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Emory & Henry to teach blockchain tech class

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A new course in blockchain technology will be offered later this year at Emory & Henry College.

The program is sponsored by the college’s School of Business, Troy Wiipongwii of the William & Mary Global Research Institute and InvestSWVA, according to a written statement. It is scheduled to launch June 21 as a five-week course.

Blockchain is a technology that transcends geographic, economic and political boundaries, known today for supporting other technologies such as nonfungible tokens, cryptocurrencies and decentralized autonomous organizations, according to the statement.

Wiipongwii will serve as instructor for the course which will explore the application of blockchain technology to southwestern Virginia’s drive to expand its economy — integrating the technological with the economic and the entrepreneurial, according to the statement. The course, open to enrolled students and business guests, will prepare participants to communicate effectively about how blockchain can support new growth in the region’s energy and agriculture sectors.

“The business school of Emory & Henry College seeks to nurture and deliver entrepreneurs,” Emmett Tracy, the school’s dean, said. “The Blockchain Foundations course will help us connect our mission as educators with our priority of encouraging our talent to stay and grow with and in Virginia’s Southwest. The course addresses the priorities of our student base as well, in the realm of taking agriculture and energy startups to new heights, using technology strategically and with full realization of environmental impact.”

Deputy House Majority Leader Israel O’Quinn, R-Bristol, said the course could offer multiple benefits.

“This course takes rural Virginia into much-needed territory of integrating relevant higher education, powerful technology and economic development,” O’Quinn said. “Besides being pleased that Emory & Henry is introducing blockchain to this conversation, with Troy Wiipongwii, I look forward to seeing the role courses like this can play in encouraging students to take the entrepreneurial route in our southwest region.

Wiipongwii said the offering is about applications not just technology.

“I want this course to be about putting blockchain into a real-life, on-the-ground context — not just another blockchain course with more blockchain hype. The Blockchain Lab at the William & Mary global research institute is about stakeholder alignment and rigorous evaluation of real-world applications of blockchain,” Wiipongwii said.

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