Centre for Law, Economics and Society


Digital Currencies, Digital Finance and the Constitution of a New Financial Order

Principal Investigators

Ioannis Lianos

Ioannis Lianos (LL.B, D.E.A., PhD in Law and Economics University of Strasbourg; LL.M in Trade Regulation, New York University Law School; PhD in Sociology prob. University of Cambridge; Lauréat, Academie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, France) is Professor of Competition Law and Public Policy at the Faculty of Laws at UCL in London and the Gutenberg Research Chair at the Ecole Nationale d’Administration in France. Ioannis is the Director of the Centre for Law, Economics and Society, a Co-Director of the Centre for Law & Governance in Europe and the Director of the Institute of Global Law at UCL Laws. Ioannis is a qualified attorney at the Athens and Paris bars. Ioannis is Chairman and Executive Director of IMEDIPA. 

He is Visiting Professor in Competition and Intellectual Property Law at the Universities of Chile in Santiago and the University of Strasbourg and Fellow at the Centre for Law & Economics at the Australian National University. He has previously been an Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monnet Centre at New York University School of Law and at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ioannis has been a Non Governmental Adviser (NGA) at the International Competition Network (ICN) since 2009, a research partner to UNCTAD in competition law and policy since 2010 and an elected member of the advisory board of the American Antitrust Institute since 2010.  He is the general editor (with Danny Sokol) of the Stanford University Press, Global Competition Law and Economics Series.

His primary research interest lie in European and comparative competition law, international competition law, European Union law (internal market, external relations), comparative administrative and regulatory law (public-private partnerships, public utilities law), law and economics and economic sociology.

He is the author and editor of seven books and more than 50 articles in journals and chapters in edited volumes. His most recent books include The Global Limits of Competition Law (Stanford University Press, 2012), The European Union after the Treaty of Lisbon (Cambridge U Press, 2012) and Regulating Trade in Services in the EU and the WTO – Trust, Distrust and Economic Integration (Cambridge U Press, 2012).

Georgios Dimitropoulos

Georgios Dimitropoulos is a Senior Research Fellow at the Max Planck Institute Luxembourg. Georgios studied law at the University of Athens, and holds an LL.M. from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in Global and EU administrative law from the University of Heidelberg. Before joining the MPI he was a Hauser Research Scholar at New York University (NYU) School of Law, he completed an internship at the European Commission’s Directorate General Enterprise and Industry, whereas during his Ph.D. studies he worked as a research assistant at the Institute for German and European Administrative Law of the University of Heidelberg. His current research interests include international dispute resolution, international economic law, and global and EU administrative law.

Stefan Eich

Stefan Eich is Perkins-Cotsen Postdoctoral Fellow in the Princeton Society of Fellows and a Lecturer in Politics at Princeton University (effective July 2016). Stefan’s research interests are in political theory and the history of political thought. His book manuscript in progress, entitled “The Currency of Justice: Money in the History of Political Thought,” recovers debates about money as a central political institution by studying five moments of monetary crisis and their relation to the history of political thought. Stefan will receive his Ph.D. in Political Science from Yale University in 2016. He holds an M.Phil. in Political Thought and Intellectual History from the University of Cambridge and a B.A. in Philosophy, Politics and Economics from the University of Oxford.

Philipp Hacker

 Philipp Hacker, LL.M. (Yale), is a Postdoctoral Fellow at Humboldt University of Berlin and an Associate Member of the Centre for Law, Economics and Society at UCL, where he is a principal investigator in a research initiative on “Digital Currencies, Digital Finance and the Constitution of a New Financial Order”; in fall 2016, he will join the EUI as a Max Weber Fellow. His general research interests include (behavioral) law and economics, Big Data, contract law, company law, securities regulation, private law theory, legal philosophy, as well as mathematical approaches to the legal arena. 

Philipp studied law, philosophy and German literature at the universities of Munich, Salamanca, and at the Yale Law School. In February 2016, he completed his PhD in law on “Behavioral Economics and Normativity” summa cum laude at Humboldt University of Berlin; the thesis won the Humboldt Law Faculty Dissertation Award. A particular focus of the dissertation rests on the development of behaviorally informed alternatives to the disclosure paradigm in private law. 

In the beginning of 2016, Philipp started a new large-scale research project on principles of economic regulation for the digital economy that will deal with the opportunities and challenges digital technologies such as Big Data and Blockchain hold for the law. More precisely, he will investigate the ambivalence of algorithms in legal contexts, i.e., regulation of and with algorithms. 

Philipp is the co-author of "FairEconomy - Crises, Culture, Competition and the Role of Law" (with Wolfgang Fikentscher and Rupprecht Podszun, Springer, 2013), a book on the post-financial crisis global economic regime. He has also published articles on company law and securities regulation, on behavioral law and economics and on Big Data with OUP, Edward Elgar and in international journals. 

