Academic Programs in Cryptocurrency and Blockchain
In late October, the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business announced a new online certificate program in the economics of blockchain and digital assets. Penn is allowing students in the certificate program to pay tuition using cryptocurrency, a first for the Ivy League.
But Wharton's certificate is hardly the first academic foray into blockchain and cryptocurrency. Several universities offer courses, certificates, and degrees in this field, many of which are online.
Cryptocurrency and Blockchain 101
Before we dive into the academic offerings, here's a quick primer on cryptocurrency, including Bitcoin, and blockchain.
Cryptocurrency is a decentralized monetary system that eliminates intermediaries such as banks and governments. Instead, cryptocurrency uses a peer-to-peer computer network to regulate direct purchases among users. Cryptocurrency users can pay for goods and services using virtual "tokens."
If you own cryptocurrency, you can store it in a virtual "wallet." You might connect your wallet to a debit card for everyday purchases. If you're the adventurous sort, you could use cryptocurrency to book a space flight through Virgin Galactic.
Roughly $1.13 trillion of that amount was in Bitcoin, by far the most popular form of cryptocurrency. One Bitcoin equals roughly $60,000, though market volatility can drastically affect the price from day to day.
All cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin, use a technology called blockchain, a public digital ledger of transactions. Each transaction is linked using cryptography, which ensures secure communication of data across decentralized networks. These records, called blocks, link together to form a chain — hence the name.
Blockchain technology can be used for transactions of various kinds, including real estate, intellectual property, automobile titles, and medical records. But it's most commonly associated with cryptocurrency.
Where to Study Blockchain, Cryptocurrency and Decentralized Finance
That growing world of cryptocurrency is far more complex than what's been captured here. If you want to delve into it more deeply, dozens of institutions around the world offer courses and academic programs in the field. Consider the following options:
Through Coursera, the blockchain software company ConsenSys offers a course on blockchain.
Columbia Business School offers an online executive education program in blockchain in business.
Through Coursera, Duke offers a blockchain applications certificate.
The French business school INSEAD offers a course on blockchain, cryptoassets, and decentralized finance through Coursera.
The Linux Foundation, through edX, offers an introductory course on blockchain.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
The MIT Media Lab features a Digital Currency Initiative (DCI). The DCI provides various courses on blockchain and crypto finance. MIT also offers an online executive course on cryptocurrency through Getsmarter.com.
New York University
NYU's Stern School of Business offers various programs in FinTech (financial technology).
The Silicon Valley campus of Northeastern's engineering college offers a master of science in information systems with a blockchain technology specialization.
Through Coursera, Princeton offers a course on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies.
Saint Louis University
SLU offers a post-baccalaureate certificate in blockchain, cryptocurrency and financial technology.
University at Buffalo
Through Coursera, UB offers a four-course specialization in blockchain.
University of California, Berkeley
University of California, Irvine
Through Coursera, UCI offers a four-course specialization in blockchain.
University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA Extension offers a certificate program in Blockchain Technology Management.
University of the Cumberlands
UC offers an online master's in global business with blockchain technology.
University of Hong Kong
University of Michigan
Through Coursera, U-M offers a course on Blockchain and Cryptocurrency.
University of Oxford
Oxford's Said Business School offers an online program in blockchain strategy.
University of Pennsylvania
The Aresty Institute of Executive Education at the Wharton School of Business offers the economics of blockchain and digital assets certificate. Penn also offers a course on cryptocurrency and blockchain through Coursera.
University of Texas at Austin
UT, through edX, offers a course on blockchain for business and finance.