Nowhere have the recent changes wrought by technological innovation been more visible than in the financial industry. Algorithmic robots (algo bots) can scan the equivalent of thousands of pages of information and make trading decisions based on that material in fractions of a second. People who might not be able to afford a human financial advisor can get financial advice from robots by enrolling in a “robo-advisory” service to help manage their investments. Virtual currencies such as Bitcoin and initial token offerings (ICOs) have the potential to revolutionize the financial markets. Financial institutions are taking steps to use blockchains and distributed ledger technologies to clear and settle trades in financial instruments and other transactions in a manner that upends traditional processes in this area. Data about human behavior is being collected and used in ways that had not been imagined only ten or so years ago, from uncovering financial market trends via social media sentiment analysis to discerning the success of commodities businesses by scrutinizing satellite images.
"FinTech” is short for “financial technology,” and the term is broadly used to refer to technologies applied to financial services and within financial institutions. This course explores some of the complex, cutting-edge legal issues that are arising at the intersection of technological innovation, business, finance, and the law. The course will introduce several of the primary FinTech innovations and explore with students if, and how, the relevant laws and regulations apply to these new business models. This course provides a guided tour of the major legal and policy issues in banking, financial market regulation, insurance, business-entity law, and data privacy/protection that have resulted from FinTech innovations.