Blockchain in Business: Beyond the Hype

Columbia Business School

How long?

  • 6 weeks
  • online

Columbia Business School


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Who should attend

This program offers a deep dive into the world of blockchain and its application for your organization, whether you are an entrepreneur seeking to harness blockchain opportunities, a C-suite leader implementing blockchain processes, a corporate attorney or risk manager preparing for blockchain and cryptocurrencies’ regulatory or unseen implications, or an IT or security professional wondering how blockchains will impact you day to day. This program is also fitting for R&D directors, supply chain managers, and business tech strategists and consultants seeking to harness blockchain and cryptocurrency opportunities.

About the course

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies grab a lot of headlines in the media, leaving business leaders with the challenge to distinguish between the hype and what has the power to transform an entire industry. This program allows you to break through the mystery, offering a very practical understanding of blockchain, both its opportunities and its challenges. Over the course of six weeks, you'll decipher how cryptocurrencies work and learn how the underlying blockchain technology could transform your organization and industry.

In addition to world-renowned Columbia Business School faculty, you'll learn from industry experts who will share invaluable insights — from the origin story of the creators of the first blockchain to where the technology is heading five to ten years down the road. After taking this program that is designed with the executive in mind, participants will be able to make more informed decisions about the role that blockchain technology may play in their business.

At the end of the program, you'll know the answers to the quintessential Blockchain questions, including:

  • How has blockchain technology emerged since its original design?
  • Does Bitcoin count as money and can Bitcoin replace the traditional form of money?
  • How do smart contracts and tokens work?
  • What are the “real” opportunities and challenges of blockchain technology in the market?
  • What questions should I ask to evaluate potential opportunities in blockchain and cryptocurrencies for my organization?
  • How can I leverage blockchain for my business?


At the end of the program, you will be able to:

  • Understand the key principles underlying the technology and history of blockchain and cryptocurrencies in modern business.
  • Identify real-world opportunities and limitations of blockchain technology and practical applications for their organizations.
  • Ask the right questions and make more informed decisions about the role that blockchain technology may play in their business.


Our approach to this program is to provide the foundational concepts behind blockchains and cryptocurrencies by exploring their history, philosophies, and real-world applications and examining how these technologies will influence executive decision making. Key components include video lectures with guest speakers, hands-on exercises, and real-world applications. Participants have multiple opportunities to apply concepts such as a simulation of creating a blockchain.

The program includes the following modules:

Module 1: Technical Foundations Learn the foundations of blockchain, including distributed systems, hash functions, and cryptography; includes learning the origin story of the blockchain and building a blockchain with its inventors.

Module 2: Bitcoin as Money Gain a historical view of money, exploring its traditional place in society and how conventional markets and bitcoin compare.

Module 3: How Bitcoin Uses Blockchain Explore conceptual precursors to blockchain and discover how “mining” works, along with identifying the vulnerabilities in Bitcoin’s blockchain.

Module 4: Ethereum, Smart Contracts, and Tokens Discover the programmable Ethereum ledger system, smart contracts, tokens, decentralized applications, and trustless computing.

Module 5: Applications of Blockchain Examine the complex issues that surround governance with blockchains including an examination of IBM’s work in permissioned enterprise blockchains.

Module 6: The Future of Blockchain Get a “big picture” view of blockchain tailored for the executive decision-maker and understand where blockchain will be in five to ten years.


Gur Huberman

Biography Gur Huberman is the Robert G. Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance at Columbia Business School where he has taught since 1989. Prior to that, he taught at Tel Aviv University and at the University of Chicago. Between 1993 and 1995 he was Vice President at JP Morgan Investment Managemen...

Scott Stornetta

W. Scott Stornetta is considered by many to be the co-inventor of blockchain technology. Dating back to 1991, his pioneering series of papers, written with co-author Stuart Haber at Bellcore, received the 1992 Discover Award for Computer Software, were featured in the New York Times in 1992, and ...

Omid Malekan

Omid Malekan is the blockchain innovation expert at Citi Ventures. A veteran of this relatively young industry for the past five years, he specializes in breaking it down for lay audiences and exploring its application to different industries. He's the author of the book The Story of the Blockch...

Sharon LaDay

Sharon LaDay comes to the blockchain industry with a background in enterprise infrastructure solutions, startup investing, and education technology. Prior to her current role as Blockchain Ecosystem Leader at IBM, Sharon was vice president of Business Development for Macmillan New Ventures where ...

Stuart Haber

Stuart Haber is an experienced cryptographer, best known as the co-inventor of the blockchain technique for ensuring the integrity of digital data. His work has bridged pure research and practical computer security over the course of a three-decade career spent both at large established companies...

Cathy Barrera

Cathy Barrera is a partner and founding economist of Prysm Group, a firm that specializes in economic and governance design for distributed ledger-based projects. She is a frequent keynote speaker and lecturer on economics and DLT. Recent and upcoming speaking appearances include Consensus, SXSW,...

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Blockchain in Business: Beyond the Hype at Columbia Business School

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