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This Blockchain Startup Will Help Alleviate Student Debt Burden

Blockchain Startup Blockstack Teams With Lambda School To Tackle American Student Debt

New York-based Blockstack, a public benefit corporation has partnered with Lambda School to help students explore cutting-edge technologies as they lay the foundation for their careers – counterpoising tuition fee burden.

Have you heard the news? We’re partnering with @blockstack to provide #LambdaSchool students and alumni an opportunity to earn cash for the #apps they build while they finish their #education. 🙌Read all about it here: https://t.co/wauGF0YOHF pic.twitter.com/nC0tGgMzrM

— Lambda School (@LambdaSchool) August 13, 2019

Lambda School offers an education model wherein the students don’t have to pay any fee until they bag high-paying jobs, well at least a minimum amount of USD 50k per year. The program is designed in such a way that the students are relieved from the pressure of loans with an objective to sway their undiverted concentration towards achieving their career goals – without any compromises.

So where does Blockstack come in the picture? Well, the partnership will bring a new approach to technical learning at the students’ disposal. They will have the opportunity to sharpen their real-world development skills by working on Blockstack apps. Not to mention the opportunity to earn monthly reward payments through Blockstack’s App Mining program.

“This is the sort of program I wish was available to me when I was a young student, and I have no doubt the lessons learned here will help Lambda School students excel as they enter the innovative world of technology.”

Muneeb Ali, CEO of Blockstack PBC

The incline of the educational programs towards cutting-edge technologies such as blockchain is not entirely new. As reported in May 2019, the prestigious  University of Pennsylvania joined the growing list of universities launching into blockchain or cryptocurrency via education centers and courses. Earlier this year, Fudan University, one of the top-ranked institutions of China established a blockchain research center in Shanghai. The inclination of these top-notch universities towards crypto and blockchain goes a long way towards promoting emerging technologies among budding engineers and coders.

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SEC More Informed Than Expected at DC Blockchain Forum

SEC More Informed Than Expected at DC Blockchain Forum

The week started with the much-awaited Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) first Fintech Forum, held on 31 June in Washington DC.

Issues on the agenda were expected to be related to cryptocurrency assets and DLT with key SEC officials being joined by various legal, financial and technical experts, but what surprised experts was the degree of knowledge SEC representatives already had on a range of crypto-related topics.

Cynics have always labeled the SEC with a lack of understanding on all things crypto, therefore, maintaining a wait n see stance, particularly on matters relating to Bitcoin ETFs. The SEC’s chops were reportedly highly visible at the meeting. Joshua Ashley Klayman, managing member of Klayman LLC, a boutique law firm was, like others, surprised at the SECs acquired crypto knowledge:

“Clearly they have been listening to what those in the community – and their counsel – have been saying to them and they’ve put a lot of effort into understanding this space
 It was a much higher-level discussion than the basics of blockchain.”

On the SEC side, Valerie Szczepanik, the SEC’s senior advisor for digital assets through in Ethereum smart-contract programming language when explaining a point about the need for more dialogue between the agency and developers and explained that both the SEC and developers needed “to translate between each other”. She added that both sides need to fill the educational gap when it came to understanding bot regulation and development, pointing out:

“We also learned that the federal securities laws are just as complex to computer scientists as coding smart contracts in Solidity are to regulators.”

Another attendee at the forum went away with a somewhat renewed perceptions of the SEC, Attorney Stephen Rutenberg, a shareholder at Polsinelli and a member of the firm’s Fintech and Regulation Practice, agreed that the SEC’s understanding of DLTs was “beyond what most people think”.

 

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University of Pennsylvania Latest Ivy Leaguer with Crypto Course on Offer

University of Pennsylvania Latest Ivy Leaguer with Crypto Course on Offer

The University of Pennsylvania has become the latest prestigious university to join a growing list either launching into blockchain or cryptocurrency via education centers and course.

Students will now be able to participate in an online program on financial technologies, including digital currencies at the university’s Wharton School. The new course, Fintech: Foundations and Applications of Financial Technologies, covers crypto essentials including DLT and crowdfunding and other related topics.

US Ivy League Universities have been in the crypto news over the past year with both Columbia and Stanford opening blockchain research centers in 2018, hot on the trails of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Add to these, Miami University in Ohio, Montclair State University, and now the University of Pennsylvania’s online course amongst others, and the direction of blockchain education in the US is very clear; there is no way but up.

