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The University of Hong Kong

FinTech Ethics and Risks

The University of Hong Kong via edX


FinTech has started a global revolution in the financial services industry, and the transformation will only increase in coming years. There are many ways in which FinTech can improve the lives of people around the world; however, those same technologies can also be used to enslave, coerce, track, and control people. Accordingly, it is appropriate and necessary to consider the implications of the introduction of these technologies so that they are utilized properly, regulated sufficiently, and their adoption does not come at the expense of societal growth.

This 6-week online coursecovers 6 modules, representing the full spectrum of finance, technology, and the introduction of FinTech solutions globally. We will ask questions that are not often asked or addressed when new technologies are adopted. Why should we adopt FinTech solutions, and what are the best ways to introduce disruptive technologies? How does blockchain technology change the way we provide financial services, and how should blockchain technology be governed? Is FinTech creating risks in cybersecurity and how can technology help us prevent financial crimes? As Artificial Intelligence (AI) is developed and adopted, will human biases and prejudices be built into such mechanisms? And at a larger scope, should FinTech lead to a decentralized, democratized system of finance, or will existing institutions adopt FinTech strategies to cement their existing hold on the financial markets?

Through discussing and attempting to answer these questions, you will understand better how the introduction of these technologies can benefit or harm society. And through considering the proper application or introduction of such technologies, you will learn to make better decisions as an individual and organization when facing the question: is FinTech our savior or a villain?


Introduction: Ethics of Finance and Emerging Technologies
This module will provide a historical and broad perspective of ethical issues relating to finance and the introduction or adoption of emerging technologies.

Blockchain and its Governance
This module will expand off the Introduction to FinTech course (, to consider the most relevant and ethical ways such technology should be implemented, in a number of different industries or product segmentation. In particular, data collection, customer privacy, and transactional issues will be covered in this module.

Cybersecurity & Crimes
FinTech can make it easier and cheaper for banks to monitor and control financial transactions, thus reducing fraud and reducing bank costs. But at the same time, these tools can be used to steal money and other corporate secrets, hide illegality (including purchases of weapons, drugs, etc.), and finance terrorists and other criminal organizations. Accordingly, this module will consider the implications of such important issues.

AI & FinTech
In this module we will consider the implications of building our own concepts of “human” morality into amoral machines, as well as a consideration of whether human biases and prejudices can or will be built into such mechanisms, whether purposefully or unintentionally.

Institutionalization vs. Decentralization
One of the key reasons people are calling for FinTech is for its decentralized nature, thus democratizing finance, and allowing regular people to participate more fully and affordably in financial transactions through technologies like cryptocurrencies, non-government issued IDs, and P2P lending. In this module we will address some large questions, considering whether FinTech should lead to a decentralized, democratized system of finance. Or whether existing institutions will adopt FinTech strategies to cement their existing hold on the financial markets.

Big Questions Relating to the Introduction of FinTech
In this final module, we will consider some of the many outstanding questions and purposes of introducing FinTech to the world, exploring the many ways that FinTech can both help and hurt society. We will discuss financial inclusion, sustainable development, and many other positive aspects of FinTech development. Conversely, we will also consider how these same technologies and solutions could potentially be used to inhibit access to financial markets, or worse.