For more information on Philipp, including a CV and a complete list of publications, please visit http://hu-berlin.academia.edu/PhilippHacker


This research initiative forms part of a major research programme of the CLES on the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the legal system. The research initiative will kick start with an exploratory workshop organised in Athens, Greece on July 25th, 2016, in collaboration with IMEDIPA and the EPLO. 

Less than a decade after the Financial Crisis, we are once more witnessing the fast emergence of a new financial order driven by three different, yet interconnected, dynamics: first, the rapid application of technology, big data, and behavioural algorithms to banking, lending, and investing, in particular with the emergence of digital currency and digital finance; second, a disintermediation fuelled by the rise of peer-to-peer lending platforms, crowd investment, and cryptocurrencies which challenge the traditional banking model and may, over time, lead to a transformation of the way both retail and corporate customers bank; third, a tendency of de-bureaucratisation under which new platforms and technologies challenge established organisational patterns regulating money supply and finance.

This may eventually lead to decentralisation, when different (independent) institutions share authority in the financial sphere or centralised control through a different form, for instance code instead of a centralised institution, such as a Central Bank. These developments raise important questions as to who benefits from them and what is the place left, if at all, for democratic politics in this brave New Financial Order. This research initiative forms part of a major research programme of the CLES on the implications of the Fourth Industrial Revolution to the legal system. It aims to open up and engage the economic, political, and legal dimensions of the three dynamics of dehumanization, disintermediation, and (de)centralization. 


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  • Pierre Bourdieu, The Social Structures of the Economy (Polity Press, 2005).
  • Michel Callon, The Law of the Markets (Blackwell, 1998).
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  • Michel Callon & Fabian Muniesa, “Les marchés économiques comme dispositifs collectives de calcul,” Réseaux (2003) 21(122): 189–234.
  • Mannuel Castells, Communication Power (Oxford University Press, 2009).
  • William D. Eggers et al., “Data as the New Currency,” 13 Deloitte Rev. 18-31 (2013).
  • Mark Granovetter, “Economic Structure and Social Action: The Problem of Embeddedness,” American Journal of Sociology (1985) 91(3):481-510.
  • Friedrich A. von Hayek, The Denationalisation of Money (Fordham University Press, 1978).
  • IMF, Dong He et al., Virtual Currencies and Beyond: Initial Considerations, IMF Report, January 2016, available at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=43618
  • IMF, Michael Kumhof & Jaromir Benes, The Chicago Plan Revisited (2012), available at https://www.imf.org/external/pubs/cat/longres.aspx?sk=26178.0.
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  • Geoffrey Ingham, The Nature of Money (Polity Press, 2004).
  • Karin Knorr Cetina & Alex Preda (eds.), The Sociology of Financial Markets(Oxford University Press, 2005).
  • John Maynard Keynes, A Treatise on Money: The Pure Theory of Money[1930], The Collected Writings of J.M. Keynes, Vol. 5 (Cambridge University Press, 2012).
  • Donald Mackenzie, Fabian Muniesa, Lucia Siu (eds.), Do Economists Make Markets? (Princeton University Press, 2007).
  • Donald Mackenzie, An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (The MIT Press, 2006).
  • Donald Mackenzie & Yuval Millo, “Constructing a Market, Performing Theory: The Historical Sociology of a Financial Derivatives Exchange,” American Journal of Sociology (2003) 109(1):107-45.
  • Perry Mehrling, The New Lombard Street: How the Fed Became the Dealer of Last Resort (Princeton University Press, 2010).
  • Nicholas A. Plassaras, Regulating Digital Currencies: Bringing Bitcoin within the Reach of the IMF, 14 Chi. J. Int'l L. 377 (2013).
  • Karl Polanyi, The Great Transformation: The Political and Economic Origins of our Time [1944],(Boston: Beacon Press, 2001).
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  • Antonio Sáinz de Vicuña, “An Institutional Theory of Money,” in Mario Giovanoli & Diego Devos (eds), International Monetary and Financial Law: the Global Crisis (Oxford University Press, 2010), 517-532.
  • Lawrence H. White, “The Market for Cryptocurrencies” (December 14, 2014). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 14-45. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=2538290.
  • World Bank, World Development Report 2016: Digital Dividends (Washington, D.C., 2016).
  • Claus D. Zimmermann, A Contemporary Concept of Monetary Sovereignty(Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • Boston Consulting Group, The Value of Our Digital Identity (Liberty Global Series, 2012), available at https://www.bcg.com/publications/2012/digital-economy-consumer-insight-value-of-our-digital-identity.aspx


Exploratory Conference: Digital Currencies, Digital Finance and the Constitution of a New Financial Order: Challenges for the Legal System

Athens, 27 July 2016

Visit the conference website for further information