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TECH 15 — Economics of Transformative Financial Instruments: Exploring the Cryptocurrency Case

Quarter: Summer
Day(s): Wednesdays
Course Format: Live Online (About Formats)
Duration: 6 weeks
Date(s): Jul 5—Aug 9
Time: 7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Refund Deadline: Jul 7
Unit: 1
Tuition: $445
Instructor(s): Amir Magdy Kamel
Limit: 30
Class Recording Available: Yes
Status: Open
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Live Online(About Formats)
7:00—8:50 pm (PT)
Jul 5—Aug 9
6 weeks
Refund Date
Jul 7
1 Unit
Amir Magdy Kamel
DOWNLOAD THE SYLLABUS » (subject to change)
Whether viewed as a currency, a technology, or both, cryptocurrency has experienced one of the most volatile adoption cycles ever seen—not just for a few companies but for the entire category. However, with each new media cycle, one fundamental question resurfaces: Can cryptocurrency deliver on the promise to transform the way everyday people and businesses transact, or is it simply a large-scale utopian experiment invariably headed toward its demise? Perhaps the answer lies somewhere between the wholesale adoption of cryptocurrency and cherry-picking only its most useful attributes. And maybe the outcome is solely determined by the new wave of regulation and government involvement that ultimately ensues.

This course will introduce students to the economic principles that have historically determined the acceptance of new, transformative financial instruments, some of which were more controversial than cryptocurrency. We’ll break down these principles into three major components: state certification, market acceptance, and individual preferences. Taken together, they create an environment of legitimacy and trust that determines society’s willingness to adopt them and, ultimately, their perceived value. The course will involve a range of activities designed to draw upon students’ existing knowledge, including interaction-based discussion forums, analyzing reaction posts, and technology evaluation exercises. Students will leave the course with an understanding of how cryptocurrencies operate, how they are valued, and an analytical framework that can be extrapolated to other future technologies.

Associate Professor, King's College London; Visiting Scholar, Abbasi Program in Islamic Studies, Stanford

Amir Magdy Kamel has taught international relations, international political economy, and security courses for more than 10 years to students as well as professional militaries and civil servants at King’s College London and with the UK Ministry of Defence. His research focuses on the impact of cryptocurrencies on policy-making and challenges to both US and EU foreign policy. His latest book is Floundering Stability: US Foreign Policy in Egypt.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.