Current and Selected Foundational Research

Current Research

DA Zetzsche, F Annunziata, DW Arner & RP Buckley, “The Markets in Crypto-assets Regulation (MICA) and the EU Digital Finance Strategy”, forthcoming Capital Markets Law Journal,

DW Arner, RP Buckley, DA Zetzsche and AM Dahdal, “Digital Finance and the COVID-19 Crisis”, forthcoming National Law School of India Review, in press, accepted Dec 3, 2020.

RP Buckley, DW Arner, DA Zetzsche, AN Didenko and LJ van Romburg, “Sovereign Digital Currencies: Reshaping the Future of Payments and Money”, forthcoming Journal of Payments Systems and Strategies, in press, accepted Nov 27, 2020.

RP Buckley, DA Zetzsche, DW Arner & BW Tang, “Regulating Artificial Intelligence in Finance: Putting the Human in the Loop”, (2021) 43(1) Sydney Law Review 43-81.

DA Zetzsche, WA Birdthistle, DW Arner & RP Buckley, “Digital Finance Platforms: Towards a New Regulatory Paradigm”, (2020) 23(1) University of Pennsylvania Journal of Business Law, 273-339.

RP Buckley, DA Zetzsche, DW Arner & R Veidt, “FinTech, Financial Inclusion and the UN Sustainable Development Goals”, forthcoming in Iris Chiu & Gudula Deipenbrock (eds), The Routledge Handbook on FinTech and the Law: Regulatory, Supervisory, Policy and other Legal Challenges, Routledge, 2020.

DA Zetzsche, DW Arner & RP Buckley, “Decentralized Finance”, (2020) 6 (2) Journal of Financial Regulation, 172-203.

AN Didenko, “A Better Model for Australia’s Enhanced FinTech Sandbox”, forthcoming in UNSW Law Journal, in press, accepted Oct 28, 2020.

AN Didenko and RP Buckley, “Cross-border Implications of Using Global Stablecoins and Sovereign Digital Currencies in International Payments”, forthcoming in B. Mercurio (ed), Empowering Transformation: Connectivity and Cross-Border Data Flows.

Selected Foundational Research

This Laureate project grew out of research that commenced in 2013 and was funded by a series of research grants from the Centre for International Finance and Regulation and the Australian Research Council Linkage Projects scheme, in each case supported financially and in other invaluable ways by the United Nations Capital Development Fund (UNCDF).

This section of this website highlights some of the foundational research from 2013 to early 2020. This research underpins much of what we are doing today, and may be of interest to other scholars and practitioners. We produced much more research than what is reproduced here – these are the highlights.

This foundational research has been classified into the following categories – FinTech, RegTech, Cryptocurrency, Financial Inclusion, Mobile Money, Financial System Infrastructure, and Cybersecurity.

These classifications are of necessity a little arbitrary, and some articles could have appeared in a number of categories, but we hope this classification assists in directing readers to their areas of interest.


DW Arner, J Barberis and RP Buckley, “The Evolution of FinTech: A New Post-Crisis Paradigm?”, (2016) 47 (4) Georgetown Journal of International Law, 1271-1319

(Before this seminal article on FinTech , most people thought of it as a relatively recent phenomenon. This research analysed its evolution in four powerfully explanatory stages since 1865.)

DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley, DW Arner & L Fohr, “The ICO Gold Rush: It’s a Scam, It’s a Bubble, It’s a Super Challenge for Regulators”, (2019) 60 (2) Harvard International Law Journal 267-315

AN Didenko, “Regulating FinTech: Lessons from Africa” (2018) 19(2) San Diego International Law Journal 311-369


RP Buckley, DA Zetzsche, DW Arner & RH Weber, “The Road to RegTech: the (astonishing) example of the European Union”, (2020) 21 Journal of Banking Regulation, 26–36

J Barberis, DW Arner and RP Buckley, (eds), “The RegTech Book: The Financial Technology Handbook for Investors, Entrepreneurs and Visionaries in Regulation”, John Wiley & Sons, 2019, 1 – 372

DW Arner, J Barberis & RP Buckley, “FinTech, RegTech and the Reconceptualisation of Financial Regulation”, (2017) 37 Northwestern Journal of International Law and Business, 371-414

(Before this article, RegTech’s primary importance was seen in reducing banks’ massive post-2008 compliance costs. This work established its far greater potential to underpin a reconceptualistion of financial regulation based on algorithmically-mediated data in close to real time.)

