Course Profile

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Course Code Course Title ECTS Credits
DFIN-511 Introduction to Digital Currencies 10
Department Semester Prerequisites
School of Business and Computer Science Fall/Spring/Summer None
Type of Course Field Language of Instruction
None Digital Currencies English
Level of Course Year of Study Lecturer(s)
2nd Cycle 1st Andreas Antonopoulos
Antonis Polemitis
Dmitry Apraksin
Mode of Delivery Work Placement Co-requisites
Distance Learning N/A None

 

The course is designed to provide an introductory understanding of decentralized digital currencies (cryptocurrencies) such as Bitcoin. In particular, the course will survey the theory and principles by which cryptocurrencies operate, practical examples of basic cryptocurrency use, including clients, wallets, transactions. We’ll look at the cryptocurrency ecosystem financial services and discuss the existing and potential interaction of cryptocurrencies with the banking, financial, legal and regulatory environment. Lastly we’ll examine in detail how cryptocurrencies can be viewed from an innovation perspective and what opportunities they present for the developing world.

The course will consist of four general topics:

1. Theoretical introduction to digital currencies: This will include the history of digital currencies, the invention of decentralized consensus through proof-of-work, and a technical overview of cryptographic currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as alternative/advanced uses of the blockchain.

2. Practical introduction to digital currencies: In depth view of how the system works, how it stays secure and what incentives are in play to maintain it functional and growing. How transactions take place, and how Bitcoins are acquired, stored and secured.

3. Banking, financial and regulatory implications of digital currencies: Overview of how cryptocurrencies map to the existing monetary and banking system, existing and possible approaches to regulation and their further development.

4. Innovation & development: How cryptocurrencies can be viewed through conventional innovation frameworks, what this unique positioning tells us about their future as a technology, and what possibilities exist for cryptocurrencies in developing countries as crucibles of transparency, positive change and financial inclusion.

After completion of the course students are expected to be able to:

• Understand the fundamental technology components of blockchain-based digital currencies, the process of currency issuance, proof-of-work and alternative consensus mechanisms, how they are applied and and how the distributed ledger is structured in it’s core.

• Understanding digital currency transactions, create their wallets, be able to acquire bitcoins, conduct transactions from a wallet, and understand the risks and options in keeping their coins reasonably safe.

• Understand more advanced uses of the blockchain such as escrow services, multisignature transactions, asset registration, attestation and smart contracts applications.

• Understand alternative blockchains to Bitcoin, such as alt-coins and Ethereum and IOU-based systems like Ripple.

• Understand what parallels and differences cryptocurrencies have with the existing monetary and banking systems, what approaches are the same and what are fundamentally different.

• Understand existing approaches by regulators globally, and the likely frameworks for regulating cryptocurrencies, and their interface with conventional finance, in the future.

• Be able to critically judge on their own, whether cryptocurrencies are disruptive innovations, and what hurdles, bottlenecks or avenues exist towards wider adoption, as well as the potential they present for leapfrogging infrastructure in developing nations and the potential they present for improving financial inclusion and economic development.