Interest in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology has continued to surge in the universities, with the number of universities offering courses in these disciplines steadily rising. According to a report by Coinbase, 56% of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one course on blockchain or crypto, up from 42% last year. The report also found that the number of students taking these courses has doubled from 2018.
The report, dubbed “The 2019 Leaders in Crypto Education” recognized Cornell University as the global leader in crypto education. The university offers the most crypto and blockchain-related courses at 14, taking over from last year’s leader Stanford University. Cornell also has a vibrant crypto community which consists of a highly engaged student group under the Cornell Blockchain club.
MIT is second, with the New York University and Stanford ranking third and fourth respectively. In the 2018 study, Stanford had been the leader, with Cornell and the University of Pennsylvania coming in at second and third respectively.
The top ten list also saw some universities from outside the U.S such as fifth-placed École Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne in Switzerland, ninth-placed University of Copenhagen in Denmark and tenth-placed National University of Singapore.
Interest in blockchain has also surged among students, with 34% of the surveyed students expressing an interest in taking a related course. Those who have taken a course on blockchain doubled to 18% from their 2018 tally.
For the students, their distrust in the current financial system is the leading reason or their interest in crypto and blockchain technology. Over 65% of the students described the current financial system as unequal, unstable and inefficient and believe that cryptocurrencies offer a better solution.
Cesare Fracassi, the lead at the Blockchain Initiative at the University of Texas at Austin McCombs School of Business explained:
Definitely, some of the students interested in this topic are ones who feel mistrustful of the current banking system. So they want to create an alternative system where the decision-making process isn’t centralized. Those are the more idealistic ones. Others are maybe a little more pragmatic, and interested in ways this technology can be used to improve companies’ performance and efficiency.
The study also found that blockchain is an inter-disciplinary subject for most universities. While the computer science departments still take lead, other disciplines are also extensively involved. The report noted, “And so at schools around the world, legal scholars are grappling with ethics and regulatory structures, economists are exploring the potential of borderless currency, computer scientists are building new applications, and social scientists are looking at overall impact on society.”
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