FA596 Digital Payment Technologies and Trends

Course Catalog Description


This course introduces students to the up-to-date payment systems and innovative financial technologies (FinTech) in the payment systems. Common payment systems such as checking, ACH, cards, cash, wire transfer are discussed. Students learn the mechanisms of FinTech innovations, including the Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). Students also learn how to set up digital wallets and interact with the blockchain.
Prerequisite: FA 591 and [FE520 Python, or FE515 R, or FE516 Matlab], or instructor permission

Campus Fall Spring Summer
On Campus X X
Online X X


Professor Email Office
Jingrui Li
jli264@stevens.edu Kidde 219 C

More Information

Course Objectives

This course prepares student in familiarizing them with the up-to-date digital payment systems both domestic and cross border. Students learn hands-on skills of using blockchain technology as an innovative form of digital payments. Students also learn the mechanisms of recent FinTech innovations, including Smart Contracts and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs). The course also trains students' blockchain coding skills, including interpreting and writing smart contract codes.

Course Outcomes

  1. Evaluate the common payment systems both domestic and cross border.
  2. Analyze topics in cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies.
  3. Create digital wallets and interact with blockchain.
  4. Apply the innovations in digital payment systems.
  5. Assess misconceptions about payment systems and misuses of cryptocurrencies.

Course Resources

Required Materials

  1. Payments Systems in the U.S. - Third Edition: A Guide for the Payments Professional (2017) by Carol Coye Benson, Scott Loftesness, Russ Jones. ISBN: 0982789742.
  2. The PAYTECH Book: The Payment Technology Handbook for Investors, Entrepreneurs, and FinTech Visionaries (2020) by Susanne Chishti, Tony Craddock, Robert Courtneidge, Markos Zachariadis. ISBN: 1119551919.
  3. Lecture slides used during each lecture.
  4. Academic papers, whitepapers, survey articles, and video materials given to students throughout the class.

Recommended Materials

  1. Mastering Ethereum: Building Smart Contracts and DApps (2018) by Andreas M. Antonopoulos and Gavin Wood. ISBN: 1491971940.
  2. Blockchain Bubble or Revolution: The Future of Bitcoin, Blockchains, and Cryptocurrencies (2019) by Neel Mehta, Aditya Agashe and Parth Detroja. ISBN: 0578528150.
  3. DeFi and the Future of Finance (2021) by Campbell R Harvey, Ashwin Ramachandran and Joey Santoro. ISBN: 1119836018.
  4. Python for Data Analysis: Data Wrangling with Pandas, NumPy, and IPython (2017) by William McKinney. ISBN: 1491957662.


Grading Policies

Two Exams 50% (25% each)
Group Project and Presentation 30%(15% and 15%)
Homwork 15%
Canvas Discussions 5%
Total 100%

Lecture Outline

Week Topics Readings HW
1 Introduction to digital payment systems
Time value of money
Capital budgeting
Risk and return
Risk management
Instructor's Materials
2 Valuation basics
Discount rates and WACC
Instructor's Materials Discussion 1 due
3 Portfolio theory
Portfolio optimization
Introductory empirical asset pricing
Factor models
Instructor's Materials HW1 due
4 Payment systems overview
Core Systems: Checking
Book [1] - Chapter 2
Book [1] - Chapter 3
Discussion 2 due
5 Core Systems: ACH
Core Systems: CARDS
Book [1] - Chapter 4
Book [1] - Chapter 5
6 Core Systems: CASH
Book [1] - Chapter 6
Book [1] - Chapter 7
Homework 2 Due
Group Project Member Sheet Due
7 An overview of P2P payment networks: Apple Cash, Zelle, Google Pay, Cash App, and Venmo
Payment Evolutions and PAYTECH Introduction
Cryptocurrencies Overview
Article Readings
Book [2] - Chapter 1 and 2
Discussion 3 Due
Exam 1 Review
8 Exam 1
9 Blockchain Overview and Bitcoin Mechanics
Scaling Blockchain: Proof-of-Work vs. Proof-of-Stake
Instructor's Materials and Students Practice in Class
10 Ethereum and Smart Contracts
Setting Up Digital Wallets and Interacting with Blockchain
Instructor's Materials and Students Practice in Class Group Project Member Sheet Due
11 NFT Creation and Transaction on the Ethereum Blockchain Instructor's Materials and Students Practice in Class Homework 3 Due
Discussion 4 Due
12 Thanksgiving Recess
13 Payment Systems Regulations and Compliance
Blueprint for Change
Exam 2 Review
Group Project Due
Homework 4 Due
Discussion 5 Due
14 Exam
15 Group Project Presentations