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Education Bitcoin United States

Cryptocurrency Classes Are Coming To Campus (nytimes.com) 81

While the price of Bitcoin has dropped since Christmas, the virtual currency boom has shown no signs of cooling off in the more august precincts of America's elite universities. The New York Times: Several top schools have added or are rushing to add classes about Bitcoin and the record-keeping technology that it introduced, known as the blockchain. Graduate-level classes this semester at Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duke, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of Maryland, among other places, illustrate the fascination with the technology across several academic fields, and the assumption that it will outlast the current speculative price bubble. "There was some gentle ribbing from my colleagues when I began giving talks on Bitcoin," said David Yermack, a business and law professor at New York University who offered one of the first for-credit courses on the topic back in 2014. "But within a few months, I was being invited to Basel to talk with central bankers, and the joking from my colleagues stopped after that." For a class this semester, Mr. Yermack originally booked a lecture hall that could fit 180 students, but he had to move the course to the largest lecture hall at N.Y.U. when enrollment kept going up. He now has 225 people signed up for the class.

Cryptocurrency Classes Are Coming To Campus

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  • Classes? (Score:4, Funny)

    by rmdingler ( 1955220 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @08:45PM (#56106063) Journal
    It seems likely on the order of tomorrow's sunrise that educating the public about the Bitcoin would certainly not lead to more folks purchasing it.
    • The prices fluctuate too wildly for it to be any form of useful investment.

      It resembles a pyramid scheme.

      • by plopez ( 54068 )

        not just a as an investment but also a currency. currencies must be stable to be useful.

    • Re:Classes? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by PolygamousRanchKid ( 1290638 ) on Monday February 12, 2018 @12:07AM (#56106539)

      It seems likely on the order of tomorrow's sunrise that educating the public about the Bitcoin would certainly not lead to more folks purchasing it.

      Even if they are educated, folks still will speculate in Bitcoins anyway. It's like gambling, alcohol, tobacco and opiates. People like to mess with stuff that they know is bad for them.

      I can understand why there is high interest in Blockchain among students. Even if it is riddled with scams right now, Blockchain skills are good to have when applying for your first job. That and Automation and AI.

      Bitcoin is going to run its course, and a lot of folks are going to make a lot of money from idiots during that run. Hell, even Beanie Babies made money for folks . . . for a while.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    For a class this semester, Mr. Yermack originally booked a lecture hall that could fit 180 students, but he had to move the course to the largest lecture hall at N.Y.U. when enrollment kept going up. He now has 225 people signed up for the class.

    HOLY SHIT! BUY NOW!

  • For a class this semester, Mr. Yermack originally booked a lecture hall that could fit 180 students, but he had to move the course to the largest lecture hall at N.Y.U. when enrollment kept going up. He now has 225 people signed up for the class.

    If only there were some means by which colleges could limit the number of students allowed to sign up for a particular course offering... perhaps, someday, they'll come up with one.

    • Re:Demand (Score:5, Funny)

      by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @09:50PM (#56106259)

      For a class this semester, Mr. Yermack originally booked a lecture hall that could fit 180 students, but he had to move the course to the largest lecture hall at N.Y.U. when enrollment kept going up. He now has 225 people signed up for the class.

      If only there were some means by which colleges could limit the number of students allowed to sign up for a particular course offering... perhaps, someday, they'll come up with one.

      Well you could obtain a network of computers and have them all race to solve a mathematical problem, those computers that win the race would be rewarded a seat in the lecture hall. To make sure that the process was transparent, every computer should have a copy of the ledger containing what seats were assigned. You would have to use strong cryptography to ensure that nobody cheated. Since people might want to trade or sell their seats, the ledger would allow transfers of seats from one holder to another. To ensure that a limited number of seats were assigned you would want to have the algorithms stop assigning seats when the limit was hit. As an incentive to continue processing the seat ledger after all the seats are assigned, the system should allow people to offer a transaction incentive to sell a seat...

      • I take it that if you manage to enrol, you've automatically passed?

        A bit like underwater Klingon dance studies.

    • I have an idea! What if everyone had a unique number, and they kept it secret, in something we can call a wallet. Then when they want to go to a class, they can add their number to a list of other numbers signing up for that class, and it will be hashed so that everyone can verify that they were added, but because it's done with secret unique identifiers it won't really be public, but kind of anonymous! Then groups of classes - we'd call them "blocks" - could be strung together for your entire scholastic
    • And when a $Minority tries to sign up and the class is full ...?

