Fun fact: did you know that 18 of the world's oldest banks operate in the United Kingdom? And that six of them have been in operation for more than 300 years? And that all, save for the Bank of Scotland are headquartered in London?
You surely know their names: Barclay's, Coutts & Co., C. Hoare...
The presence of so many venerable financial institutions in one city surely underscores that London is the financial centre of all of the UK, on par with other global cities. Could that dominance now be under threat by the growing wave of decentralised currencies such as bitcoin, ether and other altcoins?
And, even more ominous: what would such dethronement mean - both for those institutions and for London, as well as the whole of the UK?
Your Superprof investigated that question to find out whether there's any need to worry about such questions.
Schools that Teach Cryptocurrency Lessons London
As we visited select cities around the UK to see what they had in the way of cryptocurrency lessons, we were pleasantly surprised to find that Leeds is making great strides in educating both the public and businesses about the benefits and versatility of cryptocurrency.
Still, for as much as they have going on, Loiners cannot hold a candle to Londoners' efforts.
While the University of Leeds has a student union programme dedicated to all things crypto, actual academic courses in financial technology into their curriculum fall far short. More exactly, they don't exist.
Compare that to the many colleges and universities in London that offer either standalone courses or full programmes.
Kensington London College
Whether you're just starting your professional life or have come to an end of the career you've built and are looking for something new, KLC'c blockchain and cryptocurrency courses are for you.
The course syllabus makes a clear distinction between cryptocurrency and blockchain; one that many initiates may not realise is pertinent.
Back in 2012, when bitcoin first went mainstream, it was the only cryptocurrency. Thus, those who knew about the cryptocurrency but were not on the inside - entities such as the news media and tech magazine writers, often used blockchain and bitcoin interchangeably. However, as new currencies developed, the crypto community started distinguishing the coins from the distributed ledgers they were transacted on.
Kensington has wisely made the distinction between the units of value - the coins and the ledger the transactions are recorded on. Their course catalogue specifies that both blockchain and cryptocurrency will be addressed at each course level, from beginner to advanced, as well as for their courses for business leaders and investors.
Course fees start at £1,100 (for the beginner track); books and materials not included.
Are you curious whether the University of Manchester has a comparable cryptocurrency programme?
Imperial College London
If you happen to be an alumnus of this school, you may already know about its Centre for Cryptocurrency, an initiative to get ahead of the wave of change blockchain promises. As Imperial, from its outset, was meant to be a public research facility, it is only fitting that they explore this new frontier as fully as possible.
To understand how vital their research is, you have to know how blockchain originated.
The whole concept was illustrated in a paper authored by Satoshi Nakamoto, in October 2008. The open-source code for bitcoin software was published in January, the following year. That same month, that mysterious creator 'mined' what is now known as the genesis block, initiating the very first block of what is now known as a blockchain.
In a sense, the whole concept is renegade. It does not follow traditional means of establishing or trading in currency, nor could it ever become sovereign. That's by design.
For all of blockchains' security, it being a decentralised system is contrary to established norms of value assessment.
The team at Imperial hopes to enhance the protocols that underpin the technology. They also strive to discover more applications for blockchain, and they welcome the keenest minds to join them. To that end, they have launched an app development competition; they also hope to refine Ethereum, to provide a more secure and cost-effective environment to conduct transactions in.
Whether your Imperial college days are far behind you or you're currently enrolled, you can't help but be excited about such developments.
London City Educators
This group has a goal: to educate as many people as possible so that they can find satisfying, rewarding employment. Those educators don't just pass on the knowledge, they also teach the necessary skills. Thus, it should come as no surprise that they offer a course on the cutting edge of financial technology.
In fact, they offer two cryptocurrency courses: how to invest and how to trade. Both are a little over 15 hours long, with that time distributed over four lessons.
Their courses will teach you how to recognise investment-worthy cryptocurrencies and how to buy/sell those currencies. They will also point you to crypto-communities, where you can learn from, partner with, or even socialise with like-minded enthusiasts.
And, best of all: both courses are free!
Unfortunately, as with the UCL course, this initiative has been COVID-derailed. However, you can periodically check their website to see when they'll be on offer again.
Learn About Cryptocurrency from a Tech Enterprise
London boasts a large population of international students - much as the University of Glasgow does, even if there are no fintech programmes yet on offer there. Nevertheless, learners from all over the world seek out the best in higher education in both cities - and others across the UK.
But not everyone wants or needs four years of university education to learn how to trade and invest in cryptocurrency. For instance, executives, managers and entrepreneurs may need a course in blockchain and cryptocurrency to advance their business.
If that's you, University College London has a course tailor-made for you.
You don't need to have any specialised knowledge about blockchains, nor do you have to have any experience writing code to participate. This course covers a broad range of topics, including:
- asset-centric technologies (distributed ledgers among them)
- technologies for asset registration
- application stacks - a set of applications to perform certain tasks
- defining and exploring cryptocurrency and tokens
- the purpose and use of small/smart contracts
As this course is designed for movers and shakers of the business and regulatory world, you will also touch on the theoretical aspects of these new technologies, including the revolution they represent in the economic, legal and legislative realms.
This in-person course is set to take place on Tuesday evenings over eight weeks. The cost is fairly substantial - £4,500 in total. You get a lot for your money, though, including one-to-one support and, after studying the basics of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, examining actual case studies.
Unfortunately, this course has been derailed by the pandemic; there is, as yet, no starting date set. You should be aware that, due to the proposed small class size - no more than 30 learners, early inquiring and reserving your place will assure you of the education you need.
Of all the cryptocurrency courses in the UK, this particular one promises the greatest return on your investment.
Learn Cryptocurrency Online
As cryptocurrencies and all associated tools and ledgers exist solely in cyberspace, it stands to reason that anyone who is crypto-curious would turn to online outlets to learn all about them.
Understandably, online resources are available anywhere, to anyone who has an internet connection - provided they are allowed to access those sites. Still, some of the best online cryptocurrency courses originate from London, so let's highlight a few of them - starting with the London Academy of Trading.
Trading, you wonder?
Indeed, many people consider bitcoin and altcoins to be primarily investment vehicles. Although London has far more outlets that accept cryptocurrencies as a form of payment than most other UK cities, their acceptance is still very limited... but their potential is great.
Hence, the London Academy of Trading places its emphasis on trading and investing in cryptocurrencies. Their curriculum will help you understand the processes involved and the associated risks; they will also go into ways you can minimise your risk.
Their two-week, online course starts at £599, after which you might consider their advanced trading course.
If you are merely crypto-curious - you have no plans of building a business or your future around blockchain or cryptocurrency, that might be a steep price, especially as there are plenty of lost-cost online courses you could take advantage of.
In fact, if you did have a future as a cryptocurrency investor/trader in mind, you could be just as well served by any of the cryptocurrency and blockchain courses offered on Reed, particularly the Skill Up offering, which promises an actual diploma at the end of the course.
If you wanted to learn about blockchain and cryptocurrencies from a tutor, Superprof has 13 fintech tutors teaching in and around London, and hundreds more who give lessons online.
The advantage of learning with a Superprof is that they will tailor their lessons to your knowledge level and interest in the subject. For instance, if you care nothing about the technology side of things but are wildly curious about investing, that's the focus your lessons will take.
Many Superprof fintech tutors have vast experience in the field and in teaching those concepts. But don't think you have to choose blindly, you can read past students' testimonials to gauge a particular tutor's abilities.
What are you waiting for? Don't be like my mate in Birmingham, who had long wanted to take cryptocurrency courses but hesitated until he got too busy for lessons. Pick your fintech Superprof, already!