We are working on the following five key research areas.
The research into blockchain applications falls under three categories. The first, on decentralized finance (DeFi), will explore the benefits of tokenization in a decentralized marketplace. The second category being blockchain for food traceability. And, the third, explores blockchain to manage digital property rights.
Central Bank Digital Currencies:
This area involves research into wholesale CBDC and Blockchain Banking. Secondly, it dives into the realisation of retail CBDCs and finally, the interoperability of different CBDCs.
Here, privacy encompasses research into personal data wallets. Furthermore, 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 in the privacy considerations or CDBCs will be explored.
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.
This area of research expands into the possibility to conduct 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.
The UCT School of Economics is home to the Master of Philosophy specialising in Financial Technology, the only dedicated Fintech Master’s program in Africa, convened by A/Prof Co-Pierre Georg. The program started in 2018 and continues to be one of the most selective programs UCT offers with admissions rates usually ranging between 5-10%.
The Master of Philosophy specialising in Financial Technology is an interdisciplinary degree convened by the School of Economics in close collaboration with the Department for Statistics. 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 started companies (e.g. FoodPrint, WildCards), joined fintech startups (e.g. UMA, LUNO, Coil), or started working in the financial services industry (e.g. Standard Bank, ABSA, RMB, FirstRand) or management consulting consulting (e.g. BCG, Bain, Eighty20).