UC Berkeley ranked second Oct. 2 in the CoinDesk list of this year’s top 10 U.S. blockchain universities.
Stanford University was ranked first in the CoinDesk list, and UC Berkeley was the only public university listed. CoinDesk is a news site specializing in the cryptocurrency and blockchain technology community.
According to the website, the methodology of the ranking focused on the number of blockchain-related courses and organizations at each university without assessing the effectiveness of the programs. The methodology also assessed the schools’ level of access to the blockchain technology industry.
“Students at Berkeley were early to realize the potential of blockchain technology, and they were great at organizing themselves around this interest,” Data-X Lab Research Director Alexander Fred Ojala said in an email. “This type of grass root activity has paved the way for faculty and departments to embrace this interest so that we now offer some of the best classes in the world on blockchain technology.”
As the only public university listed, UC Berkeley demonstrates that universities can remain at the “forefront” of emerging technologies without charging high tuitions, according to the CoinDesk website.
UC Berkeley’s effort to offer interdisciplinary courses that draw professors from computer science, law and business enhanced the university’s position as a leading educator in blockchain technology, the ranking said.
UC Berkeley offers several interdisciplinary courses related to blockchain, including the course “Blockchain, Cryptoeconomics, and the Future of Technology, Business and Law.” The course aims to provide an overview of the technology behind blockchain while exploring its potential real-world applications, according to the course website.
But Anthony DiPrinzio, executive vice president and head of consulting and business development at Blockchain at Berkeley, said in an email that the campus can improve in terms of the blockchain courses offered.
“(UC Berkeley) can improve by engaging more with professors on campus to offer official courses and to conduct important research to help spearhead innovation,” DiPrinzio said in an email.
The blockchain community on campus — ranging from clubs at the Berkeley Law school to student-run organizations such as Blockchain at Berkeley — also contributed to UC Berkeley’s high ranking. According to the CoinDesk ranking, UC Berkeley has one of the most “vibrant” campus communities, noting that Blockchain at Berkeley builds products and consults major companies, such as Airbus and Qualcomm.
Ojala said in an email that he was satisfied with the ranking but that UC Berkeley has a larger and more active blockchain community than Stanford does, pointing toward this week’s San Francisco Blockchain Week organized by campus students and alumni.
“Our talented students and faculty possess actual passion for this technology, and many believe in its power to create a more equal and fair world,” Ojala said in an email.