Call for Papers: Special Issue "FinTech for the common good"

FinTech for the common good

Digitalization of the finance industry is in full swing, with digital solutions ranging from new forms of alternative finance to payment infrastructure, currencies, or robotic advisory (Goldstein et al., 2019; Ziegler et al., 2021). Many innovations that are being developed and deployed increase efficiency or expand the product portfolio and thus enhance structural economic development (Cimiterra et al., 2021). However, at the moment much of the attention – both from academics and industry and policy makers alike is given to short-term private value creation, think about for example the windfall financial profits currently being made in crypto currency trading at the cost of negative environmental impact or misleading of novice investors.

The growth of financial technology over the last decade does not only disrupt the financial industry, it also offers opportunities for the society. For example, fintech can facilitate the offering of financial services to un- and underbanked. In 2017, about 1.7 billion adults (unbanked) did not have a bank account (Demirguc-Kunt et al., 2018). Offering financial services via mobiles for examples brings access to cheaper lending, international money transfer (remittances), and better savings/investment conditions to people who are excluded to these services or only have limited access to it due to geographical, social, or economic reasons (Philippon, 2019). Fintech allows for alternative access to financing (‘financial inclusion” (Lagna & Ravishankar, 2022)), e.g. through peer-to-peer lending, crowdfunding, or initial coin offerings (Bollaert et al., 2021), or offer machine-based services such as robo-advising (D’Acunto et al., 2019).

Fintech not only allows access to financial service in remote areas, but also offers a form of democratization of investment for individuals (including its risks) and funding to for social value creation to social enterprises or projects to counter social problems, e.g. via crowdfunding (Nguyen et al., 2021). In this way, fintech can have positive social impact, e.g. through peer-to-peer lending by empowering women or support socially vulnerable groups such as immigrants (Dorfleitner et al., 2021).

Fintech may also foster a similarly emerging and popular field: green finance (Dorfleitner & Braun, 2019). While the innovations in the technology of financial service is one steppingstone, there are also useful applications of artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI/ML) in climate finance, sustainable finance, and impact investing. Especially when it comes to analyzing all kinds of data (ESG scores from different providers, social network activities, news data, weather data, financial data etc.) and incorporating it to investment or credit decisions (George & Schillebeeckx, 2021).

Lastly, fintech, and the use of AI/ML may also come with risks for society, e.g., when it comes to systematically discriminating certain groups due to mal-trained algorithms or the dependency on specific systems (Philippon, 2019).

Within this context, this special issue of Digital Finance seeks for original, high-quality papers that address the following, but not limited to, topics:

  • Fintech and Financial inclusion
  • Crowdfunding / Social lending to increase access to finance and broaden the investor base
  • Fintech and its social impact (environment, equality, ...)
  • Fintech as enabler of green Finance
  • The use of artificial intelligence and machine learning in sustainable finance/impact investing
  • Transparency in fintech to allow for a critical assessment of the impact
  • Risks of machine-based decision making in finance
  • Ethics and Fintech to prevent a potential new financial crisis
  • Big data and fintech (increasing privacy, cyber security)
  • Regulation of fintech markets to catalyze societal value creation

Please feel free to contact us at, should you have another idea and wish to check its suitability. Note that papers submitted to this special issue will have to comply with the regular reviewing process. While the special issue is open to all interested contributors, authors of papers accepted for presentation at the European Alternative Finance Research Conference 2022 ( are particularly encouraged.

Instructions for Submission

For submission, authors are requested to access the Editorial Manager at the following URL: Please answer “YES” when asked if your manuscript belongs to a special issue and select the special issue in the list that will pop up.

Potential authors are reminded that all papers that are finally accepted for this special issue will be subject to format restrictions complying with the publisher's standards. To speed up publication, and to ensure a unified layout throughout the special issue, authors are advised to use a LaTex. Springer's LaTex package (Download zip) can be used to prepare source files (please choose the formatting option "smallextended'"). The authors are highly recommended not to modify the class file by introducing personal settings and/or definitions. Word files are also accepted.

Guest Editors

Ronald Kleverlaan (
Director European Centre for Alternative Finance (Utrecht University)

Friedemann Polzin (,
Associate Professor (Utrecht University)

Thomas Walther (,
Assistant Professor (Utrecht University)

Important Dates

Deadline for paper submission: 31 December 2022


Bollaert, H., Lopez-de-Silanes, F., & Schwienbacher, A. (2021). Fintech and access to finance. Journal of Corporate Finance, 68(December 2020), 101941.

Cimiterra, M., Krafft, J., & Nesta, L. (2021). Blockchain as Schumpeter Mark 1 or Mark 2? An empirical analysis of blockchain job offers in France and Germany. Industrial and Corporate Change, 30(6), 1388–1402.

D’Acunto, F., Prabhala, N., & Rossi, A. G. (2019). The Promises and Pitfalls of Robo-Advising. Review of Financial Studies, 32(5), 1983–2020.

Demirguc-Kunt, A., Klapper, L., Singer, D., Ansar, S., & Hess, J. (2018). The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution. In The Global Findex Database 2017: Measuring Financial Inclusion and the Fintech Revolution.

Dorfleitner, G., & Braun, D. (2019). Fintech, Digitalization and Blockchain: Possible Applications for Green Finance. In M. Migliorelil & P. Dessertine (Eds.), The Rise of Green Finance in Europe: Opportunities and Challenges for Issuers, Investors and Marketplaces (pp. 207–237). Palgrave.

Dorfleitner, G., Oswald, E. M., & Zhang, R. (2021). From Credit Risk to Social Impact: On the Funding Determinants in Interest-Free Peer-to-Peer Lending. Journal of Business Ethics, 170(2), 375–400.

George, G., & Schillebeeckx, S. (2021). Digital Sustainability and its Implications for Finance and Climate Change.

Goldstein, I., Jiang, W., & Karolyi, G. A. (2019). To FinTech and beyond. Review of Financial Studies, 32(5), 1647–1661.

Lagna, A., & Ravishankar, M. N. (2022). Making the world a better place with fintech research. Information Systems Journal, 32(1), 61–102.

Nguyen, L. T. Q., Hoang, T. G., Do, L. H., Ngo, X. T., Nguyen, P. H. T., Nguyen, G. D. L., & Nguyen, G. N. T. (2021). The role of blockchain technology-based social crowdfunding in advancing social value creation. Technological Forecasting and Social Change, 170(June), 120898.

Philippon, T. (2019). On fintech and financial inclusion. National Bureau of Economic Research.

Ziegler, T., Shneor, R., Wenzlaff, K., Wang, B., Kim, J., Paes, F. F. de C., Suresh, K., Zhang, B. Z., Mammadova, L., & Adams, N. (2021). The Global Alternative Finance Market Benchmarking Report (SSRN Scholarly Paper ID 3771509). Social Science Research Network.