North Texas Daily

Cryptocurrency: New class looks to get ahead of an emerging technology

Cryptocurrency: New class looks to get ahead of an emerging technology

Cryptocurrency: New class looks to get ahead of an emerging technology
August 10
15:30 2018

UNT is offering a new course this fall in an attempt to be ahead of the emerging technology blockchain — the backbone of cryptocurrencies. The class — BCIS 4980 for undergraduate students and BCIS 5900 for graduate students — will run from Aug. 13 to Dec. 13.

The class takes place on Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 9:20 p.m. and will be taught at the UNT Frisco campus and broadcast to students at the Denton campus. The course will cost $1,899.

Blockchain is a database that allows for mathematical verification to keep track of the different entries in the system of records. The class looks to teach students how blockchain works and how to implement it in future enterprises.

“There is a high potential for this ushering in a new economy, much like the public internet ushered in a new economy,” course instructor Cijoy Olickal said. “UNT being at the forefront of it is pretty exciting.”

The cryptocurrency market saw significant growth in 2017 and 2018. Systems like bitcoin allowed people to utilize digital currency independently from a bank by using their computer to complete various algorithms or blockchains. The value of cryptocurrency rose from $11 billion to $300 billion in 2017, according to Forbes.  

Olickal said society always relied on a banker to hold value on someone’s behalf and an accountant to be a bookkeeper. Meaning that cryptocurrency, unlike more traditional forms of currency, does not need to be centralized through banks.

“The implementation of bitcoin is the first time that’s been a unified system where money has become programmable, which means you can put logic and money together,” Olickal said.

Cryptocurrency became a big talking point last December, when the most popular form of it — bitcoin — reached a value of $19,000 per one bitcoin, causing UNT to want to offer a class on the technology behind it.

Business junior Daisy Hem said the blockchain course adds to the numerous classes at UNT and can be relevant for the right job.

“UNT has a lot of random courses,” Hems said. “Every time I register for classes, there is always something different I haven’t heard of in my life. It would be a good skill to have if you get a job where it’s relevant.”

Olickal said students can use the knowledge from the class to enhance a company they enter into or create new business models.

“I hope it gives them enough of an understanding of the concept for them to create a new enterprise or build a new organization around that technology,” Olickal said.

Jonathon Fite, president of UNT’s professional development institute, said that along with seniors and graduate students, industry professionals can join the class if they want to learn more about the emerging technology.

“It will give [students and professionals] a specific certification on an emerging technology platform that many people in the industry don’t have,” Fite said. “It puts them ahead of the class by giving them exposure to an emerging technology.”

Olickal said UNT is the first university in the region to offer a substantial course on blockchain, even though Stanford and MIT have courses that offer information on minor components of the system.

He encouraged different types of students to take the class because a better mix of students will help with a better understanding of the technology.

“I’m excited that UNT is doing this,” Olickal said. “We are ahead of everybody in the Midwest, and I encourage people of all different backgrounds to join.”

Featured: Courtesy Facebook

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Devin Rardin

Devin Rardin

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