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Today, three University of California campuses—UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Davis—announced a partnership with MouseBelt Blockchain Accelerator, a “full-service” blockchain development and investment firm. The plan is for MouseBelt to help design, fund, and lead blockchain-based initiatives, each intended to provide students at these campuses with the tools they’ll need to pursue careers in the industry.
“In the 1990s, CS 101 was the hottest class in college. Auditoriums were filled with excited students chasing the new trend that promised high-paying jobs,” MouseBelt Program Director Ashlie Meredith told Decrypt in an interview. “We believe blockchain technology is poised to be the CS 101 for Generation Z.”
MouseBelt’s long-term vision, Meredith explained, is to be an “all-encompassing leader” in the blockchain industry, and a big part of that includes cultivating “a new generation of Internet users who choose privacy, autonomy, decentralization, ownership and security as a mindset and philosophy,” she said.
But the problem is that the demand for blockchain education courses still outweighs the supply, according to Meredith. “Students are being short-changed out of high-paying job opportunities,” she said.
MouseBelt hopes to help change that.
At the three University of California campuses, the company expects to provide new courses, workshops and advice forums for students seeking careers in the blockchain industry, as well as provide funding for those interested in developing their own products and companies.
Through its accelerator program, students can earn up to $100,000 to start their own blockchain businesses, which MouseBelt provides in exchange for a small equity stake in successful projects.
The company is also looking to provide funding to the engineering departments at UCLA, UC Davis, and UCSB, so that students can get first-hand laboratory and research experience. MouseBelt will invest $500,000 in student projects, and another $500,000 directly into a blockchain-focused research fund.
Founded in January 2017, MouseBelt has already invested more than $40 million in roughly 60 blockchain projects. Its MouseBelt University initiative has established student blockchain organizations in more than 65 different colleges, including Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge.