FIN-413 / 3 crédits

Enseignant: Xu Jiahua

Langue: Anglais

Withdrawal: It is not allowed to withdraw from this subject after the registration deadline.

Remark: Special schedule: see the IF website http://sfi.epfl.ch/mfe/study-plan


Summary

This course provides an introduction to distributed ledger technology, blockchains and cryptocurrencies, and their potential applications in finance and banking.

Content

Keywords

Electronic Money, Cryptocurrencies, Distributed Ledger Technology, Blockchain, Bitcoin, Ethereum, Smart Contracts

Learning Prerequisites

Recommended courses

Introduction to Finance

Important concepts to start the course

Cryptography, Databases, Payment Systems

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, the student must be able to:

  • Use basic cryptographic concepts including private/public keys, signatures, hash functions, Merkle trees
  • Distinguish between different types of blockchain (private vs public, permissioned vs non-permissioned, etc.) and cryptocurrencies (utility tokens, security tokens, stablecoins etc.)
  • Recall historical examples of electronic money
  • Formulate alternative approaches to Byzantine fault-tolerant consensus including proof of work, proof of stake, etc.
  • Sketch the basic setup of Bitcoin, Ethereum, XRP Ledger and EOSIO
  • Conduct wallet installation, inter-wallet transactions and cryptocurrency trading
  • Critique misuse of blockchains
  • Investigate fraudulent activities in the crypto-market
  • Present existing examples of DeFi (Decentralizing Finance)
  • Explore potential financial applications of DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology)
  • Propose business strategies for blockchain start-ups

Transversal skills

  • Access and evaluate appropriate sources of information.
  • Communicate effectively with professionals from other disciplines.
  • Demonstrate the capacity for critical thinking

Teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, group project

Assessment methods

20% In-class and take-home assignments

60% Group essay

20% Group presentation

Supervision

Office hours Yes
Assistants Yes
Forum Yes

Resources

Virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI)

No

Bibliography

Narayanan, A., J. Bonneau, E. Felten, A. Miller, and S. G. (2016). Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction. Princeton University Press, 2016(8), 304.

Nakamoto, S. (2008). Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System. Retrieved from www.bitcoin.org

J. Xu, B. Livshits, in 28th USENIX Security Symposium (USENIX Security 19) (USENIX Association, Santa Clara, CA, 2019; http://arxiv.org/abs/1811.10109), pp. 1606-1625.

A. Braun, L. H. Cohen, J. Xu, fidentiaX: The Tradable Insurance Marketplace on Blockchain. Harvard Bus. Sch. Case219-116 (2020) (available at https://www.hbs.edu/faculty/Pages/item.aspx?num=56189).

Foley, S., Karlsen, J. R., & Putnins, T. J. (2019). Sex, Drugs, and Bitcoin: How Much Illegal Activity Is Financed through Cryptocurrencies? Review of Financial Studies, 32(5), 1798-1853. https://doi.org/10.1093/rfs/hhz015

Tucker, C., & Catalini, C. (2018). What Blockchain Can't Do. Harvard Business Review. Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2018/06/what-blockchain-cant-do

Catalini, C., & Gans, J. S. (2019). Some Simple Economics of the Blockchain. SSRN Electronic Journal. https://doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2874598

Ressources en bibliothèque

Dans les plans d'études

  • Semestre: Automne
  • Forme de l'examen: Pendant le semestre (session d'hiver)
  • Matière examinée: Financial applications of blockchains and distributed ledgers
  • Cours: 2 Heure(s) hebdo x 14 semaines
  • Semestre: Automne
  • Forme de l'examen: Pendant le semestre (session d'hiver)
  • Matière examinée: Financial applications of blockchains and distributed ledgers
  • Cours: 2 Heure(s) hebdo x 14 semaines
  • Semestre: Automne
  • Forme de l'examen: Pendant le semestre (session d'hiver)
  • Matière examinée: Financial applications of blockchains and distributed ledgers
  • Cours: 2 Heure(s) hebdo x 14 semaines

Semaine de référence

 LuMaMeJeVe
8-9     
9-10     
10-11     
11-12     
12-13     
13-14     
14-15     
15-16     
16-17     
17-18     
18-19     
19-20     
20-21     
21-22