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2020/2021  KAN-CDSCV1001U  Foundations of Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts

English Title
Foundations of Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course Second Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 120
Study board
Master of Science (MSc) in Business Administration and Data Science
Course coordinator
  • Raghava Rao Mukkamala - Department of Digitalisation
Main academic disciplines
  • Information technology
  • Statistics and quantitative methods
Teaching methods
  • Blended learning
Last updated on 10-06-2020

Relevant links

Learning objectives
  • Summarize different fundamental concepts, techniques and methods of blockchain
  • Explore different platforms (such as Ethereum) to implement applications on blockchain based technologies such as smart contracts
  • Outline the applicability of blockchain technology for different domains and use cases for Finance and other domains
  • Characterize the linkages between distributed consensus, incentives, mining schemes and various kinds attacks on blockchain based applications
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the underlying technology of transactions, blocks, proof-of-work, and distributed consensus mechanism
  • Identify the key challenges and design goals for building decentralised blockchain based applications
  • Critically assess the usage of blockchain technology for building applications other than cryptocurrencies
Course prerequisites
The course has no prerequisites. But the course requires an interest in and commitment to learn and acquire necessary skills to understand the concepts of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies, to practice hands-on exercises. However, no prior coding experience or knowledge about Blockchain is required.
Prerequisites for registering for the exam (activities during the teaching period)
Number of compulsory activities which must be approved (see s. 13 of the Programme Regulations): 2
Compulsory home assignments
There will be 3 multiple choice quizzes that will be conducted at diffident stages of the course to test to student understanding of core concepts of the course. In order to qualify for the final exam, the students have to participate in the quizzes and pass 2 quizzes out of 3.

There will not be any extra attempts provided to the students before the ordinary exam. If a student cannot participate in the activities due to documented illness, or if a student does not get the activity approved in spite of making a real attempt, then the student cannot participate the ordinary exam.
Before the re exam the student will be given one extra attempt: one home assignment (10 pages) to make up for two mandatory activities.
Foundations of Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Oral exam based on written product

In order to participate in the oral exam, the written product must be handed in before the oral exam; by the set deadline. The grade is based on an overall assessment of the written product and the individual oral performance.
Individual or group exam Individual oral exam based on written group product
Number of people in the group 2-3
Size of written product Max. 15 pages
Assignment type Report
Written product to be submitted on specified date and time.
20 min. per student, including examiners' discussion of grade, and informing plus explaining the grade
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) Internal examiner and second internal examiner
Exam period Winter
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Blockchain is the decentralized distributed database technology that is combined with guarantees against tamper-resistance of transactions/records using cryptographic methods. By using time-stamping of its transactions and messages, blockchain provides universally verifiable proofs for existence or absence of a transaction in the distributed database and the underlying cryptographic primitives using hash functions and digital signatures provide a guarantee that these proofs are computationally secure and verifiable at any point of time. Blockchain is decentralized, jointly maintained by a plurality of independent parties/nodes and achieves a consistency of transactions among distributed nodes by using distributed consensus protocols (such as Byzantine fault tolerance algorithm) without the need of having a central authority. Blockchains Transactions are transparent and visible to all users of the system and at the same time blockchain provides aspects of privacy and anonymity to its users by allowing them to create pseudo-anonymous transactions without the need for disclosing their personal information.


The disruptive and innovative nature of blockchain technology laid the foundation for the evolution of many decentralized applications such as cryptocurrencies and smart contracts. Bitcoin, a decentralised cryptocurrency based on blockchain technology was introduced in 2009 and as of now, Bitcoin is the largest cryptocurrency with a market capital of approximately more than 100 billion USD.

The aim of this course is to provide knowledge about various concepts, techniques and methods that are serving as the technical foundations to blockchain technology and a thorough understanding of how decentralised applications could be developed.  This course will also introduce the workings and applications of this potentially disruptive technology, by taking Bitcoin cryptocurrency as one of the examples. Furthermore, the potential impact of blockchain technology on the banking and financial industry, governments, contracting and identity management will also be briefly discussed as part of this course.


