Universities and colleges are starting to approach blockchain technology from a more academic position – it’s no longer relegated to the office hours and sabbatical fantasies of economics and computer science professors. A professor from my grad school alma mater, Georgetown University, recently invited me to speak to a class of MBA students on blockchain fundamentals, a high level of Bitcoin blockchain technology, exciting use cases and crypto user management.
Some key takeaways:
The rest of the populace is getting more familiar. During a high-level technical overview, the students were very interested in these consensus algorithms. To demonstrate how mining (specifically, Proof of Work) works, we played a small game with the class. Breaking the class into groups, each group had to complete a task – in this case, clapping – faster than other groups for the privilege of writing data to a blockchain. This activity helped solidify their understanding, and led to really good questions.
Students, teachers and leaders are starting to ask the right questions. The topics that non-crypto fluent people are interested in are changing. Rather than hearing the same old “but doesn’t Bitcoin make buying drugs, hitmen and child pornography easy and anonymous?” question, these students were asking about business implications of blockchain technology, the environmental cost of these networks and their future – it was refreshing.
The students were also particularly interested in use cases and actually owning cryptocurrency.
We need to have better onramps to these ecosystems.We discussed how to buy, own, hold and secure cryptocurrencies and participate in these ecosystems. The students made it clear that they needed better ways to onboard new and first time users. While not some grand secret, hearing their questions and concerns solidified my suspicion that the current ecosystem is confusing, and even perilous to new users. My work with Bloq and Eclipse aims to address some of this.
Overall, I’ve spoken to many classes, but this time I left extremely confident that the wider community is beginning to see the value in blockchain beyond a speculative asset.
Jordan Kruger is CEO of Eclipse and Bloq’s director of operations and research.