The Financial Times recently published an interesting review on top universities now offering courses dedicated to Bitcoin.
One such institution is New York University. Geoffrey Miller from the NYU School of Law and David Yermack from the Stern School of Business had teamed up to launch an MBA-level course for this past fall.
The course explored the legal and economic subject matter relevant to virtual currencies. Interestingly, Yermack’s view on bitcoin differs from that of many his students, who are excited by bitcoin as a currency and believe that it can function like gold as a shelter from inflation. Yermack belongs to the increasingly mainstream camp skeptical of bitcoin’s future as a global currency and instead sees greater potential in its technology. He explained:
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“What we are teaching is a set of issues and technologies. The technology cannot be reversed. Certain sectors of banking are ripe for disruption, such as international money transfer, and bitcoin may be only a first move in what could be a real change in the payments system, so we are going to stick with this.”
At Duke, Prof. Campbell Harvey’s course focuses on Bitcoin’s technology, functioning almost like a “semester-long business hackathon” where he is the “VC Professor”. The only deliverable in the course is a proposal of a venture built on Bitcoin’s blockchain.
Like at NYU, the law and business students are brought together, but Duke also offers the course to computer science students. Together, they were organized into nine mini-startup teams.
In order to avoid a repeat of the fight that broke out over Facebook’s inception at Harvard, students are required to sign “no poaching” contracts and non-disclosure agreements.