In a move that surely signifies that cryptocurrency has arrived – at least on Wall Street – the CFA have just announced that their 2019 program and exam – often described as the “Bar Exam for Wall Street Traders” – will include topics on cryptocurrencies and the blockchain in its Level I and II curriculums for the very first time.
The famed CFA (Chartered Financial Analyst) Institute, whose grueling three-level program & exam – likened to a “Bar Exam for Traders” – which despite a pass-rate of just 35% (compared to the Bar’s 75%) has nevertheless resulted in the creation of more than 150,000 highly skilled financial professionals over the years.
CFA – A Truly International Program
In June of this year, a record 227,031 people hailing from 91 countries and territories registered to take CFA exams. These (mainly) young professionals enroll in the CFA program in order to develop a better understanding of finance, improve their job prospects, or a little of both.
The majority of CFA applicants hail from Asia; South Korea, Japan and China in particular, where much of the world’s cryptocurrency wheeling and dealing is taking place. Some 45% of all Bitcoin transactions involve the Japanese yen, while Chinese and South Korean crypto exchanges are the world’s largest.
CFA Adds Crypto, Blockchain Topics To 2019 Curriculum
In 2019, for the first time the CFA will be adding topics on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology to its Level I and II curriculums. Selected material for the 2019 exams will be released in August of this year, a tried and tested practice that gives candidates an insight into how they will need to structure their studies. The CFA recommends applicants log 300 hours of study time.
The CFA added the crypto and blockchain topics as part of a new directive entitled “Fintech (Financial Technology) in Investment Management.” Since 2017 and the “Bitcoin Boom” the worlds of finance and cryptocurrency have become increasingly interwoven. Despite a less-than-epic 2018, cryptocurrency continues to make inroads into the corporate mainstream.
Goldman & Sachs, usually seen as the doyen of stuffiness, surprised many by selling Bitcoin as a futures investment from their New York branch. Regulated crypto futures are now traded in Chicago, and multiple Wall Streeters have been getting involved with crypto-related startups and organizing those all-important ICOs.
Crypto “Not A Passing Fad”
And while digital currency has hardly covered itself with glory during the first half of 2018, with plummeting values limiting investment and additional blockchain ventures, it has failed to dissuade some educated observers, such as Mr. Stephen Horan, the Managing Director for General Education and Curriculum at CFA Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia., who said:
“We saw the field advancing more quickly than other fields and we also saw it as more durable. This is not a passing fad.”
2019’s CFA topic material on crypto and the blockchain will appear alongside other newly added FinTech subjects such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data and automated trading.