Bitcoin could be in for a boost with U.S. students twice as likely as the country’s average to own cryptocurrency, a survey by Coinbase and carried out by researchers Qriously has revealed.
With 18% of U.S. student respondents saying said they own (or have owned) bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency, twice the rate of the general population, it suggests bitcoin ownership and adoption could be about to rise.
Students are often seen as bellwethers of cultural and technological change. Facebook, now the world’s largest social network, was initially open only to students and found mass adoption among the world’s youth before spreading to older generations. Before that, a much younger internet, back in the 1980s, was predominantly used by students, academics and universities to share research before it was later commercialized.
Among all students surveyed, 17% said they consider their knowledge of cryptocurrency and blockchain was very good, compared to just 9% of the general population surveyed at the same time.
The survey results do though chime with a paper from researchers at Imperial College London out in July that said digital currencies are primed for mass adoption.
According to the paper bitcoin and cryptocurrencies will hit the mainstream as a way of paying for goods and services within the next decade, as many of those students surveyed by Coinbase become part of the working world.
Meanwhile, a quarter of those surveyed by Coinbase said that they would definitely take a cryptocurrency or blockchain-centric course. And universities are rushing to meet this demand.
According to Coinbase:
When David Yermack, the finance department chair at New York University Stern School of Business, first offered his course on blockchain and financial services in 2014, 35 students signed up, eight fewer than the school’s typical elective.
By spring 2018, the number of enrolled students climbed to 230, forcing Stern to move the class to its largest auditorium.
Coinbase found that 42% of the top 50 universities around the world offer at least one class on blockchain or cryptocurrency, and 22% offer more than one.
Blockchain and cryptocurrency courses are most prominent in the U.S. however.
Only five of the 18 international universities on the list, or 27%, offer at least one class on blockchain or cryptocurrency. And only two — the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich and the National University of Singapore — offer more than one.
Coinbase reviewed course catalogs at the top 50 universities and found cryptocurrency classes across a variety of departments, including anthropology and finance — not only computer science.
In fact, the rise in offerings across disciplines maps to student interest: Students with a diverse set of majors say they’d like to take cryptocurrency classes. Nearly half of all social science majors expressed interest in taking a crypto class.
Meanwhile, the bitcoin price staged something of a recovery this week, climbing back above the psychological $7,000 mark.
The price jump follows similar moves from bitcoin and the wider cryptocurrency market last week, which was at the time put down to short positions closing on many exchanges, causing a so-called short squeeze.