Developing Blockchain Use Cases

Location: Pittsburgh

Semester Offered: Spring

Cross listed Courses:

Course Number Department Units
95-788 Heinz College 6
15-621 Computer Science Department 6
70-258 Tepper School of Business 6
73-258 Tepper School of Business 6

Blockchains, or distributed ledger and consensus technologies, hold tremendous promise for improving markets and organically handling private, secure data. As CMU develops its own blockchain and token—CMU Coin—a central concern is to determine the set of applications that such technology would be most useful for. This course is designed for students to propose and, potentially, develop applications or use cases for a campus blockchain.


Class format

Lecture and project-based

Home department


Target audience

Undergraduate and MS/Ph.D. students interested in blockchains.

Background required

No formal prerequisites, but we expect students to have a background in economics, cryptography, or computer science and all students should have some basic comfortability with programming.

Learning objectives

By the end of this course, students will be able to...

  • ...describe the intrinsic value of leading cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin and Ethereum
  • ...explain the role cryptography plays in securing blockchain-based cryptocurrencies
  • ...understand and program a smart contract on the Ethereum test network
  • a Decentralized Application running on a decentralized peer-to-peer network
  • ...understand risks to the usefulness of different blockchains
  • ...propose and evaluate use cases for a new blockchain and/or cryptocurrency.

Faculty and instructors who have taught this course in the past

Vipul Goyal, Michael McCarthy, Ariel Zetlin-Jones