to come.”

Dr. Carsten Sorenson, the school’s associate professor of Information Systems and Innovation, will lead the course. It will include six different modules, each covering different aspects of cryptocurrencies and the blockchain, and costs €1,800 (around $2,100).

Several universities and other educational institutions have already begun to incorporate cryptocurrency and blockchain technology into their curriculum. Recently, Duke University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Carnegie Mellon and Cornell have all announced courseware on the subjects beginning this fall. However, it was New York University that set the ball in motion years ago. In 2014, David Yermack, a business and law professor at the university, began offering a for-credit course on crypto.

When the course was first introduced, Yermack received a fair amount of chiding from his colleagues. However, when the course reached standing-room-only status in 2017, their disbelief in the validity of the material turned to respect.  According to the professor, “There was some gentle ribbing from my colleagues when I began giving talks on Bitcoin, But within a few months, I was being invited to Basel to talk with central bankers, and the joking from my colleagues stopped after that.”

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