Masterclass on FinTech and Decentralized Finance

“Finance is always being advanced by technology,” says Professor Itay Goldstein, Joel S. Ehrenkranz Family Professor and Professor of Finance at Wharton. However, “the pace of technological change in the last few years in finance has been much faster than we have seen before.” Attendees of this masterclass were transported back to school for one hour to bolster their knowledge on the most current finance topics. Goldstein deftly explained FinTech, briefly discussed what is new in the sector, presented a case study on peer-to-peer lending, and connected blockchain to decentralized finance (DeFi). Goldstein delivered a balanced message, remarking, “There are some positives and some negatives for DeFi.” Even though there is a big push to create a new financial system based on decentralization, the forces for centralization and intermediation are strong. Goldstein envisions a realistic middle ground where intermediaries continue to play a role, but innovative technology is leveraged.