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UCD to host largest EU Research Group on Fintech, Cryptocurrencies and Cybersecurity

  • Date: Tue, Apr 27, 2021

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“In 5 years, we will not recognize the financial industry,” said Assistant Professor Alessia Paccagnini from UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School. “Now is the time for academia and industry to prepare to be at the forefront of the change that is happening.”

To address rapid changes in the industry, academics from 12 of the world’s leading business schools will take part in the Dublin De-Fi and Digital Finance and Financial Services Conference (D3FSC) on Risk in Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies on April 29 and 30, 2021. The event is organised by UCD College of Business Professors Alessia Paccagnini, Valerio Potì and Andreas Hoepner.

“The event showcases UCD and Dublin’s excellence in research on FinTech and Decentralised Finance (De-Fi),” continued Dr Paccagnini who is also the Academic Director of Master in Quantitative Finance programme at UCD Smurfit School.

In a recent Forbes article, DeFi is described as using cryptocurrency and blockchain technology to manage financial transactions. DeFi aims to democratize finance by replacing legacy, centralized institutions with peer-to-peer relationships that can provide a full spectrum of financial services, from everyday banking, loans and mortgages, to complicated contractual relationships and asset trading.

“The conference will reflect on pressing issues, including how to ensure that the De-Fi revolution unfolds without incident and that it results in more transparent markets and wider access to financial services. Basically, the event is about making AI and financial markets work for the benefit of all,” said Dr Paccagnini.

“The event is an extremely powerful platform to bring Ireland to the centre of research and R&D on these frontier topics,” said UCD Smurfit School Professor of Finance Valerio Potì.

“It gives visibility to all the activity that is taking place in Dublin in FinTech and De-Fi, and places UCD firmly at the centre of the highly competitive and dynamic area of FinTech and Financial Data Science—which are strategic growth areas identified by the Irish Government,” continued Professor Potì.

The conference is part of the FIN-TECH Horizon2020 project with the objective to develop a knowledge exchange platform to promote sustainable FinTech innovation.

“We have the competitive advantage of Silicon Docks on our doorstep and can combine this with decades of financial services experience to deliver world-class FinTech and become a global leader,” explained Dr Paccagnini.

“The surge in price and traded volumes of Bitcoin and cryptoassets more broadly is only the tip of the iceberg of the revolution that is under way in finance and financial services,” said Dr Paccagnini. “As an Irish example, the extraordinary valuation reached so quickly by Stripe and the Collison brothers recent decision to build substantial operations in Dublin, suggests how far reaching the FinTech and De-Fi revolution is.”

The event is sponsored by the two large scale collaborative European research projects and networks—the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action "FinAI: Fintech and Artificial Intelligence in Finance - Towards a transparent financial industry" (CA19130: COST Proposal 24059) and “FIN-TECH: a knowledge exchange platform for FINancial TECHnology risk management”.

Within these projects, Professor Potì and Dr Paccagnini are co-chair and Science Communication Officer of the COST Action, respectively, and Dr Trevor Fitzpatrick of the Central Bank of Ireland is part of the Dublin node.

“Our initiative is now the largest ever in the history of COST with a 300+ wide network of universities, research centres, public sector bodies and private sector firms from 30+ countries,” said Professor Potì. “It is proving to be very active, with a remarkable range of research and dissemination activities, and policy engagement already well under way.”

This is the first event in Dublin that brings together a significant number of leading academics in this research area from Europe, Asia, and North America, with an audience tuning in from around the globe.

This event is open to the general public and will take place on April 29 and 30, 2021. Register here.

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