Professor Maurer is a cultural anthropologist and sociolegal scholar. His most recent research looks at how professional communities (payments industry professionals, computer programmers and developers, legal consultants) conceptualize and build financial technology or “fintech,” and how consumers use and experience it. More broadly, his work explores the technological infrastructures and social relations of exchange and payment, from cowries to credit cards and cryptocurrencies. As an anthropologist, he is interested in the broad range of technologies people have used throughout history and across cultures to figure value and conduct transactions. He has particular expertise in alternative and experimental forms of money and finance, payment technologies, and their legal implications. He has published on topics ranging from offshore financial services to mobile phone-enabled money transfers, Islamic finance, alternative currencies, blockchain/distributed ledger systems, and the future of money.
He is the Director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion (www.imtfi.uci.edu). From 2008-2018, he coordinated research in over 40 countries on how new payment technologies impact people’s well being. Highlights from IMTFI’s research were published in Money at the Margins: Global Perspectives on Technology, Financial Inclusion, and Design (with Smoki Musaraj and Ivan Small). Since 2018, IMTFI has been the Filene Center of Excellence in Emerging Technology. With Filene, Maurer has been exploring how fintech impacts the credit union movement, exploring topics ranging from algorithmic bias in consumer-facing applications of AI, to the often-ambiguous lessons fintech apps teach their users. His research has had an impact on US and global policies for mobile payment and financial access, and it has been been discussed in venues ranging from Bloomberg BusinessWeek to NPR’s Marketplace and the Financial Times.
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