ELE 3920 Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology

ELE 3920 Bitcoin and Blockchain Technology

Course code: 
ELE 3920
Course coordinator: 
Ragnhild Silkoset
Harald Øverby
Course name in Norwegian: 
Bitcoin og blokkjedeteknologi
Product category: 
Bachelor - Programme Electives
2024 Autumn
Active status: 
Level of study: 
Teaching language: 
Course type: 
One semester

This course is about blockchains and Bitcoin. These technologies are among the most disruptive technologies of the last 15 years, especially in finance, trade in goods and the design of contracts. At the heart of these technologies is the distributed ledger (DLT), which ensures that data can be stored without the need for a trusted third party. Such distributed storage of data has opened up innovations such as cryptocurrency, smart contracts and "Non Fungible Tokens (NFT)". The course provides an introduction to the underlying technology of blockchain, Bitcoin and cryptocurrency, as well as the application of this technology in a business context. The course is taught with a focus on cases and flipped classrooms, and with a large degree of discussion. Students are expected to attend class prepared.

Through a combination of theoretical insight, practical case studies and exercises, students will explore how Bitcoin and the blockchain technology affect various aspects of business finance. The technology affects all areas of business economics through its unique way of processing information. This affects everything from accounting systems, legal decisions, banking and financiers, entrepreneurship, value creation from creative industries, to digital communication, marketing and financial analysis, to name a few.

The course is set up as a Flipped Classroom. This means that before the lectures, the students have prepared through podcasts, films, texts and Artificial Intelligence (text robots). In the class, there is extensive use of class discussions where current cases are discussed against the current syllabus. In this course, students will develop skills on how to manage technology to influence social and economic development in a sustainable way.

The exam paper will be based on the cases from the class discussions.

Learning outcomes - Knowledge

After completing the course, students should be able to:

Technological assessments:

• understand the basic technology that underpins blockchains, including distributed systems, hashing functions, digital signatures, and public encryption systems.

• understand the technological operation and structure of Bitcoin.

• know future opportunities and risks within DLT

• know the main types of DLT and future architecture models

Company and industry assessments:

• determine how blockchain technology and DLT contribute to value creation in strategically important business areas such as international trade, law, banking and finance, online shopping, education, health, humanitarian work, utilization of brands, repurchase value of luxury goods, property rights, NFT within art and music, information dissemination (incl. news and official information), etc.

• be able to assess how blockchain technology and DLT can be used within sustainability, sustainability reporting and greenwashing

• be able to assess the way in which smart contracts can add value to agreements and contracts, value chains and distribution channels, including the effect on different types of transaction costs

Theoretical assessments:

• understand the theoretical rationale of how blockchain technology and DLT affect markets with information asymmetry

• understand the impact of technology on institutional trust, transaction costs and disruptive innovation

• be able to evaluate the implications of the blockchain technology in markets with a high risk of quality shortages, including gray and black markets

Learning outcomes - Skills

After completing the course, students should be able to:

• Independently evaluate value creation by implementing blockchain technology/DLT in various industries, companies, organizations, distribution channels and value chains. Included in this are critical assessments of advantages, disadvantages, and obstacles.

• Make a critical assessment of the challenges, opportunities, and limitations of your own subject area within DLT.

General Competence

The students should have developed the ability to:

• Reflect on how the blockchain technology can contribute to information manipulation and exploitation of weak actors.

• Reflect on how different types of DLT have different resource needs and environmental footprints.

• Reflect on how cryptocurrency can be used for illegal actions and activities.

• Reflect on the protection of personal data and GDPR in blockchains.

Teaching and learning activities

The educational model for the course is as follows:

16 hours of physical lectures, 14 hours of digital lectures in real time, 10 hours of learning outside of class.

The educational model in the course is based on the flipped classroom. This means that the students attend academically prepared and the lessons are used to discuss current cases from the current topic. The digital elements are based on podcasts, interviews, news articles, professional articles and books, YouTube films, Khan Academy and more.

Software tools
Software defined under the section "Teaching and learning activities".
Required prerequisite knowledge

No special prior knowledge.

Exam category: 
School Exam
Form of assessment: 
Written School Exam - digital
Exam/hand-in semester: 
First Semester
Support materials: 
  • All printed and handwritten support materials
  • Simple calculator
  • Bilingual dictionary
2 Hour(s)
Exam code: 
ELE 39201
Grading scale: 
Examination when next scheduled course
Type of Assessment: 
Ordinary examination
Total weight: 
Student workload
16 Hour(s)
14 Hour(s)
Digital resources
  • Interactive video
  • Interactive websites
  • Test with automatic feedback
10 Hour(s)
Student's own work with learning resources
140 Hour(s)
20 Hour(s)
Sum workload: 

A course of 1 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of 26-30 hours. Therefore a course of 7,5 ECTS credit corresponds to a workload of at least 200 hours.