Harvard University is stepping up its curriculum on blockchain technology, cryptocurrency and investing. In partnership with Reflective Ventures, the Harvard Undergraduate Blockchain Group (HUBG) will offer courses designed to improve cryptocurrency investment literacy. HUBG will provide students with an opportunity to learn the basics of blockchain technology, while engaging organizations and open-source communities.
According to a press release, Shahan Khoshafian, Senior Associate at Reflective Venture Partners stated, “We wanted to partner with Harvard University because they were looking to focus on the mathematics and science of blockchain and less about the fluff and buzz that comes with it today.”
Arkam Javed, Co-Founder of Co-VP of HUBG agrees, stating, “In the blockchain space, there is just too much hype and speculation. We want to bring an academic perspective to educate students and dig deeper.”
In this partnership, RChain Cooperative will be used as the blockchain platform of choice in teaching students about blockchain technology. The platform is designed to enable the development of scalable blockchain applications. The platform claims industry-level “content delivery at the scale of Facebook and support(s) transactions at the speed of Visa.”
The developers of RChain claim that most blockchain architectures cannot meet such industry-scale requirements. In response, they developed their platform, powered by the “Rho Virtual Machine” (RhoVM). Each instance of RhoVM executes smart contracts and independent blockchain networks on demand. The multi-chain design enables scalability as new instances of RhoVM are created as necessary.
Javed stated that RChain’s approach to blockchain is more academic than the other options that were considered. This includes technical analysis from an academic perspective, which can be used in a teaching environment.
In choosing this platform, Harvard has sent a signal to the industry that they are not necessarily relying on the most popular technology, such as Ethereum, or the oldest technology, such as Bitcoin. Rather, they are looking to the future, and betting on technology, rather than popularity. In this way, we can extrapolate the investment philosophy that HUBG plans to instill in its students. Rather than focusing on hype, they are focusing on the actual utility of the coins in determining investment value.
David M. Otto is a General Partner of Reflective Venture Partners. As a Harvard alumnus, he has expressed pride in the strategic partnership between his organization and the university. He said, “Coming back to my alma mater and being able to work with these future tech leaders is inspiring. I’m looking forward to helping build innovative blockchain-based applications and platforms with this talented, visionary, and committed team of young people.”
HUBG has a primary goal of creating a courses not just for Harvard students, but also for non-students. This might be interpreted to mean that the group seeks to offer the education as a benefit to university employees. With Reflective Venture Partners involvement, it also means that HUBG will be able to host blockchain conferences and other events, with future plans for a student-managed cryptocurrency investment fund, a peer-reviewed hournal and collaborations with commercial blockchain projects. As with most other Harvard projects, new talent will be created in parallel with new technology that may benefit the public at large.