Rigorous Academic Research

Our Five Key Research Areas

Blockchain Applications
The research into blockchain applications falls under three categories: decentralized finance (DeFi), specifically the benefits of tokenization in a decentralized marketplace, blockchain for food traceability and exploring blockchain to manage digital property rights.

Central Bank Digital Currencies
This area involves research into wholesale CBDC and Blockchain Banking. It also dives into the realisation of retail CBDCs and the interoperability of different CBDCs.

Here, privacy encompasses research into personal data wallets and the exploration of a decentralised credit bureau using privacy preserving technologies such as trusted execution environments and differential privacy. Finally, in line with CBDCs, research into the privacy considerations of CDBCs.

Cyber Security
This avenue will explore research topics relating to the model of strategic attack and defense, as well as a phenomenon known as “software contagion”. In some aspects, this research will cross paths with blockchain adoption for cybersecurity.

Digital Inclusion
This area of research expands into the possibility of conducting offline payments especially in a country where 45% of the population has no access to a smartphone. In conjunction with the university’s resources, the Hub is in a unique position to study how offline payments on a distributed ledger can facilitate financial inclusion.

MPhil in Financial Technology

The Master of Philosophy specialising in Financial Technology is an interdisciplinary degree convened by the School of Economics in close collaboration with the UCT Department of Statistics. This is the only dedicated Fintech Master’s program in Africa. The program started in 2018 by A/Prof Co-Pierre Georg and is currently convened by Dr. Allan Davids. It continues to be one of the most selective programs UCT offers with admissions rates usually ranging between 5-10%.

The core idea of the degree is to teach students hard (coding) skills in order to empower them to start their own company or make a meaningful impact in the financial services industry. Graduates from the program have gone on to start their own companies (e.g. FoodPrint, Mandla Money, Wildcards, Axone), join fintech startups (e.g. UMA, LUNO, Coil), and entering industries such as financial services (e.g. Standard Bank, RMB, Investec) or management consulting (e.g. Bain & Co, BCG, Eighty20).

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The following courses are part of the Fintech Startups in Emerging Markets SpecialisationOO
How Entrepreneurs in emerging markets can master blockchain technology
Blockchain is revolutionising how businesses operate, and entrepreneurs in emerging markets can benefit greatly from this knowledge. This course will provide a comprehensive understanding of the technology and how it can be leveraged for success.
Building Fintech Startups in Emerging Markets
Fintech startups are shaping the future of finance, and entrepreneurs in emerging markets have a unique opportunity to impact their communities. This course will provide a roadmap for building successful fintech startups and connecting with the right partners and investors.
Financial Regulation in Emerging markets
Financial regulation is more important than ever with increasing globalisation and digitalisation. This course will provide an in-depth understanding of financial regulation in emerging markets.

Industry Focused Short Courses


Blockchain and Digital Currency: The Future of Money 
Gain an in-depth understanding of crypto assets and harness the potential they offer.
Fintech: Disruption in Finance
Equip yourself for the future of finance with an understanding of today’s most important fintech innovations, and learn to fund your own disruptive business idea.