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Bitcoin and Beyond: How Blockchain is Transforming Business

As we begin 2021, many in the business world are watching with interest as cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin reach record highs. Is now the time to learn more about blockchain technology?

With the prices of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin reaching record highs at the beginning of 2021, interest in blockchain technology is soaring. But the applications of blockchain are not limited to cryptocurrencies and financial transactions. 

In fact, experts like Saeideh Gholamrezazadeh Motlagh, instructor for The Chang School’s CZIT 200 – Blockchain Architecture and Applications course, say the growth of blockchain has the potential to create a technological revolution on par with the invention of the Internet.

“Banking, supply chains, voting systems, education and academia, IoT (Internet of Things), cloud computing, forecasting, and more are just some of the industries that could adopt or have already adopted the blockchain,” says Saeideh. 

The Business Potential

Desiree Smith, Director of Business and Legal Affairs at Coinsquare and instructor for CZLW 200 – Blockchain: Risk Management, says she first became interested in blockchain technology after attending a conference in law school. She recognized that blockchain was “shaking up the regulatory scene and changing the world of finance” and went on to publish several papers about it before the 2017 Bitcoin boom. She says the latest Bitcoin highs have largely been driven by traditional financial institutions getting into the cryptocurrency space, which is a sign that blockchain is gaining legitimacy and no longer seen as a speculative investment.

Saeideh says blockchain has such enormous potential that “anyone who works in the tech sector, at a management level, in a business corporation, or in a related academic area needs to educate herself about blockchain.” Saeideh has a PhD in Computer Science and formerly worked as a system developer with a focus on developing network algorithms for routers. Her research into Bitcoin and blockchain technology showed her that blockchain “has the potential to transform any organization fundamentally” by providing a secure platform to exchange and process transactions without third parties, solving a trust issue that is a huge burden in many industries. 

Desiree agrees: “Anything that requires inherent trust has potential blockchain application. From international transactions to ID verification to records management.” And there are also likely many new technological applications for blockchain we don’t yet know about. “Early Internet users would not have been able to conceptualize apps like Uber using the technology to transform transportation services,” says Desiree. “So it’s also worth considering the huge entrepreneurial potential that could come along with learning more about blockchain technology.”

CB Insights, a global business analytics platform, has identified 58 major industries that could be transformed by blockchain technology.

Blockchain at The Chang School

If you’re interested in learning more about blockchain, The Chang School’s CZLW 200 and CZIT 200 courses are great places to start. 

CZLW 200 is an introductory course that examines legal, governance, risk, and compliance issues surrounding blockchain, smart contracts, and cryptocurrency technologies. If you don’t have a technical background but are actively thinking about blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, CZLW 200 is a perfect place to start your learning journey. Desiree says she hopes students will “leave with no questions unanswered.”  

CZIT 200 is an introductory course that focuses on key elements of blockchain architecture and its applications in different industries. You’ll learn how blockchain is used in cryptocurrencies, supply chains, healthcare, and more. Saeideh says that students do not require any computer science or technical background and “will gain a deep understanding of what blockchain is, how it works, the different types of blockchain, and how blockchain solves the trust issue without relying on third parties.” 

While blockchain is one of the hottest trending topics in the business world at the beginning of 2021, its potential impact may only be getting started. Now is the perfect time to learn more about this exciting and transformative technology.