Bitcoin & Crypto-assets, October-December 2023
with Ferdinando Ametrano (ferdinando DOT ametrano AT essec DOT edu)
Department of Finance, ESSEC Business School
3 Bernard Hirsch, 95021 Cergy-Pontoise Cedex
The course is about bitcoin and crypto-assets, their economic rationale and potential.
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.
Focusing mainly on Bitcoin as reference crypto-asset, the course will also cover Ethereum, smart assets, ICO, NFT, and the general applicability of blockchain technology.
The frontier of monetary engineering will be explored.
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.
- Slide based lessons with associated bibliography
- Feedback about typos/mistakes to be fixed and clarification to be added is very much appreciated
- Slides are usually revised after each lesson to incorporate the class feedback: the latest version is always available online and is clearly marked on the cover with the revision date
- Python 3 programming assignments and technology assignments
- Possibly, workshops on Bitcoin Core, Electrum, and OpenTimestamps
During the course, five assignments will contribute one point each. Assignments can be tackled by students alone or in group (up to three students).
The final exam will include
- ten multiple choice questions (one point for each right answer);
- two open questions (up to five points for both answers).
- Administrative queries: Esther Bonville (bonville AT essec DOT edu)
- Teaching assistant, assignments: TBD (TBD AT essec DOT edu)
- Content questions: Ferdinando Ametrano (ferdinando DOT ametrano AT essec DOT edu)
- 2023-10-03 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
Bitcoin as Digital Gold (Part 1)
- 2023-10-10 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
Bitcoin as Digital Gold (Part 2)
- 2023-10-17 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
Blockchain, Mining, and Distributed Consensus (Part 1)
- 2023-10-24 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
Blockchain, Mining, and Distributed Consensus (Part 2)
- 2023-10-28 Saturday 9:00-12:00
Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA)
Addresses, WIFs, and Bitcoin Message Signing
Transactions and Scripts (Part 1)
- 2023-10-31 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
Transactions and Scripts (Part 2)
Timestamping and the OpenTimestamps Protocol
- 2023-11-07 Tuesday 13:15-16:15 (online)
Beyond Bitcoin: Altcoins, Stablecoins, Smart Contracts, and Smart Assets
- 2023-11-14 Tuesday 13:15-16:15 (online)
Beyond Bitcoin: Distributed Ledger Technology
- 2023-11-21 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
Wallets and Custody
The Cryptocurrency Frontier in Monetary Engineering (video)
Hayek Money: The Cryptocurrency Price Stability Solution
- 2023-11-28 Tuesday 13:15-16:15
Python scripts, Excel spreadsheets, and regtest lab material
- Course slides with associated bibliography
- Satoshi Nakamoto,
“Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System” (2008),
- A. Narayanan, et al.,
“Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies: A Comprehensive Introduction” (2016),
Princeton University Press, 978-0691171692,
- Pedro Franco,
“Understanding Bitcoin: Cryptography, Engineering and Economics” (2014),
- Friedrich A. Hayek,
“Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined”,
- Roger Wattenhofer,
“Blockchain Science: Distributed Ledger Technology” (3rd edition, 2020),
Independently published, 978-1793471734
- Christof Paar, Jan Pelzl,
- Saifedean Ammous,
“The Bitcoin Standard: The Decentralized Alternative to Central Banking” (2018),