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The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania last week announced it would become the first Ivy League school and the first American business school to accept enrollment payments in cryptocurrency via Coinbase. The announcement came alongside news that the prestigious business school also has launched an online certificate program focused on the economics of blockchain and digital assets.

Wharton worked with the blockchain economic consulting firm the Prysm Group to design the six-week program targeted at business and technology professionals hoping to learn about the economic underpinnings of blockchain and digital assets.

Students can pay their tuition fee in cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and USD Coin, Wharton officials said.

In recent years, blockchain and digital assets have taken off in ways that would have been hard to imagine even five years ago. According to the Washington, D.C.-based think tank Atlantic Council, 87 countries representing over 90 percent of global GDP are now exploring a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), up from just 35 countries in 2020. Wharton said Deloitte has found that 83 percent of businesses are discussing or working on cryptocurrencies, and that its decision to launch the certificate program comes “in response to this fast economic paradigm shift.”

The program will include coursework introducing students to a standard valuation methodology for digital assets, seven business school case studies and over 50 program lecture videos featuring Wharton faculty and industry experts. A Wharton announcement about the program said it is designed for business professionals seeking to “align theory with practice and give them the tools necessary to engage deeply with this emerging technology in a business context.”

The program’s academic director, Kevin Werbach of the Wharton School, said he wants to help business leaders and entrepreneurs identify and understand blockchain, since it is here to stay.

The Economics of Blockchain and Digital Assets program is now open for enrollment; the first course will begin on Jan. 3, 2022.