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University Crypto Courses Gaining Prominence

University Crypto Courses Gain Prominence

In the most recent years of cryptocurrency growth, one particular trend observed in academia is the uptick in blockchain-related courses and increased student participation in crypto activities.

It can be described as perhaps an improvement when it comes to crypto adoption, with Coinbase recently publishing a report of a survey carried out by Qriously which partly assessed the overall crypto sentiment among university students. And not surprisingly, the developing trends in cryptocurrency adoption – in whichever form – be it economics, political, social or even in technical aspects, have grown on students and rallied an unwavering enthusiasm towards crypto learning. The survey reports:

“Among students, distrust in the current financial system is feeding an increasing curiosity around crypto, and it cuts across disciplines.”

Being a center for knowledge seekers, the university grounds provides an unlimited opportunity for like minds to brace forward-thinking concepts, and launch towards the expanding frontiers of innovation. And luckily, most universities are not elusive to the intellectual escapade of blockchain technology despite numerous uncertainties within the industry such as regulation. In fact, such uncertainties have proven to spark curiosity in the first place.

According to the report: “Stanford Law students taking ‘Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies: Law, Economics, Business, and Policy’ study legal and regulatory structures with a particular emphasis on ‘securities regulation’… Sociology undergrads at Stanford are exploring the potential for blockchain to create a fairer economic system in a class called ‘Justice + Poverty Innovation’.”

And even though the “blockchain fad”, as many anti-crypto factions would casually dismiss, appears to be overly hyped or speculative at best, the unraveling potentials far outweigh what most academicians have seen in a long time. As Dawn Song, a computer science professor at the University of California Berkeley, puts it:

“The blockchain domain’s interdisciplinary nature makes it very different from any traditional field.”

Compared to Coinbase’s inaugural 2018 report on higher education, a 14% rise in the adoption of crypto-related subjects among the top 50 universities in the world does prove that the concepts of blockchain technology continue to spread like wildfire and can only draw more attention from the masses.

Many of these blockchain initiatives within universities have rallied support from across the globe. The good thing about most of these educative initiatives is that one doesn’t need to be physically present to take a blockchain or crypto-related course as most of these courses are offered online. Oftentimes, some of these initiatives come with amazing scholarships, as have been seen in the University of Malta and the Fudan University in China, among many others who aim to support blockchain education.

A forward-looking approach to the uptick in crypto-related education can as well impact job creation in the nascent field, as more competent and well-versed developers, crypto-economics strategists, specialized legal officers can help chart a better course into the uncharted territories of blockchain enterprise.

 

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Deloitte: 84% of Businesses Say Blockchain Mainstream a ”Matter of Time”

Multinational professional services network Deloitte has published results of its 2018 Global Blockchain Survey, with significant findings including that 84% of businesses believe blockchain mainstream adoption is just a matter of time, with the biggest issue to this identified as regulatory concerns.

A total of 1,053 companies took part in the survey across seven countries: Canada, the US, Mexico, France, the UK, Germany and China. Respondents came from ten different industries, with the majority part of financial services, technology/media/telecommunications, and consumer products and manufacturing. Nearly all of the respondents held C-level or equivalent positions, with the largest functional area represented being from information technology.

Key Deloitte findings

  • 84% of businesses responded that they believe it was only a matter of time before blockchain ”achieves mainstream adoption”.
  • The most significant advantage of blockchain over existing systems in the respondents’ industries was voted as the potential for greater speed compared to that currently in use, at 32%; just 2% said they did not see any advantage of blockchain over their established systems.
  • 84% agreed that blockchain-based solutions brought higher levels of security than conventional information technologies.
  • When questioned on the greatest barriers for implementing blockchain technology, 39% cited regulatory issues, 28 % a lack of in-house skills or understanding, and 6% said there were no barriers.
  • The most dominant stakeholders enquiring about blockchain strategies were suppliers with 54% of the businesses experienced this, followed by market analysts at 48%; only 7% had received no such queries.
  • Supply chain blockchain solutions were the most popular response for current use cases the companies were working on at 53%, Internet of Things came second with 51%, and digital identity at 50%; of the businesses surveyed, 4% were not working on any.

The US is falling behind

When it comes to blockchain, the Deloitte survey indicates that the US is not number one. In fact, of the US companies that participated, blockchain had been deployed in production at a much lower rate than those from other countries; 14% of US respondents have begun internal blockchain productions compared to 50% in China and Mexico. It also fell behind other countries when it came to hiring new employees with blockchain experience with just 24% of countries doing so. China was the highest performing in this category with a staggering 86% investing in industry-skilled workers.

