Atlanta has emerged as a national leader in fintech, a segment of the financial services industry that uses new technologies designed to lower the costs of financial intermediation and shorten financial transaction times.
Robinson’s new FinTech Lab provides an applied, experiential environment in which students, faculty and corporate partners can experiment with the technologies transforming financial services, insurance and real estate. Data analytics, machine learning and blockchain technologies are central components of the lab. Collaborators will use these tools to develop smart contracts, smart markets and automated trading strategies, and then study their potential to positively impact the provision of financial services to businesses and consumers.
Students in this graduate-level course will develop a broad understanding of fintech and its impact on financial services. Topics include blockchain and cryptocurrencies (Bitcoin, Ethereum, Altcoins), smart contracts, decentralized applications, smart contract markets, applications of blockchain technologies, alternative and peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding, machine learning and its applications in fintech such as robo-advising, and more.
Working with digital assets includes music, video, drawings, photos, 3-D designs, and computer programs. In the lab, we study existing implementations of digital assets and create our own implementations. In particular, we focus on the following topics:
- Ownership of digital assets: the internet versus a blockchain
- Rating, tagging and modifying digital assets on a blockchain
- Smart contracts, autonomous agents and copyright on a blockchain
- Consensus mechanisms and community building around cultural artifacts
Blockchains have wide applications in financial services, including banking, insurance, and real estate industries. Since blockchain technology enables secure transfer of ownership without the need of a trusted central authority, it can drastically reduce transaction costs, increase efficiency, and generate novel applications. Projects studied include:
- Crowd-financing: allow multiple parties to finance projects via a blockchain platform
- Issuance and trading of stocks and other securities: implement stocks and derivative securities and reduce trading costs on a blockchain
- Peer-to-peer insurance: enable decentralized insurance solutions based on smart contracts
- Real estate transactions: improving efficiency by storing and accessing real estate information on a blockchain
Blockchain technology applications in operations and supply chain management: supply chains involve multiple parties that are decentralized and generally lack trust. Blockchain technology could not only provide a solution to resolve this distrust but also also help supply chain members improve efficiency. Projects studied include:
- Auditing transactions on a supply chain: allow auditors to access information from different parties on a blockchain to streamline the auditing process
- Financing among supply chain partners: allow trading partners to provide financing and credit to each other easily via smart contracts
- Tracking food transportation and processing for safety and information accuracy: use tamper-proof blockchain technology to track food shipment from origin to consumers
Using textual analysis and machine learning methods to analyze financial reports and other documents to provide guidance for corporations and investments.