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Bill Maurer

Dean, School of Social Sciences; Professor, Department of Anthropology and School of Law; Director, Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion at University of California, Irvine

Professor Maurer is a cultural anthropologist and sociolegal scholar. His most recent research looks at how professional communities (payments industry professionals, computer programmers and developers, legal consultants) conceptualize and build financial technology or “fintech,” and how consumers use and experience it. More broadly, his work explores the technological infrastructures and social relations of exchange and payment, from cowries to credit cards and cryptocurrencies. As an anthropologist, he is interested in the broad range of technologies people have used throughout history and across cultures to figure value and conduct transactions.

He is the Director of the Institute for Money, Technology and Financial Inclusion ( In that capacity, he coordinates research in over 40 countries on how new payment technologies impact people’s wellbeing. Currently, he is editing The Cultural History of Money, in six volumes, covering antiquity to the present. His research has had an impact on US and global policies for mobile payment and financial access, and it has been been discussed in venues ranging from Bloomberg BusinessWeek to NPR’s Marketplace and the Financial Times. He serves on the Board on Behavioral, Cognitive and Sensory Sciences of the US National Research Council, recently received a grant from the US National Science Foundation for a new project on blockchain technology and the law, and consulted with the Department of Treasury on the redesign of the US paper currency. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and received his BA from Vassar College and his MA and PhD from Stanford University.

He has particular expertise in emerging, alternative and experimental forms of money and finance, payment technologies, and their legal implications. He has published on topics ranging from offshore financial services to mobile phone-enabled money transfers, Islamic finance, alternative currencies, blockchain/distributed ledger systems and their implications for money and law, and the future of money. He was the founding co-director of the Intel Science and Technology Center in Social Computing.

The latest from Bill

  • Report #599 |

    Tech and Trust: Building Credibility in Your Community

    Trust is currently at an all-time low in the financial services sector, particularly among low-income and minoritized communities. Emerging technologies may exacerbate challenges for credit unions aiming to establish connections with these crucial segments, as detailed in the report, which concludes with three key takeaways for credit unions seeking to build trust in the communities they serve.
  • Report #559 | Members

    Central Bank Digital Currencies: What They Are, What They Might Become, and What They Mean for Credit Unions

    In the past several years, interest in central bank digital currencies (CBDCs) has taken off around the world. While most CBDCs are still in their infancy, there is growing recognition that CBDCs will play an important role in financial institutions digital transformation.

  • Report #532 | Members

    Reimagining the ATM: From Cash-out to Curbside Banking

    With so many options for ATM service delivery, how can credit union leaders make wise decisions to meet their members’ needs? Set against the backdrop of rapidly changing consumer behavior and expectations during COVID-19, this report explores the past, present, and future of the unpretentious automatic teller machine—and how its evolution impacts credit union strategy today.

  • Blog |

    Managing Misinformation in the Midst of a Pandemic

    In a public health crisis, timely, reliable and trustworthy information is critical to safeguarding people’s health and well-being. Filene Fellow Bill Maurer and Dr. Joan Donovan share insights on the role credit unions play in combating the spread of disinformation and misinformation, and sustain the level of trust they’ve built with their communities and their members.