Studying online

There are now 3 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Units available in Online Restricted mode have been adapted for online study only for those students who require the unit to complete their studies and who are unable to attend campus owing to exceptional circumstances beyond their control. To be enrolled in a unit in Online Restricted mode, students should contact their Student Advising Office through askUWA

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


This unit covers digital currencies, blockchains, cryptographic tokens, and related topics in the FinTech area, perhaps the most significant innovation in the financial world in the past century. The technology appears to represent an existential challenge for major parts of the finance industry.

The unit begins with a study of the nature of money and legacy payment and banking systems. Students then study the emergence of stateless, decentralized, cloud-based digital currency systems since 2009, and follow-on investment products, derivatives, and innovations such as initial coin offerings and the extension of cryptocurrency-based technology into securities issuance and trading.

Seminars will explore threats that blockchain technology poses to incumbent firms and even to central banks, and their resulting attempts to co-opt the technology into existing business models. There will also be discussion of related issues including ethical considerations, hacking, “smart contracts,” governance, investment risk and return, and emerging regulatory approaches.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 1UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 1OnlineOnline Restricted

Students are able to (1) evaluate blockchains and distributed ledgers as significant innovations in financial record keeping; (2) explain cryptographic consensus as an alternative form of risk management and cybersecurity; (3) identify the emerging uses of cryptographic assets in the mainstream financial system, and in new applications such as ICOs and smart contracts; and (4) critically evaluate ethical and regulatory problems created by peer-to-peer payment systems that operate internationally with decentralized governance.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) assignment / project; (2) mid-semester test; and (3) final examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Dr Jonathan Karlsen
Unit rules
Successful completion of
FINA5533 Finance Essentials
Successful completion of
FINA5632 Investments
Contact hours
Seminars: up to 3 hours per week for 12 weeks
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.