College Students at Prestigious Institutions are Rushing to Study Bitcoin
College students at some of the world’s most prestigious educational and research institutions such as Stanford are rushing to take cryptocurrency programs, curriculums, and classes.
Dan Boneh, co-director of the Stanford Computer Security Lab and a professor of cryptography, stated in an interview with CNBC that students are becoming more aware of the decentralized nature of Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies, and have demonstrated interest in the structure, technical intricacies, and fundamental concepts of leading cryptocurrencies like bitcoin and Ethereum.
More importantly, in 2017 alone, the price of bitcoin has increased by over six-fold, while the market cap of Ethereum increased from $10 billion to $30 billion, demonstrating drastic surges in value. Taken away by the market valuations of leading cryptocurrencies, Boneh noted that students have become eager to learn more about bitcoin and Ethereum.
“A lot of people are attracted to the huge valuations in these currencies,” said Boneh, emphasizing that security and cryptography are the second-most popular subjects at Stanford’s computer science department.
For the past decade, cryptography has been a vital aspect of the computer science curriculums of educational institutions like Stanford. But, there always has been a lack of practical applications to teach students about because at a large-scale, cryptography has not been utilized by decentralized networks and peer-to-peer (P2P) systems prior to bitcoin and cryptocurrencies.
Since early 2016, some of the largest technology conglomerates and financial institutions in the global market have spent billions of dollars per year to research, develop and design blockchain-based systems. Several start-ups and companies have moved onto launching cryptocurrency networks as well, such as the Ripple network and Zcash.
Most of the cryptocurrencies in the market began as experimental projects, as Boneh explained. But, cryptocurrencies such as Zcash, which became the first successful practical implementation of the ZK-SNARKs cryptographic system, evolved into one of the most successful cryptocurrencies in the market by user base, trading volume, and market valuation, despite being started as an experimental project back in 2014.
Earlier this month, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, a highly respected expert in the technology sector, described Bitcoin as perhaps the most legitimate system out of all, since it is purely mathematical and systematic. Wozniak added that he believes bitcoin is more valuable and useful than gold and fiat currencies like the US dollar, as a store of value.
“There is a certain finite amount of bitcoin that can ever exist. Gold gets mined and mined and mined. Maybe there’s a finite amount of gold in the world, but Bitcoin is even more mathematical and regulated and nobody can change mathematics.”
The rapid increase in the market valuation of cryptocurrencies and the endorsement from experts like Wozniak have led to an increasing popularity around cryptocurrency classes at schools like Stanford.
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