The RPN on Fintech and Digital Currencies, established on the 1st September 2018 for an initial three year term, is led by Dirk Niepelt (CEPR, Study Center Gerzensee & University of Bern). Dirk Niepelt is director of the Study Center Gerzensee; professor at the University of Bern; president of the Swiss Society of Economics and Statistics; and leader of the CEPR Research and Policy Network on FinTech and Digital Currencies. His research covers topics in macroeconomics, monetary economics, international finance, and public finance, and he is the author of the MIT Press textbook “Macroeconomic Analysis.” Dirk Niepelt received his PhD in economics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he holds licentiate and doctorate degrees from the University of St. Gallen.

New technologies have the potential to change the way financial markets operate or institutions compete. Some examples of these developments: innovations in payment systems in emerging markets that bypass traditional intermediaries (banks); the launch of a large number of cryptocurrencies; debates among central banks about the merits of providing direct access to electronic forms of money; an explosion of ICOs as a funding mechanism for new companies. As these changes happen, central banks and regulators need to react and, in some cases, modify the current policy frameworks.

The main goal of the CEPR Fintech and Digital Currencies network is to generate, coordinate and disseminate academic research related to these broad issues. Because of the nature of the topics, the network represents a community of researchers coming from different fields of economics (finance, macroeconomics, industrial organization). In addition, the network seeks to foster a dialogue among academics and policy makers (central bankers or regulators) about the optimal policies to deal with these changes in financial markets.