Fuqua School of Business Professor Campbell Harvey is offering a new class called ‘Innovations and Cryptoventures’ to students in the Spring 2015 semester. His new class, which has been in development for the last several months, will be available to law students, MBA students, graduate students, and technically skilled undergraduate students. Other schools that have launched Bitcoin, blockchain, or digital currency-related classes or programs include NYU and the University of Nicosia.
The mix of students with different skill sets and experience levels is an intentional one, Harvey plans to form teams of four students each to come up with their own cryptoventures to present to the group at the end of the class for the final grade. ‘Innovations and Cryptoventures’ will not bore students with the ubiquitous and outdated monotony of homework, midterms, and final exams; instead, Harvey expects some interesting cryptoventure projects to be formulated within the classroom. As such, students (and the professor) will be required to sign Non-Disclosure Agreements regarding the content of projects presented within the classroom.
The course description expands on what sets ‘Innovations and Cryptoventures’ apart from other Bitcoin classes that have been taught thus far:
This is not simply a course exploring transactions in bitcoin. The idea of the course is to understand a disruptive technology and to assess its implications on how business is conducted in the future. Much of our focus is on the network behind bitcoin and the many ventures that have already begun to capitalize this innovation. This network, which includes the blockchain, provides a secure way to verify ownership of anything. The security is established by the massive computing power necessary to add to the blockchain. Think of the blockchain as a secure repository of common knowledge. A wide range of items can be attached to the blockchain from ownership of a car or access to cloud computing to medical records. Indeed, it is possible to create algorithmic contracts within this network. This leads to the possibility of disruptions not just in finance (stocks, bonds, etc.) but also in law (simple contracts) and other fields. It is even possible to create what is known as a distributed autonomous corporation – essentially an autonomous computer program that employs people and conducts business as a corporation would.
Though the course flyer calls for undergraduate students in the computer science department, Harvey told CCN.com that any Duke student with a demonstrable interest or expertise in the Bitcoin space should apply.
Disclosure: The author is currently taking digital currency-related classes with the University of Nicosia.
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