Bill Maurer

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 September 2022.



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