Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Popularity Growing, But Are University Curricula Keeping Up?

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Blockchain and cryptocurrencies have become buzzwords in the business world, and the ecosystem is growing at a very rapid pace as more people race to get involved. However, blockchain technology and everything that comes with it, such as cryptocurrencies, are incredibly new assets, and the laws, regulations, and knowledge surrounding them are constantly evolving as they establish their presence in the financial world. What is this new ecosystem developing in the industry? What do blockchain and crypto entail? How are they going to affect other sectors?

These are all questions that young investors who are considering putting their money into Bitcoin, Ethereum, or any other blockchain currency need to get answers to before they decide where to invest. Republic Media Network has partnered with the Amrita School of Business to bring you House of Knowledge, an initiative which aims to explore different aspects of the business industry with a focus on one of the Amrita School of Business’ campuses.

This week, with a focus on the Coimbatore campus, some of the biggest questions surrounding blockchain and cryptocurrencies are answered, alongside how business universities are making sure that their students graduate with an understanding of this new technology that’s revolutionising the business landscape. Additionally, the episode also explores how universities are adapting to the new need for courses that specialise in blockchain and digital currencies.

The episode featured four esteemed panellists—Dr. A Senthil Kumar, Assistant Professor & Finance Chairperson of the MBA Program, Sooraj VS, Amrita Alumni & Managing Director and Chief Executive, Benow, Ms. Arushi Goel, Data Policy & Blockchain Specialist, World, Economic Forum, and Mr. Raj Kapoor, Founder, India Blockchain Alliance. They discuss India’s rise to becoming the fintech capital of the world, its journey to operating as a cashless economy, and what role blockchain will play in that process. The panellists also address the fact that, unlike the equity market, there is not a great deal of precedent and prior knowledge surrounding blockchain or cryptocurrencies, making them a riskier and more volatile investment as governments decide how they should be regulated.

From an academic perspective, Dr. A Senthil Kumar highlights how Amrita School of Business takes a holistic approach to teaching blockchain and crypto, integrating fintech into courses with a more multidisciplinary focus. Emphasising fluidity across disciplines, Amrita’s curriculums are inspired by SDGs and have received the AACSB Accreditation, which signifies they pass the highest standards of excellence in teaching, research, curriculum, and learner success. Considering that blockchain and DeFi (decentralized finance) are seen as a large part of the future of trade, schools are becoming more aware of the fact that they need to provide a growing focus on these newer aspects of business and finance.

The panellists also talk about the reasons this new technology is becoming as popular as it is, highlighting how the open access nature of blockchain allows for increased consumer trust since everyone has access to all the information on the blockchain database. Overall, the fact that it encourages security, transparency, and efficiency, makes it one of millennials’ favourite assets right now. Millennials make up 1/3 of the Indian population and 47% of India’s workforce, making their choice of investment vital to the Indian economy. Other valuable benefits of blockchain and crypto which make them so attractive include the fact that they allow for tracking goods and transactions across the supply chain and the fact that they allow for easy cross-border payments, encouraging humanitarian aid and remittances. On the other hand, the 30% tax and 1% TDS is a large factor in discouraging investors from putting their money in cryptocurrencies, but it still does not seem to be enough to stunt its rapidly growing popularity.

Blockchain and its most prominent byproduct, cryptocurrencies, are undeniably gaining prominence, and it is critical for students and investors to understand their applications, as well as the risks and benefits that they entail.With the possibility of deeds, salaries, and so much more being dealt with on blockchain, universities must begin integrating these possibilities into their curriculums to ensure they are preparing students for the future of finance and business, and Amrita School of Business in this episode provides a great example of how that should be executed.