University of Nicosia Launches Free ‘Introduction to Digital Currencies’ Online Course

Jon Southurst
Apr 2, 2014 at 10:11 UTC
Updated Jun 27, 2014 at 14:50 UTC

Cyprus’ University of Nicosia announced today it has opened a six week, free and open enrolment online course called ‘Introduction to Digital Currencies’, aimed at anyone wishing to gain a greater understanding of the fundamentals of bitcoin and digital currency in general.

The MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) is due to start on 15th May, with other sessions starting each month thereafter (based on demand), plus accelerated formats for the fast-learning and time-poor.

The only prerequisite for enrolment in the MOOC is enough proficiency in English to understand the instruction, which will be given by University of Nicosia Computer Science and Finance professors, as well as bitcoin experts including Andreas Antonopoulos, a University of Nicosia Teaching Fellow. He said:

“It is an excellent opportunity for anyone to develop a good understanding of the technical and non-technical aspects of decentralized currencies in general and, more specifically, explore both bitcoin (the network) and bitcoin (the currency).”

To participate, registered students will need to participate in course sessions, complete exercises along the way and complete an assessment task at the end of the course.

Masters in Digital Currency

The University of Nicosia (UNIC) is the largest independent university in Cyprus and one of the largest English language universities in southern Europe. In November last year it introduced a Masters of Science Degree in Digital Currency, a 13 to 18 month course costing €11,760 ($16,250) and bridging aspects of computer science, economics, banking and finance and law, as well as other digital currency-specific topics.

The Masters Degree course is available both online and on-campus, and is aimed at solidifying the knowledge of anyone involved in the digital currency sphere, from finance professionals and entrepreneurs to government officials. The University is currently accepting registrations.

UNIC is also offering up to €5m in scholarships to students classified as living in ‘low and middle income countries’.

The free MOOC serves as an on-ramp to the Masters Degree, representing the first six weeks of that course. Students registered in the Masters program will simply carry on after the MOOC is completed, and anyone who completes the MOOC gains credit for the Masters should they choose to continue in future.

Inspiration

Antonis Polemitis, a venture capitalist at Ledra Capital as well as an adjunct faculty member and University of Nicosia board member, is one of the driving forces behind the courses as well as a teacher.

UNIC’s program was truly unique, he said, bringing together the interdisciplinary fields of study that all-round digital currency expertise demanded.

“Last year, several members of our Board and our faculty started studying bitcoin and came to the conclusion that it was a major innovation in Computer Science that would have significant implications for finance,” he said.

“Given that we believe that this will be an important societal area, we decided, as the Board-level to make an investment of time and resources in this area.”

He added that other universities around the world, including Princeton, Stanford and George Mason, were also considering the topics. University of Nicosia, however, remains the only university currently offering an actual Masters Degree and free MOOC, open to anyone.

He said that although Cyprus is a leading trainer in and provider of financial services, the programs had a worldwide focus and stressed that anyone at all could sign up to study online.

UNIC began accepting bitcoin as payment for tuition in November last year and, within weeks, received its first bitcoin payment from a student. The University offers a 5% discount to any student paying in bitcoin.

Anyone looking to enroll in the MOOC can visit this page, where there is also information about the Masters Degree course.

Graduation image via Shutterstock

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