By ANDREW MANGELSDORF and HIMMAT SHALIGRAM
Surging international interest in cryptocurrency has led to Australia’s first blockchain course, introduced by RMIT.
The eight-week course is designed to help students implement blockchain technology in the world of business, from cryptocurrency startups to banks.
Blockchain has gained fame as the technology behind controversial digital currencies such as Bitcoin.
Blockchain student Kevin Leung, who also studies an Arts/Law degree full-time, said he hoped to combine his background in the legal sector with expertise in blockchain technology.
“I have a very optimistic outlook on blockchain and its application to various industries,” he said.
“I can confidently say within the next five to 10 years, once businesses warm up to the potential benefits, this technology will be playing a large role in our day to day lives.”
Mr Leung said he had been involved with blockchain for about a year. “Being surrounded with like-minded individuals all learning and developing our passions is something that excites me,” he said.
Mr Leung said demand for blockchain courses had surged in Europe and America.
“It’s only a matter of time before the generations to come will have opportunities to study blockchain-related courses at university, much like how one would pursue a degree in Commerce or Arts,” he said.
Monash University cybercrime researcher Dr Lennon Chang said blockchain education could be very valuable for students.
“It’s good to have more people involved in these kind of new technologies, and run new courses so that more people know about it,” he said.
Dr Chang said the way students learned about blockchain should depend on where their interests lay.
“If you are into computer science, if you are into IT, I would say yes, it’s a technology you definitely need to learn for the future,” he said.
Dr Chang said for social sciences blockchain were still relevant, but in a different way.
“If you are interested in technology, crime or society, blockchain is an important concept that you need to know,” he said.
“You don’t need to go into the detail of it, you just need to know how people can use it and what might be the risk.”
Monash PhD student Dimaz Wijaya, who has studied blockchain since 2015, said the eight-week course did not give students enough time to learn about the technology.
“There are opportunities with private companies who want to adopt blockchain technology, but even they would like to see more than eight weeks of experience,” he said.
However, Mr Wijaya said demand for students with expertise in blockchain was growing.
“There is a demand for blockchain developers especially in companies interested in cryptocurrencies like Ethereum.”
The current course sold out, and RMIT is planning to run the program again in June.