Ömer F. Güven, Research Assistant at the Chair of Finance at the University of Liechtenstein and PhD Candidate, is managing the certificate course “Blockchain and FinTech”. Following the completion of the successful first course in 2019, the second course will start in January 2020. Taught in German language and focused on the financial aspects of the Blockchain, FinTechs and Innovative Finance, the course prepares the students for the challenges of the changing world in the financial sector over a period of 5 months. The application deadline is December 15th.

Ivo: What was the origin of offering a certificate program and which topics are covered?

Ömer: At the Chair of Finance, we have recognized the great demand and interest for innovation in the field of finance. Quality content, credible information and structured offerings are hard to find and we clearly saw the need to offer a bespoke program that helps executives and professionals to comprehensively grasp and apply knowledge in the areas of tokenization, crypto asset management, and FinTech. Moreover, to gain a broad understanding of the legal and tax implications. The course is taught by speakers that are practitioners in their vertical and have deep knowledge of their subject area.

Ivo: How close are you to practice as a university and research institution?

Ömer: Disruptive technological development and innovation is a challenge for many traditional financial institutions, especially for those that do not see a threat to their existing business models. Finance has always been innovative, but the challenge is to differentiate between noise and fundamental industry disruption.

We have witnessed that as traditional financial institutions are held back by long standing legacy systems, they have been slow to keep pace with the rapid digitization of the financial sector that has been brought about by rapid technological development. As a result, young, agile Fintechs have been able to gain a significant market share. We see similar risks and opportunities within the Blockchain space where the currency aspect is currently getting more attention than the underlying disruption i.e. Blockchain Technology.

We work closely with both traditional Financial Institutions and Blockchain start-ups in order to collaboratively foster a community that supports raising the awareness of the possibilities in industry. Through our events such as ‘Blockchain in Finance’ and our Certification Course we aim to provide an inclusive eco system which enables the exchange of information between academia and industry. 

Ivo: What skills and knowledge will be acquired in the new course?

Ömer: The goal of the course is to provide those interested in the potential of Blockchain Technology and Innovative finance with the foundational knowledge required to pursue a career within this growing sector. Specifically, they will gain an understanding of blockchain use cases and applications. They will be able to gain practical knowledge required to plan blockchain projects and liase confidently with technical colleagues while mapping out the potential within organizations for its use. By engaging in the certification course, they will also become a part of a regional eco-system of experts whom collaborate closely together in order to grow understanding and expertise in a rapidly evolving environment.

Ivo: Who is the course particularly suitable, how much prior knowledge do I need and how would it be structured?

Ömer: The course is ultimately suited to anyone who has an interest in the underlying effects and disruption this new technology can have in within both traditional finance, industry and the growing Fintech sector. Typically, participants bring with them several years experience within a related industry such as tax, finance and legal and are able to apply these expertise to new experiences learnt within the Innovative Finance space to contribute effectively to the discussion of disruption brought about by Technology.

Ivo: Which topics are covered within the programme and why were they chosen as the most important?

Ömer: Our aim is to offer a broad curriculum that covers off all key topics in regards to the commercial application and growth of Blockchain Technology. We noticed that as a new and growing space there were very little offerings for well structured, high-quality content in the areas of Blockchain and Fintech. We have bought together a broad range of high-level experts to deliver teaching content across crypto asset management, tokenization, legal and tax topics.

Ivo: What is the length of the course and how much time does it take to study.

Ömer: The course is designed to be easy to fit around working commitments and has a total of five modules. Each module is spread across two to three days of classroom study, with a total of 15 days between January and June.

Ivo: What makes the University of Liechtenstein a good choice as a place to study about Blockchain Technology?

Ömer: Liechtenstein is very progressive in the Blockchain and FinTech space and has positioned itself as a leading destination for the adoption of this disruptive technology. As an influential partner within the ecosystem the University of Liechtenstein has quickly centred itself as a thought leader in this area. We are active in both Academia and Industry to continue to play a key role in developments on Blockchain and Fintech. 

Image: ©Ömer F. Güven