The Complex Implications of Fintech for Financial Inclusion

84 Law and Contemporary Problems 113 (2021)

14 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2021

See all articles by Heather Hughes

Heather Hughes

American University - Washington College of Law

Date Written: February 25, 2021


Blockchain-based platforms create exciting possibilities for financial inclusion. From a macro perspective, however, these platforms can aggravate systemic risks. Systemic financial instability, in turn, threatens inclusion and sustainability. To foster financial inclusion, we must harness the best of fintech for the provision of banking services and access to credit, while protecting against its challenges to financial systems. Enabling federal regulatory bodies to preserve financial stability may be necessary. But it is just as necessary for lawmakers to digest how blockchain-based markets implicate private-law doctrines: the state-level commercial, property, contract, and entity laws on which market expectations rely. How do we ensure that private-law norms that contribute to systemic stability persist in fintech-enabled markets? Lawmakers’ approaches to this question will affect whether fintech developments fulfill their promise of greater financial inclusion and sustainability. This Article builds upon recent scholarship on fintech, systemic risk, and financial regulation by (i) discussing two ways in which blockchain-based market activity may elevate systemic risk; (ii) contending that increased systemic risk threatens financial inclusion; and (iii) arguing that, as blockchain-based financial activity evolves, we should not overlook the regulatory potential of the private law.

Keywords: blockchain, financial regulation, financial inclusion, fintech, property, contract, uniform commercial code, commercial law, secured transactions

Suggested Citation

Hughes, Heather, The Complex Implications of Fintech for Financial Inclusion (February 25, 2021). 84 Law and Contemporary Problems 113 (2021), Available at SSRN:

Heather Hughes (Contact Author)

American University - Washington College of Law ( email )

4300 Nebraska Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20016
United States

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