IC316-Fintech and Cryptocurrencies

Module Provider: ICMA Centre
Number of credits: 20 [10 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Urquhart

Email: a.j.urquhart@icmacentre.ac.uk

Type of module:

Summary module description:

This module seeks to introduce students to Fintech as well as cryptocurrencies and blockchain. The module offers students the opportunity to gain an understanding of how and why firms are implementing blockchain technology in their day-to-day business as well as the challenges they face.  The module also covers cryptocurrencies, their governance and properties behind the most popular cryptocurrencies.


This module aims to provide students with an understanding of the major areas of FinTech, the ability to understand blockchain technology and why so many firms are implementing the technology, as well to reflect on the history, behaviour and impact cryptocurrencies have had on the financial sector. Students will gain a broad appreciation of recent develops in FinTech, including money and payment, digital finance, alternative finance and importantly FinTech regulation.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of the module it is expected that the student will be able to: 

  • understand how and why blockchain is being utilised by many firms, as well as be able to explain how blockchain works in certain businesses

  • understand the main regulation within the FinTech sphere as well as appreciate the ethical issues faced 

  • be able to explain how digital finance works, with relevant examples as well as understanding how alternative finance, including crowdfunding and P2P lending, are impacting markets

  • understand what cryptocurrencies are and the impact they have had, and may potentially have in the future, on financial markets

Additional outcomes:

The module also aims to encourage the development of oral communication skills and the student’s effectiveness in group situations via assessed participation in class discussion. 

Outline content:

  1. Introduction to FinTech

  2. Fintech

  3. Crowdfunding

  4. What is money and is Bitcoin money?

  5. Basics of Cryptocurrencies

  6. Bitcoin in Practice

  7. Altcoins and the Cryptocurrency Ecosystem

  8. ICOs

  9. Alternative Uses of Blockchain

  10. Future Trends in Fintech

Global context:

The module does not specifically focus on global issues. However, international aspects of the FinTech will be covered. 

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

Each session will be led by ICMA Centre faculty and will be a combination of lecture-based delivery followed by classroom debate. Reading materials for potential topics for debate will be provided in advance.


Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 20
Seminars 4
Guided independent study:      
    Wider reading (directed) 176
Total hours by term 0 200 0
Total hours for module 200

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Written assignment including essay 60
Oral assessment and presentation 40

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

A group oral presentation (20 minutes maximum)

Written assignment 

Formative assessment methods:

Penalties for late submission:

The University policy statement on penalties for late submission will be applied; these can be found at: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/qualitysupport/penaltiesforlatesubmission.pdf You are strongly advised to ensure that coursework is submitted by the relevant deadline. You should note that it is advisable to submit work in an unfinished state rather than to fail to submit any work.

Assessment requirements for a pass:


Reassessment arrangements:

Re-examination takes place in August/September.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

Last updated: 27 August 2020


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