Bitcoin & Cryptoassets, September-December 2022

with Ferdinando Ametrano and Andrea Roncoroni

Département of Finance, ESSEC Business School
3 Bernard Hirsch, 95021 Cergy-Pontoise Cedex

The course is for the students of ESSEC Business School only; anyone else, please consider

Learning objectives

The course is an introduction to bitcoin and cryptoassets.

Financial markets, investing, and monetary theory are the focus of the course; anyway, game theory, computer science (distributed systems, distributed consensus), and cryptography elements are examined too, in the attempt to properly convey the interdisciplinarity of the topic and appreciate its 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 finance, maths, cryptography, economic incentives, technology, monetary theory, regulatory issues, and politics.

Teaching method

  • Slide based lessons with associated bibliography
  • Python 3 programming assignments and technology assignments
  • Workshop labs on Bitcoin Core, Electrum, and OpenTimestamps

Teaching language



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Lessons’ calendar and material

  1. 2022-09-27 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Andrea Roncoroni
    • Course Outline and Rules
    • Introduction to Cryptocurrencies
    • Historical Patterns
  2. 2022-10-04 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Andrea Roncoroni
    Blockchain Technology for Cryptocurrencies
    • Centralized vs. Distributed Databases
    • Addresses and Transactions
    • Definition of Blockchain
    • Wallets
    • What do we Mean by Bitcoin?
  3. 2022-10-11 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Andrea Roncoroni
    • Money as a Medium of Exchange
    • Money as a Store of Value (Investment)
    • Money as a Numéraire
    • Deflation, Inflation, and Monetary Policy
  4. 2022-10-18 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Andrea Roncoroni
    Financial Business Applications
    • Mining
    • Money Transfer
    • Exchanges, Futures,
    • Web Wallets and Custody Services
    • Automatic Teller Machines
  5. 2022-10-25 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Ferdinando Ametrano
    Bitcoin as Digital Gold: Investment Asset and Financial Services
    • Private Money and the Centralization Dilemma
    • The Double Spending Problem
    • Bitcoin as Digital Gold
    • Bitcoin as Investment Asset
    • Financial Services
  6. 2022-11-08 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Ferdinando Ametrano
    The Interplay Between Tech, Game Theory, and Monetary Theory
    • Distributed Consensus
    • Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake
    • P2P Network
    • Protocol Governance
    • Environmental and societal issues
  7. 2022-11-15 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Ferdinando Ametrano
    Beyond Bitcoin I
    • Altcoins: Ethereum, Ripple, Monero, etc
    • Delivery vs Payment using Smart Contracts
    • Initial Coin Offering (ICO)
    • Non-fungible Tokens (NFT)
  8. 2022-11-22 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Ferdinando Ametrano
    Beyond Bitcoin II
    • Exchange arbitrages
    • Stablecoins
    • Decentralized Finance (DeFi)
    • Blockchain Without Tokens
  9. 2022-11-29 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Ferdinando Ametrano
    Monetary Engineering
    • Cash, eCash, and eMoney
    • Central Bank Digital Currencies
    • Hayek Money
    • Dual Asset Ledger and Proof-of-Payment
  10. 2022-12-06 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
    with Andrea Roncoroni
    Final exam

Python library

Python scripts, Excel spreadsheets, and regtest lab material

Introductory reading

Technology references

Cryptography references

Monetary theory references