Anyone into tech or who follows tech news, understands how comfortably is Russia embracing cryptocurrency and blockchain technology in general. The Eastern European Country is incorporating crypto and blockchain technology based degrees into universities is another welcoming one for tech enthusiasts. From September this year, regarded as the start of academic year, three more Russian universities will offer courses and degrees in core blockchain and digital economy.
Russian universities namely, Voronezh State University (VSU), Don State Technical University (DSTU) and Novosibirsk State University (NSU) will offer new courses and majors in digital economy, distributed ledgers, alternative payment systems, blockchain and cryptography. Keeping in mind the influx of foreign students, the courses and degrees will be mostly offered in English language and the universities will invite foreign lecturers majorly from Europe, USA and India to lure more students from all across the globe.
Degrees and courses offered by universities
Specifically designed undergrad degree “Models and methods for analyzing the digital economy” will be offered by Voronezh State University (VSU), announced on their official website. As the new technology is slowly griping the world’s economic industry, the degree will focus on the application of blockchain technology in terms of economic activities at all levels. The degree program will require students to explore new horizons of this relatively new technology and come up with practical application in the fields of finance and economics.
Don State Technical University (DSTU), is offering two master’s programs in blockchain technology namely, “Digital accounting and management” and “Intellectual systems based on blockchain technologies”. The main focus of the two graduate degrees will be on distributed ledger technology, focusing on electronic payment methods and developing latest information systems.
One other university that enters in to the fold of crypto and blockchain technology is Novosibirsk State University (NSU). It is offering a Master’s degree program in cryptography, announced by NSU on its official website. As the name of the graduate degree suggests, emphasis will be on blockchain technologies and encryption techniques. Apart from the 2 year degree, Novosibirsk State University is also offering diplomas for better understanding of the tech.
The Russian love affair
Russia’s love affair with crypto and blockchain is not hidden to the world as quiet recently, Russian newspaper, Izvestia reported that to combat hacks and cyber attacks, the country military is making blockchain based research labs. Talking about the technology, Vadimir Putin’s former adviser on technology, German Klimenko said,
Blockchain technology is an effective modern tool which is already widely used by civil organizations and can be useful to the military.
Since the 2016 U.S. presidential elections where Donald Trump, current United States president came into power after beating Hillary Clinton, top U.S. intelligence agencies suspect Russian involvement in rigging the polls. In July 2016, the Democratic National Committee (DNC) announced that two Russian hacker groups, “Cozy Bear” and “Fancy Bear” are involved in hacking and penetrating DMC’s network and gained access to thousands of top secret emails. The data was then given to a Romanian hacker and after some days it went public on WikiLeaks.
Even though Russia has denied any involvement in rigging the 2016 U.S. general elections, the special counsel Robert Mueller, who was building a criminal case against Russians has identified 12 Russian military agents involved in rigging. His latest findings sent shock waves in the political as well as technological quarters as the report states that the hackers used Bitcoin to hide their identities. The group used cryptocurrency to buy servers and availed services to facilitate hacking.
In June 2018, Vladimir Putin went on a “hotline” live Q&A session with Russian public where he was asked if there is any chance that one day Russia will have its own cryptocurrency? Putin responded;
In most countries, cryptocurrency is not a means of settlement. The Central Bank of the Russian Federation believes that cryptocurrencies cannot be a means of payment, settlement or store of value. These currencies are not secured by anything.
He further stated that Russia is seeking new ideas to implement blockchain technology in financial sector to cater any sanctions from the United States in future whenever the bilateral relation between the two countries get worse.
The latest advancements of crypto in to Russian universities and colleges in not new as in 2017, several leading Russian universities started offering crypto related educational courses. Many link Russia’s love affair with crypto to the fact that the country has opened its arms and is acting like a magnet for crypto and blockchain professionals.