Cryptocurrency: Free courses that will help you understand the basics

As cryptocurrency grows in popularity, individuals are becoming increasingly interested in knowing how it works.

By U2B Staff 

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Cryptocurrency is one of the hottest topics of the 21st century. Some say it will revolutionise the future, putting an end to central banking systems, traditional methods of exchanging funds, and the very nature of government and financial control. 

How relevant are its impacts? Here’s an example: recently, Tesla CEO and SpaceX chief, Elon Musk, tweeted just one word: “Literally.” Attached was a photo of the meme-famous Shiba Inu in a spacesuit, planting a flag emblazoned with the word “WOW”. To follow-up just ten minutes later, the billionaire tweeted: “On the actual moon.” – in response to the first.

Dogecoin, which started as a joke in 2013, just a couple of hours later, was trading higher by 23.11% to US$0.0581. This isn’t the first time a tweet from Musk sparked a rally in dogecoin, nor is it the second. The internet has coined the term “Musk Move” to capture his influence in moving prices – from Bitcoin, GameStop to Etsy.

Cryptocurrencies such as Dogecoin, Bitcoin, and other virtual currencies are on a roll and have been for the past few years, surpassing the returns seen in stocks, bonds, and most other investments. Bitcoin hit a new high in early January, reaching a price of nearly US$42,000.

These rapid jumps are not likely to slow down anytime soon. JP Morgan said, in the long-term, if the market cap gets high enough that it competes with gold, the price of bitcoin could reach $146,000, in a note published in January. The company currently has a market value of over US$600 billion.

As the game of money continues to change at a rapid pace, more and more individuals are looking to better understand cryptocurrency for a variety of reasons. Some wish to hone the skills to invest intelligently, then there are some who wish to gain a solid foundation before diving into the technologies behind it. 

Regardless, the basics are crucial. That said, introductory courses can help you understand the history and fundamentals of cryptocurrency. Here’s how you can gain the knowledge to prepare for its future:

Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: An Introduction to Digital Currencies by the University of Pennsylvania

This course was designed for individuals and organisations who want to learn how to navigate investment in cryptocurrencies. Learners will be guided through developing a framework for understanding both cryptocurrency and blockchain. 

In just four-hours, participants learn to define a currency, analyse the foundations of digital signatures and blockchain technology in cryptocurrency, and accurately assess the risks of cryptocurrency in a modern investment portfolio. 

Bitcoin and Cryptocurrencies by the University of California Berkeley

Developed by Blockchain at Berkeley and faculty from UC Berkeley’s premier Computer Science department, this free, six-week course presents Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies as the motivation for blockchain technologies. 

It also provides a comprehensive and in-depth overview of the fundamental concepts of the crypto space with a particular emphasis on Bitcoin. 

Blockchain and Cryptocurrency Explained by the University of Michigan

In this nine-hour course, top professors begin by discussing the technical underpinnings of blockchain and reviewing key concepts such as decentralisation and consensus algorithms.

It then examines blockchain as an asset and reviews the dynamics of the cryptocurrency markets. To conclude, learners will be able to examine blockchain as a business solution, with a focus on understanding business cases in which blockchain does and does not make sense.

Blockchain: Understanding Its Uses and Implications by the Linux Foundation

A more intensive option – the first segment of this 14-week course covers the main concepts of what Blockchain is. It discusses how it began as a triple ledger system first introduced for the administration of the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, and how it is now applied to all aspects of the business including government, banking, supply chains, and a host of other industries. 

It also analyses the concept of transparent ledgers, both public and permissioned, and focuses on using cryptography to achieve consensus, immutability, and governance of transactions.