Carnegie Mellon University

Tepper Blockchain Initiative

We established the Blockchain Initiative to foster innovations in the design, use, ethics, and regulation of decentralized, blockchain-based technologies.

Why Blockchain

Blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies are rapidly changing financial and industrial markets and decentralizing interactions between consumers, firms, and policymakers.

The Tepper Blockchain Initiative serves as a hub for all of the Tepper School's existing thought leadership concerning blockchain technologies, including active research topics and use cases, educational content, and industry partnerships.

The initiative also seeks to further promote innovative blockchain and cryptocurrency activities by faculty, students, alumni, policymakers, and industry leaders.

All About Blockchain Podcast

Ariel Zetlin-Jones, Associate Professor of Economics, discusses blockchain and cryptocurrency education and adoption in this podcast.

Learn more and listen to the podcast

Smart Contract Summit 2021: Central Bank Digital Currency & Blockchain Panel

Ariel Zetlin-Jones, Associate Professor of Economics, participated in the panel "Central Bank Digital Currencies" at the 2021 Smart Contract Summit.

Are Cryptocurrencies the Currency of the Future?

Ariel Zetlin-Jones, Associate Professor of Economics, discusses the potential risks and opportunities blockchain technologies provide and the future of cryptocurrency regulations on this segment of KD/PG Sunday Edition.

Decentralizing Trust: Blockchain's Radical Potential

The moderated panel from the inaugural INTERSECT@CMU conference featured business leaders who are influencing the adoption of blockchain applications in finance, supply chains, and healthcare.

Executive Education

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Leveraging blockchain requires understanding the technology integrated with business application. Executive Education at the Tepper School works with leaders at all levels to translate the emerging research from the Blockchain Initiative into actionable business value.

Executive Education draws upon all of the colleges at Carnegie Mellon University to deliver modules and collaboration forums to better understand the technology, use cases and changes in the competitive landscape, and identify innovations to add value to organizations. This educational effort will accelerate the acceptance and use of blockchain technology and create a venue for sharing across organizations and industries.

Learn more about executive education blockchain programming


cmu coin

Case Competition/Testbed: CMU Coin

The PNC Center for Financial Services Innovation supported an effort to create a cryptocurrency testbed that can be used by researchers. To this end, the center has supported the creation of a CMU-focused cryptocurrency: CMU Coin. The goal is to create a cryptocurrency that is secure, legal, focused on privacy rather than anonymity, has greener alternatives to the proof of work, and ensures continued decentralization as the coin matures.

fintech mba course

Course: FinTech (MBA)

This course focuses on innovation in financial services facilitated by technology and the new business models that are disrupting and transforming the financial industry. By the end of the course, students will understand technologies underlying cryptocurrencies and blockchains; how smart contracts, distributed applications, and ICOs work; the impact of blockchain-related technologies on the financial services sector; and the technologies behind digital and mobile payments, and their impact on banking. They will also understand peer-to-peer lending and how it impacts financial intermediaries, how machine learning can be used in fintech and insurtech, and the investment and operations models of robo advising. Instructors: Bryan Routledge, Param Singh

undergrad fintech course

Course: FinTech (Undergraduate)

The course complements the domain knowledge from finance courses with knowledge of financial technologies and applications. By the end of the course, students will understand technologies underlying cryptocurrencies and blockchains; how smart contracts, distributed applications, and ICOs work; the impact of blockchain-related technologies on financial services sector; and how machine learning and AI can be used in finance. Students will gain hands-on experience with technologies such as TradeStation and Ethereum. Using TradeStation, students will learn algorithmic trading strategies, the fundamentals of how to design such strategies, how to automate them, how to back test them, how to optimize them, and how to execute them. In this course, students will develop and execute trading strategies on a real stock exchange. Instructor: Nikhil Mahlik

financial crisis and risk course

Course: Financial Crisis and Risk (Undergraduate)

