Introduction to Economics of Blockchain


Blockchain-based systems, with the crypto-currency Bitcoin as a primary example, have disrupted the way of thinking distributed systems: This mechanism allows for securely diffusing information across a network, without necessitating trustees, or central authorities to enforce consensus.

Much is spoken about the trading markets around cryptocurrencies and other tokenised assets (the most evident applications so far in this realm). However, little is discussed about different technical, economic and social aspects that enable the functioning of the blockchain-based systems.

This course is first intended to give a non-technical overview of blockchain-based systems; then to overviewing of the incentive schemes embedded at different levels that ultimately determine their long-term functioning of these systems; and finally, to digging into real-world use-cases of this technology, critically analysing the suitability of their implementation within each context.

Prof. Dr. Claudio J. Tessone


Target Audience:
Bachelor students assigned to “Wahlpflichtbereich” BWL 4 (and starting from 2021: BWL6)

Each spring semester



  • Topics that are included in the lectures include (but are not limited to):
  • Blockchains, cryptocurrencies, tokens
  • Emergence of trust without central authorities
  • Blockchain taxonomy
  • Decentralised systems, decentralised economies?
  • Cryptoasset supply
  • Wealth accumulation
  • Incentives schemes
  • Consensus mechanism
  • Governance

Typical topics in the final works include: incentive schemes placed in the concept, design, governance and functioning of blockchain-based systems. Use-cases of blockchain-based systems. Technologies related to blockchains. Analysis of actors’ behaviour: users and verifiers within all blockchain-based systems, traders the case of cryptocurrencies and other tokens.

At the end of the Seminar, the students will: (1) get acquainted with the state of the art of these technologies and related concepts. (2) non-technical understanding of the functioning of blockchain-based systems emphasising the economic and systems’ design perspectives. (3) be able to critically analyse new technologies and development in this area.

Further information:


The Syllabus for this course can be downloaded here. Please read it as it contains detailed information on the course