UCL Summer School


Money, Banking and Cryptocurrencies (Level 2)

Key Information

Module code
Taught during
Session One
Module leader
Dr Silvia Dal Bianco
Yes. Please refer to module pre-requisites below.
Assessment method
Video (25%), Essay (35%), Exam (40%)
Download syllabus (PDF)

Module overview

The module will explore the role of money and banking in normal and crisis times as well as the most recent developments in the financial industry, namely cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies. In particular, we will investigate the role of credit for economic growth, why do banks exist and how they do compete. We will then research how banks possibly triggered the Great Financial Crisis (2007-8) as well as governments’ policies in response. Finally, we will devote our attention to the most recent development in the money and credit markets, such as blockchain technologies and cryptocurrencies, with specific emphasis on bitcoins. The module will be articulated around standard theoretical models, empirical evidence, policy developments and case studies. With the latter respect we will take advantage of the international dimension of the UCL Summer School and we will draw from the experiences of different countries in the world.

Learning outcomes

Upon successful completion of this module, students will:

  • Be able to explain, using economic tools and empirical evidence, why retail banking is central to the economy and what factors affect decision-making of retail banks
  • Be able to design and produce videos for presenting a policy brief on the financial development of a country of their choice (see Group-Video assignment in Q19 for further details)
  • Critically analyse the role of government intervention in the banking sector during the last global financial crisis
  • Explain the economic nature of bitcoin and the working mechanism of the blockchain
  • Critically evaluate the impact of blockchain on traditional banking, payment systems and Central Banks

Module prerequisites

This is a level two module (equivalent to second year undergraduate). In addition to the standard UCL Summer School entry criteria, applicants will be expected to have knowledge of basic economic concepts.

Module hours

Classes (usually three or four hours per day) take place on the Bloomsbury campus from Monday to Friday any time between 9am and 6pm.


  • 3 minutes-video, group work (25%)
  • 1,500 word essay on the Great Financial Crisis, individual (35%)
  • 1-hour exam, individual (40%)

Module leader

Silvia is a Teaching Fellow at UCL Department of Economics. She possesses a 18-year academic experience in world-renowned universities, such as Oxford and Bocconi. Silvia’s areas of expertise include applied economics and macroeconomics. Her works have been published in internationally recognised journals, such as Empirical Economics and the Journal of Business Research. Her current research agenda focuses on cryptocurrencies and she is leading a research project on bitcoin at UCL Department of Economics. Moreover, she is actively engaged in pedagogical research with a specific interest on E-learning environments and assessment strategies. Silvia holds a degree in Economics from Bocconi University, a M.Sc. in Economics for Development from Oxford University and a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Pavia. She is a Senior Teaching Fellow of the Higher Education Academy and she has consulted a number of national and international institutions, such as UNESCO, DFID, FCO and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Trade.

Application information

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