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Home » RSM2322H – Special Topics in Finance: Blockchain and Decentralized Finance (fall 2022)

RSM2322H – Special Topics in Finance: Blockchain and Decentralized Finance (fall 2022)

General Information

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Applicable Emphases:
(m) = Main, (s)= Supplemental

  • N/A

Applicable Major(s):
(c) = Core, (r) = Recommended

  • Risk Management and Financial Engineering (r)

Instructor Bios

Andreas Park is an Associate Professor of Finance at the University of Toronto, appointed to the Rotman School of Management and the Department of Management at UTM. He currently serves as the Research Director at the FinHub, Rotman’s Financial Innovation Lab,, he is the co-founder of the LedgerHub, the University of Toronto’s blockchain research lab, a lab economist for blockchain at the Creative Destruction Lab, an economic advisor to Conflux Network, and a consultant to the OSC and IIROC. Andreas teaches courses on FInTech and financial market trading, and his current research focuses on the economic impact of technological transformations such as blockchain technology. He recently authored a design proposal for a central bank-issued digital currency, commissioned by the Bank of Canada.

Zissis Poulos is a postdoctoral fellow at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management and a researcher at the Rotman Financial Innovation Hub (FinHub), University of Toronto. He received a M.A.Sc. degree and a Ph.D. degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering from the University of Toronto in 2014 and 2018, respectively. His research interests include applied machine learning in asset/derivative pricing and risk management, blockchain technology, and the design of decentralized oracles, high-performance computing for deep learning, and optimization of information/influence diffusion in social graphs. He is a member of IEEE and ACM.

Target Audience

MBA students in the finance stream.


Must have completed MBA core courses – RSM1231 Finance 1: Global Markets and Valuation and RSM1232 Finance 2: Corporate Finance


12 weekly sessions

Course Mission

  • Understand the technological and organizational principles of blockchain technology.
  • Get introduced to existing protocols, tools, and applications of blockchain technology to finance.
  • Understand the economics of decentralized platforms.
  • Understand legal, regulatory, and accounting challenges as well as the challenges to the legacy financial industry.
  • Identify business opportunities of the technology and develop a design for a decentralized finance application.

Course Scope

The course introduces students to the nascent area of decentralized finance, the provision of financial services in decentralized networks, without the default involvement of financial institutions. Blockchain technology allows organizational changes that will change and replace the core operations and infrastructure of the financial industry. We will study how and which financial services that have traditionally been provided by “siloed” institutions can be provided on “decentralized platforms.” We will study the functions of these platforms both in terms of the basic technological functionality and the economic mechanisms that drive the interactions on platforms. As part of the content, students will learn about blockchain technology, cryptography, smart contracts, tokens, digital money, oracles, yield farming, decentralized exchanges, blockchain-based borrowing and lending, crypto trading, corporate finance with tokens, decentralized autonomous organizations and their governance, non-fungible tokens, crypto-regulations, stablecoins, and central-bank-issued digital currencies. The introduction to technology is geared towards management students and does not require engineering or computer science knowledge; the focus is on finance concepts, the institutions, and the economic insights and implications.

Evaluation and Grade Distribution

ComponentDue DateWeight
Class ParticipationOngoing10%
Quizzes (9)Ongoing24%
DeFi Protocol AnalysisWeek 820%
Research and Hands-On Applications (4)Ongoing16%
DeFi Application Design (Group Work)Week 1115%
Presentation of DeFi Application (Group Work)Week 1110%
Peer Critique and FeedbackWeek 125%

Required Resources

Textbook: “DeFi and the Future of Finance”, by Campbell Harvey, Ashwin Ramachandran, and Joey Santoro, Wiley, 2021

Readings: supplementary material in the form of articles and blog posts

Last Updated: 2022-04-29 @ 5:22 pm