Canada is getting it right

In contrast to its neighboring country, Deloitte found a ”vibrant and growing community of blockchain enthusiasts and entrepreneurs” in Canada, putting it at the forefront of both blockchain and cryptocurrency innovations. There is apparently no signs of innovation slowing down in the country, not since Ethereum, in fact, the analysis states.

Part of this success can be attributed to a consistently evolving role of regulations that tend to keep up with changes that blockchain brings, something the US has been struggling with. Despite regulatory concerns being the top issue for the majority in regards to adoption, two-thirds of Canadian respondents do not believe this will be a barrier in their country.

Financial services face pivotal issues, lead progression

The financial services sector may have been the first to explore and globally recognize the potentials of blockchain but its investment is being outperformed by the automotive, life sciences, oil and gas, and tech, media, and telecom sectors. Several significant issues were cited by the participating financial service companies including scalability and security.

As organizations look to explore the extensive number of blockchain solutions within reach, scalability must be addressed. As referenced above, 84% of surveyed companies said they believed blockchain powered systems were more secure, although security is still a major topic discussed by financial services as the ”new threat matrix” is still emerging.

Interestingly, over half of respondents from the oil, gas and automotive industries said that they viewed blockchain uses primarily as ”a database for money or an application for the financial services industry”,’ in conflict with the significantly high number of executives from those industries that claimed to have ”excellent- to expert-level” blockchain understanding. Those from the life sciences and financial services sector voted in far greater numbers that the use cases for blockchain expand far past just financial service provision.

Executives from the financial sector have indeed been leading the way in reexamining areas where the technology can be used to improve the processes and functions of operations that have been static long-term, unsurprisingly ahead of their colleagues in other sectors in terms of development.

”Closer to its breakout moment every day”

The Deloitte survey concludes that academic hypothesis from five years ago is gradually coming into fruition; developers are moving past stages of learning and exploring its potential, to identifying and creating business directed applications. ”[Blockchain] is getting closer to its breakout moment every day”, analysis from the survey reads, pointing to the participating executives’ responses that they plan to make major moves in the field over the following several years.

It continues to suggest a practical future for the technology: ”Instead of concentrating on how to use blockchain to support a specific product or idea, the time has come to focus on evolving blockchain itself… we’re seeing the most dramatic progress being made by those organizations that have willfully jumped into the deep end of the pool.”

 

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Romania’s Crypto Development Calls for E-funds Issuance Draft Bill

The Romanian Finance Ministry has announced the release of what it refers to as an Emergency Ordinance, which targets the issuance of e-funds in the country, writes Cointelegraph.

In Europe’s second poorest nation, the cryptocurrency industry is in its early stages of development without a coherent regulatory framework and although the use of Bitcoin is not illegal, the Romanian Financial Supervision Authority has issued warnings against its uses due what it calls “risk of fraud”.

The announced move is aimed at adding some clarity the issuance of e-funds which would see digital currency falling under the same legal umbrella. The new draft states electronic money as being:

“…monetary value stored electronically, including magnetic, representing a claim on the issuer issued on receipt of funds for the purpose of performing payment transactions and which is accepted by a person other than the issuer of electronic money.”

The draft goes on to state that that under this description, any legal issuer of e-money must have a share capital of no less than EUR 350,000 (USD 409,000), and issuers must have sought approval by the Romanian National Bank (BNR).

Those entities listed as being able to legally issue funds under the proposed rules would be credit institutions, electronic money institutions, the European Central Bank, and the national central banks.

Approval from the BNR would be valid for a period of 12 months although it is not clear if this would need to be renewed after the expiry period without a further submission to its governing regulator in order to continue operating. Any unauthorized issuance of funds through the BNR would be regarded as a criminal offence, punishable by a fine or six months to three years imprisonment.

Although the crypto industry in Romania could hardly be described as vibrant, Bucharest has its own Bitcoin ATM and the western town of Oreada is home to BTCXChange, the country’s first exchange owned by local politician Horea Vuscan. When asked about the difficulties connected with running a cryptocurrency exchange in Romania, Vuscan said that he had “groped around in the legislation and interpreted some policies”.

According to a news source, in 2017, the country’s Business, Commerce and Entrepreneurship Environment Minister Ilan Laufer said that he approved of cryptocurrency, but called for regulation, commenting:

“It’s a challenge for the banking system because this area isn’t very well regulated and I believe that this should happen. It’s an area in which lots of money circulates, but it is also a new technology.”

 

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