The first time you heard about Bitcoin, you may have thought it would be the last — magic internet money that doesn’t require a bank account? But as time goes on, it becomes more and more clear that we’re not done hearing about it; crypto is here to stay.
The blockchain boom has even scored the validation of prestigious universities all around the world. Stanford University has unrolled a "Center for Blockchain Research," Cornell University has founded its own "Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts" and MIT has set up a "Digital Currency Initiative."
Though the selection for full-on bachelor’s degrees in blockchain are few, you can enroll in individual courses to help better navigate the complex world of digital currency. Though it might take some time to become a full on blockchain engineer, taking a few courses can help you understand the basics of concepts like "smart contracts" and not panic when you see the term "SHA-256 algorithm."
Why Should I Study Crypto?
- Blockchain technology is exciting! The field of digital currency is fast-paced, innovative and continuously evolving. There are always new curveballs to navigate, which means the possibilities for blockchain technology can feel endless — sort of like the early days of the internet, when the web was like a wild west full of brazen potential.
- You can be a part of the revolution. One of the main tenets of blockchain is "censorship-resistance." Studying crypto can give you access to this digital currency revolution, and help build a more equitable and fair world.
- Blockchain is an expanding sector of employment, with a growing number of high-salaried career opportunities available. Those who work in blockchain can earn up to six figures. For instance, blockchain developers make an annual salary between $150,000 - $175,000 USD.
Where Can I Study Crypto?
Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, more and more universities are offering courses online, and you don"t even have to be an enrolled student to register or take part.
One great place to start is Coursera. The Coursera platform has partnerships with thousands of accredited universities that offer free online classes. Though none of your work may lead to a traditional university degree, the information could help land you a high paying job. Currently, Coursera offers a number of courses on blockchain hosted by University of Pennsylvania, Stanford University and University of Michigan, to name a few. The most popular course is Bitcoin & Cryptocurrency Technologies offered by Princeton University.
Other non-degree granting programs can be found by the experts at the crypto trading platform Coinbase. The pros at Coinbase have built a quirky and innovative education experience where you can get paid to learn about individual cryptocurrencies like Zcash, Stellar Lumens and EOS. Each video you watch leads to a deposit in your digital wallet (and later your bank account)! CoinMarketCap also has a “Learn Crypto, Earn Crypto” program where you can learn about various altcoins and acquire some digital assets.
Last but not least, you can also gain knowledge on blockchain via individual cryptocurrencies and the educational platforms they have developed. Be sure to check out Ethereum Learn, where you can study anything from the origins of the currency to why decentralization matters.
But, What If I Want to Earn a B.A or MsC?
Stanford course catalog features classes like "Cryptography," "Scaling Blockchains” and "Cryptocurrencies & Ledgers," to name a few, while Cornell offers a Blockchain Essentials Certificate that can be completed online and in under two weeks.
MIT is another trailblazer in its expansive crypto course offerings, with classes on topics like "Blockchain Ethics" and "Crypto Finance," which are available for their enrolled students. However, if you are not a student at MIT, they also offer free online courses for anyone who is interested!
Other options that have been widely praised include the FinTech program at New York University, as well as the Electrical Engineering and Computer Science department at University of California, Berkeley, which also has a huge online hub for free classes on crypto.
Aside from options within the United States, there are blockchain-oriented programs at the National University of Singapore and ETH Zurich (Swiss Institute of Technology) that have continuously been held in high regard.