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2020/2021  KAN-CCMVI2080U  Blockchain and Sustainable Digital Infrastructures for Business

English Title
Blockchain and Sustainable Digital Infrastructures for Business

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration Summer
Start time of the course Summer
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 80
Study board
Study Board for MSc in Economics and Business Administration
Course coordinator
  • Kristjan Jespersen - Department of Management, Society and Communication (MSC)
For academic questions related to the course, please contact instructor Kristjan Jespersen at kj.msc@cbs.dk
Main academic disciplines
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Information technology
  • Innovation
Teaching methods
  • Online teaching
Last updated on 21/01/2021

Relevant links

Learning objectives
To achieve the grade 12, students should meet the following learning objectives with no or only minor mistakes or errors:
  • Understand the underlying principles, main application areas and main formats and sectoral utilizations of Blockchain.
  • Be able to identify situations where Blockchain could be a useful solution, and situations where it is not useful
  • Be able to demonstrate their understanding of the challenges and opportunities for business, particularly in designing domain-specific sustainable digital infrastructures that are interoperable with existing infrastructures, and that allow for the further development of applications by a broad range of actors.
  • Be able to understand and communicate the complexities of building a Blockchain infrastructure that is constantly in the making and does not have a final state, and the implications of these complexities on business opportunities and challenges.
  • Identify viable Blockchain solutions, taking into account the importance of community and ecosystem development (e.g. consortia and collaborations) and the use of the right incentive structures both within and outside the chosen Blockchain protocol.
Course prerequisites
The course is open to all students interested in the role of innovative technologies that work support sustainable business.
Blockchain and Sustainable Digital Infrastructures for Business:
Exam ECTS 7.5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Project
Duration Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Summer, Ordinary exam: Home Assignment: 22 June - 9 July 2021. Please note that exam will start on the first teaching day and will run in parallel with the course.
Retake exam: Home Assignment: 72-hour home assignment: 27-30 September 2021 – for all ISUP courses simultaneously
3rd attempt (2nd retake) exam: 72-hour home assignment: 22-25 November 2021 – for all ISUP courses simultaneously
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Retake exam: 72-hour home project assignment, max. 10 pages, new exam question
Exam form for 3rd attempt (2nd retake): 72-hour home project assignment, max. 10 pages, new exam question
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

A decade ago, an anonymous person or group under the pseudonym Satoshi Nakamoto unleashed the Bitcoin protocol on the Internet, which allows for peer-to-peer exchange of digital cash without the need for a trusted third party. This was the first implementation of what today is broadly referred to as Blockchain technology, alluding to one of the attributes of Bitcoin, namely its shared replicated transaction ledger that is structured as blocks of transactions chained together through cryptographic hashes. While the specific technical components of Blockchain have been known for a long time, i.e. distributed databases, cryptography, and consensus protocols, it is their specific combination that has proven innovative. It is therefore today often claimed that Blockchain can be seen as an emerging open protocol layer on the internet on which a whole range of innovative solutions can be created ranging from supply chain, trade finance, sustainability reporting, and crowdfunding, to distributed energy production, digital carbon markets, and local exchange platforms. This being said, Blockchain technology is complicated to wrap one’s mind around, and the envisioned future, in terms of propagation into established industries, which is advocated by its proponents has so far been slow to materialize.


This summer course will allow future business leaders to demystify the technology, and get a nuanced understanding of the opportunities as well as challenges associated with Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies for the private sector in general, and for sustainability impact in particular. The course places itself at the intersection of technology and business, and while being theoretically framed draws on specific empirical sustainability cases that will be explored in depth in term of understanding the specific industries as well as the related implementation challenges. This is not an exclusive class where software developers get to work on new Blockchain applications. Instead, this is a strategically designed business class for professionals looking to demystify what Blockchain technology is and how it can be applied to various types of firms, industries and business cases.



