DSU is offering a new blockchain class this spring
16 November 2022
This paid piece is sponsored by Dakota State University.
“Blockchain is a new technology that I believe will be widely used in the future,” said Dr. Yenling Chang.
Chang and two other instructors at Dakota State University will offer a new course this spring that will look at blockchain from the perspective of technology, finance and marketing/management.
The course, open to other students and above, is a crucial way of preparing for future employment in business.
“Students from a business perspective need to know what opportunities this technology has and how they can take advantage of it,” said Dr. Deb Tech. She, Chang and Bailey Belisario will teach the course to provide different perspectives and focuses.
“This course will not make you an expert in any of these three areas, but it will provide you with enough information so that you can navigate blockchain technology and make informed decisions,” said Tech, an associate professor in the College of Business and Information Systems.
Tech sees an opportunity to improve supply chain issues in the marketing and management space of blockchain applications. The use of blockchain in supply chain tracking allows transparency to see what is happening in real time.
“You can see what’s happened when it’s on the dock or if the truck broke down,” Tech said. “All this information can be easily shared between everyone in the blockchain network.”
A lot of money is lost due to supply chain problems. The use of blockchain technology can show where problems are occurring and allow companies to develop solutions.
Other blockchain applications include cryptocurrency, non-fungible tokens, and international trade.
Chang sees blockchain applications in finance as new territory. “I’m pretty sure the financial services industry will be changed with this new technology.”
Chang, an associate professor at the College of BIS, has read case studies on internationally recognized companies using blockchain to deliver financial services to the international trade community.
“I analyze how blockchain affects companies in terms of operations, management and efficiency,” she said.
Blockchain can be permissionless or permissioned. Chang explained that Bitcoin is a permissionless, decentralized ledger system that allows anyone interested in participating in its activities to be a part of that community. Permissioned blockchain requires people to register and reveal themselves to the community, and an administrator restricts access. Allowed blockchains can be centralized.
International trade is a potential area of impact, which traditionally requires companies to go through their banks to process the trade. This requires time to verify and authenticate documents, which can take weeks. Blockchain can secure and digitize the process while accelerating it.
“Blockchain requires the entire community to verify and validate every piece of information passing through the chain, making it difficult to change documents,” Chang explained.
In addition to international trade, organizations can use blockchain in other areas of financial services, marketing, inventory management and more.
She hopes students who take the class develop their own ideas for blockchain applications, and she expects to be inspired by their creativity as they embrace the new technologies.
Belisario, a research engineer in the Applied Research Lab, will teach the technical side of blockchain.
“From a technology standpoint, I want people to understand how it can be used in business and finance,” he said.
One way he will teach is through labs where students will learn how to use the technology, interact with Bitcoin’s blockchain and send transactions to each other. He hopes the labs will help people understand how values can be moved in cyberspace.
Although he will primarily focus on Bitcoin, he will also help students identify where potential flaws or vulnerabilities exist using blockchain in a centralized way, as some other cryptocurrencies do.
“I don’t see blockchain as revolutionary, but I see the implementation of Bitcoin personally as a revolutionary technology,” he said.