The University System of Georgia (USG) announced the launch of a state-wide fintech academy on on Sept. 11. It is the largest education effort of its kind in the United States.
While individual universities have offered blockchain courses, such as Stanford and NYU, Georgia is opening the program to all current students across all colleges in the state’s public university system. Additionally, professionals and degree-holders who desire to enter the fintech sector can enroll in the academy.
GA Fintech Curriculum Heavy in Blockchain Tech
Called the Georgia FinTech Academy, the program will have two in-person locations in the downtown Atlanta area for on-campus classes. Courses will also be conducted online and in departments within Georgia colleges. Completion of these programs will result in accredited credentials or degrees.
The scale is large. The mission is to make fintech education accessible to everyone in Georgia, with a focus on experiential learning through apprenticeships.
Though the large effort could be seen as risky and too early, Jim Senn, founding director of the program, makes a clear separation between core technologies and individual cryptocurrencies.
Senn stated in an exclusive interview with CCN:
“Cryptocurrencies, such as bitcoin and ethereum, should be considered separately from blockchain or distributed ledger. Bitcoin is an application. Blockchain is a new base technology featuring a distributed ledger.”
He admits that core blockchain technologies are still new, but USG seems to have already placed its bet on growing adoption.
Reflecting on the industry, Senn said:
“The industry around blockchain and distributed ledger is in its infancy. In many ways it feels like the very early days of the Internet, prior to the introduction of the worldwide web. The technology community is only now beginning to develop the tools and practices to make blockchain a viable technology for business and government.”
As a hub for fintech innovation already, Atlanta is drawing on experts from private companies to teach targeted curricula for blockchain applications, including commercial banking, software development, and supply chain logistics.
Crypto — a New Arms Race in Education?
Since blockchain has the potential to bring regions large investments and economic innovations, countries are stepping up their efforts to teach the technology and gain a competitive edge with intellectual property.
China has poured money into luring blockchain innovators and investments, though the country still, ironically, has an overall ban on large components of the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Malta, meanwhile, has a running start, with government and residents accepting cryptocurrency investors wholeheartedly. As CCN reported on Sept. 2, the University of Malta created a €300,000 blockchain scholarship fund.
Georgia’s new fintech program could be a major step in a growing push for the U.S. to step up efforts nationally in distributed ledger technology, with an eye toward remaining competitive globally.