Cryptocurrency and Blockchain: An Introduction to Digital Currencies

Start Date: 06/02/2019

Course Type: Common Course

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About Course

What is Cryptocurrency and how is it an innovative and effective method of currency? This course was designed for individuals and organizations who want to learn how to navigate investment in cryptocurrencies. Professors Jessica Wachter and Sarah Hammer will guide you through developing a framework for understanding both Cryptocurrency and Blockchain. You’ll learn how to define a currency, analyze the foundations of digital signatures and blockchain technology in cryptocurrency, and accurately assess the risks of cryptocurrency in a modern investment portfolio. By the end of this course, you’ll have a deep understanding of the realities of Cryptocurrency, the intricacies of Blockchain technology, and an effective strategy for incorporating Cryptocurrency into your investment plans. No prerequisites are required, although "Fintech: Foundations, Payments, and Regulations" from Wharton's Fintech Specialization is recommended.

Course Syllabus

Module 1: Introduction to Cryptocurrency
Module 2: Rules and Structure of Bitcoin
Module 3: Cryptocurrency as an Asset Class
Module 4: The Blockchain Ecosystem

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Course Introduction

What is Cryptocurrency and how is it an innovative and effective method of currency? This course was designed for individuals and organizations who wa

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Article Example
Cryptocurrency A cryptocurrency (or crypto currency) is a digital asset designed to work as a medium of exchange using cryptography to secure the transactions and to control the creation of additional units of the currency. Cryptocurrencies are a subset of alternative currencies, or specifically of digital currencies.
List of digital currencies This is a non-exhaustive list of various digital currencies. This list includes both cryptographic digital currencies and non-cryptographic digital currencies.
Cryptocurrency tumbler The Monero cryptocurrency provides complete anonymity without tumbling services due to its privacy centric design, utilizing ring signatures to keep the entire blockchain secure and untraceable.
Blockchain Major applications of blockchain include cryptocurrencies—including bitcoin, BlackCoin, Dash, and Nxt—and blockchain platforms—Factom as a distributed registry, Gems for decentralized messaging, MaidSafe for decentralized applications, Storj for a distributed cloud, and Tezos for decentralized voting. Each cryptocurrency has its own features and particularities. Frameworks and trials such as the one at the Sweden Land Registry aim to demonstrate the effectiveness of the blockchain at speeding land sale deals. The Republic of Georgia is piloting a blockchain-based property registry. The Ethical and Fair Creators Association uses blockchain to help startups protect their authentic ideas.
Blockchain Alternative blockchains, also known as altchains, are based on bitcoin technology in concept and/or code. The term encompasses all blockchains but bitcoin's main chain. Compared to bitcoin, these designs generally add functionality to the blockchain design. Altchains can provide solutions including other digital currencies, although tokens used in these designs are not always considered to be such. Altchains target performance, anonymity, storage and applications such as smart contracts. Starting with a strong focus on financial applications, blockchain technology is extending to activities including decentralized applications and collaborative organizations that eliminate a middleman.
NEM (cryptocurrency) NEM is a peer-to-peer cryptocurrency and blockchain platform launched on March 31, 2015. Written in Java, with a C++ version in the works, NEM has a stated goal of a wide distribution model and has introduced new features to blockchain technology such as its proof-of-importance (POI) algorithm, multisignature accounts, encrypted messaging, and an Eigentrust++ reputation system. The NEM blockchain software is used in a commercial blockchain called Mijin, which is being tested by financial institutions and private companies in Japan and internationally.
Cryptocurrency On August 6, 2013, Magistrate Judge Amos Mazzant of the Eastern District of Texas federal court ruled that because cryptocurrency (expressly bitcoin) can be used as money (it can be used to purchase goods and services, pay for individual living expenses, and exchanged for conventional currencies), it is a currency or form of money. This ruling allowed for the SEC to have jurisdiction over cases of securities fraud involving cryptocurrency.
Changelly Changelly is a cryptocurrency exchange service between digital currencies. The service offers a wide range of digital currencies to buy and sell but does not provide conversion to or from traditional currencies. Changelly aggregates and suggests the best currency rates among the largest crypto trading platforms. The primary object of Changelly is to remove technical barriers between customers and the cryptocurrency ecosystem.
Blockchain Blockchain protocols facilitate businesses to use new methods of processing digital transactions.
Cryptocurrency Bitcoin became the first decentralized cryptocurrency in 2009. Since then, numerous cryptocurrencies have been created. These are frequently called "altcoins", as a blend of "bitcoin alternative". Bitcoin and its derivatives use decentralized control as opposed to centralized electronic money/centralized banking systems. The decentralized control is related to the use of bitcoin's blockchain transaction database in the role of a distributed ledger.
