WBS hosted the first Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology annual conference at The Shard

WBS hosted the first Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology annual conference

Leading finance academics from across the world discussed critical issues in the emerging area of DeFi, cryptocurrencies and blockchain at Warwick Business School’s first Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology annual conference.

Itay Goldstein, of Wharton Business School, provided the first keynote speech examining both the opportunities and challenges of delivering a decentralised financial system. His paper Fintech, Decentralization & Utility Tokens highlighted the critical role that utility tokens can play in reducing the market power of dominant platform providers in the digital economy, thereby reducing costs for consumers.

The second keynote was provided by Bruno Biais, of HEC Paris, who presented his paper From Adam Smith to Nakamoto: A Theory of (Crypto) Currency Theories. It provided the first overarching theory of cryptocurrency in the context of traditional currency theories, with the risks of cryptocurrency crashes highlighting both the differences and similarities to traditional currencies.

The conference comes as academics, policymakers and business leaders look to understand the complexities and issues that a digital decentralised system provides for investors, the financial system and society.

Ram Gopal, Professor of Information Systems & Management and Director of the Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology, said: “It was an illuminating conference with excellent discussions about the research presented. The papers presented were from leading researchers in the field and in several cases were among the first on subjects like DeFi lending, utility tokens and economic models of distributed ledgers.

“The explosion of blockchain appliances, cryptocurrencies and decentralised finance in recent years has opened up many questions and complexities about the global financial system and just where we are heading.

“It is a fascinating time and the Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology is emerging as a vital global hub as we seek to answer these questions and help investors, policymakers and the finance industry get to grips with this new world.”   

The Gillmore Centre for Financial Technology was established at Warwick Business School in 2019 thanks to a £3 million donation from Clive Gillmore, founding member and CEO of Mondrian Investment Partners and an alumnus of the University of Warwick.

It was created to research emerging technologies in the financial sector such as AI, blockchain, mobile payments, cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding platforms.

The centre’s first annual conference saw academics from the likes of The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, HEC in Paris, the University of St Gallen, Cornell University and the University of Chicago present papers and lectures.

As well as Defi lending, the conference investigated platform decentralisation, utility tokens, digital currencies, decentralised exchanges and central bank digital currencies.

Andy Lockett, Dean of WBS and Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, added: “The aim of the Gillmore Centre is to conduct world-class research at the intersection of finance and technology and this conference has been an important part of that goal.

“Bringing together the leading researchers in this area helps us understand the emerging issues and areas that need further investigation.

“The centre is a multi-disciplinary endeavour necessitating expertise in diverse domains such as information systems, data science, finance, artificial intelligence, behavioural science, and engineering. Consequently, we need to engage with members from different groups, not just within WBS and across the University of Warwick, but from other institutions around the world.

“The conference has been a great success in that respect and I look forward to welcoming leading global policymakers to our DeFi & Cryptocurrency Policy Forum at WBS London at The Shard in November.”

The presentations of all the speakers can be found here.