Come fall, Wisconsin School of Business undergraduate and graduate students from any discipline will be able to take advantage of a new fintech course, “Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain, and Digital Assets,” designed and taught by Brad Chandler, director of WSB’s Nicholas Center for Corporate Finance and Investment Banking.
Fintech, a merging of “finance” and “technology,” is commonly understood as the use of emerging digital technologies like blockchain and others to streamline financial processes. Fintech is a critical area for finance students as well as students from other fields to understand in preparation for jobs in the financial sector.
“The goal is to create a premier educational offering to quickly get students up to speed on the important, leading-edge innovations in the digital asset space,” Chandler says.
With the world of technology and digital assets changing so rapidly, Chandler saw a need to deepen and expand the fintech curriculum available to WSB students. The three-credit course builds upon a cryptocurrencies course he launched in 2018. Some of the topics Chandler plans to cover include Bitcoin, Ethereum, smart contracts, alternative blockchains, decentralized finance (DeFi), decentralized applications (dApps), Web3, stablecoins, central bank digital currencies (CBDCs), non-fungible tokens (NFTs), decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). The course will also give students an understanding of regulatory considerations and the criticisms of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
“We want to slow down and study the fundamentals of these new technologies and, where possible, get our hands dirty by interacting directly with these new protocols.”
Students will also have the opportunity during the semester to interact with guest speakers, including University of Wisconsin–Madison alumni who are making significant contributions in the digital asset landscape, Chandler says.
Chandler’s expertise on cryptocurrencies and digital assets has helped the campus community understand these new technologies through timely discussions and learning opportunities. In addition to welcoming industry speakers each semester, the Nicholas Center has sponsored its own initiatives including minting its own non-fungible tokens (NFTs), sponsoring lectures from leading companies through the Badger Blockchain student organization, and helping students gain real-world experience by working with companies on blockchain solutions in Chandler’s applied corporate finance course.