Data-Driven Finance

DW Arner, DA Zetzche, RP Buckley & RH Weber, “The Future of Data-Driven Finance and RegTech: Lessons from EU Big Bang II”, (2020) 25:2 Stanford Journal of Law Business and Finance, 245-288

DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley, DW Arner, & JN Barberis, “From FinTech to TechFin: The Regulatory Challenges of Data-Driven Finance”, (2018) Vol 14 (2) New York University Journal of Law & Business, 393-446

(This research establishes how current regulatory triggers will often be satisfied too late so that data-driven lenders may be both systemically significant and unregulated. Utilising their massive customer bases and resulting data sets, BigTechs are moving to control the customer interface. For instance, Google or Apple are moving to become the customer contact point thru which the customer accesses white labelled financial services provided by a regulated bank. This work analyses the massive challenges to the very structure of traditional financial regulation that this change poses.)

Cryptocurrencies and Central Bank Digital Currencies

AN Didenko & RP Buckley, “The Evolution of Currency: Cash to Cryptos to Sovereign Digital Currencies”, (2019) 42:4 Fordham International Law Journal 1041-1094

(This article offers a comprehensive taxonomy of alternative currency types, including rare forms of money (such as digital and paper-based community currencies). It was one of the earliest scholarly publications to focus on the development of sovereign digital currencies – a topic that has been gaining prominence ever since (mostly in the context of so-called ‘central bank digital currencies’).)

DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley & DW Arner, “Regulating Libra”, forthcoming  Oxford Journal of Legal Studies in press, accepted Nov 11, 2019

DW Arner, RP Buckley, DA Zetzsche, B Zhao, AN Didenko, C-Y Park and E Pashoska, “Cryptocurrencies, Blockchain and ICOs: Policy and Regulatory Challenges of Distributed Ledger Technology and Digital Assets in Asia”, Brummer (ed), Cryptoassets: Legal, Regulatory and Monetary Perspectives, Oxford University Press, 2019, 263-306

Financial Inclusion

DW Arner, RP Buckley, DA Zetzsche & R Veidt, “Sustainability, FinTech and Financial Inclusion”, (2020) 21 European Business Organisation Law Review, 7-35

DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley & DW Arner, “FinTech for Financial Inclusion: Driving Sustainable Growth”, in J Walker, A Pekmezovic & G Walker (eds), Sustainable Development: Harnessing Business to Achieve the SDG’s through Finance, Technology and Law Reform, Wiley, 2019, 179-203

L Malady, C-Y Tsang & RP Buckley, “Promoting Financial Inclusion by Encouraging the Payment of Interest on E-Money”, (2017) 40 (4) UNSW Law Journal, 1558-1572

RP Buckley and S Webster, “FinTech in Developing Countries:  Charting New Customer Journeys”, (2016) Vol 44 Journal of Financial Transformation, 151-159

Regulatory Sandboxes and Innovation Hubs

RP Buckley, DW Arner, R Veidt & DA Zetzsche, “Building FinTech Ecosystems: Regulatory Sandboxes, Innovation Hubs and Beyond”, (2020) 61 Washington University Journal of Law & Policy, 55-98

RP Buckley, DW Arner, DA Zetzsche & EC Gibson, “Building Australia’s FinTech Ecosystem: Innovation Hubs for a Competitive Advantage”, (2020) 31 Journal of Banking and Finance: Law and Practice 133-140

DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley, DW Arner  & JN Barberis, “Regulating a Revolution: From Regulatory Sandboxes to Smart Regulation”, (2017) (1)  Fordham Journal of Corporate & Financial Law 31-103

Systemic Infrastructure, Blockchain and Regulation Generally

RP Buckley, DW Arner, DA Zetzsche & E Selga, “TechRisk”, [2020] Singapore Journal of Legal Studies 35-62

F Panisi, RP Buckley & DW Arner, “Blockchain and Public Companies: A Revolution in Share Ownership Transparency, Proxy-voting and Corporate Governance?”, (2019) 2:2 Stanford Journal of Blockchain Law & Policy

DW Arner, DA Zetzsche, RP Buckley & JN Barberis, “The Identity Challenge in Finance: From Analogue Identity to Digitized Identification to Digital KYC Utilities”, (2019) Vol 20 European Business Organisation Law Review, 55-80

D Zetzsche, RP Buckley & DW Arner, “The Distributed Liability of Distributed Ledgers: Legal Risks of Blockchain”, (2018) 4 University of Illinois Law Review, 1361-1406

(This research disproves the conventional wisdom that ‘code is law’ with blockchain, and that nodes processing transactions are not liable for losses.)

