Postgraduate Course: Blockchain, Governance and Policy (CMSE11440)
||College||College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
|Credit level (Normal year taken)||SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
||Availability||Not available to visiting students
|Summary||The course will provide students with the necessary skills to understand the strategic potential and limitations of Blockchain technology to transform contemporary business models, markets and institutions. It requires no background knowledge and is specifically tailored to the novice's needs. Anyone with an interest in technology will greatly benefit from following this course.
This course aims to introduce students from the MSc in Finance, Technology and Policy into the strategic potential and limitations of Blockchain technology to shape contemporary business models, markets and institutions. Despite the widespread interest and hype, Blockchain is still a nascent technology and a clear strategy for its successful implementation has not yet materialised. Without a critical understanding of the potential value Blockchain can generate and the feasibility of applying it, organisations will not generate benefits from its potential. Against this background, this course explores the following questions: how can organisations develop a strategic business case that justifies major investments in Blockchain technology? What are the risks that have to be taken into account in this process? What are potential future developments in the industry and in relation to policy-making? The course explores these concerns with a focus on the potential strategic importance of Blockchain for specific sectors within the economy and society, and it draws from specific use-cases to assess what approaches are likely to generate value. The course will also offer broader reflections on the role of tech innovations in reshaping contemporary institutions and values within an increasingly digitised society. While participants will develop a strong understanding of the underlying concepts and driving forces of these questions, the course does not strictly focus on a granular and tech-focused exploration of Blockchain. Instead it develops the necessary skills of students to become competent decision-makers and analysts to guide strategy and policy.
The course is built out of the following topics:
- An introduction to Blockchain technology, its evolution and its key building blocks and concepts.
- Blockchain as a disruptor of existing business models, institutions and values
- Limitations and frontiers of Blockchain
- Critically developing a strategic business case for Blockchain
- The policy environment for the technological innovations like Blockchain
Student Learning Experience
The course will consist of 5 in class lectures that provide the theoretical background and analytical skills for the course. Furthermore, the course will also foster independent learning through a prolonged research-based group project in the second half of the course. Here, students will develop a strategic business case for Blockchain by selecting and researching a particular industry or societal problem. In so doing, students will further develop a critical understanding of the potential, the risks and the limitations of Blockchain in complementing or transforming existing business models in that particular industry. The students will present the findings from the research project to the rest of the class at the end of the semester, which exposes all students to the results and different learning experiences gained throughout the course. This group presentation will form 30% of the overall mark. In addition, students will write an individual report based on the research they conducted as part of the group work that will form 70% of course's overall mark.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
||Other requirements|| For MSc Finance, Technology and Policy students, or by permission of course organiser. Please contact the course secretary.
Course Delivery Information
|Academic year 2020/21, Not available to visiting students (SS1)
||Block 3 (Sem 2)
|Learning and Teaching activities (Further Info)
Lecture Hours 10,
Other Study Hours 20,
Programme Level Learning and Teaching Hours 2,
Directed Learning and Independent Learning Hours
|Additional Information (Learning and Teaching)
20 hours lecture preparation
|Assessment (Further Info)
|Additional Information (Assessment)
||Group research project and presentation (30%) (Group)
Individual report (70%) (Individual)
||Feedback on the assignments, including the group project and the individual work, will be provided to let the students readjust their learning experience accordingly.
Summative marks and feedback will be provided within 15 working days of the submission deadlines, in line with the University of Edinburgh Taught Assessment Regulations.
|No Exam Information
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Develop a critical understanding on the key concepts and philosophy underlying Blockchain technology.
- Critically assess the extent to which Blockchain technology may disrupt existing business models in contemporary finance, business, government, institutions and social enterprise.
- Demonstrate an awareness of its limitations in specific economic and societal domains.
- Develop a strategic business plan for Blockchain, and to assess its risks.
- Understand the broader policy environment for tech innovations such as Blockchain.
|Tapscott & Tapscott (2016) "Blockchain revolution: How the technology behind Bitcoin is changing money, business and the world."|
|Graduate Attributes and Skills
||Knowledge and understanding:
- A critical understanding of the evolution, the history, the building blocks and the key concepts of Blockchain technology.
Practice: Applied knowledge, skills and understanding:
- Build a strategic business plan that assesses the value and feasibility of Blockchain to reshape existing business models in particular industry or in relation to existing societal problems.
- Analyse the policy environment for technological change and innovation
- Communicate and present the findings and propositions from the research project to the wider audience from the course.
Autonomy, accountability and working with others:
- Learn to conduct research on specific industries and business models to assess the implication of Blockchain by drawing from numerous sources.
- Work and collaborate in a team during an extended research-based group project
|Course organiser||Mr Marian Konstantin Gatzweiler
|Course secretary||Mrs Kelly-Ann De Wet
Tel: (0131 6)50 8071