Preliminary assignment: Students will be given an assignment on select topics related to the implementation of Blockchain in specific sustainability cases. Tentatively these topics will relate to (i) traceability of various commodities, and (ii) emergence of blockchain enabled climate markets. Students will be expected to perform in-depth data collection (qualitative and quantitative), develop an analytical framework for the topic in question, hereunder a relevant research question, and synthesize their research in a structured 15-page report.


Class 1: Introduction to Blockchain


Class 2: Blockchain beyond cryptocurrency


Class 3: Transparency vs certification


Class 4: Technocratic definitions of innovation


Class 5: Blockchain for energy – huge potential or huge constraint?


Class 6: Blockchain for climate


Class 7&8: Student work on cases


Class 9&10: Student work on cases


Class 11: Final class

Description of the teaching methods
This year all courses are taught digitally over the Internet. Instructors will apply direct/live teaching through a link (like Skype, Team, Zoom). In some courses, pre-recorded material will also be used.
Feedback during the teaching period
Students will receive feedback in the following forms

1.) Digital feedback in response to emails
3) Exam feedback following the exam
Student workload
Preliminary assignment 20 hours
Classroom attendance 33 hours
Preparation 126 hours
Feedback activity 7 hours
Examination 20 hours
Further Information

Preliminary Assignment: To help students get maximum value from ISUP courses, instructors provide a reading or a small number of readings or video clips to be read or viewed before the start of classes with a related task scheduled for class 1 in order to 'jump-start' the learning process.


Course timetable and Exam schedules are available on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams


We reserve the right to cancel the course if we do not get enough applications. This will be communicated on https://www.cbs.dk/uddannelse/international-summer-university-programme-isup/courses-and-exams in March 2021.


Expected literature

Mandatory readings:


Karim Jabbar, and Pernille Bjørn. 2017. Growing the Blockchain Information Infrastructure, Proceedings of the 2017 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems
Elizabeth Churchill. 2015. Why should we care about Bitcoin? Interactions.acm.org, September-October 2015
Karim Jabbar, and Pernille Bjørn. 2018. Infrastructural Grind: Introducing Blockchain Technology in the Shipping Domain. GROUP '18, January 7–10, 2018, Sanibel Island, FL, USA
Karim Jabbar, Deanna MacDonald, Simon Ousager. 2017. Token Gesture? FutureNautics, Issue 15, Q2 2017, Quaterly
Karim Jabbar, Deanna MacDonald. 2017. Men in Block FutureNautics, Issue 16, Q3 2017, Quaterly
Faisal M. Mohd Noor, et. al. 2017. Beyond sustainability criteria and principles in palm oil production: addressing consumer concerns through insetting. Ecology and Society - 22(2):5.
Kristoffer Francisco and David Swanson. 2018. The Supply Chain Has No Clothes: Technology Adoption of Blockchain for Supply Chain Transparency. Logistics 2018, 2, 2; doi:10.3390/​logistics2010002
David Livingston, Varun Sivaram, Madison Freeman, and Maximilian Fiege. 2018.
Applying Blockchain Technology to Electric Power Systems. Council on Foreign Relations, Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies.
World Bank Group. 2018. Blockchain and Emereging Digital Technologies for Enhancing Post-2020 Climate Markets.


Additional relevant readings:


Tim Swanson. 2015. Consensus-as-a-service: a brief report on the mergence of permissioned, distributed ledger systems
Richard Muirhead, Ari Banerjee, et. al. 2018. The State of the Token Market – A year in review & an outlook for 2018. Fabric Ventures, 2018
Viswanath Venkatesh and Fred D. Davis. 2000. A Theoretical Extension of the Technology Acceptance Model: Four Longitudinal Field Studies. Management Science, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Feb., 2000), pp. 186-204
Linus Opara. 2003. Traceability in agriculture and food supply chain: A review of basic concepts, technological implications, and future prospects. Food, Agriculture & Environment Vol.1(1): 101-106. 2003
Last updated on 21/01/2021