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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Opportunities and Risks by Duke University

257 ratings

About the Course

DeFi and the Future of Finance is a set of four courses that focus on decentralized finance. The final course is called DeFi Opportunities and Risks. It is essential that you complete the first three courses: I. DeFi Infrastructure; II. DeFi Primitives; and III. DeFi Deep Dive before beginning the fourth course. The course starts with the premise that an analysis of any new technology must clearly gauge the risks and challenges. Given that DeFi is only a few years old there are plenty of risks. The course begins with the most obvious risk: smart contract risk. Smart contracts are foundational for DeFi. The code of these contracts is public - opening a clear attack vector for hackers. That is, in traditional finance, hackers need to break into a system to get access to the code and data. In DeFi, everything is open source.There are many other risks studied including: Governance risk; Oracle risk; Scaling risk; Decentralized Exchange or DEX risk; Custodial risk; Environmental risk; and Regulatory risk....

Top reviews


Dec 29, 2021

Excellent overview of the opportunities and risks of DeFi as of the end of 2021. Look forward to helping define the future of DeFi based on the understanding gained from these courses.


Jan 16, 2022

Amazing course specialization! Take all four of these courses. Up to date as of early 2022, unlike the Consesnys course I took prior to this one.

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1 - 25 of 56 Reviews for Decentralized Finance (DeFi) Opportunities and Risks

By Mike M

Dec 23, 2021

Excellent course! Highly recommended. I took this course as part of the four course specialization. Professor Harvey does an excellent job explaining many nuances to DeFi.

He uses a combination of powerpoint, visuals, analogies and case studies to make the content understandable. The professor teaches with clarity, and passion yet treats the subject fairly offering alternative points of view about the opportunities and risks of DeFi as compared to the current financial system.

I have been introduced to the cryptocurrency and DeFi space a little over 6 months ago. Since that time, I have "fallen down the rabbit hole" so to speak and cannot learn enough about it. These courses provide a strong foundation to explore further for personal investing, and or a career in the space.

Unlike the other courses I took on Coursera related to blockchain and cryptocurriencies (which were also pretty good), these courses felt much more up to date than the others. Being up to date in this space is essential because one year is like 10 years of another field in terms of innovation and how fast the landscape changes.

Specific to this course, it was really helpful to understand a broad overview of the opportunities and risks involved in the DeFi space both as an individual and as a society. I really appreciated the passionate call the action at the end of the course. Though I am watching the course through a screen it felt very authentic and inspiring. I am sure many people will be positively impacted as a result of this course being made available online.

By Carol W A

Feb 26, 2022

Wow! This entire learning experience, as Professor Harvey describes it, provides an excellent foundation for knowing what the main elements of the DeFi space currently are as of 2021 when the courses were produced. He is engaging to listen to and is deeply versed in the subject matter. I gained the confidence to at least begin to know the right questions when evaluating a DeFi project and to better assess the quality of additional online resources for continued learning. Previously I've been down too many random rabbit holes ultimately ferreting out useless info. This course provides accurate, reliable information and provides a framework for where to start in the DeFi world, rather than running helter-skelter here and yonder trying to figure out how to get a handle on what the heck is going on here. I'm grateful to have a better plan on how to approach my crypto investing even though the course is truly NOT a course about investing. But it is, among other things, a course about learning the primary mechanics of how DeFi currently works in a few of the major protocols. Before these four courses, I didn't even understand basic stuff like how liquidity works in Uniswap for example. And, who knew—as I was oohing and aahing to myself going through these courses about how cool it all was—many DeFi projects have been around beginning about seven years ago and growing and morphing by leaps and bounds in that time. I thought they were much more recent and only a couple of them. I also learned many things about traditional centralized finance because I looked up everything he mentioned I didn't yet know how it worked, like yield curves, derivatives, and futures contracts. (Finance is obviously not my background.) For me, making sure I understood traditional finance concepts made a big difference in understanding decentralized finance as presented here. Blockchain and cryptography concepts were well presented. Professor Harvey discusses them with ease, clarity, and fluency. Even though I have an IT background, it wouldn't matter if I didn't due to his charming and clear instruction. Thank you, Professor Harvey!!

By Riyanka G

Dec 17, 2021

I think this is the first course I have ever taken where every single lesson was incredibly useful. I never felt like I wasted my time/ could have gotten the information from slides and instead truly felt the conceptual understanding build like legos throughout the course. I spent months before trying to piece this information from random resources and articles but this provided a true base/ conceptual understanding. I can't recommend it enough!

By Thierry J

Aug 9, 2022

Working in this field on a daily basis, this is the best course that gives an overview of DeFi in its entirety: tech, protocols, risks

By James H

Oct 5, 2022

I became interested in DeFi after hearing an interview with Prof. Harvey on a podcast. I bought the book but struggled to really "get it" just from reading. The book is great, well-written, no fluff, but I needed more background.

This course supplied that background and more. The discussion of technology and cryptography was at the right level for my needs, and was well-balanced with the discussions of current protocols and their potential uses. The risk module was very clear on what could go wrong. The white papers or articles noted on the slides are well worth reading. If you take the quizzes, be sure to read through the detailed answers, even if you pass with 100%! The detailed answers were very informative and helped cement the key concepts. Prof. Harvey's enthusiasm for this topic is very evident and motivating.

