Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Infiltrate Education

October 25, 2017 - 4 minutes read

Image Source: CoinDesk

FinTech app developers probably won’t have to worry about job security any time soon. We’ve all heard of the numerous disruptions that cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are causing, but this is just the beginning. Both have come a long way since 2 pizzas were bought with 10,000 bitcoins in 2010. Recently, bitcoin was used to buy art, a Tesla Model S, and even a house.

Now, blockchain and cryptocurrency are beginning to enter a field that’s been quite resistant to disruption — education.

Receiving a Baccalaureate Through Blockchain

Like most colleges, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) usually issues paper diplomas to its graduates. This past summer, MIT tried something new. 111 graduates received their degree through blockchain in addition to traditional paper.

MIT collaborated with the Dallas mobile app developers of Learning Machine to develop the Blockcerts Wallet app, which made these digital degrees possible. The app utilizes the same blockchain implementation that bitcoin employs, except instead of coins, degrees are the “currency.”

After downloading the app, graduates now have an easy, verifiable way to share proof of their accomplishment with a potential employer. MIT isn’t the only one tapping into blockchain’s potential for record-keeping. The Holbertson School for Software Engineering is also using blockchain to provide course completion certifications. So now, aspiring San Francisco mobile app developers won’t have to lug around a portfolio full of papers to their next interview.

Paying the Tuition Bill with Bitcoin

If getting your degree through blockchain isn’t enough, you can also pay for your tuition with bitcoin at the Lucerne University of Applied Sciences and Arts in Switzerland. The country of Switzerland is optimistic about digital currencies and blockchain, so this comes as no surprise. Although, there are a few caveats.

Lucerne is not taking bitcoin directly. Bitcoin Suisse AG, a processing firm, handles the bitcoin payments for them. Basically, Bitcoin Suisse AG accepts and holds the bitcoin payments made through an e-banking portal for Lucerne. They also bear the brunt of any price fluctuations or exchange rate losses. Even though Lucerne relies on this third party, the bitcoin transaction fees are only one percent, which is actually much lower than traditional payment transaction fees.

Crypto Class Is Now in Session

Of course, disrupting education couldn’t be complete without actual classes in cryptocurrencies becoming a reality. Russian politicians have an array of opinions on cryptocurrencies, with many outright opposing the concept. But digital currencies have become too big to ignore, so Russia recently made the puzzling announcement that they would be educating the general population on cryptocurrencies.

This announcement isn’t exactly an optimistic one for cryptocurrency’s future in Russia. Anton Siluanov, Russia’s Finance Minister, claims the education will center around the risks of investing in digital currencies. The education program will begin later this year and is expected to end in 2023, although this could change. With news circulating of Russia making its own cryptocurrency, regulating ICOs, and possibly taxing mining, there’s no telling what will really happen next.

The Future of Education?

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies are still finding their place in the world. These latest developments in education are interesting, especially when considering how little this field has changed outside of the internet’s influence. Without a doubt, education has been one of the most rigid areas resistant to disruption. However, if blockchain and cryptocurrency can keep this momentum up, that may change very soon.

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