SOAS University of London

School of Finance and Management

Blockchain and Distributed Electronic Ledgers

Module Code:
Year of study:
Year 1

The module aims to provide participants with the basic theoretical knowledge and critical tools for a comprehensive understanding of Blockchain and Distributed Electronic Ledger (DEL) technology and its implications for business, financial institutions and markets, government and society. Since the appearance of Bitcoin in 2008, Blockchain and DEL technology has been enriched progressively with further computational features, which have opened up a plethora of potential applications. Issues that will be discussed include innovations such as the development of new business models, the disruption of existing strategies in sectors like banking and financial services, the full range of advantages, the limitations and risks of central bank-controlled digital currencies, and possible forms of distributed public services. The course will draw examples and case studies from the very early instances of the application of Blockchain and DEL.

Objectives and learning outcomes of the module

On successful completion of this module a student will be able to:

  1. Demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the prospects for applying DEL and Blockchain technology to various areas including cryptocurrencies and smart contracts
  2. Explain the implications of DEL and Blockchain in terms of how it is likely to affect the future of business, banking and financial services, financial markets, central banking and government
  3. Evaluate the current debate around the modelling of DEL and Blockchain economy and the regulation and governance of DEL and Blockchain
  4. Critically appraise the economic and social impact of DEL and Blockchain technology.


Two hours of lectures, and one hour tutorial, per week. Ten weeks total.

Scope and syllabus

  1. Features of Blockchain and DEL technology
    1. Distributed Electronic Ledgers (DEL) and Blockchain
    2. Cryptocurrencies and tokens
    3. Ethereum and smart contracts
  2. Blockchain and DEL applications
    1. Blockchain and DEL in business
    2. Blockchain and DEL in banking and financial services
    3. Blockchain and DEL in central banking
    4. Blockchain and DEL in government
  3. Blockchain and DEL: open issues
    1. Modelling the Blockchain and DEL economy
    2. Regulation and governance of Blockchain and DEL
    3. The economic and social impact of Blockchain and DEL



Method of assessment

  • Individual Assingment - 2,500 words total (30% of total mark for module). Due by the end of term.
  • 2 hours examination. 70% of total mark for module.


Important notice regarding changes to programmes and modules