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Connecting through the Blockchain: The UWI Cave Hill to partner with Fintech Entrepreneur

For Release Upon Receipt - Tuesday, September 25, 2018

_DSC4613ED-9-25-2018.jpgAs it accelerates the roll out of cutting-edge academic programmes on its Smart Campus platform, the Cave Hill campus is gearing to introduce the study of Blockchain technologies.

Plans are in train to offer a specialization in the revolutionary technology that underlies bitcoin and other digital transactions from the next academic, 2019/2020. The special area of study will be offered in the newly-minted Masters of Science in Information Technology.

Last Monday, Principal and Pro Vice-Chancellor of The UWI Cave Hill, Professor V Eudine Barriteau hosted a courtesy call from Gabriel Abed, a fintech (financial technology) entrepreneur and co-founder of Bitt, a digital currency company. Bitt uses blockchain and distributed ledger technology to facilitate secure peer-to-peer transactions through mobile money across a range of software and mobile applications.

At the meeting, facilitated by Head of Department & Senior Lecturer in Physics and Electronics, Dr Janak Sodha, addressed the feasibility of introducing the specialization in blockchain technology. Abed will assist with the content creation and initial delivery of the course, and plans to place special focus on real-world experiences on the use of blockchain technology and lessons on entrepreneurship.

The digital currency and technology specialist also pledged to donate any personal remuneration from the course delivery to either Future Trees, a programme of the Future Centre Trust which plants trees (particularly fruit trees) across the island to enhance the island’s beauty and access to food, or as seed funding for a business proposal developed by a student in the programme.

“What he is doing for us and our University is a huge deal as the first entrepreneur of blockchain technology in the region,” Sodha said after the meeting. He added that universities offering similar programmes attached high price tags and expressed pleasure at Abed’s willingness to not only partner with the University, but also give back to the community.

Barriteau welcomed the collaboration, stating it aligned well with the Smart Campus and Smart City initiatives. The concept of the Smart Campus emphasizes innovation in facilities design and management, curriculum reform and the continuous enhancement of the learning environment and administrative processes at Cave Hill. Smart City involves revenue-earning strategies, such as technology-based initiatives, for example in transport and other service delivery, targeting the nearby Warrens commercial hub and Bridgetown areas.


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