Illinois is capitalizing on young peoples’ newfound love of bitcoin and cryptocurrency. Several universities within the state now offer digital currency-based classes to registered students.
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Illinois Sure Loves Its Bitcoin
The “Land of Lincoln” has had a positive history with virtual assets. Like Arizona and Georgia, the Prairie State has introduced a new house bill that if passed, would allow users to pay tax bills with cryptocurrency.
But things aren’t stopping there. Younger generations, particularly college students, are growing more accustomed to bitcoin and digital currency trends, and thus want in on the action. Many have lobbied for university courses to include bitcoin in their lesson plans, and for the most part, their wishes are being granted.
A Few New Choices
The Illinois Institute of Technology, for example, will offer its first course on the blockchain this coming summer. In addition, finance department head and professor Gib Bassett is creating a panel discussion in his Chicago Exchanges MBA class in late March. He’s taught the course for over a decade, and now recognizes the need to keep his students in-tune with the growing popularity and trends behind crypto.
“They want to hear about bitcoin,” he explained. “Their parents have told them it’s a tulip bubble, but it’s crazy. It’s ridiculous, and their friends who invested three years ago are millionaires. There’s clearly a generational component to all of this.”
Associate professor at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management Sarit Markovich recently got approval to create a brand-new course that would focus entirely on cryptocurrency applications. The class will be offered to students in the school’s MBA program starting next year.
Markovich is fascinated by blockchain technology, and says its necessary for students to understand so they can stay current and “in the now.”
“It’s not so much about being ahead,” she assures. “It’s making sure that you’re not going to be behind.”
The Students Want More
24-year-old student Johnny Roumanidakis is a master’s student at DePaul’s Driehaus College of Business. He and his assigned group recently wrote a final course paper regarding the “technology driving bitcoin” rather than their original topic, which dealt with CME futures contracts.
He plans to work for his family’s manufacturing business after graduation, and admits their company doesn’t employ blockchain technology, but feels it’s becoming much more important, and thought the paper could potentially serve as a starting point towards future learning.
“We just wanted to see if we could wrap our heads around the technology and what drives the value behind it,” he said. “It seems so controversial, and not many people understand it.”
One More for Good Measure
Assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Andrew Miller recently started a course dealing with smart contracts and “computer programs that run on cryptocurrency.”
He says the class filled up within hours, and he credits the blockchain for making it “easier” for up-and-comers to enter the financial industry, which is usually barred by excessive certifications and exams.
“A whole lot more seems possible,” he said.
Are we likely to see more blockchain and bitcoin courses offered at national universities? Post your comments below.
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