15.S12 | Fall 2018 | Graduate

Blockchain and Money


Course Meeting Times

Lectures: 2 sessions / week, 1.5 hours / session 


MIT students were required to obtain the permission of the instructor.


This course is for students wishing to explore blockchain technology’s potential use—by entrepreneurs & incumbents—to change the world of money and finance.

Kicking off with a review of the technology’s initial application, the cryptocurrency Bitcoin, students will gain an understanding of the commercial, technical and public policy fundamentals of blockchain technology, distributed ledgers and smart contracts in both open sourced and private applications.

The class will then turn to current and potential blockchain applications in the financial sector. This will include reviews of potential use cases for payment systems, central banking, venture  capital, secondary market trading, trade finance, commercial banking, post trade possessing and digital ID.

Along the way, we will explore the markets and regulatory landscape for cryptocurrencies, initial coin offerings, other tokens and crypto derivatives.

Requirements and Grading

Assignment Percentage
Two Individual Write-ups  30%
Group Research Paper 40%
Class Participation 30%

For more information, see the Assignments section

Readings and Study Questions

General advice: Please read blockchain news websites, such as CoinDesk, CCN.com, and Coin Telegraph, every week. Other popular websites are listed here: “Best on the Block: The World’s Best Blockchain Websites.” Also, please read blockchain, as well as, financial sector-related articles as they appear in The Wall Street Journal, the Financial Times, and The New York Times. As the world of blockchain technology and crypto finance are rapidly changing, specific (short) articles might be added to the reading when relevant.

Course Info

As Taught In
Fall 2018
Learning Resource Types
Lecture Videos
Written Assignments