Over the past three years, the Wyoming legislature has passed laws to create a regulatory environment for blockchain application growth. Now, the new University of Wyoming Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation hopes to help keep this new industry in the state.
Blockchain is a digital record of transactions. Each transaction is added to a chain and validated by many computers. The technology has many different applications including tracking supply chains, payment systems and enabling cryptocurrency.
Steven Lupien, the center's director, said business stakeholders will have a say in what the education programs look like, including hopefully hiring UW graduates.
"We want to have an environment where UW graduates have options where they can stay here and live in the communities that they grew up in and have good paying technology and finance jobs," he said.
An undergraduate minor will begin next school year. Lupien said they will also work with community colleges and K-12 schools.
Another part of the center is the addition of a new blockchain lab.
"We are doing research on things like, how near field communications will interact with blockchain," said Lupien. "Near field communication is essentially the chip that's in your phone that allows Apple Pay or Google Pay to operate by just tapping your phone."
Lupien said Wyoming expertise on blockchain through the center should bring more businesses to the state.