  • The class [piazza.com] at Carnegie Mellon is actually at the undergraduate level.

  • This is the discussion in Antifragile about "academic" discoveries that were in fact made by practitioners. pic.twitter.com/xiLZdPOkzi [t.co]

    — Nassim Nicholas Taleb (@nntaleb) November 28, 2017 [twitter.com]

  • by psnyder ( 1326089 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @10:28PM (#56106337)

    If you really want to understand this topic, start by watching Andreas Antonopoulos [youtube.com], a computer scientist who specializes in Data Communications and Distributed Systems. If you care to go further, he has 2 books Mastering Bitcoin [amazon.com] (very technical), and The Internet of Money [amazon.com] (for the layman).

    I would recommend starting with Blockchain vs. Bitcoin in front of Consultants [youtube.com]. You can watch his videos on x2 speed because he enunciates well.

    Don't believe anything in the Slashdot comments. On every article about Bitcoin / Crypto, so many comments are factually inaccurate, even when they sound intelligent, plausible, and are modded +5. In the words of Andreas, "(Bitcoin) isn't what it appears to be at first glance."

    Finally, Princeton has a series of free lectures here: Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies [princeton.edu]

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Mr307 ( 49185 )

      Nothing special to understand.

      Do you want a database with built in 'proof' of integrity (with some generally exploitable caveats), then you can attempt to make blockchain work within its current limitations.

      But so far I dont see the point and it appears to have significant problems scaling amongst other glaring problems, 51% attack, or if the database does have a central record like many do for speed and convenience then many of those are just plain stolen or hacked and who cares what the blockchain says.

      Th

      • 4 talks from Andreas that directly address your concerns.

        Scaling
        Delivering Liberty, at Scale [youtube.com]

        Blockchain
        Blockchain vs. Bullshit: Thoughts on the Future of Money [youtube.com]. Too long? Watch a few minutes starting 6 or 7min in.

        51% Attack
        Andreas Antonopoulos - 51% Bitcoin Attack [youtube.com] from 2015. Short clip from a longer talk. You may have to look more into the ASIC miner distribution, and mining rewards to understand this clip.

        Fool Bubble
        Investing in Education Instead of Speculation [youtube.com]

        Thank you for postin
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Mr307 ( 49185 )

          Most things can be explained very simply, this guy takes forever to say simple things, sounds more like a salesperson than a tech talk, I dont find him very convincing on that basis alone but whatever, to your points.

          1. Takes him 10 minutes to say increase the blocksize and another 14 minutes to say Lightning network or sidechain.
          https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Blo... [bitcoin.it]
          Sidechains are divorced from the block so require other layers of trust and are therefore not blockchain.

          2. complete waste of my time, was a sale

          • Most things can be explained very simply

            "For every complex problem there is a simple solution that is wrong."

            If you can handle the technical side:

            That's all you need.



            To address your other points:

            Sidechains are divorced from the block so require other layers of trust and are therefore not blockchain.

            You're absolutely right. Blockchain was only one of the inventions in the whitepaper. The system doesn't work with it alone. And if you can replace the buzzword "blockchain" with "database" in an application, it's not interesting and adds little to no value.

            51% attack is completely possible, in 2 cases especially. ...

            Right

    • by psnyder ( 1326089 ) on Sunday February 11, 2018 @11:58PM (#56106533)
      Andreas also put his Mastering Bitcoin [github.com] book on GitHub for free.
  • wonder how many enrolled are actually genuinely interested in block chain as opposed to those looking to see if it isn't too late for them to get rich quick too.
    • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

      It may be some kind of bait for a cryptography class.
      If it can get some students to get interested in maths, it is not a bad thing.

  • Reminds me of a friend of mine who had a course about programming concerning the Y2K issue. That way it would be easy to get a job and already have a job. That is obviously a great idea, except for the minor detail that the end of the course was June 2000.

  • Once again academia just on a fashionable trend. Why not merge CS with the design and style departments of a university? Trendy, so modern, so *you*! Until the next sexy teen comes along. After crypto-currencies die the people who jumped on the band wagon will wish they had real skills (not "skillz").

If it wasn't for Newton, we wouldn't have to eat bruised apples.

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