Brown Bag Research Series

Digital Playground for Foundations of FinTech

Room 6.30, Level 6, FBE Building, 111 Barry Street


Technology is currently transforming the financial industry with the potential to disrupt traditional structures and practices. However, this is by no means a recent phenomenon, but rather has occurred repeatedly throughout human history. Our new subject “Foundations of Fintech” aims at exploring the current opportunities and risks arising from the inevitable technological advancements. The subject is organised around a number of fundamental economic problems. We discuss how these problems have been solved historically, how technology could provide transformative solutions moving forward, and where the limitations and regulatory challenges of these new technologies lie.

The support from the WCLA-funded project “Digital Playground for Foundations of Fintech” has been of fundamental importance in building the infrastructure that underlies our subject. In this talk, I will showcase how we make use of state-of-the-art applications to build a wholistic classroom infrastructure that enables hands-on interactive learning. Our setup equips more than 300 (largely inexperienced) students to directly interact with the technologies introduced in class. For example, our students access and contribute to a customized Ethereum blockchain, use basic machine learning techniques to correlate media headlines with stock returns, and develop their own default prediction model using real-world commercial loan data.

Presenters: Felix Fattinger.  Felix is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Brain, Mind & Markets Laboratory and the Department of Finance at the University of Melbourne. Felix obtained his PhD in Banking and Finance from the University of Zurich in 2017. In 2016, he spent one year as a visiting researcher at the Toulouse School of Economics, on a fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation. Felix also holds a Master of Science in Quantitative Finance jointly awarded by the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich.