Bitcoin, Crypto-Assets, and Blockchain Technology, February-March 2024

University of Milano-Bicocca


If you have an e-mail please join the 202402-bicocca channel in the Slack BBT workspace using your first and last name (no nicknames) and a profile picture. Updates and conversations about the course will be posted in the Slack channel.

The course is for the students of University of Milano-Bicocca only; anyone else, please consider

Learning objectives

The course is an introduction to bitcoin crypto- assets, and the associated blockchain technology.

Game theory, computer science (distributed systems, distributed consensus), and monetary theory elements are examined in the attempt to properly convey the interdisciplinarity of the topics and appreciate their relevance.


There are no strict prerequisites, even if a computer science mindset and some familiarity with algebra and finance might help to appreciate the course. While a rigorous formal approach is almost impossible in a course touching on so many and so different knowledge areas, intellectual curiosity is stimulated about the interplay between maths, cryptography, economic incentives, technology, monetary theory, regulatory issues, and politics.

Teaching method

Slide based lessons with associated bibliography.

Teaching language



To access the early exam session, students must attend the classes and solve five homeworks that will be assigned during the course. Please send the homeworks via e-mail to the address ferdinando.ametrano AT unimib DOT it with subject bbt202402-bicocca #1 for the first assignment, bbt202402-bicocca #2 for the second assignment, etc. E-mail submissions with the wrong address or wrong subject will not be accepted.

The homeworks contribute one point each to the final grade (5 homeworks, 5 points). The early exam will be multiple-choice questions (50 questions, 25 minutes, 25 points, computer based: bring your own laptop), plus two open questions (10 minutes, 5 points, paper based: bring your own pen).

Later exam sessions will be multiple-choice questions test (62 questions, 30 minutes, 30L points).

The final grade for this half-couse will be averaged with the grade obtained in the complementary exam by prof. Alessia Pedrazzoli.



  1. 2024-02-28 Wednesday 10:30-13:30, U2-06
    Bitcoin as Digital Gold (Part 1)
  2. 2024-03-04 Monday 11:30-14:30, U6-11
    Bitcoin as Digital Gold (Part 2)
  3. 2024-03-06 Wednesday 10:30-13:30, U2-06
    Discrete Logarithm Problem on Finite Fields and Elliptic Curves (first section only)
    Hash Functions
    Homework #1 (slide 15) due before 2024-03-18
    Blockchain, Mining, and Distributed Consensus (Part 1)
  4. 2024-03-11 Monday 11:30-14:30, U6-11
    Blockchain, Mining, and Distributed Consensus (Part 2)
    Homework #2 (slide 85) due before 2024-03-18
  5. 2024-03-13 Wednesday 10:30-13:30, U2-06
    Blockchain, Mining, and Distributed Consensus (Part 3)
    Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) (first two sections only)
    Addresses, WIFs, and Bitcoin Message Signing (Part 1)
  6. 2024-03-18 Monday 11:30-14:30, U6-11
    Addresses, WIFs, and Bitcoin Message Signing (Part 2)
    Homework #3 (slide 34) due before 2024-03-25
    Homework #1 and #2: discussion
    Transactions and Scripts (section 1 and 5 only)
    Homework #4 (slide 120) due before 2024-03-25
    Wallets and Custody
  7. 2024-03-20 Wednesday 10:30-13:30, U2-06
    Timestamping and the OpenTimestamps Protocol
    Homework #5 (slide 48) due before 2024-03-27
    Financial Products and Services for the Blockchain Economy
  8. 2024-03-25 Monday 11:30-14:30, U6-11
    Beyond Bitcoin: Altcoins, Tokens, Smart Contract, and Blockchain Applications
  9. 2024-03-27 Wednesday 10:30-13:30, U2-06
    Bitcoin: oro digitale per nuovi standard monetari
    Hayek Money: The Cryptocurrency Price Stability Solution
    The Cryptocurrency Frontier in Monetary Engineering (video)
    Early exam session

Introductory reading

Technology references

Monetary theory references