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Blockchain technology and crypto assets, innovative financing opportunities for ground-breaking research projects, fintech approaches in quantitative finance and the general development of financial markets: these are the topics the Center for Innovative Finance, located at Basel University's Faculty of Economics, has devoted itself to. The University of Basel has been researching the areas of innovation and fintech for a long time; but it is only since the end of 2017 that its activities at the newly founded CIF have been pooled and intensified in order to establish the university and economic location in Basel as a leading force in the fintech sector.
In order to accomplish this goal, the CIF is combining university basics with applied research. The exchange between practice and research is fuelling the innovative fintech ecosystem and is of central importance for researchers, companies and students of the university. This was, for instance, demonstrated during the Blockchain Symposium on 30 April 2018. Around 600 representatives from a wide range of academic and practical backgrounds attended the event, exchanging thoughts and inspiring each other with new ideas.
Another example highlighting fruitful collaborations between universities and companies is a project run by CIF in cooperation with Swiss start-up Proxeus, winner of the Swiss Fintech Awards. CIF and Proxeus provide forgery-proof course certificates which are secured using the Ethereum blockchain. Basel students have greeted the topic with much enthusiasm: when the university held a lecture on blockchains, it was visited by more than 250 students from various disciplines. The innovation-focused program will be broadened during the next semesters.
The Basel region is outstandingly positioned in order to extend its role in the fintech sector: international influence, an extensive history of innovation in the pharmaceutical sector and a strong, traditional and interdisciplinary university create excellent conditions, ensuring a steady stream of well-educated young people joining the workforce.
The «Center for Innovative Finance» (CIF) of the University of Basel is dedicated to researching practical issues in the fields of Fintech, Digital Banking and Innovative Finance. With its focus, the CIF is unique in Switzerland and makes a decisive contribution to the research and application of future-oriented technologies – also in the context of societal consequences. 17The Faculty’s Chairs of Economic Theory (Prof. Aleksander Berentsen), Finance (Prof. Heinz Zimmermann) and Financial Management (Prof. Pascal Gantenbein) are responsible for the scientific direction of the CIF. Dr. Fabian Schär is its Managing Director. In addition, the CIF is supported by an external advisory board.