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The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency exchange today released its second annual report on the state of crypto and blockchain in higher education—and the findings are even more promising than the last.
Based on survey of 735 U.S. students age 16 and older conducted by London-based adtech company Qriously, Coinbase found that the number of students who have taken at least one blockchain-related course has doubled from the previous year. What’s more, based on data from US News and World Report, Coinbase’s report suggests that more than half of the world’s top colleges and universities (56 percent) now offer at least one course on cryptocurrency or blockchain—up from 42 percent in 2018.
Of all the colleges and universities surveyed, Coinbase reports that the top school for blockchain education is currently Cornell University, which now offers 14 different classes on crypto and features a student-led Cornell Blockchain Club.
The student who started that club, Joseph Ferrera, told Coinbase that he became interested in blockchain in 2017 and was disappointed at the time to see how few offerings there were at his university. With the help of computer science professor and co-director of Initiative for Cryptocurrencies Contracts (IC3) Emin Gun Sirer, Ferrera launched the club, only to be shocked by the number of students from different disciplines who attended the first meeting.
“There’s a ton of interest from the business school, the hotel management school, the medical school, even the agriculture school,” Ferrera told Coinbase. “We’ve had so many professors reach out to learn more about blockchain and see how it applies to their field. It’s cool to be part of a community where there’s so much engagement.”
In terms of the school rankings, Cornell took a huge leap from its ninth-place standing among universities in 2018. This year, it tops MIT, NYU, Stanford, and the Ecole Polytechnique Federale of Lausanne, which rounds out the top five.
Cesare Fracassi, head of the Blockchain Initiative at the University of Texas in Austin (ranked 13th), said in the report that he believes the spike in blockchain interest among students has to do with many new generations losing faith in the present financial system and believing that blockchain can be utilized to achieve social justice.
“Some of the students interested in this topic are ones who feel mistrust of the current banking system,” he said. “They want to create an alternative system where the decision-making process isn’t centralized. Those are the more idealistic ones.”
Indeed, that idealism appears to be driving strong interest in blockchain education throughout the world. Just last week, three University of California campuses partnered up with a blockchain accelerator MouseBelt to help design new courses and workshops for students interested in pursuing careers in the crypto industry.