Demystifying Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain

Fee: PKR 10,000

For Students: PKR 6,000

What you'll learn

  • Develop a solid conceptual foundation in how cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies work
  • Gain exposure to the economic worldview behind these innovations and a sense of their ongoing economic and social impact
  • Gain a rigorous understanding of the core strengths and key limitations of these technologies
  • Develop a sense of the utility of these technologies to existing businesses, workflows, and other real-world cases
  • Gain a broad familiarity with how these technologies are evolving

Course Description

Cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum have taken the world by storm. What started as an underground experiment by a handful of programmers, Bitcoin is now the best-performing asset class of the decade, and cryptocurrencies represent a trillion-dollar ecosystem. Bitcoin, at its peak, exceeded the market cap of companies like Tesla and Facebook, and was significantly bigger than payment giants Mastercard, PayPal and Visa put together.

This month-long course is a non-technical and application-centric introduction to this exciting new paradigm. The emphasis will be on communicating the fundamental intuition and core concepts behind these systems and highlighting their unique properties and applications.

The course will include immersive thought exercises, extensive reading, and discussion sessions. We will also explore case studies of select applications in education, pharmaceuticals, etc.

Who is this course for?

This course is primarily concept-driven and is suitable for a general audience. There are no technical prerequisites.
It will be of interest to technologists, executives, policymakers, business owners, and layman enthusiasts – anyone interested in exploring these new technologies and their potential impact on society.


Dr. Taha Ali is Assistant Professor at NUST School of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science. He obtained his PhD from the University of New South Wales in Australia, followed by two research fellowships, including one at Newcastle University, UK, where he specifically worked on cryptocurrencies, blockchain, and secure electronic voting. He has published impactful research in these domains. His work on malicious applications of cryptocurrencies has featured prominently on Forbes.

Since 2017, Dr. Taha has been teaching an MS course at NUST on cryptocurrencies and blockchain. This course, the first of its kind in Pakistan, is popular with students and continues to run.

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Localized & easy to understand course content in English & Urdu

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Module 1
Bitcoin 101
The first component highlights the fundamental intuition behind Bitcoin, how all the pieces fit together into a complete digital money solution. In the second component, we delve into the economics and politics of cryptocurrencies and discuss Satoshi’s critique of existing monetary systems.
Module 1
Module 2
The Mechanics of Bitcoin
In this session, we introduce core information security components and explore their specific properties. We then look at how to put these components together to build different solutions, including secure data logs, torrent file distribution systems, and cryptocurrencies.
Module 2
Module 3
The Perils of Bitcoin
We look at how Bitcoin’s key strengths are inextricably linked with unanticipated negative outcomes, including the rise of dark markets, ransomware, unregulated financial flows, etc.
Module 3
Module 4
Bitcoin: an Islamic Take
In this module, we dive deeper into Bitcoin’s distinct and revolutionary economic paradigm and compare it with classical views on currency, specifically the Islamic notion of ‘money’.
Module 4
Module 5
Blockchain 101
In this module, we shine the spotlight on the blockchain, the revolutionary technology underlying Bitcoin. We look into how the blockchain is being used to enable myriad other decentralized applications, including smart property.
Module 5
Module 6
Case Study: Academia
In this module, we study how to adapt blockchain to combat real-world credential and degree fraud.
Module 6
Module 7
Case Study: Pharmaceuticals
In this module, we explore potential applications of blockchain in pharmaceutical supply chains.
Module 7
Module 8
When Not to Use Blockchain
In this concluding module, we will explore common blockchain fallacies and the fashionable tendency to fit blockchain into domains where it is not really needed
Module 8