This course provides an in-depth examination of the causes of financial crises as well as what governments can do to prevent them or at least reduce their cost. The course is designed to provide an understanding of individual attitudes toward risk and individual decision-making about savings and investment under uncertainty, and to use this understanding to evaluate the various economic roles played by financial institutions in helping individuals manage risk, especially those roles which may lead to economic instability and crises. In addition, the course covers bubbles and swindles; the role of information in banking in normal times and in bank runs; and the extensive history of attempts to improve regulation so as to reduce the frequency and cost of crises. The course concludes with an in-depth discussion of how recent technological innovations — blockchain technologies and their associated cryptocurrencies — may reshape existing financial markets. Instructor: Ariel Zetlin-Jones

global economics course

Course: Global Economics (MBA)

This class uses the tools of open economy macroeconomics to explore how business impacts and is impacted by the economic environment in which it operates. It equips students with the analytical skills to analyze economic data and understand its implications for economic growth, business cycles, employment and unemployment, inflation and deflation, monetary policy and interest rates, international trade and capital flows, and foreign exchange rates. The tools and approach developed in the course are deployed to analyze key trends that are reshaping and disrupting the global economy, including the impact of the digital economy on production, of automation on the displacement of workers, and of cryptocurrencies on financial markets. Instructor: Sevin Yeltekin

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MBA Blockchain Capstone Project

Building on Local Trust (BoLT) is a blockchain exchange system designed to create liquidity and increase capital for small businesses by enabling consumers to make loans to local merchants and then trade these loans among themselves before redeeming them at other local merchants. To implement BoLT in any community, however, a central question must be addressed: How should the system manage consumers’ portfolios of merchant credits? Tepper MBA students set out to understand how to develop a lending platform to improve our local community in the midst of hardship like a pandemic and create a framework for moving forward.

Read About the Capstone Project



Ariel Zetlin-Jones

Ariel Zetlin-Jones

Associate Professor of Economics

Research Interests

Ariel Zetlin-Jones' research interests in cryptocurrency and blockchain include the design of stable-price cryptocurrencies, the microstructure of cryptocurrency exchanges, and the governance of blockchain technologies.


  • Introduction of cryptocurrencies is provided in Financial Crises and Risk

Research Coverage & Consulting

chester spatt

Chester Spatt

Pamela R. and Kenneth B. Dunn Professor of Finance

Research Interests

Chester Spatt's current research interest focuses upon the foundations of financial regulation as well as the regulation of financial markets and instruments.

Research Coverage

  • Lecture: “FinTech and Financial Regulation” (Santiago, May 2018)
  • Lecture: “FinTech and Financial Regulation” (Buenos Aires, May 2018)
  • Panelist: “Regulation and Innovation” — National Association of Insurance Commissioners (Boston, August 2018)
  • Discussant: “BlockChain and the Future of Optimal Financing Contracts” — European Finance Association (Warsaw, August 2018)
param singh

Param Singh

Carnegie Bosch Associate Professor of Business Technologies, Director of the PNC Center for Financial Services Innovation

Research Interests

Param Singh is interested in technical and economic aspects of cryptocurrency, blockchain, and smart contracts. He is co-leading an initiative at CMU to develop a cryptocurrency testbed (CMU Coin) to support research and education in this space.  


  • MBA class on FinTech, co-taught with Bryan Routledge.

Research Coverage

bryan routledge

Bryan Routledge

Associate Professor of Finance

Research Interests

Bryan Routledge's recent research focuses on smart contracting in finance. One of his latest projects looks at price stability mechanisms for cryptocurrency coins.


  • MBA class on FinTech, co-taught with Param Singh

Research Coverage

Nikhil Malik

Nikhil Malik

Ph.D. student in Business Technologies

Research Interests

Nikhil Malik's research interest is in comparing public vs. enterprise blockchain platforms, protocols vs. applications, and numerous tokenomic schemes. He also studies tradeoffs for participants in this ecosystem: users, investors, and traditional intermediaries.


  • Undergraduate Business class on FinTech
tae wan kim

Tae Wan Kim

Associate Professor of Business Ethics

Research Interests

Tae Wan Kim studies the ethics and governance of cryptocurrencies. He is interested in answering who should be entitled to change aspects of a blockchain protocol.

Research Coverage

pietro bonaldi

Pietro Bonaldi

Assistant Professor of Accounting

Research Interests

Pietro Bonaldi is interested in analyzing the feasibility, welfare implications, and potential for disruption of eventual widespread adoption of blockchain technology, and more generally, cryptography in accounting, specifically in the audit industry. 

Blockchain Initiative Partners