15.S08 | Spring 2020 | Graduate

FinTech: Shaping the Financial World

Class 5: Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrencies

Lecture Slides 

Class 5 Lecture Slides: Blockchain Technology & Cryptocurrencies (PDF)


Required Readings

‘Even if a Thousand Projects Don’t Make It, Blockchain Is Still a Change Catalyst’ Gary Gensler, CoinDesk (December 15, 2019)

The technology of retail central bank digital currency’  Raphael Auer and Rainer Boehme, Bank of International Settlement (March 1, 2020)

Optional Readings

‘Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System’ Satoshi Nakamoto (October 31, 2008)

‘Blockchain Technology Overview’ Dylan Yaga et al. National Institute of Standards and Technology (October 2018) (pages 1–3, & 7–28, sections 1, 3 & 4)

Study Questions / Issues to Prepare

  1. How does Bitcoin fit within the history of money, the emergence of the Internet and failed attempts of cryptographic payment systems?
  2. What are the strategic and tactical considerations in assessing the viability and value proposition of a blockchain technology project? How can you separate rigorous analysis from mere assertion and hype in the blockchain ecosystem?
  3. What strategic considerations should go into Central Banks thinking of expanding access to digital reserves through central bank digital currency (CBDC)?

Course Info

As Taught In
Spring 2020
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Lecture Notes
Written Assignments
Instructor Insights