After taking this course, I note that when I read articles, newsletters, or blogs about Crypto or DeFi, I have a much deeper understanding of what the authors are saying. Before the course such discussions were quite opaque to me.

Ideas for improvement, or perhaps for a next course, would be more examples of real-world use of the DeFi protocols. More focus on how the protocols are accomplishing (or could accomplish) greater economic activity.

Finally, at the end of one module in the 4th course, Prof. Harvey states "This is not your last DeFi course", emphasizing the need for ongoing education in this topic. I hope we'll see some of that on Coursera.


Feb 27, 2022

The centuries old banks and regulators are testimony to the fact that the advent of DeFi will be slow. I do hope that changes happen in our lifetimes, as they are essential to end bloated and cartelised net interest margins, oligarchic dispensations and injustices which such systems encourage. Even if DeFi acts as a catalyst of change for these legacy systems , its work would have been half accomplished. But DeFi itself would have to overcome its own deficiencies such as energy guzzling systems, the tortoise paced transactions etc. to even think of making a dent. We look forward to a democratic, financial system with no NPAs, no runs on commercial banks and no interference from politicians and regulators plus enhanced, transpaernt investment opportunities for everyone.

By Russell R

Mar 20, 2022

An incredibly interesting specialisation that is given passionately by Duke university’s professor Cam Harvey in a clear, well explained, easy to understand format that is clear an balanced on Pro’s and Con’s with the associated benefits and risks. A wonderful initial insight into the potentially game changing world of Decentralised Finance.

Many thanks to Cam for putting this together and sharing via the coursear network.

By Keith M

Dec 9, 2021

The most life changing course I have ever taken! I could have skipped college and just paid for these lessons. I would be 100k richer! Explained with clarity by Dr. Harvey, I can see how DeFi will represent a whole host of opportunities for a more egalitarian financial sector and I will be a part of it thanks to this course.

By Arjun R M

Jan 28, 2022

This specialization gives you everything you need and want for entering the magnificent world of DeFi. It is astounding and a pleasure to watch the professor deliver crisp and clear explanation of advanced cryptographic and algorithmic knowledge with ease. Can't wait to take any other courses presented by the professor.

By Joan S V

Feb 11, 2024

The time expended in the course is 100% worthwhile. You get in a record time all the basic knowledge about DeFi and their implications in the real world. The course is not containing the last advances in DeFi but it is still 100% valid because it is dealing with the main concepts and ever valuable exemples.

By Teo L F

May 27, 2022

Ending the specialization with Opportunities and Risk regarding Decentralized Finance is very appropriate. It serves as a good reminder that this space is still in its infancy, so we must be wise and cautious while considering moving forward and innovating in the industry.

By Keyon R

Jul 27, 2022

Great course! Cam's engagement and delivery keep it approachable if you're someone with zero former knowledge, but still provides practical, substantive material and case studies to wrap up the overall course 3 steps aheadhad you started with no undersgtanding.

By emir g

Jan 31, 2024

These 4 courses on blockchain tecnology and DeFi gave me whole new perspective on the world of finance. Coming from the CeFi world, this was an enlighting experince about ever-evolving industry that is still in shadows but waiting to become a major star.

By Nick P

May 16, 2022

This was a really great way to learn about DeFi. Wish there was maybe a few more hands on exercises, and the one that they had in the course for the ropstein test network didnt work for me. I still got the gist. The course was very informative.

By Roman P

Nov 7, 2022

I put 5 stars because course was quite interesting. What i did not like that much was that the porfessor was leaning towards ETH just a bit too much. All in all good starting point for a newbie seeking to have a lot of information in one place.

By Earl J L

Dec 13, 2021

Knowing all the risks and opportunities in the crypto space, we should be critical thinkers when we invest in tokens and NFT's. Nowadays scammers are everywhere and enhancing their plans to wreak havoc in the world of cryptocurrencies.

By Chee Y L

Nov 18, 2022

This is an excellent course ! The concepts and ideas of Decentralized Finance are fully explained with examples of risks and opportunities. I learnt a lot from the course. Professor Harvey is superb in delivering the lectures !

By Murray S

Dec 19, 2021

Fantastic course. Professor Cam Harvey DeFi series on Coursera is essential learning for anyone wishing to know more about DeFi. Great range of topics and very useful examples. Best learning I have seen in this space.

By kieran k

Dec 20, 2021

Cam is fantastic communicator, he is a master of explaining conceptual elements, but he has a breadth of technical and financial acumen that means he will go deeper into topics and apply them to the real world.

By Thomas C W

Dec 29, 2021

Excellent overview of the opportunities and risks of DeFi as of the end of 2021. Look forward to helping define the future of DeFi based on the understanding gained from these courses.

By Amirreza G D

Jul 7, 2022

The instructor wasperfect and the material provided in the course was really good. i suggest this course for people who are interested in Crypto.

By Andrew A

Jan 17, 2022

Amazing course specialization! Take all four of these courses. Up to date as of early 2022, unlike the Consesnys course I took prior to this one.

By Wayne W

Apr 13, 2022

Course is an excellent starting point to understanding DeFi, and provides a base for continued learning to this important shift in finance.

By Maria d R N C

May 24, 2023

Me gusto mucho, los temas son muy interesantes y la forma en la que permiten trabajar me agrado y se acomodo a mis tiempos.

By Omkar

Jan 25, 2022

Got basis and keen information about the various opportunities and risk in the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) space.