50886 FinTech, Digital Currency and Blockchains

This course covers digital currencies, blockchains, and related topics in the FinTech area, perhaps the most significant innovation in the financial world since the advent of double-entry bookkeeping centuries ago.  The technology appears to represent an existential challenge for major parts of the finance industry.  It is now commonly suggested by experts such as McKinsey that commercial banks and stock exchanges may no longer exist, or may become much smaller, within the next 10 to 20 years, with increasing volumes of payments and exchange taking place on a peer to peer basis.

We will begin with a study of the nature of money and legacy payment and banking systems.  We will then study the emergence of stateless, cloud-based digital currency systems since 2009.  Further lectures will explore threats that blockchain technology poses to incumbent firms and their resulting attempts to co-opt the technology into existing business models, and the rapid growth of digital finance firms such as Coinbase, Ant Financial, and numerous others. We survey related issues including hacking, “smart contracts,” initial coin offerings, forks, governance, decentralized finance (De-Fi), stablecoins, central bank digital currencies, and emerging regulation.


Duration: 13 - 22 July 2021

Tuesday 13 July 2021, 14:00 - 16:30
Wednesday 14 2021, 14:00 - 16:30
Thursday 14 July 2021, 14:00 - 16:30
Friday 15 July 2021, 14:00 - 16:30

Monday 19 July 2021, 14:00 - 16:30
Tuesday 20 July 2021, 14:00 - 16:30
Wednesday 21 July 2021, 14:00 - 16:30
Thursday 22 July 2021, 14:00 - 16:30

UPDATE: The course will be taught online.

Assessment Details

  • 50% proof of work excercise
  • 50% take-home exam with essay questions. For more details: see syllabus.


Recommended Prerequisites

Solid understanding of business and economics on the BA level.Courses on Bitcoin, Banking Regulations and Monetary Policy on the BA level are helpful.


Course Information

For further information please contact the Summer School office.



Prof. David Yermack
Professor of Finance and Business Transformation
Stern School of Business, New York University