This is a written excerpt from the “Bitcoin Magazine Podcast” hosted by P&Q. In this episode, they are joined by Korok Ray to integrate Bitcoin into the university-level curriculum.
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Q: There isn’t always the most bullish sentiment towards Bitcoin. There are some very passionate people who strongly oppose bitcoin, especially in academia. I’m curious as to what the conversation is like with some of your colleagues who don’t necessarily see Bitcoin the way you see it.
Korok Re: Yes. I encountered many of these conversations while trying to run my convention. So, I would say, first of all in the university universe, Texas A&M is likely to hit Bitcoin as hard as any other university. There are other universities that are, I would say, actively hostile.
My campus and my colleagues were more neutral. They said, “Why bitcoin, why not another coin?” Really, who cares? Why should we go out and have a conference on this brand new technology? Why don’t we just sit back and wait and see how the market sees it.” Give if it has value? That was more my experience from my colleagues here. They have been a little less reluctant to fly a flag and take a stand on bitcoin or even crypto in particular. Some of them said that the whole crypto space is very speculative. “We are universities. We want to be a little slower and more thoughtful and backward-looking.”
I personally think that’s a mistake. I think the universities have to look ahead, we have to take a stand and speak out of conviction. We need to figure out what we believe, discuss it, and then we can explore different ideas based on those beliefs. What’s happening in universities today is that they’re not really a place for free speech anymore. If you have other beliefs, you may suffer from them internally.
I think what’s happening in the academic community, especially among economists, is very, very general, very agnostic. I would say it ranges from hostile to, at worst, agnostic towards bitcoin. I think about it a lot, they don’t really understand it and they’re not ready to address it and understand what it is.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence when I say that no economist could have created Bitcoin. Because of our economic training, we don’t really have the skills or knowledge to take an idea and apply it in a real way.
Economists are great at commenting on things that happened in the past or trying to make some vague predictions about the future where they don’t matter. That’s basically what economists do, both academic and professional economists. Some of my colleagues in the US (when I was trying to get them to speak at my conference and talk about bitcoin) said it best: “I don’t know enough about it, so I won’t comment. ”
So it was like the best. Then the worst answer would be, “Wow, I don’t know if I believe in bitcoin, but I believe blockchain technology can be good.” You’re going to get some ridiculous answers like this. I think ultimately it’s up to the academic community, like I said, it’s not structured in a way that they can understand Bitcoin and really engage with you like I’ve become. Yes, you must be a little misfit. What bitcoin is intellectually in an honest way because you have to rely on your own discipline first and embrace multiple disciplines at the same time and try to see how they fit together, which I think bitcoin does in a beautiful and wonderful way. ,
I think it’s still an ongoing battle. The battle I plan to fight in my life in my career is to help others educate Bitcoin and what it is and how it works. I think we have the right ideas for us and with time we can convince the academic community that it is worth studying and worth understanding.