Conference Announcement and Call for Papers The Fourth Annual Cambridge Conference on Alternative Finance

Conference date

01 Jul 2019


University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK


Conference Announcement and Call for Papers
The Fourth Annual Cambridge Conference on Alternative Finance

1 July 2019, Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, Cambridge, England, UK

The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance, with the support of the CME Group Foundation, is hosting the fourth annual conference on alternative finance on 1 July 2019 at University of Cambridge Judge Business School (CJBS).

RESEARCH PAPERS: Alternative finance is defined as instruments, channels, or systems of finance that emerge outside of the regulated banking system. It makes use of technological innovations, such as alternative currencies, disintermediated business models and lending mechanisms to change the way finance has been carried out traditionally. Other terms that have been used to describe it include disruptive finance, distributed finance, fintech, or disintermediated finance. This new era of financial innovation with its characteristics of transparency, speed and convenience have changed the way people, businesses and institutions perform financial transactions, invest in assets, approach potential financing sources and operate. The evolution of this area has been widely covered in the media and is playing an increasingly important role in helping businesses and individuals access the funds they need. This small boutique conference solicits papers from all areas of the social sciences that will shed light on this emerging area.

TOPICS: Topics include but are not limited to:
- Historical perspectives - Throughout history there have always been instruments and channels of finance operating outside of a formal, regulated banking and capital markets system, and this activity has often been a source of financial innovation. Are there parallels between historical and current forms of alternative finance?
- Business models - Different types of alternative finance models and how they solve asymmetric information problems in businesses, industries, or countries
- Governance models - How alternative finance institutions affect corporate governance or financial policy
- Trust and reputation - The evolution of trust and reputation for platforms
- Crowdfunding and capital formation for early-stage firms
- Network and social effects affecting platform adoption
- Alternative analytics and new forms of data
- Privacy concerns, security, and risks with distributed financing
- Alternative currencies, Exchange tradeable digital assets, Collateralised coins, Digital cryptocurrencies or digital merchant tokens, Sovereign backed issuance
- Blockchains, Distributed ledger technologies, Digital Autonomous Organisations, Smart contracting, Internet of things
- Regulatory implications of the spread of alternative technologies

FORMAT: The conference will open on Monday 1 July at the Cambridge Judge Business School, with morning refreshments followed by a full day of paper presentations (including lunch and afternoon refreshments). The day's events will be followed by a cocktail reception and dinner at King’s College (founded in 1441 by Henry VI, it is world-famous for its Chapel). Following the academic conference, there will also be an opportunity to present to an audience of invitation-only senior practitioners, policy regulators and industry thought leaders who will be attending the “Reimagining Alternative Finance: Global Perspectives Local Insights” annual CCAF practitioner conference the following day.

Maureen O’Hara, Cornell University

Raghavendra Rau, University of Cambridge
Robert Wardrop, University of Cambridge
Bryan Zhang, University of Cambridge

- Abstract and paper submission deadline: 31 March 2019
- Notification of acceptance: End April 2019
- Final paper submission deadline: Early June 2019
- Academic Conference: 1 July 2019

PAPER SUBMISSION PROCEDURE: Interested authors are kindly invited to submit their papers to by 31 March 2019 using the subject heading - Conference on Alternative Finance submission. Complete papers will receive priority.

FURTHER INFORMATION: For further information about the conference and logistics, please contact

ABOUT THE CAMBRIDGE CENTRE FOR ALTERNATIVE FINANCE (CCAF): The Cambridge Centre for Alternative Finance (CCAF) was founded in January 2015 and has established itself as a world-class research group within the University of Cambridge. The CCAF is dedicated to the study of new and innovative financial instruments, channels and systems that have emerged outside of the traditional banking and capital markets.

The core purpose of the Centre's research activity is to provide insightful analysis into the development of alternative finance, to contribute to academic thought leadership, improve global business practice, and inform evidence-based policy making and regulation. The CCAF is an international research centre that strives to push the boundaries of knowledge and bring a new, interdisciplinary perspective to the study of financial markets. The global financial services industry is undergoing a digital transformation, and the Centre believes that understanding new financial channels, instruments and analytics is imperative for organisations seeking to maintain their competitive advantage in the face of new threats and opportunities. The alternative finance industry is developing rapidly, and there is a desire on the part of many policymakers to provide a regulatory environment that balances the interests of investors, new entrants and incumbent financial institutions while encouraging innovation within their national economies. The Centre's benchmarking and industry research is already considered to be one of the most trusted sources of reliable market analysis, aiding the development of alternative finance policy and regulations globally.

You can read more about the CCAF, and obtain copies of all its research and latest benchmarking reports at: