On 28 August 2019, Coinbase published its second annual Coinbase Report on Higher Education, entitled ‘The 2019 Leaders in Crypto Education’. Once again, the digital currency exchange partnered with Qriously, a London-based ad-tech company, to conduct a survey of US student sentiment toward blockchain and cryptocurrency. Unsurprisingly, the research summarized in the report found that a rising number of students would like to learn more about blockchain and cryptocurrency and that an increasing number of courses are being offered by the leading colleges and universities.
The key findings from the report make for interesting reading when compared with the key findings from the 2018 report:
- 56% of the 50 universities examined offer at least one course (undergraduate or graduate) on blockchain or cryptocurrency. This is up from 42% in 2018 (although this figure only considered undergraduate courses);
- Cornell University offers the most blockchain and cryptocurrency courses (14). This is up from 9 in 2018 and more than Stanford University’s leading figure of 10 in 2018 (although both figures only considered undergraduate courses);
- Blockchain and cryptocurrency courses are taught in an increasingly wide variety of departments, with nearly 70% outside of computer science;
- Twice as many students report having taken a blockchain or cryptocurrency course as they did in 2018 (18% up from 9%);
- 41 of the 50 universities examined have at least one student-run blockchain/cryptocurrency club.
2019 Leaders in Crypto Education
A major new addition to this year’s report is the ‘Coinbase 2019 Leaders in Crypto Education’ list. In 2018, Coinbase simply researched the total number of undergraduate courses offered by each of the world’s top 50 universities as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. But it has now significantly expanded its methodology to analyze and weigh the following criteria:
- The total number of courses available (in public course catalogs) to both undergraduate and graduate-level students that include sections on blockchain, bitcoin, or cryptocurrency;
- The frequency of blockchain and cryptocurrency research citations (from Google Scholar);
- Whether or not the university hosts an official blockchain/cryptocurrency research institute;
- The existence of a student-run blockchain/cryptocurrency club.
According to Coinbase’s methodology, the top 10 universities are as follows:
- Cornell University
- Massachusetts Institute of Technology
- New York University
- Stanford University
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne
- University of California – Berkeley
- Columbia University
- Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich
- University of Copenhagen
- National University of Singapore
A Future Methodology?
Coinbase’s more developed methodology is to be welcomed. Factoring in graduate-level courses and non-coursework offerings like research institutes and student-run clubs provides a better overall picture of a university’s commitment to blockchain and cryptocurrency education.
Unfortunately, the research underpinning the report’s conclusions remains limited by focusing only on the top 50 global universities as ranked by U.S. News and World Report. As a result, it misses out many leading blockchain universities, including those that have been at the forefront of blockchain education by developing graduate degree programs, such as the University of Nicosia and University of Malta. If the methodology could be rolled out beyond the top 50 global universities, which are ranked upon their research performance and global reputation across all academic fields, it would provide a more accurate list of the leaders in crypto education.
That being said, the report provides further evidence of the rise of blockchain in higher education and confirms the trends noted in last year’s report, that:
- rising student interest in blockchain skills is driving universities to offer more relevant courses;
- universities are pursuing an increasingly interdisciplinary approach towards the field.