Bitcoin is coming for higher education—just look at what Wharton is doing

BY Sydney LakeOctober 28, 2021, 7:41 PM
A Bitcoin ATM sits alongside a regular ATM at a gas station in Los Angeles in June 2021.
Chris Delmas—AFP/Getty Images

What once were just joke cryptocurrencies are now shaking up digital markets—and higher education is next. Bitcoin rose to a new all-time high last week, the Shiba Inu coin is up nearly 800% since last month, and rounding out a big week for crypto was an announcement by the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania: Students can pay tuition with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and USD Coin for a new online executive program. 

This step makes Wharton the first business school in the U.S. to accept crypto tuition payments. In May, the school received a donation worth $5 million of Bitcoin, which was the largest cryptocurrency gift the university had ever received. Wharton is also the alma mater of Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who is a big proponent of cryptocurrency. Musk is now the richest man in the world with a net worth of $292 billion.

Wharton’s Aresty Institute of Executive Education on Thursday announced the launch of an online program: Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets. This is the program that students can pay for using cryptocurrency. During the six-week certificate program, business and tech professionals will learn about blockchain and digital assets. 

“Blockchain and digital assets are not going away,” Kevin Werbach, a Wharton professor and the program’s academic director, said in the announcement. “We hope to equip business leaders, consultants, and entrepreneurs to identify the value drivers of these innovative technologies and to give them the practical understanding to build solutions.”

Wharton’s blockchain-focused program

During the program, students will learn about fundamental token valuation (FTV), which is the standard valuation methodology for digital currencies. Students will learn on their own time through seven case studies and more than 50 prerecorded lecture videos. The course was developed in partnership with Prysm Group, a blockchain economic consulting firm.

“From folks interested in learning how to assess and evaluate existing blockchain networks, applications, and digital assets to those looking to develop their own solutions utilizing the unique features of blockchain, this program focuses on the technology’s most overlooked principle: its economics,” Cathy Barrera, program director and a partner at Prysm Group, said in the announcement. Program partners include Algorand, Amazon Web Services, Forte, Hyperledger, Skale, and Synthetix.

The first program cohort begins on Jan. 3, 2022, and there is limited enrollment. The program costs $3,800 and requires a commitment of about eight to 10 hours per week for six weeks. Wharton is ranked as having the third-best full-time MBA program in the U.S. by Fortune. 

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