Blockchain in Business (Online): Beyond the Hype

Nov 9, 2021–Jan 4, 2022 $1,950

Questions? Contact Us:

[email protected]

Duration: 6 Weeks
Time Commitment: 4–6 hours/week
Certificate Credit: 1
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Delivered in collaboration with

“This program will pierce the mystery, explain how cryptocurrencies work, and how the underlying blockchain technology will potentially revolutionize business. If you want to evaluate whether it is time for your business to adopt this technology or adapt to it, this program is for you.”
– The program's Faculty Director Gur Huberman

In this short video, learn about the key takeaways, the program faculty, and the visionary guest speakers of the Blockchain in Business (Online) program.

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?

Please Contact Us

Please contact our partners at Emeritus at [email protected], +13159825094 or +13152772746 for a personal conversation to learn more.


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.

Upon completion of this program, you will earn one credit towards a Certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.


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.


For a complete program schedule, please download the brochure.


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.


Gur Huberman, Faculty Director
Robert G. Kirby Professor of Behavioral Finance

Gur Huberman has taught at Columbia Business School 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 Management responsible for research on quantitative equity trading. In that capacity, he also helped develop tax aware strategies for the private bank. He earned his PhD (with distinction) in operations research from Yale in 1980 and his BSc (cum laude) in mathematics from Tel Aviv University in 1975.

Professor Huberman’s published work is widely read and cited, and covers a broad range in finance and economics. He contributed to the theory of equilibrium return-risk tradeoff, to the theory of contracts, to the study of individual’s portfolio selection, especially in the context of retirement savings to the theory of liquidity and trading, and to Behavior Finance. More recently he has turned his attention to FinTech and cryptocurrencies.

Guest Speakers

Cathy Barrera, Founding Economist, Prysm Group

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, Blockchain Revolution Global, and the IBM Blockchain Accelerator. Her research on the economics of blockchain has been presented at Harvard, Stanford, UC Berkeley, DARPA, and the Federal Reserve of Cleveland. Dr. Barrera is an advisor to blockchain projects at the World Economic Forum, a Collaborator of the MIT Cryptoeconomics Lab.

Dr. Barrera was previously tenure-track faculty at the S.C. Johnson School of Management at Cornell University, and has appeared as a seminar speaker or guest lecturer at schools including Harvard, MIT, Columbia, NYU, Fordham, Cornell Tech, University of Toronto, and University of Southern California. Prior to co-founding Prysm Group, Dr. Barrera was the chief economist at ZipRecruiter.

Stuart Haber, President, Stuart Haber Crypto, LLC

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 such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, HP Labs, and Bellcore (Bell Communications Research) as well as at startups such as InterTrust and Surety, which in 1995 deployed the world's first commercial blockchain as the foundation of the time-stamping service that he founded with his co-inventor, Scott Stornetta.

Dr. Haber served on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) from 2004 through 2011. He received his BA from Harvard University and his MS from Stanford University, both in mathematics, and his PhD in computer science from Columbia University.

Sharon LaDay, Blockchain Ecosystem Leader, IBM

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 she developed and executed growth strategies with a portfolio of startups. Her additional startup experience comes from her time at EdTech startups like Wimba which was acquired by Blackboard Inc., and storage networking startups like Andiamo Systems which was acquired by Cisco Systems.

Her other enterprise infrastructure experience includes product and platform marketing at EMC Corporation and VERITAS Software; and high-availability/disaster recovery infrastructure design as an engineer for Datalink. Sharon earned a BS in Computer Science from Texas A&M University and an MBA from Columbia Business School.

Omid Malekan, Blockchain Innovation Expert, Citi Ventures

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 Blockchain, A Beginner's Guide to the Technology That Nobody Understands as well as essays on the intersection of the tech and society in publications such as the New York Times, Spectator Magazine and the Weekly Standard. He’s a graduate of Columbia University with a degree in in Engineering Management Systems.

W. Scott Stornetta, Chief Scientist, Yugen Partners

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 were referenced three times by Satoshi Nakamoto in his famous Bitcoin white paper (see page 9). In 1995 he and Dr. Haber co-founded Surety, a Bellcore spinoff. Surety’s offering constituted the first commercial deployment of a blockchain.

Dr. Stornetta finished his tenure at Bellcore as assistant general manager of the 125-person Mathematical and Computer Sciences Laboratory. He then consulted for many years, evaluating the commercial potential of emerging technologies on behalf of universities, commercial research labs, and venture capital interests.

Dr. Stornetta currently serves as the chief scientist of Yugen Partners, an enterprise blockchain-focused private equity firm. Along with Dr. Haber, he also serves on the board of the not-for-profit Blockchain Corporate Governance Foundation. Dr. Stornetta received his PhD in physics from Stanford University, after attending MIT, Harvard, and Brigham Young University.