Asia Business Channel

University of Tokyo launches Blockchain course with Ethereum Foundation backing

Japan’s premiere university, The University of Tokyo, has begun offering a blockchain course at its graduate engineering school, thanks to an $800,000 donation from a consortium that includes the Ethereum Foundation and Japanese banking juggernaut Sumitomo Mitsui.

The class — called the “Blockchain Innovation Donation Course” — was rolled out on November 1 and will run through October 2021, according to a statement by Sumitomo Mitsui. Other corporate donors included Good Luck Three, JSS Corp., Zipper Corp., Hotlink Co., and Money Forward Inc.

Goal is to Cultivate Blockchain Entrepreneurs

The purpose of the blockchain course is to educate highly motivated, business-minded students with “outstanding talent in information mathematics” about FinTech and the game-changing technology underpinning cryptocurrencies.

The University of Tokyo hopes to nurture future blockchain entrepreneurs by teaching them about decentralized networks and how to implement them socially.

Blockchain is a hot, field of study right now, and many corporations in Japan and internationally are investing substantial amounts of money to promote the development and widespread adoption of blockchain. Experts say the innovative technology could transform healthcare, banking, supply-chain management, and the entertainment industry.

Ripple Donated $50 Million To Multi-University Program

This is not the first university blockchain education project at the university level. In June 2018, Ripple, the blockchain-based payment network, donated $50 million to 17 universities around the world to launch a partnership called the University Blockchain Research Initiative. Significantly, Ripple made the donations in cryptocurrency but in US dollars.

At that time, Ripple said that interest in blockchain was soaring as more people were discovering the vast potential of distributed ledger technology, including facilitating speedier cross-border payments. In April 2018, Ripple also invested $25 million of its XRP cryptocurrency into Blockchain Capital Parallel IV, a $150 million fund that will invest in blockchain ventures.

Many top business schools around the world, including Stanford and Wharton have
expanded their MBA course offerings to include classes on bitcoin and blockchain, as CCN reported. According to a study by Coinbase, approximately 40% of the world’s top universities now offer at least one cryptocurrency-related class.

Kevin Werbach, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton Business School, is currently teaching a class this semester called “Blockchain, Cryptocurrency, and Distributed Ledger Technology.”

Professor Werbach, in an interview with U.S. media outlet CNBC, remarked that: “We’re at the point where there’s a critical mass to teach this domain. There will be a real phenomenon in business for the foreseeable future. And five years down the road, there won’t be too many major business schools that don’t offer similar classes.”

John Jacobs, the Executive Director of the Georgetown University Business School — said he has been inundated with calls from corporate recruiters asking for applicants who understand blockchain technology. Jacobs said: “Any world-class program is going to have to equip students in this field to compete. It’s everywhere we turn around.”

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