Collegium Helveticum

Digital Money and Digital Futures for Value Exchange


Venue & accessibility info: Meridian Hall, Collegium Helveticum

This is a public event. Participation is free of charge and registration is not required. It is followed by a small reception.

A live stream with auto-captioning is available for this workshop.

Approximately one third of the world population has no direct access to formal financial institutions that link them to the global economy. However, the proliferation of mobile money services which repurpose and make use of existing mobile technology and telecommunication networks such as MPESA in Kenya for example, is proving to be an effective means of expanding access to digital money to diverse populations across the globe. Still, this raises the question of digital futures of the vulnerable users in the global South given that digital money may become a way to not only revolutionize the financial sector but also a foundation for the digital transformation of those societies beyond their everyday financial transactions. Apart from cryptographic digital tokens of different varieties, big tech firms including Google or Apple for example are changing the payment space by heavily investing in financial services (Google and Apple Pay).

This interdisciplinary conference serves as a platform to explore various frameworks for envisioning digital futures in value exchange in the context of our daily lives, where digital payment technologies are pervasive. As these technologies continue to reshape the global financial system, it is important to consider their impact on marginalized populations in the global south who rely on cash and non-monetary forms of value. Thinking beyond these critical questions, the aim is to discuss the role of digital payments in geopolitics, particularly considering the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the weaponization of global payment infrastructures like SWIFT. How do these actions affect the future of cross-border payments and digital payment options?



Arrival to the venue


Opening and welcome remarks

Sebastian Bonhoeffer
Collegium Helveticum 

Session 1
Rethinking Global Payment Infrastructures

Moderated by Mario Wimmer, Collegium Helveticum


NFT Collectors and Liquid Communities (online presentation)

Tom McDonald
Media Anthropologist
University of Hong Kong (CN)


Global Payment Infrastructures: Local Indifference?
Keynote by Bill Maurer

Bill Maurer
Cultural Anthropology
University of California (US)


Lunch break


Perspectives on Digitalization, Financialization, and Everyday Resistance

Informal discussion


Session 2
Money’s Multiple Textures across Fields

Moderated by Katja Rost (University of Zurich)

Central Bank Digital Currencies (online presentation)

Christos Gortsos
Pubic Economic Law
National Kapodistrian University of Athens, GR

Digital Taylorism

Bridget Kenny
University of Witwatersrand (ZA)


Coffee break


Through Gendered Lenses: Intersection between Land Access and Financial Inclusion

Eyerusalem Wolde Amare
Gender Studies
University of Kwazulu Natal, ZA

The Role of Socio-Cultural Norms on Mobile Money Adoption in Informal Markets

Emma Mavodza
Development Studies
Collegium Helveticum


Coffee break


Session 3
Reflections on Digital Financial Inclusion in Fragile Economies

Informal discussion moderated by Katharina Michaelowa (University of Zurich)

Anke Hoeffler
Political Economy
University of Konstanz, DE

Elizabeth Nanziri (online participation)
Development Finance
University of Stellenbosch, ZA

Charles Adjasi (online participation)
Development Finance and Economics
University of Stellenbosch, ZA


Closing remarks and vote of thanks

Emma Mavodza
Collegium Helveticum

Followed by a small reception.

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