It’s impossible to escape words like “Bitcoin” and “blockchain” in the headlines these days. Often described as disruptive, confusing, and controversial, today’s rapidly emerging cryptocurrencies create a new intersection of technology and financial markets.
The Wisconsin School of Business at the University of Wisconsin–Madison is well positioned to tackle difficult subjects like these that demand careful examination and debate. Thus, WSB is introducing a course entitled Cryptocurrencies to ensure that students can understand and take a critical look at these topics.
Created and taught by Brad Chandler, director of the Nicholas Center for Corporate Finance and Investment Banking, the course will explore the fundamentals of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, as well as their underlying technologies like blockchain and smart contracts. The course is intended for a non-technical audience and will ensure that students gain the conceptual foundation to understand the value proposition of these new technologies.
The topic is already in high demand, and Chandler has begun delivering presentations this year to help students, alumni, and external partners better understand cryptocurrencies. Chandler has also collaborated extensively with, and is an advisor to, Badger Blockchain, an interdisciplinary student organization that seeks to educate the UW–Madison community on these topics.
“It’s imperative that we, as a university, develop curricula to address evolving market dynamics facing today’s business leaders,” says Chandler. “To develop as future leaders, our students must confront complex and cutting-edge subjects and show the curiosity and persistence to step outside their comfort zone.”
Though housed in WSB’s Department of Finance, Investment, and Banking, the class will be open to both business and nonbusiness majors. Undergraduate and graduate students from disciplines as varied as computer science, economics, engineering, and business will find relevancy in the course material.
“The need to understand cryptocurrencies is not limited just to business students,” adds Chandler. “These innovative tools have wide-ranging impact, and bringing together students with diverse backgrounds, knowledge, and experiences will deepen the learning experience for everyone.”
The new course offering will be available beginning in the Fall 2018 semester.