DFIN 511:
Introduction to Digital Currencies

• 1st Blockchain MOOC in the World
• 30,000+ Students Enrolled from 80+ Countries
• Taught by Andreas Antonopoulos and Antonis Polemitis

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Free MOOC: Introduction to Digital Currencies

DFIN-511: Introduction to Digital Currencies is the first free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) on Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology globally, and the first course of the MSc in Digital Currency degree programme.

It is available to anyone around the world interested in learning the basics of cryptocurrencies, in a paced and resource rich environment, under the guidance of field experts.

Top Reasons to Register

Having completed numerous online courses, free and otherwise, from top schools around the world including Thunderbird, Stanford, MIT, Edinburgh and others, I feel I am qualified to say that this course in terms of effect, design, breadth and depth is among the best on the world, and most definitely raised the bar in many regards, perhaps the most significant being the visionary boldness and innovative in taking on the challenge of high quality instruction in the emerging field of digital currencies. I am proud to say I was there when academic history was made.

Philip A. Dursey, Bitcoin evangelist, Stanford Trained Advanced Computer Security Professional, MIT Trained Big Data Specialist and former Family Office Executive with 10 years’ experience in Information Security, Wealth Management, Corporate Governance, M&A Cyber Due Diligence, Advanced Analytics, & Causal Realist Economics

The World’s First MOOC on Digital Currencies

Taught by world leading experts Andreas Antonopoulos and Antonis Polemitis, and attended by over 30,000 students, DFIN-511 is the world’s first MOOC on Digital Currencies. Introduction to Digital Currencies covers both a technical overview of decentralized digital currencies like Bitcoin, as well as their broader economic, legal and financial context. Through this free online course, students get first-hand knowledge of what they are, why they exist, why they are so important for improving financial services, and more.

No previous knowledge of Cryptocurrencies or Blockchain technology is demanded, and no specialized knowledge in either computing, economics or finance is required. The courses are self-contained, with plenty of resources for you to go further in the topics, and you don’t need buy any books. Roughly each of the 12 MOOC sessions, represent individual courses in the MSc that dive far deeper into the specific elements that are discussed in the MOOC. Students who successfully complete the course and are interested in pursuing the full MSc degree will be able to receive credit if they successfully pass their assessment.

A UNIC Story – Tey El-Rjula

Watch a video of the truly inspiring story of one of our first MOOC students and his journey from refugee to blockchain entrepreneur.

Taught by Global Industry Experts

Antonis Polemitis
Antonis Polemitis
CEO, University of Nicosia
Andreas Antonopoulos
Andreas Antonopoulos
Bitcoin Entrepreneur, Author of: Mastering Bitcoin, The Internet of Money, Mastering Ethereum

Course Overview

Course Objectives

The course is designed to provide an introductory understanding of decentralized digital currencies (cryptocurrencies) such as Bitcoin. In particular, the course will survey the theory and principles by which cryptocurrencies operate, practical examples of basic cryptocurrency use, including clients, wallets, transactions. We’ll look at the cryptocurrency ecosystem financial services and discuss the existing and potential interaction of cryptocurrencies with the banking, financial, legal and regulatory environment. Lastly, the course will examine in detail how cryptocurrencies can be viewed from an innovation perspective and what opportunities they present for the developing world.

The course consists of four general topics:

  1. Theoretical introduction to cryptocurrencies and Blockchain technology: This will include the history of digital currencies, the invention of decentralized consensus through proof-of-work, and a technical overview of cryptographic currencies such as Bitcoin, as well as alternative/advanced uses of the blockchain.
  2. Practical introduction to cryptocurrencies: In depth view of how the system works, how it stays secure and what incentives are in play to maintain it functional and growing. How transactions take place, and how Bitcoins are acquired, stored and secured.
  3. Banking, financial and regulatory implications of cryptocurrencies: Overview of how cryptocurrencies map to the existing monetary and banking system, existing and possible approaches to regulation and their further development.
  4. Innovation & development: How cryptocurrencies can be viewed through conventional innovation frameworks, what this unique positioning tells us about their future as a technology, and what possibilities exist for cryptocurrencies in developing countries as crucibles of transparency, positive change and financial inclusion.

Learning Outcomes

After completion of the course students are expected to be able to:

  • Understand the fundamental technology components of blockchain-based digital currencies, the process of currency issuance, proof-of-work and alternative consensus mechanisms, how they are applied and and how the distributed ledger is structured in it’s core.
  • Understanding digital currency transactions, create their wallets, be able to acquire bitcoins, conduct transactions from a wallet, and understand the risks and options in keeping their coins reasonably safe.
  • Understand more advanced uses of the blockchain such as escrow services, multisignature transactions, asset registration, attestation and smart contracts applications.
  • Understand alternative blockchains to Bitcoin, such as alt-coins and Ethereum and IOU-based systems like Ripple.
  • Understand what parallels and differences cryptocurrencies have with the existing monetary and banking systems, what approaches are the same and what are fundamentally different.
  • Understand existing approaches by regulators globally, and the likely frameworks for regulating cryptocurrencies, and their interface with conventional finance, in the future.
  • Be able to critically judge on their own, whether cryptocurrencies are disruptive innovations, and what hurdles, bottlenecks or avenues exist towards wider adoption, as well as the potential they present for leapfrogging infrastructure in developing nations and the potential they present for improving financial inclusion and economic development.

