Blockchain Fundamentals


Units: 6


This course will be on the fundamentals of Blockchain Technology and its growing impact on society. After technical fundamentals we will cover applied uses and criticisms. The best known example of Blockchain Technology in wide use today is as the storage and transaction mechanism for the cryptocurrency Bitcoin. We will use historical examples, key concepts, key challenges, and their proposed (and implemented) solutions to help explain Blockchain impacts. A second focus for the class will be on making decisions between the challenges of a given problem area and an implementation. This ‘design’ process can take a very long time. The history of the design and research process that ultimately led to a ‘successful’ implementation for a cryptocurrency is decades long. Bitcoin represents an elegant technical solution to a series of long posed problems which we can use to learn from.

Whether these technical solutions (or similar ones) can be applied to other industry problems beyond cryptocurrency remains an interesting and ongoing research and implementation problem. After covering Blockchain technology fundamentals, we will explore applications of Blockchain Technology and focusing on current and potential uses beyond that cryptocurrency.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of the course, each student will show tangible evidence of growth and maturity in the following areas:

  1. Be able to state core blockchain concepts, the benefits, and the limitations of blockchain technologies.
  2. Be able to state the key differentiators for blockchain from other technology systems.
  3. Understand the technical underpinnings of blockchain technology at sufficient depth to perform analysis of the impacts of certain implementation decisions in proposals.
  4. Understand relevant legal, ethical, and privacy issues around blockchains and how they might impact policy and actions of organizations or individuals.
  5. Apply various blockchain concepts to analyze examples, proposals, case studies, and preliminary blockchain system design discussions.
  6. Make decisions about the use (or not) of blockchain technology in systems, and support decisions with relevant arguments.
  7. Perform and defend blockchain analysis of real world systems and present relevant findings and arguments in a structured, logical and compelling manner.
  8. Determine real world challenges that blockchain technologies may assist in solving; or explain why they do not.

Prerequisites Description