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Digital Currencies Academy

  • Description

    Digital currencies are transforming our monetary system. Since the first cryptocurrency, Bitcoin, was introduced in 2009, many new developments have challenged the use of traditional payment instruments and financial contracts. Current examples are LIBRA, an initiative led by Facebook to challenge national and international payment arrangements and the recent wave of initial coin offerings (ICOs) that has rattled traditional financial regulation.

    The course gives a thorough introduction into the topic of digital currencies. It first exposes participants to some of their technological foundations and then discusses the economic significance of their design and impact. Participants will also be exposed to current policy and regulatory challenges through case studies, mediated group discussions and expert panels. Among the topics covered are cryptocurrencies, central bank issued digital currencies (CBDCs), optimal digital currency areas, initial coin offerings (ICOs) and private efforts to facilitate international payments.

  • What you will learn

    After having completed this course, you will:

    • have understood the basics of technology (e.g., blockchain, distributed ledgers, distributed consensus).
    • have learnt about crucial design choices and the economic trade-offs involved.
    • have obtained familiarity with to cutting edge research on cryptocurrencies, ditigal tokens and CBDC.
    • have understood how to assess the role of central banks in providing digital currency.
    • have an overview of the emerging regulatory framework for privately issued coins.
    • have got up to speed on recent developments in international payments infrastructure.
  • Meet the course director

    Thorsten V. Koeppl is a Professor and RBC Fellow in the Department of Economics at Queen’s University. He is currently also the Scholar in Financial Services and Monetary Policy at the CD Howe Institute one of Canada’s most influential policy think tanks. Prof. Koeppl advises the Bank of Canada on Central Bank Digital Currency and in the past has served as an adviser to several other policy institutions in matters of financial market organization, regulation and intervention in the past. Prof. Koeppl has degrees in management and in economics from the Universities of Eichstaett/Ingolstadt and Basle, and received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota in 2002. His main research interests are in the areas of macroeconomics (in particular monetary economics), financial market infrastructure and blockchain economics. He has published on these topics in top economics journals such as Review of Economic Studies, Journal of Economic Theory, Review of Financial Studies and the Journal of Financial Economics among several others.

  • Instructors

    Katrin Assenmacher is Head of the Monetary Policy Strategy Division at the European Central Bank (ECB) since November 2016. From 2010 to 2016 she led the Monetary Policy Analysis unit at the Swiss National Bank (SNB). Her professional interests lie in the areas of monetary policy and time-series econometrics. She published several articles in international academic journals on modelling the role of money in the inflation process, analysing business cycle indices and estimating central bank reaction functions. Katrin was a visiting scholar at the Federal Reserve Banks of St. Louis and Atlanta, the Oesterreichische Nationalbank and the Universities of Copenhagen and Southern California. She holds a Doctorate and a Diploma in economics from the University of Bonn, where she also received her Habilitation. During her tenure at the SNB she lectured courses on monetary policy and macroeconomics at the universities of Zurich and Bern and served as a member of the Czech National Bank´s Research Advisory Committee.

    Christian Catalini is Co-Creator of Libra and Head Economist at Novi (Facebook). He is currently on leave from his role as Associate Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he founded the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab and designed the MIT Digital Currency Research Study. He is also a Faculty Research Fellow in the Productivity, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program at the National Bureau of Economic Research. Christian’s research focuses on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, and he previously worked on the economics of equity crowdfunding and startup growth, and the economics of scientific collaboration. He holds a PhD from the University of Toronto (Rotman School of Management), and MSc (summa cum laude) in Economics and Management of New Technologies from Bocconi University, Milan.

    James Chapman has been appointed Deputy Managing Director of Economic and Financial Research (EFR), effective in 2019 for a 2-year period. He is also the Senior Research Director in the Funds Management and Banking Department at the Bank of Canada. James received a Ph.D. in economics and a MSc in statistics from the University of Iowa in 2006. He joined the Bank of Canada as a senior analyst in that year. James’s primary research focus has been on interbank market and financial market infrastructure issues such as liquidity risk and credit risk in large-value payment systems as well as the efficiency of interbank markets. Recently James’s research focus has evolved to include research on fintech related topics. These topics include the use of distributed ledger technology in financial market infrastructure, specifically the Bank’s Project Jasper, as well as questions related to digital currencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and initial coin offerings. From March 2015 to October 2016 James was the research director at Payments Canada the operator of the core Canadian payments infrastructure.

    Anne Choné is Senior Risk Analysis Officer at ESMA, where she monitors financial innovation and financial activities across the EU. Among the topics that she has recently addressed are Crowdfunding, FinTech and Regulatory Sandboxes. She has led ESMA’s work on Distributed Ledger Technologies and crypto-assets and authored various publications from the authority on the topic, including the ESMA Advice on Initial Coin Offerings and Crypto-Assets to the EU Institutions that was published in January 2019. Before joining ESMA in 2013, Anne was Principal at Mercer Investments, where she advised institutional clients on the design and implementation of their investment strategies. Prior to that, she worked as a Director in charge of financial institutions and then banks at FitchRatings. Anne holds of master’s degree in Finance from NEOMA Business school and has earned the CFA certification.

