The University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB) has reportedly completed its first accredited course that covers topics related to blockchain and distributed ledger technologies (DLT).
The university’s course, which has been taught as a computer science class through the College of Creative Studies, was created after requests made by the Blockchain Acceleration Foundation (BAF), a non-profit entity consisting of students, professors, blockchain development professionals, and other people interested in encouraging the adoption of DLT.
Cameron Dennis, a co-founder of blockchain development efforts at UCSB and president of the BAF, revealed that despite DLT’s increasing popularity on university campuses, students enrolled at UCSB didn’t have many opportunities to learn more about the innovative technology, with the exception of Blockchain at UCSB meetings.
Following several discussions held with UCSB’s administration, Dennis managed to convince the university to offer a computer science course that helps students learn more about blockchain.
“My goal with this course was to teach radically-curious computer science students about compelling blockchain use-cases that can disrupt society’s most entrenched institutions while revolutionizing corporate governance.”
UCSB’s course, called “Decentralized Ledger Technology,” helped students learn about the different blockchain consensus mechanisms (such as proof-of-work and proof-of-stake), Bitcoin (BTC), the flagship cryptocurrency, Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), Solidity (a smart contract programming language), smart contract development, stablecoins, zero-knowledge proofs (ZKPs) and various other blockchain-related topics.
The 2nd annual Coinbase report on higher education, published on August 28, 2019, notes that 56% of the top 50 universities in the world are currently offering one or more courses on cryptocurrencies and blockchain, which is up significantly from only 42% last year. Coinbase’s report also revealed that twice as many students have completed a crypto or DLT course this year compared to 2018.
The report further noted that although computer science courses mainly tend to focus on blockchain (accounting for 32.2%), finance, business and economics classes are now also covering topics related to cryptocurrencies and DLT.
The course was taught by Professor Murat Karaorman, and expert speakers from top blockchain firms also delivered lectures. The speakers included Jay Freeman, co-founder at Orchid Labs and creator of Cydia; Evan Miyazono, research scientist at Protocol Labs; Niklas Kunkel, head of backend services at MakerDAO; and Aditya Asgaonkar, CBC Casper researcher at the Ethereum Foundation.
Miyazonon from Protocol Labs emphasizes the importance for universities to begin offering accredited DLT courses.
“Blockchain projects and the general set of distributed applications will transform many industries and address the important issues of our time. With these tools, we can build better, more equitable, collaborative, shared systems, whether it’s secure and decentralized data storage networks or permissionless identity solutions.”