Universities Ignoring Blockchain Education

13 Apr 2018 | 08.42 am

Universities Ignoring Blockchain Education

Report from NUI Galway

13 Apr 2018 | 08.42 am

NUI Galway’s business school has conducted a study to investigate the organisational factors that influence Irish companies that decide to adopt blockchain.

The study was conducted by the JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics in conjunction with the Blockchain Association of Ireland and was led by Dr Trevor Clohessy and Dr Thomas Acton of NUIG.

Blockchain in its simplest form is a shared database system which allows users in a peer-to-peer network to verify and store records. Blockchain represents a new way to access and trust data communicated over the internet.

Clohessy stated: “Instead of keeping data centralised in a traditional ledger, these new digital systems use independent computers, often referred to as ‘nodes’, to record, synchronise and share individual transactions in their respective electronic ledgers.

“Blockchain is a digital ledger which allows for the brokering of trust on a decentralised peer-to-peer network. Blockchain transactions can include the exchange of data such as personal identification records, and assets such as tokens and digital currency.”

The study found that top management support and organisational readiness are enablers for blockchain, and that large companies are more likely to adopt blockchain than SMEs. The prime requirements to enable adoption of blockchain are identified as:
• having employees with the requisite blockchain IT knowledge and skills
• sufficient finance in the IT budget
• infrastructure on which blockchain applications can be built.

Versatile Beast

Clohessy added: “ Blockchain is often portrayed as a black box technology which is mostly associated with cryptocurrencies and financial institutions. However, our research indicates that blockchain is a much more versatile beast that provides adopters with advantages such as anonymity, immutability, transparency, security and fast transactions.

“We expect blockchain will significantly transform the traditional business operations of organisations across a multitude of industries such as health, food, financial and government sectors in Ireland over the next five years. However, we have also identified a number of barriers, including a lack of university level blockchain courses encompassing a number of core competencies identified in the study.”

The JE Cairnes School of Business and Economics is currently exploring various possibilities to address the gap in the lack of university level blockchain courses such as creating executive blockchain workshops. Dr Clohessy has also introduced blockchain as a topic for students within the modules for MSc Business Analytics and MSc Information Systems Management.

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