Blockchain education courses are growing in popularity at college campuses throughout the world, and the University of California won’t be one to be left out.
Today, three University of California campuses UCLA, UC Santa Barbara, and UC Davis—announced a partnership with MouseBelt Blockchain Accelerator, a “full-service” blockchain development, and investment firm. The plan is for MouseBelt to help design, fund, and lead blockchain-based initiatives, each intended to provide students at these campuses with the tools they’ll need to pursue careers in the industry.
“In the 1990s, CS 101 was the hottest class in college. Auditoriums were filled with excited students chasing the new trend that promised high-paying jobs,” MouseBelt Program Director Ashlie Meredith told cryptosyringe in an interview. “We believe blockchain technology is poised to be the CS 101 for Generation Z.”
MouseBelt’s long-term vision, Meredith explained, is to be an “all-encompassing leader” in the blockchain industry, and a big part of that includes cultivating “a new generation of Internet users who choose privacy, autonomy, decentralization, ownership, and security as a mindset and philosophy,” she said.
But the problem is that the demand for blockchain education courses still outweighs the supply, according to Meredith. “Students are being short-changed out of high-paying job opportunities,” she said.
MouseBelt hopes to help change that.
At the three University of California campuses, the company expects to provide new courses, workshops, and advice forums for students seeking careers in the blockchain industry, as well as provide funding for those interested in developing their own products and companies.
Through its accelerator program, students can earn up to $100,000 to start their own blockchain businesses, which MouseBelt provides in exchange for a small equity stake in successful projects.
The company is also looking to provide funding to the engineering departments at UCLA, UC Davis, and UCSB so that students can get first-hand laboratory and research experience. MouseBelt will invest $500,000 in student projects, and another $500,000 directly into a blockchain-focused research fund.
Founded in January 2017, MouseBelt has already invested more than $40 million in roughly 60 blockchain projects. Its MouseBelt University initiative has established student blockchain organizations in more than 65 different colleges, including Harvard, Oxford, and Cambridge.
There are broader implications for DECO, too: DECO could be used by financial institutions to prove the balance of an account without actually making the contents of the account public. A border agent could prove that you’re a US citizen without having to have access to your passport.
“DECO enables a large expansion in the quality and breadth of data that can now be made available to public blockchain systems,” Chainlink co-founder Sergey Nazarov told cryptosyringe.
Nazarov also said that DECO will help new types of collateral reach Defi, or decentralized finance. “There are lots of private data associated with real-world collateral, like the state of an invoice, or ownership of the real estate, or some other insured asset. DECO-enabled Chainlink oracles will be able to prove to a smart contract that the state of the asset is solvent, without disclosing private or personal ownership information onto a public blockchain,” he said.
“This expansion of data availability will continue to drive the creation of new universally connected smart contracts, such as Defi, decentralized insurance, global trade, and various enterprise use cases that are now compatible with public blockchains and semi-private consortium chains,” he said. “Essentially, DECO-enabled Chainlink oracles will enable Defi to mature and reach its next growth stage.”
Dr. Ari Jules is currently a professor of Computer Science at Cornell University and was formerly the Chief Scientist of RSA security, Massachusetts-based cybersecurity, and digital risk management firm. Dr. Jules contributed to a 1999 abstract formalizing Proof of Work computation and was a contributing author of the Chainlink whitepaper alongside Sergey and Chainlink co-founder Steve Ellis. “With its strong focus on cutting-edge research for high-trust systems such as blockchains and prominence as a provider of oracle technologies, I think Chainlink is ideally positioned to bring DECO to production,” he said in a statement.