Wharton online director Anne Trumbore, who formed the research project Stevens Center targeting fintech, said that the university was keen to add cryptocurrency as part of its holistic attitude to fintech. As part of the new online course, Penn students will be able to benefit from access to speakers from within the industry, such as payment processor Square, as well as university lecturers.

It is not just universities now taking an interest in the industry. For many, the main route into the burgeoning fintech space has now become via a growing range of courses being offered by business schools around the world. Courses are now on offer from far and wide whether it be in the Scottish Highlands or in sunny Cyprus.

 

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Paxful CEO: From Homeless in New York to Building Homes in Africa

Paxful CEO_ From Homeless in New York to Building Homes in Africa

Bitcoin News has been following the fortunes of peer-to-peer Bitcoin marketplace Paxful since covering Africa in our Humanitarian Blockchain series published last year. One Crypto Briefing interviewer was lucky enough to catch up with company founder Ray Youssef to discuss the ups and downs of the company’s Africa project.

From co-founding the company in 2015 with Artur Shaback, after pushing Bitcoin as an alternative payment system on the back of classified advertising website Backpage’s successes as a crypto marketplace directory, to piloting numerous projects in Africa, the company has moved from strength to strength.

However, it wasn’t always like that as in the early days living in New York Youssef was made homeless after being unable to pay his rent. The company has had its dissenters too, just months ago coming under scrutiny after being accused of defrauding thousands of Nigerian clients of funds accumulated from online trade in digital currencies. Nigerians now using the platform has risen to over three million.

Youssef argues that Paxful, looking into cases of fraud on its platform at the time, was forced to freeze the related accounts of traders who were using the platform in order to scam users.

The company has gained popularity on the African continent, principally due to P2P becoming the preferred trading method and also the multitude of ways cryptocurrencies can be purchased on its platform. It is for Paxful’s humanitarian projects in building schools in Africa that the company has become known for.

Paxful has a busy 2019 ahead with numerous projects already in the pipeline. The company announced it wasn’t prepared to stop at its first BTC donation but now had plans to expand on the two completed schools in Rwanda to fund and build a further 100 schools across the African continent. With Bitcoin donations and academic scholarships the prize for socially supportive projects, Paxful is fast becoming a humanitarian face of blockchain.

 

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Malta Offers 19 DLT Scholarships in Bid to Push Blockchain Education

Malta Offers 19 DLT Scholarships in Bid to Push Blockchain Education

Blockchain-friendly Malta is never slow to come forward with new crypto innovations and is now launching further into the education sector to prepare for the future with 19 students recently being awarded DLT grants.

Dubbed “Blockchain Island” by both the prime minister Joseph Muscat and Silvio Schembri, the Parliamentary Secretary for Financial Services, Digital Economy and Innovation, the DLT Scholarship Grants to University of Malta students show the intent to keep blockchain expertise on the island and not lose innovation to overseas employers.

Both Schembri and University of Malta rector Alfred Vella are working in tandem to ensure the island nation continues on its current path to make Malta the place for blockchain companies to call home, with local expertise supporting the industry on the island. Schembri commented on the latest move:

“These 19 awardees are a symbol of courage to embrace change and we definitely need more like them. I thank the and MITA’s future-looking mind-set and for their commitment in preparing future generations for the necessities of future industries, as well as the building blocks of Malta The Blockchain Island require everyone’s involvement, from the ground up.”

The Parliamentary Secretary went on to point out that the rate of change in the areas of ICT engineering and legal work needed blockchain to keep pace with technology, as it takes more of a central role across all of the professions.

The scholarships were given the green light back in 2018 which paved the way for a grant of EUR 300,000 (USD 330,000) which will allow for a three-year period enabling students to continue studies in blockchain and distributed ledger technology at both masters and doctorate levels.

The successful students will read for a Master’s degree in Blockchain, DLT as well as Law and DLT, Finance and Business, and ICT and DLT.

 

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Can Blockchain-Backer Matt Hancock Woo Party Millennials and Become Next UK PM

Hancock

With speculation mounting as the race to become nominated for the leadership of the UK conservative party and hence become the next British Prime Minister, Blockchain advocate and tech campaigner Matt Hancock has thrown his hat into the ring.