Taught by

David L. Bishop and David S. Lee


5.0 rating, based on 29 Class Central reviews

4.4 rating at edX based on 9 ratings

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  • Anonymous
    Highly recommended. Professors Bishop and Lee have a very relaxed and informal style. The material is presented in a very accessible way but still manages to raise a lot of important and thought provoking questions. Throughout the course, the emphasis is on encouraging students to think about the issues involved and to discuss the issues. I found this approach very valuable - and especially appropriate given that the problems raised by fintech do not have simple or obvious solutions (as we learned).
  • Anonymous
    This course was the best one I found online in searching all the leading global universities. The instructors were excellent, as well as the content and use cases selected. This course is a must-have for anyone in the FinTech space today. It grou…
  • Anonymous
    It was really a great experience, which I learned a lot from it. I loved the real life examples and how the instructors tried to teach us from their own experiences. I hope that I can enroll in more of HKU courses because I really enjoyed every second of it.
  • Profile image for Arun Ramanathan
    Arun Ramanathan
    This is one of the best business courses on Ethics. I have an executive MBA degree and have taken Ethics courses before in a classroom setting. This course is as good or if not better than a classroom course in many ways. The two teachers David Lee…
  • Profile image for Yiu Fai Leung
    Yiu Fai Leung
    Fintech is not really new but certainly new to me. I am glad I have chosen this cause to learn about Fintech and its implications from different perspectives. The course is well structured in which I can review and discuss the topics from differe…
  • Anonymous
    This Course helped me a lot in my research process... it felt so more easier, fun to learn. Thank you all for giving me such an incredible experience! I hope I can see more materials like that. Love from Tunisia 🇹🇳
  • Anonymous
    I enjoy the lectures. I finished all the course assignments, but I am still waiting the peers' assessment and the final grade. Wonder if it is going to take a while as I am planning to enroll the third FinTech course. It will be waste of the time if I need to wait a long time to get my final grade.

    Please advise.
  • Anonymous
    Being able to be part of these online course is very challenging to me. For someone who doesn't have any knowledge when it comes to fintech, I' am happy and excited to watch every videos and be part of the discussions because I know that I will learn something new after each module. Thank you and I really enjoyed being part of this course!
  • Anonymous
    Important topics were discussed in this module, topics that, us as entrepreneurs, might not consider in the hurry of getting a new fintech product out into the market.

    The 5 ethic concepts were very helpful in changing my mindset for the next job or fintech project. They need to be taken into consideration when designing a business plan or implementing at your current fintech role.

  • Anonymous
    Excellent course from start to finish. Very clear presentations by the two teachers. They did a very practical course giving examples of real cases from all over the world. The complementary readings were very enriching and are well coordinated with each module discussed.

    Very satisfied.
  • Anonymous
    I learned a lot about technology which is the thing I hate the most, but by joining this online course that enlightened my my mind this technologies. I always use cash but I might go with cashless by adopting credit cards and smartphone apps for payments.
  • Anonymous
    I loved the course as I learnt a lot and also, linked the course to what my country is actually doing as well. Thank you!
  • Anonymous
    This Curse is very good, helps you think about the problems that we need to consider in the near future to enable a successful implementation of FinTech. I really recommend this course, is a must for anyone interested in FinTech.
  • Anonymous
    This is the best course I have ever taken in Edx. Really amazing.
    The course is very well-organized and informative.
  • Profile image for Gegerma Montero
    Gegerma Montero
    Very helpful and informative learning that everyone can apply for day to day living regarding evolving technologies in new Internet era. I am very grateful to be one of your students around the globe.
  • Anonymous
    It’s excellent! I loved the content, the various points of view, the discussion forums, the additional reading activity! It opened my mind about ethics in general and FinTech in particular. Well done to the professors!
  • Profile image for José Luis Rodrigues De Magalhães
    José Luis Rodrigues De Magalhães
    One of the best MOOC i ever made, you will learn to think about current and future problems and enderstand what will happen in the next decades so you could have a opinion and be prepared
  • Anonymous
    This is a really great course because the content is there and delivered in a great way too.
    I’ve never looked at things from an ethical standpoint but after completing this course it’s really changed me. I’d even go as far as saying now I want to further my studies by doing a postgraduate with ethics electives in this field.
    The outtakes after the roundups were awesome- I not a producer but I think the two lecturers have this entertaining showmanship that’s quite uniquely hilarious. Educational material or comedy- I’d tune in.
  • Anonymous
    The instructors have displayed a great understanding of the topic. Their energy helped keeping this course surprisingly enjoyable, rather than lecturing risks and implications and regulations. The case studies were assorted and very interesting. In addition, their work experience helped in supporting the analyses and discussions between them, which helped in delivering their argument rather than going by the book. Hoping for future courses with them! :)
  • Anonymous
    I have a great time doing this online course for the following reasons:

    New topic to me that provides a good foundation to me for the pursuit of related topics

    Clear outline and objectives of the course

    Excellent course contents, learning materials and professors that help me learn and understand this new topic in great detail

    Various teaching formats that make my study very interesting and interactive

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