The University of Basel, a world-renowned post-secondary school based in Switzerland, recently gave Bitcoin pioneer Vitalik Buterin an honorary doctorate degree, specifically due to his involvement in the creation of Ethereum.
Basel also indicated that it gave Buterin, a Russian-Canadian coder, the accolade as a result of his advocacy for the equal rights of participation in the 21st century’s digital revolution. Buterin was honored during the school’s 558th Dies Academicus ceremony, which occurred on November 30th, 2018.
.@VitalikButerin receives an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Basel. The co-founder of @ethereum has made outstanding achievements in the fields of #cryptocurrencies, smart contracts and the design of institutions. pic.twitter.com/6d6ftTG56n
— University of Basel (@UniBasel_en) November 30, 2018
Vitalik Buterin Recognized For Advocating For Equal Rights in the Digital Realm
The University of Basel’s Faculty of Business and Economics said of its awarding of an honorary doctorate to Vitalik Buterin:
“He makes a groundbreaking contribution to promoting decentralization and equal participation in the digital revolution.”
The Swiss institution especially lauded Buterin for his ability to procure scientific publications without an academic degree, nor with any tangible association with an academic society or organization. This is likely a reference to the whitepaper describing the system that would become Ethereum that Buterin published in 2013, along with the countless other papers he authored regarding coding in recent memory.
In the original Ethereum whitepaper, Buterin argued that a scripting language for cryptocurrency-based applications was necessary. When Buterin failed to secure agreement from the Bitcoin community, which was rather close-minded at the time, he sought to create his own project, eventually culminating in the Ethereum we know today.
Academics May Be Taking Cryptocurrency and Blockchain More Seriously
Vitalik Buterin’s new honorary doctorate may be the latest indication that academics are taking cryptocurrency seriously. This is an attitude that first came to light in 2015, which was when UCLA Anderson School professor of finance, Bhagwan Chowdhry, nominated the anonymous Bitcoin creator, Satoshi Nakamoto, for the Nobel Prize in Economics.
It is unlikely, however, that a verifiable claimant to the name of Satoshi Nakamoto would have surfaced long enough to claim the prize.
More recently, the Australian Computer Society named Monero’s Joseph Liu as its Researcher of the Year, due to his contributions to the cause of anonymous cryptocurrency transactions. Liu has recently done work on algorithms designed to prevent quantum computers from “hacking” large transactions and data transfers on blockchain networks.
University students are increasingly applying for jobs at blockchain- and cryptocurrency- oriented startups. As a way to prepare these students for new job opportunities in this industry, nearly half of all universities now offer programs on distributed ledgers and decentralized technology.