Accounting and Finance

Blockchains and Crypto Assets

Module code: N1621
Level 6
15 credits in autumn semester
Teaching method: Lecture, Workshop
Assessment modes: Project, Coursework

Blockchains are the backbone of the future of financial markets, smart contracts are the vehicles of the new era of decentralised finance institutions and crypto assets are the energy that drive this digital revolution. I like to think of blockchains as the motorways, smart contracts as the automobiles and coins as the ‘gas’ that powers them. The module covers the fundamental concepts underlying private and public blockchains and crypto assets, the bitcoin blockchain, proof-of-work and bitcoin transactions; the concepts of hash functions, digital signatures for cryptographic transfers and proof for cryptography such as ZK-snarks and elliptic curves; smart contracts and the Ethereum blockchain, proof-of-stake, consensus algorithms, public blockchains; venture capital, crowdfunding and the new token economy, ICO/IEO/IDOs; stable coins and CBDCs; centralised and decentralised exchanges, market making, microstructure, margin mechanisms and clearing for derivatives products, trading and regulation. During this module you’ll come to understand a wealth of entirely new ideas. The knowledge and information that you will gain will put you at a great advantage in your career and FinTech is one of the only industries that is rapidly expanding at this time.

Module learning outcomes

  • Understand and utilize the basic concepts of cryptography that are used for encryption of digital assets and for constructing blockchains
  • Describe the fundamental differences between different blockchain protocols, with a focus on staking and smart contract designs
  • Critically evaluate the roles of tokenomics and decentralised finance for the futures of finance and the global economy; stable coins and central bank digital currencies
  • Understand the different types of crypto assets, and their derivative products, and the markets in which they are traded, the roles of different institutions and the construction of optimal crypto asset portfolios.