Crypto Coming to Wall Street: 2019 CFA Exams Will Feature Questions on Blockchain Technology and Cryptocurrencies

Siamak Masnavi

As yet another sign that crypto is coming to Wall Street, CFA Institute has added topics on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies to the 2019 Level I and Level II Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exam curriculums. CFA Institute is requiring knowledge of these topics for the first time next year as part of the Fintech section. 

According to Finance Train, under Fintech, there are four relevant areas:

  • financial analysis technology: includes topics such as big data analysis, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and algorithmic trading;
  • portfolio management technology: includes topics such as robo-advisors ("computer algorithms that help retail investors build and manage their portfolios with least human interaction");
  • capital formation: includes topics such as peer-to-peer (P2P) lending, shadow banking, and crowd-funding; and
  • market infrastructure: includes topics such as cryptocurrencies, blockchain technology, and high frequency trading.

Although cryptocurrency prices have generally come down quite a bit since their December 2017 highs, many observers expects blockchain technology to change large parts of the global financial system. Bloomberg reports that one such observer is Stephen Horan, the managing director for general education and curriculum at CFA Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, who says: 

“We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable... This is not a passing fad.”

Kayden Lee, a financial economics student at Columbia University who took the CFA Level I exam in June, told Blomberg:

"It will be beneficial for us, since there’s been a huge expansion and adoption of crypto in our investment universe... But more importantly the focus is on fintech and blockchain... How it works to improve, unravel or even disrupt certain sectors.”

As for those who are working in the crypto space, Darius Sit, a former foreign exchange and bond trader at BNP Paribas, who is now the managing partner of cryptocurrency trading firm QCP Capital in Singapore, said to Bloomberg: "It’s positive that organizations like CFA are drawing attention to the space... More education is always good.”

The next generation of wealth managers and financial analysts having a good understanding of the crypto space should only help to increase investment in blockchain technology in general and cryptocurrencies in particular.


Featured Image Credit: Photo by "Naoki Nakashima" via Flickr; licensed under "CC BY 2.0"

OKEx Announces OKChain Hackathon to Boost Development of Decentralized Applications

Popular bitcoin exchange OKEx has announced the launch of an OKChain Hackathon in a bid to promote the creation of decentralization applications in the blockchain network’s community.

According to a post published on OKEx’s website, OKChain’s code has already been uploaded to GitHub in April, making it open-source while the first exchange to launch a public blockchain hasn’t done so yet, the post adds.

Participation in the OKChain Hackathon is open until July 20 of this year, and the event’s winners could receive up to $5,000 in OKB as a reward. The hackathon will see developers from across the world develop products and services on OKChain, including Software Development Kits (SKDs), market computing plugins, delegator service products, and staking service products.

The announcement details OKChain launched its 0.1 version in May, disclosing validator selection and its dividend mechanism at the time, and becoming the first blockchain developed by a cryptocurrency exchange supporting the access of third-party institutions.

Commenting on OKChain’s development, OKEx CEO Jay Hao said:

Adhering to the original spirit of blockchain, OKChain won’t become an extension of the exchange, but an independent ecology. We are looking forward to co-constructing an open, decentralized, practical, and diverse ecosystem with our global users.

Hao added that users can now use the blockchain’s voting mechanism, develop their own decentralized exchange or decentralized applications, and more using OKChain’s testnet. OKChain’s mainnet, according to the announcement, is expected to soon launch.

Ahead of the launch OKEx gave OKChain network participants more autonomy and changed the source code so that no entity, including OKEx, is able to control or manipulate the blockchain. Users running decentralized applications can, per the post, add and remove trading pairs without any type of permission from the exchange or any other entity.

Holders of OKChain’s native OKT token can stake their token to become a so-called “Ordinary voter,” allowing them to vote for validators on the network, or delegate their voting power to another account. A total of 21 validators are set to be elected.

OKChain’s OKT is an inflationary token as according to OKEx, a deflationary model – the one used on other blockchains developed by exchanges – “exacerbates the conflict of interest between users and hodlers.” This, as hodlers want the token’s price to increase, which could also lead to a rise in fee, which in turn see users move to other cheaper platforms.

Node operators on the blockchain, OKEx concludes, stand to receive various benefits, including rewards from block generation, voting rewards, and more without having to pay for servers and technology.

Featured image via Pixabay.