Professors say the technology behind bitcoin has become so popular, the initial course has been forced out of the classroom and into an auditorium.
New York University has recently doubled the number of courses it offers on blockchain technology, and students can now pursue the subject as an undergraduate major degree.
The NYU Stern School of Business says it expanded the program to meet growing demand from students after offering its first blockchain course in 2014.
“We hope to establish a groundwork so that the students can understand what’s really happening under the hood, so that they can understand both the legal and the business implications, and prepare them to go out and tackle this new market,” said Professor Andrew Hinkes from the Stern School. Blockchain is a distributed recordkeeping technology made famous through the popularity of cryptocurrencies like bitcoin.
Administrators say they expect large companies to partner with the program, interested in new innovations in the space.
According to the school, it’s the first blockchain major offered in the country, though other universities — like Virginia Tech — also offer blockchain-centric curriculums.
Forty-two percent of the world’s top 50 universities have at least one class on cryptocurrencies, according to survey data released last month by the popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase.
NYU’s finance department chair, David Yermack says that when the college’s first course on blockchain and financial services was offered in 2014, just 35 students signed up, a figure that climbed to 230 students by spring 2018, forcing the school to move the class to an auditorium and begin offering it both semesters.
Not only a subject taught at universities, the technology is now also being used by schools themselves. Southern New Hampshire University announced a pilot program earlier this year that would allow graduates to receive proof of their diplomas and certificates via blockchain. Rather than a replacement to paper credentials, the blockchain pilot is being proposed as a portable secure supplement, easily shareable on social media.