The Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) exams are set to get a little tougher next year—at least for those who are unfamiliar with cryptocurrency developments. (See also: How Hard are the CFA Exams?)

The CFA Institute, which conducts the three-level exam, is about to add topics on cryptocurrencies and blockchain as examinable material in August 2019, reports Bloomberg.

Known as one of the toughest exams, where less than 50% of the applicants qualify the (easiest) first level, the cryptocurrencies- and blockchain-related topics will be added to its first- and second-level curriculums starting next year. (See also: Pass Your CFA Exams on the First Try.)

High-Tech Topics in the Big Test

The necessary study material will be released by August this year and will be a part of the segment called “Fintech in Investment Management.” Other topics in the module include coverage of machine learning, artificial intelligence, big data and automated trading. Additional cryptocurrency topics such as the intersection of virtual tokens and the real-world economics, may get added to the curriculum in due course of time.

“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 CFA Institute in Charlottesville, Virginia, while speaking to Bloomberg. “This is not a passing fad.”

The decision to include modules on cryptocurrencies and blockchain were based on the increasing interest witnessed in focus groups and surveys. Though the world’s most popular cryptocurrency, bitcoin, has shed around two thirds of its valuation since its peak of almost $19,670 in December, interest in cryptocurrencies continues to surge. Launch of regulated bitcoin futures on the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), leading institutional firm Goldman Sachs adding a cryptocurrency trading desk and increased funding of cryptocurrency and blockchain-based startups have kept interest high. (See also: How To Invest In Bitcoin Exchange Futures.)

'More Education Is Always Good'

The inclusion in the CFA exam curriculum will not only aid the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, but will also help in increasing the general awareness and need for regulations and professional ethics that have so far been missing, or are existing in an unstructured manner in the decentralized, regulation-free crypto world. (See also:  Goldman Adds a Crypto Trading Operation.)

CFA exam places high weight on professional ethics, and is the most sought after certification by global finance aspirants who are looking for a rewarding career in finance as well as for better understanding of the sector.

It’s positive that organizations like CFA are drawing attention to the space, Darius Sit, a former foreign-exchange and bond trader at BNP Paribas SA who’s now managing partner of cryptocurrency trading firm QCP Capital Pte. in Singapore told Bloomberg. “More education is always good.”

Investing in cryptocurrencies and Initial Coin Offerings ("ICOs") is highly risky and speculative, and this article is not a recommendation by Investopedia or the writer to invest in cryptocurrencies or ICOs. Since each individual's situation is unique, a qualified professional should always be consulted before making any financial decisions. Investopedia makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or timeliness of the information contained herein. As of the date this article was written, the author owns no cryptocurrencies.