L Malady, RP Buckley, AN Didenko & CY Tsang, “A Regulatory Diagnostic Toolkit for Digital Financial Services in Emerging Markets”, (2018) 34 Banking and Finance Law Review, 1-30

RP Buckley and I Mas, “Coming of Age of Digital Payments as a Field of Expertise” (2016) Vol 2016(1) Journal of Law, Technology & Policy 71-87

W Zhou, D Arner and RP Buckley, “Regulation of Digital Financial Services in China: Last Mover Advantage” (2015) 8 (1) Tsinghua China Law Review 25-62. (LP150100269) 

Roadmaps and Toolkits for Regulators

DA Zetzsche, DW Arner, RP Buckley and A Kaiser-Yücel, “Fintech Toolkit: Smart Regulatory and Market Approaches to Financial Technology Innovation”, report for Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH,  April 1, 2020, 1-61

DW Arner, RP Buckley, DA Zetzsche, B Zhao, AN Didenko, C-Y Park and E Pashoska, “Distributed Ledger Technology and Digital Assets: Policy and Regulatory Challenges in Asia”, ADB Report, June 2019, 1-50

(This 4-stage roadmap on FinTech for Financial Inclusion lays out how poorer countries can build a data-driven identity and financial ecosystem that truly serves their people. This roadmap has been adopted by the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) (an alliance of 92 nations’ central banks) and the G24 group of developing countries, who are using it to guide many nations —  DW Arner, RP Buckley & D Zetzsche, “FinTech for Financial Inclusion: A Framework for Digital Financial Transformation”, Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) and G-24 Special Report, September, 2018; available at )

L Malady, RP Buckley and CY Tsang, Regulatory Handbook: The Enabling Regulation of Digital Financial Services (2015) Centre for International Finance and Regulation (CIFR), UNCDF, UNSW Sydney, 125pp

Regulating Mobile Money

D Ramos, J Solana, RP Buckley and J Greenacre, “Protecting Mobile Money Customer Funds in Civil Law Jurisdictions” (2016) 65(3) International & Comparative Law Quarterly 705-739

E Gibson, F Lupo Pasini and RP Buckley, “Regulating Digital Financial Services Agents in Developing Countries to Promote Financial Inclusion”, (2015) Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, 26-45

J Greenacre, RP Buckley and L Malady, “The Regulation of Mobile Money: A Case Study of Malawi”, (2015) 14 Global Studies Law Review 435-497

RP Buckley and L Malady, “Building Consumer Demand for Digital Financial Services – The New Regulatory Frontier — Part II”, The Banking Law Journal, (Jan 2015) (CIFR E226)

RP Buckley and L Malady, “Building Consumer Demand for Digital Financial Services – The New Regulatory Frontier — Part I”, The Banking Law Journal, (Nov/Dec 2014) 834-846

J Greenacre and RP Buckley, “Using Trusts to Protect Mobile Money Customers”, (2014) Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, 59-78

Cybersecurity in Financial Regulation

AN Didenko, ‘Cybersecurity Regulation in the Financial Sector: Prospects of Legal Harmonization in the European Union and Beyond’ (2020) 25(1) Uniform Law Review, 125-167

(This pioneering article analyses the emerging bespoke legal frameworks for cybersecurity by (i) conducting a comparative study of the novel cybersecurity regulations in finance; (ii) identifying the common features of such frameworks; and (iii) assessing the prospect of their harmonisation at an international level. It argues that international harmonisation in this area is necessary to overcome the underlying regulatory challenges and outlines the scope of rules amenable, first, to initial (de minimis) and, second, subsequent (more expansive) harmonisation. It formulates the main upcoming challenges in designing and harmonising cybersecurity regulations in finance and practical recommendations for overcoming them.)