    Daniel Heller is the Head of Regulatory Affairs at Fnality International and a research associate at the Centre for Blockchain Technologies at University College London. He held various senior positions at the Swiss National Bank (SNB), the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). As a visiting fellow at the Peterson Institute for International Economics (PIIE) in Washington, he published widely on the impact of blockchain-based financial innovation and how it should be regulated. He received a Ph.D. degree in Economics from the University of Bern and was a research fellow at Stanford University.

    Klaus Martin Löber is Head of the Oversight Division of the European Central Bank, in charge of the oversight of financial markets infrastructures and payments instruments. His areas or responsibility also encompass the ECB’s global regulatory policy activities with a focus on payments and market infrastructures. Furthermore, Mr Löber is contributing to the global fintech and digital innovations agenda, chairing the CPMI working group on digital currencies and co-chairing the CPMI-IOSCO working group on digital innovations looking into relevant developments. Prior to his current position, from 2012 to 2016, Mr Löber was Head of the Secretariat of the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructures (CPMI) hosted by the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a global regulatory standard setting body in the areas of payments, clearing and settlement. Earlier positions include the European Central Bank, the European Commission, Deutsche Bundesbank and private practice. Mr Löber regularly publishes on financial markets legal, regulatory and infrastructure issues.

    Cyril Monnet is Professor of Economics at the University of Bern and Doctoral Program Manager at the Study Center Gerzensee. He received his PhD in Economics from the University of Minnesota (USA). He started his career in the research department of the European Central Bank. He was also a Senior Economic Advisor in the Research Department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia and a Visiting Economist at the BIS. His research, which has been published in leading academic journals, focuses on monetary economics including DLT and CBDC, financial intermediation and the design of financial institutions.

    Elisabeth Noble is a Senior Policy Expert at the European Banking Authority. She represents the EBA in EU and international standard-setter policy work streams relating to FinTech, market-based finance, financial system interconnectedness, market access and the regulatory perimeter. She leads the EBA’s work on crypto-assets and innovation facilitators and coordinates the European Forum for Innovation Facilitators. She is contributing to the development of the new EU Digital Finance Strategy and was a member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Regulatory Obstacles to Financial Innovation (now disbanded). Prior to joining the EBA, Elisabeth spent 7 years at HM Treasury advising primarily on the UK government’s response to the financial crisis and the post-crisis domestic and EU regulatory reforms (2008-14), including the reforms to the regulatory architecture in the EU (Banking Union). Elisabeth has also spent some time in the private sector.

    Bénédicte Nolens is the Head of the BIS Innovation Hub, Hong Kong Centre. Prior to this appointment, she was a managing director at SC Ventures, the innovation arm of Standard Chartered Bank that leads a series of new ventures across digital banking, banking as a service, SME finance and blockchain. From 2018-2019, she was the Vice President of International Government Relations at Circle, involved in the evolution of blockchain and digital assets. From 2012-2018, she was the Head of Risk & Strategy of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), and in that capacity also acting as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Emerging Risks and the Fintech research lead for the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). From 2007-2012, she was a managing director at Credit Suisse and before that from 1997-2007 she was an associate and executive director at Goldman Sachs. Originally from Belgium, she holds LL.M. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Leuven. She is admitted to the New York Bar since 1999. In 2016, she was a recipient of the China Daily Asian Women Leadership Awards for her efforts related to entrepreneurship, innovation and charity. She remains closely engaged in these topics, most recently through her involvement in the Fintech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK) and Women in Finance Asia (WiFA.)

  • Prerequisites

    A Master’s Degree in economics, finance, or related subjects is required to attend the course.
  • Application

    More infor about application procedure and deadlines will be available soon.

  • Fees

    2500€ – Public Authorities (e.g. National Competent Authorities, Central Banks) and European Institutions

    2900€ – Private Sector

    1300€ – Academics (Assistant, Associate or Full Professors) *seats for academics are limited and assigned by the FBF secretariat on a case-by-case basis

    2250€ – FBF Alumni (previous participants in FBF residential courses)

    The course fee covers coffee and lunch breaks. Travel and hotel costs are not included.


    • In case a course is cancelled, registered participants will receive the full refund.
    • In case a course is moved to another date, registered participants have the following three options: request a voucher to attend another FBF course, transfer their registration to a colleague or request a refund.
    • Registered participants who have not yet paid the registration fee can cancel their participation until four weeks before the start of the course.

    For more details, please contact fbf@eui.eu
  • Practical information

    A certificate of attendance will be provided to all participants after the course.