Since Bitcoin was invented, cryptocurrencies and their underlying technology, blockchain, became the most hotly debated topics in the world of finance and data protection. Experts from various industries quickly realized that blockchain offers lots of opportunities for various areas of business. More people started to look for any information about this technology, trying to understand what blockchain is, how it works, and how to use it to make secure transactions and to store data. The demand for information about blockchain was a reason why blockchain courses started gaining popularity. Available only on online platforms at first, today blockchain courses are offered even by the University of California, New York University, and Stanford University.
Around half a dozen universities around the world now accept bitcoin for tuition payments and textbooks, including King's College in New York. Although only one ESMT student has paid his university tuition with bitcoin so far, Garlichs expects the number to increase because in many programs the overwhelming majority of students come from abroad. Irene Patrikios, who helps coordinate the UNIC Blockchain Initiative, half of the students enrolled in the digital currency master's program now pay their tuition in bitcoin, plus up to two percent of the general student body, which is around 11,500 people. Umberto Tarantino, co-founder of Blockchain Education Network Italia, told IBT their organization has 300 members that represent students and faculty at 30 Italian universities.
On a clear, warm night earlier this year, several dozen University of California, Berkeley students folded themselves into gray chairs for a three-hour class on how to think like blockchain entrepreneurs. The evening's challenge, presented by Berkeley City Councilmember Ben Bartlett, was to brainstorm how blockchain technology might be used to alleviate the city's growing homeless problem. "We have at least 1,400 homeless people in our city, and that includes many right here at UC Berkeley," Bartlett told the class. "So how can we use blockchain to fund a new prosperity? That's a challenge I'd like you to take on."
Financial technology, or fintech, has long been regarded by financial institutions as the major source of disruption in their industry. Surprisingly, however, a large number of institutions still have no reliable fintech strategy to deal with the existing and expected disruptions. With ambitions of supplying fintech leadership beyond Hong Kong to mainland China and the international job market, local universities are launching several postgraduate courses in fintech in 2019 for people working in finance, technology, regulation or fintech itself. Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST) has been designing a postgraduate programme for the best part of 2018, to be launched during the next academic year. Combining the university's main strengths, the one-year fulltime master of science in financial technology (MScFinTech) is jointly offered by HKUST's schools of business management, engineering and science.