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BAEcon Economics and Finance / Course details

Year of entry: 2021

Course unit details:
FinTech, Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies

Unit code BMAN24582
Credit rating 20
Unit level Level 2
Teaching period(s) Semester 2
Offered by Alliance Manchester Business School
Available as a free choice unit? No

Overview

This course unit aims to provide students with a foundational knowledge of the technological advancements in finance. Students who successfully complete this module will acquire an understanding of the rationale for the development of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as the functioning of its underlying blockchain technology. In addition, students will acquire expertise in the functioning of crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending as well as the foundations of machine learning and how it applies to Finance, e.g. in the form of robo advice. They will also gain an understanding of the regulatory challenges which arise when facing these new technologies. In addition to the technical skills acquired, the topics covered will also enhance the quality of the students’ communications when they interact with peers that are applying technological developments to business in areas such as accounting, law and computer science. 

Pre/co-requisites

Unit title Unit code Requirement type Description
Financial Decision Making BMAN10522 Pre-Requisite Compulsory
Financial Decision Making M BMAN10522M Pre-Requisite Compulsory
BMAN24582 has pre-requisites of BMAN10522/10522(M). Available to BSc IBFE, BA(Econ) Finance, BA (Econ) Accounting & Finance and BA (Econ) Economics & Finance.

Pre-requisite course units have to be passed by 40% or above at the first attempt unless a higher percentage is indicated within this course outline. If the pre-requisite unit is defined as a compulsory course unit within your programme of study (Maths with Finance, IBFE, Accounting, BA Econ pathways for example) then progression onto the dependent unit is permitted as long as you have gained the appropriate amount of credit to progress on to the following year of your registered undergraduate programme

Aims

This course unit aims to provide students with a foundational knowledge of the technological advancements in finance. Students who successfully complete this module will acquire an understanding of the rationale for the development of digital currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as the functioning of its underlying blockchain technology. In addition, students will acquire expertise in the functioning of crowd funding and peer-to-peer lending as well as the foundations of machine learning and how it applies to Finance, e.g. in the form of robo advice. They will also gain an understanding of the regulatory challenges which arise when facing these new technologies. In addition to the technical skills acquired, the topics covered will also enhance the quality of the students’ communications when they interact with peers that are applying technological developments to business in areas such as accounting, law and computer science. 

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course unit, students will be able to:

 

      understand financial technology developments such as crowdfunding, peer-to-peer lending, and robo advice and evaluate how such developments have been disrupting the financial services industry;

      explain why digital currencies, such as Bitcoin were invented and how such currencies are created and traded;

      understand how the blockchain technology works and how it can be applied in other finance and non-finance settings;

      have an overview of the most important on going blockchain developments;

      understand the principles underpinning machine learning and how they apply to Finance;

      discuss what potential effects the FinTech developments will have on the financial services industry in the future;

Syllabus

This course unit provides foundational knowledge about the most topical financial technologies, from both a theoretical and practical perspective. The classes will be enriched by invited guest speakers from the industry. The following topics will be covered and a detailed course syllabus will be provided on blackboard prior to the start of the course.

1)      FinTech and the technological disruption of the financial intermediation system.

2)      Cryptocurrencies and the emergence of distributed ledgers. Bitcoin will be used as an example.

3)      Cryptocurrencies and the Blockchain Project Ecosystem.

4)      Crowdfunding, ICOs, and peer-to-peer lending.

5)      Principles of machine learning.

6)      Robo advice.

7)      Regulatory implications of cryptocurrencies/blockchain and FinTech.

Teaching and learning methods

The course consists of 18 hours of standard lectures and 14 hours of practical lectures.

The standard lectures are used to introduce context, concepts and techniques. Two hours of lectures will be scheduled each week, and will be hosted weekly from Week 1 to Week 10. There will be no classes during reading week.

The practical lectures will be used for active learning, which will include workshop-type material, case studies, and/or discussions with industry speakers. Questions for this active learning part of the lecture will be posted in advance of each session on Blackboard. The questions must be completed prior to each lecture and the suggested answers will be discussed during each lecture. Students are expected to actively participate and present their suggested answers in each session. Two hours of practical lectures will be scheduled during 7 weeks of the semester. 

Lectures: 9x2 hours = 18 hours

Practical lectures: 7x2 hours = 14 hours

Mid-semester exam: 1 hour

Final exam: 2 hours

32 formal contact hours.

Assessment methods

20% via a 60-minutes mid-semester paper-based exam.

80% via a 2-hour closed-book examination at the end of the semester. 

Feedback methods

Feedback will be provided through multiple channels.

In-class feedback will be provided on the questions and case discussions during the practical lectures. Their solutions will be briefly discussed in class to provide continual, generic formative feedback about performance.

Feedback will also be provided through the discussion board on Blackboard. The forum can be used by students to post queries and share information, views and ideas relating to the course. Students are encouraged to respond to each other’s queries. The forum is also regularly monitored by teaching staff and if necessary will contribute to the discussion.

Generic feedback on performance on the mid-semester exam and the end-of-course examination will be provided on Blackboard. It will provide a review of overall exam performance and highlight where questions were answered well and poorly. Students wishing to discuss individual exam performance should follow established Alliance MBS procedures for performance review.

Feedback from students on the lectures is highly welcomed. I am happy to discuss either in person or via email areas of the subject that can be improved. Students will have the opportunity to fill in a course unit questionnaire at the end of the course. It is strongly recommended to do so to give me a better understanding of what parts of the subject work well and which parts require further thought.

Recommended reading

The readings will consist of book chapters, white papers, academic papers, and newspaper articles. Many readings for the course will be posted directly onto blackboard either in .pdf format or through Internet links.

Core texts:

·         Burniske and Tatar, Cryptoassets: The Innovative Investor’s Guide to Bitcoin and Beyond (2018).

·         Narayanan et al., Bitcoin and Cryptocurrency Technologies (2016). This book is a companion to Princeton University’s equally named course on Coursera. The book is available for purchase, but a draft can be downloaded at no cost at the following link:

https://d28rh4a8wq0iu5.cloudfront.net/bitcointech/readings/princeton_bitcoin_book.pdf

·         Nakamoto, 2008, “Bitcoin: A Peer-to-Peer Electronic Cash System.”

Further required and suggested reading will be made available on blackboard prior to the course start in the full course outline.

Study hours

Scheduled activity hours
Demonstration 14
Lectures 18
Independent study hours
Independent study 168

Teaching staff

Staff member Role
Stefan Petry Unit coordinator

Additional notes

Pre-requisite course units have to be passed by 40% or above at the first attempt unless a higher percentage is indicated within this course outline. If the pre-requisite unit is defined as a compulsory course unit within your programme of study (Maths with Finance, IBFE, Accounting, BA Econ pathways for example) then progression onto the dependent unit is permitted as long as you have gained the appropriate amount of credit to progress on to the following year of your registered undergraduate programme.

Pre-requisites: BMAN10522/10522(M) Financial Decision Making 

Programme Restrictions: Only available to BA(Econ) Finance, BA (Econ) Accounting & Finance, BA (Econ) Economics & Finance and BSc IBFE.

For Academic Year 2020/21

Updated: March 2020

Approved by: March UG Committee

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