Course Outline

The course is structured into twelve weekly live Q&A sessions and a final exam.

Roughly each of the 12 MOOC sessions, represent individual courses in the MSc that dive far deeper into the specific elements that are discussed in the MOOC.

Students who successfully complete the course and are interested in pursuing the full MSc degree will be able to receive credit if they successfully pass their assessment.

Course Outline

Session Session Theme Instructor
1 (Brief) History of money Antonis Polemitis
2 The Byzantine Generals’ problem Andreas Antonopoulos
3 Digital currency basics Andreas Antonopoulos
4 Bitcoin in practice – part 1 Andreas Antonopoulos
5 Bitcoin in practice – part 2 Andreas Antonopoulos
6 Alternative uses of the blockchain Andreas Antonopoulos
7 Alternatives to Bitcoin Andreas Antonopoulos
8 Digital currency and central banking Antonis Polemitis
9 Digital currency and financial institutions Antonis Polemitis
10 Regulatory and tax treatment Antonis Polemitis
11 Digital currency and innovation Antonis Polemitis
12 Digital currency and the developing world Antonis Polemitis
Final Exam

Course Instructors

Andreas Antonopoulos
Andreas Antonopoulos
Bitcoin Entrepreneur, Author of: Mastering Bitcoin, The Internet of Money, Mastering Ethereum

Andreas M. Antonopoulos is a critically-acclaimed best-selling author, speaker, educator, and one of the world’s foremost bitcoin and open blockchain experts. Andreas makes complex subjects accessible and easy to understand. He is known for delivering electric talks that combine economics, psychology, technology, and game theory with current events, personal anecdote, and historical precedent—effortlessly transliterating the complex issues of blockchain technology out of the abstract and into the real world.

In 2014, Antonopoulos authored the groundbreaking book Mastering Bitcoin (O’Reilly Media, 2014), widely considered to be the best technical guide ever written about the technology. His second book, The Internet of Money (Merkle Bloom LLC, 2016)—which explains the technology’s potential impacts on human civilization—is a bestseller on Amazon. The much-anticipated second volume of The Internet of Money was released in the late fall of 2017 and sold thousands of copies in the first month alone. His fourth book, Mastering Ethereum (O’Reilly Media, 2018), was published in December 2018.

Antonopoulos is: an expert who has been interviewed on the BBC, Bloomberg Business, CNN, The Economist, Forbes, and Motherboard/VICE; a widely published author of articles and blog posts on bitcoin; a permanent host on the popular Let’s Talk Bitcoin Podcast; a frequent speaker at technology and security conferences worldwide.

Andreas M. Antonopoulos was born in London, England, and raised in Athens, Greece. After earning degrees in Computer Science, Data Communications and Distributed Systems at University College London, he went on to co-found and manage a technology research company in New York City. In this capacity, Antonopoulos advised dozens of Fortune 500 company executives on networking, security, data centers, and cloud computing—more than 200 of his articles on security, cloud computing, and data centers have been published in print and syndicated worldwide.

In 1990, he began to move into the public eye as an educator and speaker. Antonopoulos honed his public speaking skills in front of audiences ranging from five executives in a corporate boardroom to thousands in conferences. With more than 1,000 speaking engagements under his belt, he has become one of the world’s most sought-after bitcoin speakers who can explain the far-reaching complexities of the technology in deeply human terms. In 2014, Antonopoulos was appointed a teaching fellow with the University of Nicosia, the first university in the world to offer a Masters Degree in Digital Currency. He helped to develop the curriculum and continues to co-teach the Introduction to Digital Currencies course that is offered as a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC).

Antonopoulos is one of the rare bitcoin and open blockchain experts who approaches the subject from an educational, political, cultural, and human perspective—not merely discussing the technology in investment terms. He serves on the Oversight Committee for the Bitcoin Reference Rate at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange and has appeared as an expert witness in various capacities, testifying in hearings of the Australian Senate Banking Committee and the Canadian Senate Commerce, Banking and Finance Committee—his testimony for the latter has been lauded as an historically-important presentation that has influenced public policy vis-a-vis bitcoin in Canada and globally.

Antonis Polemitis
Antonis Polemitis
CEO, University of Nicosia

Mr. Polemitis is co-teaching the introductory MOOC on the programme.

Mr. Polemitis is the CEO of the University of Nicosia and also serves as a Director on the coordinating Board of the University. He is an adjunct faculty member and leads the industry advisory committee for the University on digital currency.

Mr. Polemitis is  also the managing partner of Ledra Capital and has led investment and operational responsibility at the firm. He is responsible for investment and portfolio management of all Ledra investments in the areas of higher education, technology, and financial services.

He was previously a partner in the private equity practice of Mercer Management Consulting (now Oliver Wyman), where he consulted to private equity firms and merchant banks, and at ACG, a multi-billion dollar private investment fund, where he led the business process outsourcing and higher education practice. Over the course of his career, he has been a principal or advisor for transactions in the United States, Europe, Latin America, and India, ranging from multi-billion dollar industrial buyouts to early stage venture capital.

Mr. Polemitis holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School where he graduated with highest distinction as a Baker Scholar, and a B.S. from Indiana University in Accounting, Computer Information Systems, and International Studies where he graduated with highest distinction as a Wells and Chancellor’s Scholar.

Andreas Vlachos
Andreas Vlachos
Teaching Assistant