With the number of candidates now standing at eight, with more yet to put their names forward in the next few days, current Health Secretary of State and former economist at the Bank of England, Hancock has the country’s tech-savvy millennial population well within his sights.

Matthew John David Hancock is a British Conservative Party politician serving as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care since 2018 and has served as Member of Parliament for West Suffolk since 2010 and as minister for digital policy, Hancock recommitted to a “full fibre” digital policy for the UK in 2017.

Hancock is well known for his pro-blockchain stance amongst political circles and also his strongly positive views regarding the development and application of cryptocurrency within the UK’s financial system. In his previous role as Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport he pushed to get blockchain accepted as a definitive new technology which would push the industry forward in the UK.

From his beginnings, following university, Hancock briefly worked for his family’s computer software company, and throughout his career has spoken out for IT, emerging technologies and their application across industry and finance. He even backed up his enthusiasm in February last year when he was still Culture Secretary by launching his own app called Matt Hancock MP, explaining at the time:

“It’s a chance to find out what’s going on both in my role as MP for West Suffolk and as culture secretary, and most importantly it’s a chance for you to tell me what you think, and to engage with others on issues that matter to you.”

UK MPs have become increasingly vocal on cryptocurrency and Bitcoin. In 2017, Hancock delivered a memorable speech to the UK Law Society asserting that blockchain technology would have a “monumental impact” on people’s lives in the future. He spoke of “vast areas of public life” that he predicted blockchain would transform: the financial sector, government services, and laws and regulation.

He is a champion of advocating blockchain technology to solve many of the worlds social challenges and has cited the World Food Programme Ethereum Blockchain Aid initiative as an example. The same program transferred cryptocurrency-based vouchers to 10,000 refugees in Syria, enabling them to buy cash-free provisions. He asserted at the time:

“I use as my example the use of blockchain in development aid because then you can follow the money to the recipient and go and check that the recipient has received the money and what they’re using it for. I can see anywhere where you need verification, the blockchain is a potential technology for doing that.”

Clearly, the 40-year-old Hancock will broaden the appeal of his party to attract millennials, particularly given where his pro-tech sympathies lie, including his views on cryptocurrency which are very much slanted towards innovation and limit on controls:

“We only want one currency here in the UK. Nevertheless, having other currencies whether they’re backed internationally or are essentially backed by technology and verified through a distributed ledger, it’s better to have them here than offshore
I want our regulators to carry out their essential roles – preventing harm, providing certainty to businesses and trust to citizens – without stifling innovation.

Hancock has outlined how the UK Government’s Digital Strategy demonstrates Britain becoming “the best place in the world to start and grow a digital business and to trial new technologies like blockchain” and sees London’s influence as the potential tech hub capital of the world to influence the rest of the UK.

Hancock pointed out that in June 2017, the UK’s top ten publicly-traded fintech businesses crossed the 100 billion-dollar market at a value of GBP 71 billion. He went on to illustrate that it was blockchain which was the most important emerging technology and that UK financial regulators were leading the world in encouraging innovation.

Whether this self-confessed computer geek can appeal to enough millennials to push him over the line remains to be seen. Regarding his race to Number 10, he has stated the need to reconnect with the younger generation, but not simply those who have just left university

“The average age of people who vote Conservative is now 51. So we need to reach out to a whole new generation of people – not just those in their 20s but those in their 30s and 40s, too
.We desperately need that generational shift. We need a fresh start and to turn the page on some of the ugly politics of the last few years.”

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Social Experiment Sees Uni Students Choose $1 over 1 BTC

Social Experiment Sees US Uni Students Choose  over 1 BTC

A social experiment conducted by Capital Creators has found that the overwhelming majority of University of California Boulder students in the US had chosen one US dollar over one Bitcoin, despite the digital asset today being valued at just under USD 8,000.

While the decision is seemingly one of the worst financial decisions you could ever make in your life right now, the study’s creators believe that this was merely a result of a lack of education and awareness of the world’s most widely used cryptocurrency. For them, it signaled that much is still needed to be taught about Bitcoin and that mainstream adoption had still not happened for the cryptocurrency.

Bitcoinist reports that in reality, students choosing one dollar simply had no idea what Bitcoin was, as one of the most common responses given for choosing it was that the dollar was physically real and its value was known.

One respondent was able to vaguely explain that Bitcoin was protected by a password and losing the password would mean losing the Bitcoin. A dollar, however, would never be lost, she argued.

