ICT4Peace’s Daniel Stauffacher was invited by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Royal Thai Government to chair a panel discussion of the “ISU Lecture on Cybersecurity: ‘Disruptive Technology – FinTech and its implications on security’ on 28 August 2017.

With advances in digital technology, the landscape of financial services is rapidly transforming and opens up a window of opportunities for both service providers and consumers. Today, Financial Technology or FinTech is one of the fastest growing industries with investment over USD 17 billion in 2016. A number of online payment companies, stock investment platforms, and online foreign currency such as Bitcoin have flourished and become more prominent than ever.

The rapid rise of FinTech has transformed financial industry with significant implications on individuals, businesses and governments alike. The benefit of this innovation is undeniable. However, the lack of oversight and the anonymity cyber provided make FinTech the preferred choice for criminals and terrorists to move money. For this reason, raising awareness of FinTech is crucial, especially for policy makers and officials who play a vital role in protecting the peoples from risks and ensuring safe and secure cyberspace.

The objectives of the Lecture was (1) To provide knowledge and raise awareness of advantages and disadvantages of FinTech; (2) To learn from experiences of other countries and/or the private sector regarding risks arising from FinTech; and (3) To provide forum for policy makers to share their views and seek advice on appropriate measures and policy recommendations in terms of cybersecurity.

The discussions covered the following topics: Basic knowledge of FinTech and Review of recent developments in technological innovation; Advantages of FinTech and potential risks, particularly Blockchain and Bitcoin (financial crimes, terrorist financing, etc.); Preventive measures and policy recommendations

The other members of the panel were Dr. Florian Matthaeus Spiegl, Co-Founder and COO of FinFabrik, Hong Kong; Mr. Silvino Schlickmann Junior, Director of Cybercrime Directorate, INTERPOL and Nicolas Engel, from the United Nations Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (UN CTED).

The results of this ISU Lecture will be also an important input to the www.techagainstterrorism.org process, a joint project by UN CTED (https://www.un.org/sc/ctc/) and ICT4Peace (www.ict4peace.org).