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Blockchain And Crypto In Education Sector

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Nov 29, 2022
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8 min read
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This blog post will cover:

  • Educational institutions offering crypto/blockchain education
  • Blockchain technology use cases in education
  • Is there a place for blockchain technology in education?

“Blockchain” used to be a term heard only around tech bros, cryptography nerds, and academics. Fast forward a few years later since cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum entered the lexicon of modern pop culture, and now the term rings a bell for more people than it ever has in the past. 

While most people recognize blockchain as little more than the piece of technology that makes cryptocurrencies work, blockchain technology has far more potential use cases, for instance, sports, fashion and real estate. One of those fields is education. 

And while the use of blockchain technology in the education space is yet in its earliest stages, with several tangible use cases which we will discuss, there’s no question that the market for blockchain and crypto education is on the rise.

More and more educational institutions have begun to incorporate blockchain education in their curricula, which reflects the increasing interest in the technology and what it could do across industries.

Educational institutions offering crypto/blockchain education

Crypto has captivated inquisitive minds and the interest of scholars – especially in a field hungry for talent – so much so that educational institutions have responded to the demand for quality, formal crypto/blockchain tech education by developing curricula for degree programs and online courses. 

And if you’re interested in pursuing a formal education in blockchain technology, you might want to take a look at the following options to pursue blockchain education:

  • University of Nicosia (UNIC). UNIC was the first university offering a master’s degree on distributed ledger technologies and digital currency. The program offers courses related to blockchain tech, banking, tax, and financial regulations pertaining to cryptocurrency, as well as tokenomics, smart contract programming, among others. Moreover, UNIC offers free courses on DeFi, web3 and the metaverse, and NFTs, which can be credited to their master’s degree program if students choose to pursue one with the school.
  • National University of Singapore (NUS). NUS boasts a robust academic community in the blockchain and fintech sector. Apart from offering a postgraduate certificate program in Financial Technology where blockchain subjects are taken up, NUS also hosts annual seminars featuring the brightest minds in the space. 
  • University of California (Berkeley). UC Berkeley is renowned for its blockchain education initiatives and robust research background on blockchain and fintech. The California-based university offers a selection of on and off-campus courses on blockchain and its regulations through its Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Sciences and online open course provider edX.
  • University of Oxford. The venerable University of Oxford is a distinguished and multi-awarded academic institution. It has also since launched a 6-week online course on blockchain strategy featuring the academic and theoretical rigor associated with the university. The program offers courses focused on incorporating blockchain technology and translating it into business strategy.
  • Cornell University. Ivy League member Cornell University offers two certificate programs covering blockchain and fintech-related subjects. Moreover, the university is known for producing some of the most reputable names in the crypto industry, including Ava Labs CEO Emin Gün Sirer, who teaches several blockchain-related courses at the university.
  • Harvard University. Not to be outdone by its co-Ivy League school, Harvard University is known for having produced the most significant number of graduates working in the crypto and blockchain industry. Harvard offers several courses on bitcoin and blockchain technology as part of its computer science program, besides offering free online open courses on the subject powered by Coursera.
  • Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). MIT offers various distributed ledger technology and cryptocurrency courses online and offline across undergraduate, postgraduate, and professional education levels through its Digital Currency Initiative. Students can take relevant courses in blockchain ethics, crypto finance, blockchain, and money, among many others.

The market for crypto and blockchain education is only set to grow. But are there other ways distributed ledger technologies and digital currency can impact the education industry? 

Blockchain technology use cases in education

Blockchain has quite a few fascinating potential use cases in education. One of the several real-world uses educational institutions employ blockchain technology is to maintain records and credentials. 

Several universities, for instance, issue diplomas in digital formats or minted on-chain as an NFT as immutable proof of ownership of one’s academic credentials. Digital diplomas have become the primary use of blockchain technology in education, albeit to a select group of educational institutions. For instance, graduating students from the University of Nicosia have the option to get their physical diplomas minted on-chain to provide a shareable, verifiable, and tamper-proof diploma securely stored on the blockchain.

Other uses might include added synergies in teaching using smart contracts and furthering opportunities for continuous education.

However, thus far, the numerous suggested use cases for the tech in education are hampered by the challenges of cost, scalability, security, and decentralization that blockchain technology inherently possesses, hindering further adoption.

The possibilities are promising, but the challenges are real, and the real-world applications are still in their embryonic stages.

Blockchain technology could theoretically offer novel test administration methods for teachers and learners using smart contracts. Teachers could, for instance, upload exam questions to the blockchain, while students can access them through an app, with the questions and answers being verified in an irreversible, tamper-proof manner. However, such a use case would need to address the inherent scalability, security, and cost issues to make such a solution work.

Is there a place for blockchain technology in education?

There’s no question that the demand for blockchain education and crypto scholars will continue moving forward. There exists a real, verifiable gap in formal education and skills in the discipline, which is why innovative and top-tier schools are stepping up to fill the need.

And while blockchain technology can be a harbinger of industry-wide transformation across various sectors – education included – the fact is that its real-world application is exclusively limited to attestation of degree completion, credential authentication, and as an alternate payment/donation method for educational institutions.

Blockchain and crypto might yet find their place in the educational industry. But before doing so, solutions must overcome the main hindrances of the technology itself. 

Will we see that one day? Possibly.

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