Oregon Business – Blockchain Builders

Academic programs aim to bridge the gap between tech and business.

According to a 2020 report by business networking platform LinkedIn, blockchain familiarity is the No. 1 hard skill employers are looking for in candidates, followed by cloud computing.

Much of the excitement around the secure recordkeeping technology comes from the prospect of interoperability, meaning the ability for different data sets, potentially from different companies, to interact with one another while keeping the private data secure.

Applications include allowing driverless cars to communicate with one another, allowing businesses to pool customer rewards programs and share customer records without infringing on privacy.

A 2019 study by Deloitte found that while business leaders were optimistic about the technology, three-fifths of business executives said blockchain still needed to ‘prove itself’ with measurable results.

“If I were to categorize businesses adopting blockchain as a baseball season, we’re probably at the stage where we’re boarding the busses to spring training,” says Jeff Gaus, founder and CEO of The Provenance Chain Network, an early adopter of blockchain technology.

Gaus says that while blockchain has the potential to be the biggest technology innovation since the advent of the internet, sluggish adoption by the business community remains the largest hurdle for the recordkeeping technology.

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Kristi Yuthas is the founder of Portland State University’s blockchain certificate program. Still in its first year, the program is offered through the school of business. The program has 25 students so far, and is still in its “soft launch,” according to Yuthas. She expects it to grow.

The coursework gives enrollees a basic understanding of the underlying technology behind blockchain, but students are not expected to develop coding skills.

Instead, understanding of the technology is paired with courses meant to teach how…

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