• Higher Education Must Pivot Towards Emerging Technologies, Including Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies, Driven by Student and Industry Demand

  • The University of Southern California is laying out a plan to stay relevant in a world that requires students to think critically and respond to external stimuli.

    I believe we can all agree that it is unjust. Students enrolled in college during this pandemic have gotten the short end of the stick. However, what they lack in traditional social experiences, they may make up for in resiliency – perhaps the most important characteristic of a new hire.

    USC, which first taught a class on blockchain technology in 2017, is now offering a blockchain minor through its Viterbi School of Engineering to students enrolled in the information technology program.

    The program makes no judgments on the financial aspects of blockchain technologies, including cryptocurrencies. Instead, the program is intended to teach students how to use technology. Whatever your stance on cryptocurrencies, blockchain technologies – on which cryptocurrencies are based – are game changers.

    To demonstrate this point, China has extensively tested its e-yuan – the country’s CBDC – which is based on technology very similar to that used to support cryptocurrencies. The ramifications are enormous.

    It will enable international remittances to take place at a fraction of the cost of sending money abroad using current technology. Furthermore, it will almost certainly bring the vast majority of the unbanked population into our financial system. The advantages are far more extensive than this column could possibly cover.

    Suffice it to say, digital currencies are here to stay, and they will undeniably change the way the world interacts with money. Blockchain technologies, which will enable this to happen, have real-world applications in a variety of industries to improve logistics operations and reduce fraud.

    It won’t be long before blockchain becomes its own industry. The pandemic has accelerated digitization by years, and job opportunities are nearly limitless.

    While a 2019 Coinbase report stated that 56 percent of the world’s top fifty universities offered at least one crypto or blockchain course, this simply isn’t enough. Education, like the government, is simply not moving fast enough to meet market demands.

    Eventually, every program in the country will provide a comprehensive curriculum on these emerging technologies, but that time is further away than the industry requires – and students deserve.

    Students attend university in order to better prepare themselves for a career. However, many students majoring in ‘information technology and systems’ are missing out on curriculum related to the most significant development in their future field since the rise of e-commerce.

    Today, not tomorrow, is the day when we must all work together to ensure that higher education meets the needs of industry and society.

    Every university, college, and community college in America should provide students with an introduction to blockchain technology and digital assets, and every high school should provide electives that allow students to learn rudimentary coding.

    If we want to compete on a global scale, we must prepare our students to work in the economy of the future.

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