Princeton University and Coursera Launch Free Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Course Online

BitcoinA Princeton University online course called “Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies” will be offered via online education platform Coursera beginning in September.

The Princeton Bitcoin course will last six weeks, with the last lecture on Nov. 1.

“To really understand what is special about Bitcoin, we need to understand how it works at a technical level,” says the Coursera website class description. “After this course, you’ll know everything you need to be able to separate fact from fiction when reading claims about Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies. You’ll have the conceptual foundations you need to engineer secure software that interacts with the Bitcoin network. And you’ll be able to integrate ideas from Bitcoin in your own projects.”

The instructors are Edward Felton, Arvind Narayanan, and Joseph Bonneau from Princeton University, and Andrew Miller from the University of Maryland. The class textbook will be published by the Princeton University Press.

A preliminary version of the course has been publicly available on the Piazza online platform since January, and includes 11 video lectures, lecture notes, and exercises. The Coursera version of the class includes new lectures, quizzes, and a broader community of students. More than 15,000 students have signed up for the online class.

The professors have described the class as a computer science course that emphasizes technology.

“The hype in the Bitcoin community has sometimes gotten ahead of the technology, and we think that for cryptocurrencies to truly realize their potential, entrepreneurs must go back to the basics, rigorously understand the technology and build on it,” Narayanan said in an announcement about the course early this year.

Coursera is an online education platform for massive open online courses. The company partners with top universities and organizations worldwide to offer courses online that anyone can take for free. Princeton University began offering classes through Coursera in 2012. The platform was created by two Standford University graduates.