Research Seminar Series – Talk 1

Date: 13 July 2021 (TUE)
Time: 4:00pm – 6:00pm (GMT +8, HK Time)
Conducted via Zoom

Professor Chen Lin

Professor Chen Lin

Associate Director of HKU-SCF FinTech Academy
Associate Dean (Research and Knowledge Exchange)
Chair of Finance
Stelux Professor in Finance
Faculty of Business and Economics, HKU

Financial Volatility and Digital Finance

Financial volatility not only creates uncertainty in the financial market but also impacts all aspects of society.  The research will study how financial market fluctuation affect corporates and households, and how digital finance can help mitigate it.  Utilizing the recent financial market fluctuations due to the outbreak of Covid-19, the study will first study the impact of the financial shock on corporate financing and how it will affect the household consumption decision, especially health care decision.  Previous literature find that uncertainty like financial volatility is related to financial constraints for firms and can affect consumer credit decision (e.g. Carvalho, 2018; Di Maggio et al., 2019).  Therefore, we will explore how financial technology can help firms (especially small business) and household rebuilt their credit lines to mitigates the adverse impact of financial volatility. 

Dr. Allen M.H. Au

Dr. Allen M.H. Au

Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science

Faculty of Engineering, HKU

HKU Coin: Towards Decentralized Privacy-Preserving Cryptocurrency with Accountability

Blockchain-based cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin provide a way to construct decentralized payment systems without the need of any trusted parties. However, these cryptocurrencies inherent the transparent feature of blockchain and thus lack privacy.  To tackle this problem, considerable efforts have been devoted to the development of privacy-preserving cryptocurrencies.  Examples, including Monero and Zcash, employ advanced cryptographic primitives to provide user privacy. However, strong privacy is a double-edge sword.  These cryptocurrencies could be abused and are often associated with illegal activities such as blackmailing or money laundering. Indeed, the strong privacy guarantee makes it challenging for auditing, as the accountability and anonymity are often viewed as contradicting.  Considering accountability is essential in many real-world, a decentralized cryptocurrency supporting privacy and accountability is desired.  Existing effort provides a balance between privacy and accountability, at the cost of additionally trusted third party, which violates the intrinsic property of decentralization, or only support fairly limited auditing operations.

In this project, we plan to develop new mechanisms to support various compliance measures while maintaining privacy.  We aim to construct the first decentralized cryptocurrency capable of protecting the privacy of all participants and simultaneously offering full-fledged accountability.