Bitcoin Makes Major Headway: CFA Exam Will Now Include Crypto Topics

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Bitcoin CFA Exam

Cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies are making serious headway in the financial industry, the most recent sign being the decision by the CFA Institute, which offers the Chartered Financial Analyst designation, a three-level program, to include cryptocurrencies and blockchain to its Level I and II curriculums next year, according to Bloomberg. The material for the 2019 exams will be available in August.

The topics are part of a new section called Fintech in Investment Management. The CFA, based in Charlottesville, Va., added these topics in response to rising interest based on focus groups and surveys.

Crypto Integrates With Finance

Finance has become increasingly integrated with cryptocurrencies on account of the growth of bitcoin. Bitcoin futures are currently traded by trading house in Chicago and at leading financial firms like Goldman Sachs Inc. In addition, more Wall Street professionals are joining cryptocurrency startups.

Cryptocurrencies have taken a hit in 2018 and real-world blockchain applications have been limited, but many observers claim the technologies can make major changes to the global financial system.
Stephen Horan, the managing director of curriculum and general education at CFA Institute, said blockchain and cryptocurrencies are not a passing fad.

The material about blockchain and cryptocurrency will be available next to other fintech topics such as automated trading, machine learning and artificial intelligence. Horan said additional related topics, like the intersection of economics and cryptocurrencies, could ultimately be added to the curriculum.

Practitioners Respond

Bitcoin tax accounting
Prospective CFAs must now have a working knowledge of cryptocurrency.

Kayden Lee, a 27-year-old financial economics student, took the CFA Level I exam last month and is working as an intern fund analyst this summer. He said the blockchain and cryptocurrency material will be helpful to people like himself considering cryptocurrency’s expansion and adoption.

The focus of the material, he noted, is how fintech and blockchain improve, disrupt and unravel certain financial sectors.

The topics will also fall under CFA readings about professional ethics, which is an area some see a need for in the cryptocurrency industry. Numerous crypto projects work in a cloudy legal environment. In addition, a number of ICOs and cryptocurrency trading platforms have been subject to money laundering, theft, market manipulation, and fraud.

A total of 227,031 candidates from 91 nations and territories have registered for the June exams, which marks a record number. Most of the candidates are from Asia, home to a significant amount of cryptocurrency trading. reported that around 45% of bitcoin transactions get paired against the Japanese yen. In addition, cryptocurrency exchanges in Korea are among the largest.

Darius Sit, formerly a BNP Paribas SA bond trader and foreign exchange student now serving as a managing partner at QCP Capital Pte in Singapore, a cryptocurrency trading firm, said additional education is always a good thing.

Also read: Start studying, bitcoin certification is here

Certifications Not Unknown

Cryptocurrency organizations have themselves long offered various types of certification to industry professionals.

In 2014, the Digital Currency Council offered a certification “reserved for professionals who have mastered digital currencies” in the U.S.

That same year, in Canada, the CryptoCurrency Certification Consortium (C4) in Canada announced “Professional” and “Expert” level certification.

Images from Shutterstock

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