The University of Cambridge may boast a panoply of highly impressive academic staff, but the student body is just as central to the blockchain research and development happening at the institution.
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Cambridge offers blockchain courses for postgraduates, including “Distributed Ledger Technologies: Foundations and Applications” at the computer science department. Lectures cover topics from consensus protocols and smart contracts to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
The Cambridge Blockchain Society was founded by students in 2018 and aims to connect current students with researchers, investors and those working out in the industry. The group holds workshops, hackathons and educational courses. The society counts ConsenSys and Ripple among its industry partners. Students can develop a blockchain industry network before they even leave the institution.
The society offers prizes for innovation competitions and incubates startups as they seek the investment they need to grow. For example, the Cambridge Blockchain Prize calls for teams of up to six participants to propose either research or enterprise ideas – with a potential £15,000 of funding awarded to the judges’ favorite. Teams also receive mentorship and legal support.
The Judge Business School at Cambridge hosts the Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, which specializes in “financial channels and instruments that emerge outside of the traditional financial system” and has a research associate specifically in charge of cryptocurrency and blockchain.
The University of Cambridge has a unique heritage among the world’s academic institutions. Founded more than 800 years ago, it is the world’s fourth-oldest, still-operating university.
Helped by the prestigious academic institutions working within its borders, the U.K. has been able to position itself as a leading site of blockchain enterprise. The country’s financial regulator speculated last year that there could be several hundred firms already involved in cryptocurrency activities in the country. Students can step easily from academia into industry.