Blockchain In September 2015, the first peer-reviewed academic journal dedicated to cryptocurrency and blockchain technology research, "Ledger", was announced. The inaugural issue was published in December 2016. The journal covers aspects of mathematics, computer science, engineering, law, economics and philosophy that relates to cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin.
Blockchain In 2014 the Nxt community was asked to consider a hard fork that would have led to a rollback of the blockchain records, in order to mitigate the effects of a theft of 50 million NXT from a major cryptocurrency exchange. The hard fork proposal was rejected, and the majority of the funds were recovered after negotiations.
Blockchain A blockchain facilitates secure online transactions. A blockchain is a decentralized digital ledger that records transactions across many computers in such a way that the registered transactions cannot be altered retroactively. This allows the participants to verify and audit transactions in an inexpensive manner. They are authenticated by mass collaboration powered by collective self-interests. The result is a robust workflow where participants' uncertainty regarding data security is marginal. The use of a blockchain removes the characteristic of infinite reproducibility from a digital asset. It confirms that each unit of value was transferred only once, solving the long-standing problem of double spending. Blockchains have been described as a value-exchange protocol. This blockchain-based exchange of value can be completed more quickly, more safely and more cheaply than with traditional systems. A blockchain can assign title rights because it provides a record that compels offer and acceptance. From the technical point of view a blockchain is a hashchain inside another hashchain.
Cryptocurrency Gareth Murphy, a senior central banking officer has stated "widespread use [of cryptocurrency] would also make it more difficult for statistical agencies to gather data on economic activity, which are used by governments to steer the economy". He cautioned that virtual currencies pose a new challenge to central banks' control over the important functions of monetary and exchange rate policy.
Cryptocurrency A study entitled "Competition in the Cryptocurrency Market" conducted by members of the NET Institute over three periods between 2013 and 2014 charts the analysis of changes in price data over time in regards to budding cryptocurrency markets. It analyzes bitcoin and other similar cryptocurrencies referred to as "altcoins". These include Litecoin, Peercoin, and Namecoin; cryptocurrencies listed in order by which account for the largest percentages of digital market capitalization behind bitcoin (which accounts for 90%).
Blockchain Blockchain 2.0 technologies go beyond transactions and "exchange of value without powerful intermediaries acting as arbiters of money and information". They are expected to enable excluded people to enter the global economy, enable the protection of privacy and people to "monetize their own information", and provide the capability to ensure creators are compensated for their intellectual property. Second-generation blockchain technology makes it possible to store an individual's "persistent digital ID and persona" and are providing an avenue to help solve the problem of social inequality by "[potentially changing] the way wealth is distributed."
Monero (cryptocurrency) As a consequence, Monero features an opaque blockchain (with an explicit allowance system called the "viewkey"), in sharp contrast with transparent blockchain used by any other cryptocurrency not based on CryptoNote. Thus, Monero is said to be "private, optionally transparent". On top of very strong privacy by default, such a system permits net neutrality on the blockchain (miners cannot become censors, since they do not know where the transaction goes or what it contains) while still permitting auditing when desired (for instance, tax audit or public display of the finances of an NGO). Furthermore, Monero is considered by many to offer truly fungible coins.
Blockchain The first blockchain was then conceptualised by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and implemented the following year as a core component of the digital currency bitcoin, where it serves as the public ledger for all transactions. Through the use of a peer-to-peer network and a distributed timestamping server, a blockchain database is managed autonomously. The invention of the blockchain for bitcoin made it the first digital currency to solve the double spending problem. The bitcoin design has been the inspiration for other applications.
Blockchain IBM opened a blockchain innovation research centre in Singapore in July 2016. A working group for the World Economic Forum met in November 2016 to discuss the development of governance models related to blockchain. According to Accenture, an application of the diffusion of innovations theory suggests that in 2016 blockchains attained a 13.5% adoption rate within financial services, therefore reaching the early adopters phase. In 2016, industry trade groups joined to create the Global Blockchain Forum, an initiative of the Chamber of Digital Commerce.
Cryptocurrency , hundreds of cryptocurrency specifications exist; most are similar to and derived from the first fully implemented decentralized cryptocurrency, bitcoin. Within cryptocurrency systems the safety, integrity and balance of ledgers is maintained by a community of mutually distrustful parties referred to as miners: members of the general public using their computers to help validate and timestamp transactions adding them to the ledger in accordance with a particular timestamping scheme.