It wasn’t all that great for those who did choose Bitcoin, either, as they weren’t likely to have Bitcoin. One young male who went for 1 Bitcoin only chose it because he “followed Bitcoin” but in fact did not know how to receive it because “he’d have to set up the app” and that “no-one ever trades it”.

So if you ever think you’re too late to own Bitcoin, think again.

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Blockchain NZ: New Zealand Needs Strategy to Keep Pace with Blockchain

Blockchain NZ: New Zealand Needs Strategy to Keep Pace with Blockchain

Blockchain NZ, a group of various blockchain-oriented business, organizations, and experts, has plans to lobby the New Zealand government to produce a national strategy for developing blockchain technology in the country.

Next week, Blockchain NZ’s executive director Mark Pascall will present their views to the New Zealand parliament’s economic development, science and innovation select committee hearing.

A report released at the end of last year, titled ‘Distributed Ledgers and Blockchains: Opportunities for Aotearoa New Zealand’, concluded that the nation’s IT sector, which presently rakes in NZD 16 billion a year with a workforce of almost 100,000, could grow to become the “second biggest contributor to gross domestic product by 2025” should blockchain be adopted sooner than later.

The report’s research was partially funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE) and was produced to promote the technology amongst domestic entrepreneurs and innovators.

Blockchain NZ plans to move such assumptions into space where the government can take a more proactive role in promoting new technologies such as blockchain and cryptocurrency. Pascall commented:

“So, we really want government to take blockchain seriously and produce a strategy. We can help them with that so we strike a balance between trying to plan for an unpredictable future and taking some action so we realize huge potential economic benefits for the country.”

In the region, neighboring Australia has already moved on a national plan for blockchain, when it recently announced its own national blockchain roadmap and a funding boost to support the technology’s development in order to push the country to the forefront of international blockchain use.

 

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Coinbase Earn Opens to Public in Over 100 Countries

Coinbase Earn Opens to Public in Over 100 Countries

Global cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase has finally released its Coinbase Earn program to members of the public in over 100 countries, as mentioned in its press release yesterday.

The much talked about program was initially launched towards the end of last year as a pilot program for education in cryptocurrency targeting mainstream participants, who were invite only, chosen by Coinbase. Early users of the program were able to learn about the 0x token based on Ethereum (the ZRX token), and earn some cryptocurrency in the process.

A survey the exchange had conducted earlier seemed to indicate that many newcomers were reluctant to invest money into cryptocurrency, but were keen to learn more about the new digital phenomenon:

“
one of the biggest barriers preventing people from exploring a new digital asset was a lack of knowledge about that asset. Many of the people we surveyed expressed a strong desire to begin learning about new and different crypto assets beyond Bitcoin, but didn’t know where to begin.”

And now, people from over 100 countries are able to learn more about cryptocurrency, while earning their very first cryptocurrency via the Coinbase Earn program. Reportedly, the program now offers quizzes about Stellar Lumens (XLM), Zcash (ZEC) and Basic Attention Token (BAT), also earning the same tokens and coins for completing quizzes.

 

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German State to Open Blockchain Institute for “Internet of Values”

German State to Open Blockchain Institute for

The government of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) state in Germany has announced a plan to establish a European Blockchain Institute to research blockchain technology, and so-called “Internet of Values” (“Internet der Werte”).

A local press release quotes NRW Economics Minister Andreas Pinkwart as saying that the European Blockchain Institute will be founded in the city of Dortmund later in 2019, to be housed within the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics (IML).

The minister said that Dortmund was a strategic location thanks to its technical university, and the extra motivation for this was due to ongoing pressure to compete with American scientists hot on the heels of this Internet of Values research. As Europe had much to catch up with, NRW should take on the chance to be a pioneer in researching blockchain innovation to “digitally record business-to-business transactions in perpetual eternity”. The best-known example of this database technology is the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, although other use cases include title deeds, contracts, licenses, subscriptions and monetary transactions.

Addressing concerns by critics who claim that Bitcoin mining is excessive in energy use and harmful to the environment, Pinkwart spoke well of the benefits of blockchain innovation:

“This technology can be safe, decentralized, affordable and, when used properly, not too energy-intensive.”

Bitcoin News reported earlier in May that Germany hosted the most nodes in the world for both Bitcoin and Ethereum networks.

 

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