Introduction to Blockchain

FOR20 Introduction to Blockchain

Spring 2024

Autumn 2024
  • Topics

    The ability to understand and leverage brand new technologies is nowadays a fundamental requirement. The course "Introduction to Blockchain" provides a comprehensive overview of what blockchain is and how it works. It explores the transition from the accounting traditional ledger to a distributed one and describes how transactions occur under this new paradigm. Insights on how blockchain affect the future of industry and organizations also are covered.

    The course also covers aspects related to automation of assurance procedures and provides some concepts to develop a blockchain system. Finally, an introduction to the concept of the digitalization of assets and related contract automation which leads to Smart Contracts are discussed. The mission of this course is to introduce concepts and tools to understand the potential of blockchain technology in real world applications.The content of the course is the following

    • The traditional ledger and the distributed one
    • What is a Blockchain and how it works
    • The concept of integrity in a software system
    • Distributed systems
    • The concept of trust in software systems
    • The concept of ownership in software systems
    • Potential applications of Blockchain technology
    • Contract automation in a Blockchain: the Smart Contract
    • Hints on cryptography: elliptic curve functions and related algorithms
    • Hashing protocols
    • Distributed Ledger Technologies
    • Distributed consensus algorithms
    • Limits and ethical issues of Blockchain

  • Learning outcome


    Upon successful completion of the course the student will know how to

    • Define what a blockchain system is and describe its working principles
    • Illustrate the differences between a classical ledger and a distributed one
    • Explain what is a transaction in a blockchain and how they are regulated
    • Explain the concept of cryptography in the context of blockchain
    • Illustrate the transition to the digitalization of an asset
    • Describe and explain the working principles of a Smart Contract


    Upon successful completion of the course the student will be able to

    • Examine a blockchain system in its different forms and compare the differences
    • Decompose a blockchain system in its fundamental components
    • Conceive a business idea based on Blockchain in all its different flavours

    General competence

    Upon successful completion of the course the student will possess

    • Critical sense to evaluate a given blockchain context and opportunities
    • Communication skills that enable interactions at both technical and non-technical levels with the different stakeholders

  • Teaching

    Teaching will consist of lectures as well as guest lectures with speakers from both academia and practice/industry.

  • Recommended prerequisites

    Some prior basic knowledge in finance and accounting is helpful.

  • Credit reduction due to overlap


  • Compulsory Activity


  • Assessment

    Group project (in groups of 2-5 students). The group project will be developed during the course and will be divided into two parts that will be graded separately:

    • a written report (counts for 50 %) 
    • oral presentation (pre-recorded video) (counts for 50 %)

    Both elements have to be taken in the same semester.

    The aim of the project is to apply the theory learned in class to a real business case, involving blockchain technology. Students will be working on both the written report and the oral presentation during the course, and it must be submitted at the end of the semester.

    Due to the nature of the oral presentation, the students have the right to appeal the grade.

    An assessment in FOR20 will not be organised in the the non-teaching semester. As of autumn 2023, only mandatory bachelor courses with an individual assessment will have an assessment in the non-teaching semester. This only applies to students with a valid course approval. The retake options that apply at all times are decided by the dean for the bachelor program and will be published in the course description.

  • Grading Scale


  • Literature

    • Slides provided by the instructors
    • D. DRESCHER, Blockchain Basics: A Non-Technical Introduction in 25 Steps, Editor APress.


ECTS Credits
Teaching language

Spring. Will be offered Spring 2024 (first time).

Course responsible

Visiting Associate Professor Francesco Grossetti, Department of Accounting, Bocconi University, Italy