Successes and failures of fintech

February 28, 2022


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Bill Maurer, UCI anthropology and law, receives grant to study how design and deployment of digital currency impacts low- and middle-income populations

Bill Maurer, dean of social sciences, professor of anthropology and law, and director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at UC Irvine, has received an $80,000 grant from Maiden Labs to organize an international research team to study how new fintech impacts low- and middle-income populations. They’ll be looking specifically at e-money and remittance systems in Mexico, Indonesia, India and Nigeria to identify some of the most pressing failures and successes of existing payment systems in each country. Findings will inform more financially inclusive development, design and deployment of central bank digital currency (CBDC), a new payment system that’s being considered by a majority of the world’s central banks, says Maurer.

“This research is intended to offer policymakers, central bankers, regulators, and technologists better evidence and independent insight into the impact of various digital currency design options on financial inclusion in low-to middle-income countries,” says Maurer.

Maurer and team will hold two international convenings where developers from Maiden Labs, MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative (DCI) and the University of Virginia will team up with IMTFI’s global network of researchers in the targeted countries. They’ll identify key points of fintech breakdowns and successes and dive deeper into user experience, infrastructural arrangements, successes that do or don’t scale, and determine how CBDC or other public sector technology might intervene.

“These challenges and opportunities will inform a framework of best practices for financial inclusion technology in the public interest, which we hope will drive pilot CBDC development at the DCI and beyond,” says Maurer.

Funding for this work began in November 2021 and runs through December 2022.


New Research Report Release - CBDC: A Bridge to Inclusion or a Deeper Digital Divide? Design Choice that Matter for Users

January 12, 2023 10amET - REGISTER ONLINE TODAY


Regional Insights from Fieldwork


India’s CBDC Needs to Be People-Centric by Debashis Acharya (School of Economics, University of Hyderabad) and Alok Kumar Pandey (Department of Anthropology, University of Hyderabad) 



Public Perception and Acceptance of Digital Payment Systems in Indonesia by Agus Indiyanto (Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia)

Digital versus Cash Use among Women Urban Entrepreneurs in Greater Jakarta by Caroline Mangowal (PhD, Founder of RISE Indonesia)

Hierarchies of Participation: Experiences with Cashlessness in Indonesia by Sunniva Sandbukt (Assistant Professor at the IT-University of Copenhagen)



Frictions to Implement a CBDC: A View from the US-Mexico Family Remittance Corridor by Bernardo Bátiz-Lazo (Northumbria University and Universidad Anahuac) and Ignacio González Correa (University of California, Davis)

Challenging Common Assumptions about Access to Financial Services: Reflections from Rural Mexico by Clément Crucifix (UCLouvain, Belgium)



Nigeria’s eNaira: Enabling Possibilities by Olayinka David-West (Professor of Information Systems, Lagos Business School) and Immanuel Umukoro


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