Starting in 2019, CFA exam to include blockchain and cryptocurrency parts
With cryptocurrencies here to stay, education needs to start meeting student and employer demand.
Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies will be making an appearance in the level I and II Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams from 2019 onwards as part of a broader new reading called Fintech in Investment Management.
The material will be released in August this year, giving exam-goers time to start logging their recommended 300 hours of study time on the topic.
Like crypto uptake elsewhere, it's being largely driven by popular demand from participants, with surveys and focus groups showing strong interest from future analysts and employers.
The organisers might be equally onboard.
"We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields, and we also saw it as more durable," said Stephen Horan, managing director for general education and curriculum at the CFA Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia. "This is not a passing fad."
The material so far will be appearing alongside other topics in the fintech space.
Although blockchain and cryptocurrency have taken centre stage, they're just two separate-but-entwined parts of the broader fintech space, which also includes other areas of clear interest to financial analysts, including robo-advice, machine learning, big data, automated trading and many more. It will also include readings on professional ethics, which might help bring an additional element of reputability to the space.
Students who pass might also get a pronounced leg up in their future ventures as some of the first in the world to graduate from a highly regarded formal course that includes blockchain and digital currency financial analysis.
"It will be beneficial for us, since there's been a huge expansion and adoption of crypto in our investment universe," said Kayden Lee, a financial economics student at Columbia University who earlier took the CFA Level I exam. "But more importantly the focus is on fintech and blockchain. How it works to improve, unravel or even disrupt certain sectors."
A record 227,031 people are registered to take CFA exams next June, according to Bloomberg, the majority being from Asia where cryptocurrency is taking off especially hard.
The CFA course isn't the first formal blockchain and cryptocurrency-related education. Universities around the world have been touching on it for a while, similarly in line with demand from students and employers alike. The CFA course might be one of the most highly regarded and legitimising, however.
It also approaches the space from a financial analysis perspective, rather than from an engineering, business or management standpoint like most other courses, and with a quarter million students taking the exam next year (of which less than half will pass), it might have an impact on cryptocurrency and blockchain adoption globally.
Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH, IOTA, ICX, VET, XLM, BTC and NANO.