Ethical Financial Democratisation through Decentralisation

  • Ahmad Younes

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Insights from academic literature and the financial Industry have identified several factors that pose a major challenge to financial inclusion, suggesting financial system imperfections. Research has shown an association between the flaws in the system and the lack of an ethical framework in place. Several studies have demonstrated the potential of Islamic finance to address these imperfections by utilising ethical practices that ensure financial wellbeing, equal access, social and economic justice. Furthermore, the last decade has seen the emergence of novel innovative financial technologies that is empowering a new paradigm oriented towards disintermediation, decentralisation and democratisation of finance. However, a predominant lack of examination of actual implementation and utilisation in studies of decentralised financial technologies in Islamic finance calls for further empirical investigation.

This study explores a new financial inclusion frontier by assessing the potentials of decentralised finance (DeFi) and Islamic finance in promoting financial accessibility and inclusivity. An exploratory qualitative research design was employed which included 12 semi-structured interviews with industry experts. Empirical findings derived from the literature review and the interview data suggest that the utilisation of decentralised financial technologies as a technology enabler and the integration of Islamic finance as an ethical framework offer an opportunity to provide a more inclusive system. The findings were synthesised to develop a conceptual framework depicting the use cases, benefits, challenges and potential opportunities. The framework, which represents the main contribution of this study, establishes the foundation for researchers and practitioners to further develop the concepts to introduce innovative trustless financial applications, solutions and services that are ethical, accessible, and inclusive.
Date of Award2 Mar 2023
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Portsmouth
SupervisorParaskevas Pagas (Supervisor) & Arief Daynes (Supervisor)

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