Cornell University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and New York University are the tops when it comes to offering courses in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, according to a new report from Coinbase.
In addition, more than half (56%) of the world’s top 50 universities now offer at least one cryptocurrency or blockchain course, according to the 2nd Annual Coinbase Report on Higher Education, released on August 28. That’s up from 42% in 2018.
What’s more, the number of students that report having taken one of those courses doubled in the past year.
“The increasing interest in studying crypto at colleges and universities speaks volumes about the future of money,” said Nina Willdorf, director of content and editorial for Coinbase, in a release. “What’s most exciting about these findings is that they show interest far beyond computer science and programming to law, economics, finance, and social sciences.”
Nearly 70% of those classes are in departments other than computer science. While it accounts for almost one third of crypto and blockchain classes, finance, business and economics departments now account for nearly 20%. Law classes make up another 10.7%.
“The blockchain domain’s interdisciplinary nature makes it very different from any traditional field,” University of California Berkeley (No. 6) computer science professor Dawn Song was quoted as saying in the report. “And so at schools around the world, legal scholars are grappling with ethics and regulatory structures, economists are exploring the potential of borderless currency, computer scientists are building new applications, and social scientists are looking at overall impact on society.”
Coinbase’s report also notes a growing interest among students in learning how to use blockchain and cryptocurrencies for social justice causes. That grew from 13% to 20% between 2018 and 2019.
Indeed, Facebook has made helping the unbanked poor access financial services a major part of its reason for creating the proposed Libra cryptocurrency. The United Nations is also actively exploring the technology. The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the UN International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Food Programme (WFP) are all using or experimenting with blockchain.
The study was performed by Qriously for Coinbase. It surveyed 735 U.S. students age 16 and older. The general population survey included 6,011 respondents, also 16 and older. The report’s authors also reviewed courses at 50 international universities, analyzed research citations and extracurricular offerings, and interviewed students and professors. The Top 50 Universities were based on U.S. News & World Reports: Best Global Universities of 2019.