With the support of a Go Virginia grant and a donation from Block.one, Virginia Tech’s computer science department has launched several projects with the goal of exploring non-fungible tokens (NFTs), cryptocurrency, and , more broadly, the blockchain.
Blockchain acts like a digital ledger, said James Harder, external engagement project manager at the Department of Computing.
“It works like a large interactive spreadsheet, similar to Excel or Google Sheets,” he said. “People have the ability to add things to the ledger, and those changes are accepted into the blockchain by distributed users. And what everyone generally accepts because the disk becomes the blockchain.
The technology is usually associated with things like banking and cryptocurrency, but it has the potential to be used for so much more, which is part of why the department’s new blockchain certificate program is so exciting for Harder.
The Blockchain Certificate Program, launched in the spring semester and offered again in the summer, offers participants – mid-career professionals and students – the opportunity to better understand blockchain.
“We want attendees to have the ability to understand basic applications and jargon around the technology,” Harder said. “It’s exciting to watch students come up with inspiring and exciting new apps and ideas. Students are exposed to NFTs, blockchain ethics, business applications, decentralized autonomous organizations, and fintech.
Neal Henshaw, technical director of Virginia Tech’s Calhoun Honors Discovery Program, said he attended the program this spring to help his students better understand use cases for blockchain technology.
“When I first heard them talk about blockchain, I was confused because like many people, I had only associated it with bitcoin,” Henshaw said. “I had no idea there were other uses for it. So I knew I needed to learn more. I now feel like I’m better equipped to help my students see a solution for it. possible to one of their problems.
Nelson Chu, managing director of Kinetic Ventures, was prompted to sign up last summer because the growing technology has been on his company’s radar for several years.
“I’ve been in venture capital since 1998, and it’s part of our role to figure out the types of companies to invest in,” Chu said. “In this class, there were many great applications that I hadn’t thought of before, such as simplifying vehicle loan processes or raising funds for new businesses. I am very happy to have taken the course. It was definitely worth it.”
The program is taught by blockchain industry experts, including James Gatto, a partner at Sheppard Mullin; Greg Lee, chief operating officer at nft42, graduated in 1994 with degrees in computer science and economics; and John Fields, senior product manager at Capital One.
The Blockchain Certificate Program enables participants who do not necessarily have a computer background to learn technologies so they can creatively apply them in new fields such as art, education, business and finance .
Harder said lawmakers and regulators are increasingly interested in the uses of blockchain. “They want to explore how it will work and what some of the rules of blockchain will be. I have a background in political science, so I’m excited to see where this is going.”
Virginia Tech will offer the Blockchain Certificate Program to students and professionals in the spring. Visit this page for more information about the program and to register.
Written by Hannah Lee, intern in the Department of Computer Science