  • Introduction to cryptographic primitives such as hash functions, symmetric/ asymmetric encryption, digital signatures and public-key cryptography.
  • Fundamentals of decentralization, distributed databases and distributed consensus protocols such as Byzantine fault tolerance
  • Consensus without identity using a blockchain, incentive schemes such as proof of work, proof of stake and proof-of-x schemes such as proof-of-publication, time, space etc.
  • Mechanics of Cryptocurrencies such as transactions, blocks, and Bitcoin networks
  • Anonymity in blockchain-based applications with a special focus on anonymity in public and permissioned blockchain applications.
  • Decentralized Institutions, blockchain as a vehicle for decentralization and opensource frameworks for blockchain and smart contracts such as Ethereum and Hyperledger Fabric.
  • Case studies and application scenarios for blockchain-based applications from financial, supply chains and other domains such as cryptocurrencies,user-centric data and identity management and so on.
Description of the teaching methods
This course is a blended-learning course. The lectures will be delivered online but the hands-on exercises and programming workshops will be conducted on campus.

Teaching Materials:
Lecture slides
Scientific articles
Feedback during the teaching period
Quizzes will be used systematically to test student's understanding of the course content at various stages of the course. Oral feedback is given collectively at the lectures based on student answers in quizzes. Additionally, feedback in the forms of question / answers and discussions during the class will be provided.

Student workload
Lectures + Exercises 30 hours
Self study 46 hours
Prepare for the class 30 hours
Project work and report 100 hours
Total workload 206 hours
Further Information

We recommend taking Foundations of Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts (KAN-CDSCV1001U) course together with the course Blockchain Business Development (KAN-CINTV1803U). These two courses are complementary and together will benefit students with broader knowledge on the business and technical aspects of blockchain technology. The Blockchain Business Development course focuses on business aspects of Blockchain technology, whereas Foundations of Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts course focuses on technological foundations and programming of Blockchain and smart contacts.  The two courses are scheduled one after that other--Blockchain Business Development runs in the 1st quarter and Foundations of Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts course runs in the 2nd quarter of the semester.


Expected literature

The following is the literature that will be followed in the course. The expected literature might change before the start of the semester. Students are advised to find the final literature on Canvas before the course starts.


Text Books:



  • Narayanan, Arvind, Joseph Bonneau, Edward Felten, Andrew Miller, and Steven Goldfeder. Bitcoin and cryptocurrency technologies: a comprehensive introduction. Princeton University Press, 2016.


  • Swan, Melanie. Blockchain: Blueprint for a new economy. " O'Reilly Media, Inc.", 2015.


  • Antonopoulos, Andreas M. Mastering bitcoin: Programming the open blockchain. " O'Reilly Media, Inc.", 2017.



Research Papers:


  • Tschorsch, Florian, and Björn Scheuermann. "Bitcoin and beyond: A technical survey on decentralized digital currencies." IEEE Communications Surveys & Tutorials 18.3 (2016): 2084-2123.


  • Mukkamala, Raghava Rao, Ravi Vatrapu, Pradeep Kumar Ray, Gora Sengupta, and Sankar Halder. "Blockchain for Social Business: Principles and Applications." IEEE Engineering Management Review (2018).


  • Mamoshina, Polina, Lucy Ojomoko, Yury Yanovich, Alex Ostrovski, Alex Botezatu, Pavel Prikhodko, Eugene Izumchenko et al. "Converging blockchain and next-generation artificial intelligence technologies to decentralize and accelerate biomedical research and healthcare." Oncotarget 9, no. 5 (2018): 5665.


  • Faber, Benedict, Georg Cappelen Michelet, Niklas Weidmann, Raghava Rao Mukkamala, and Ravi Vatrapu. "BPDIMS: A Blockchain-based Personal Data and Identity Management System." In Proceedings of the 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences. 2019.


  • Sun Yin, H. H., Langenheldt, K., Harlev, M., Mukkamala, R. R., & Vatrapu, R. (2019). Regulating cryptocurrencies: a supervised machine learning approach to de-anonymizing the bitcoin blockchain. Journal of Management Information Systems, 36(1), 37-73.


Last updated on 10-06-2020