The digitization of markets is proceeding at an ever-increasing pace, deeply transforming how customers shop for products and services, but also how firms interact with one another. The design of internet platforms and Blockchain protocols raises new challenges that can only be grasped through a sound understanding of computer science and economic incentives.

We will explore the economic concepts (market design, pricing mechanisms…) and computer science tools (Zero-Knowledge Proofs, Rollups…) students need to acquire in order to participate to this transformation. The course will put an emphasis on Blockchains because of their disruptive potential, thus preparing students for the next wave of innovations.

The material will be conveyed through a combination of lectures and seminars. In order to cover the width of the field, we will invite academics but also experts working in the private sector as well as startup founders. Hence the course will combine theoretical insights with hands-on experience and case studies.

The composition of the class will reflect the interdisciplinary nature of the topic by bringing together students from computer science and economics. Students will form teams and elaborate an original platform or blockchain design, using the analytical tools and returns of experience presented during the course. Each project will be concluded by a pitch in front of experts who will assess its strengths and areas for improvements.

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  • Assess the commercial soundness and technological underpinnings of a specific platform design;
  • Determine whether decentralization is desirable and how it can be achieved through recourse to Blockchain technology;
  • Discover the appropriate design to address governance problems and economics tradeoffs;
  • Anticipate the ethical and legal issues raised by each project.

Structure of the course:

  • The Economics of Platforms: Network effects and optimal pricing rule

Consensus

  • Proof-of-Work: Theoretical foundations of proof-of-work
  • Proof-of-Stake:

Second Layer Protocols

  • Lightning network:
  • ZK and Optimistic Rollups:

Decentralized Finance

    • Description of main DeFi protocols: