17f-HON: Future of Money


We meet MWT at 10.30–11.35 in Kariotis Hall 104 ISEC 632. Our first class is Wed Sep 6. My office hours are right before class (9.30–10.30) on MWR, and by appointment. I am usually in my office or on the 6th floor, so also feel free to drop by.


This course will explore the past and future role of money in society. How did the concept arise? Can we define properties that money provides in a modern economy? Most of the course will focus on new techniques from the area of cryptocurrencies. We will study the mechanisms for how cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum work.

The course is entirely self-contained and requires only basic high-school math. Students interested in the future of money and how it will impact society, business and government will learn how these new currencies work.

Course Schedule

I will post lecture slides and videos here.

  • W1 4
  • W2 11
    • L3 [rescheduled for visit to Boston Fed]
    • L4 Early theories of money discussion
    • L5 Introduction to Bitcoin. [Original paper]
  • W3 18
  • W4 25
    • L9 Why it is hard to agree
    • L10 Hard to Agree
    • L11 Why Bitcoin fosters agreeement
  • W5 2
    • L12 Arbitrage
    • L13 Discussion: Alt currencies
    • L14 Discussion: Alt currencies
  • W6 9
    • no class
    • L15 Discussion: Alt currencies
    • L16 Discussion: Alt currencies
  • W7 16
    • L17 Discussion: Alt currencies
    • L18 Ethereum overview
    • L19 Ethereum contracts demo, create a token, create a crowdsale
  • W8 23
  • W9 30
    • L23 Class talks: Exploration of Ethereum-based Tokens & Contracts
    • L24 Class talks: Exploration of Ethereum-based Tokens & Contracts
    • L25 Setting up webpages for tokens
  • W10 6
  • W11 13
    • 1870s theory of money, Quantity theory, Keynsian theory of money
    • Monetarist vs Keynsians
    • US Money, Gold standard, Bretton-Woods, Nixon Shock
    • Critique of the Gold standard, Soros vs Bank of England
    • Denationalization of money Hayek
  • W12 20
    • L33 Discussion: ICOs
  • W13 27
    • L34 Proof of Stake
    • L35 Proof of Stake
    • L36 Course Projects
  • W14 4


The homework in this class should be submitted through gitlab. You will receive an invitation to the Gradescope site after the first lecture.


Your grade in this seminar is based on class participation, homeworks, and a final course project. Your project can be on any topic related to money, and should be the result of roughly 100 hours of thorough investigation of the topic, including both conceptual and quantiative reasoning. For example, as a project, you can write software to perform new cryptocurrency functions, or you can perform historial analysis on interesting monetary data that you collect or gather .


  1. No late homework will be accepted. We have to start grading as soon as you turn these in, and we need to keep our two sections in sync.

  2. Collaborating with other students in the class on homework problems is encouraged, though we urge you to first attempt working out all of the problems by yourself. In any case, you must write up your solutions, in your own words. Furthermore, if you did collaborate on any problem, you must clearly list all of the collaborators in your submission.

  3. Finding solutions to homework problems on the Internet or by asking people who are not enrolled in the class is strictly prohibited.


You do not need a textbook for this course.


I encourage group/collaborative work; most people enjoy that aspect. I make myself available during evenings for Google Hangouts office hours, and I also record my lectures so that you can review them offline.