eFin & Democracy – Democracy issues of the digitalised financial sector

eFin & Democracy – A trailer

The digital transformation of the financial sector is in full swing. Yet, do we actually know enough about crypto and co? About network-based payment systems? Or about the digital Euro which is likely to be introduced within a few years from now? As of now, the disruption or change which the digital transformation of the financial sector might involve for citizens, democracy and the future of European society are largely unknown. Specialists are familiar with them, but often within their fields of expertise alone. And what about broader debates and participation?

Civil society participation and broader public discussion require understanding and interdisciplinary exchange. Hence, in order to start a broader discourse on the topic and for highlighting its most relevant aspects, more stimuli and input are necessary. As a discourse project,eFin & Democracy addresses these issues as a strong initiative going beyond science. Its aim is to bring broader target groups and thus citizens as well as companies and politics into conversation with each other. Via events and different media formats, it gradually integrates actors and target groups into the project.

An Audio Collage on the Discourse Project (in German)

The project is home to the Mercator-Journalist in Residence-Programme. Within the field of digitalised finance and beyond, the Mercator-Journalists in Residence act as important instigators for a broader discussion. They help to raise awareness of a topic that has been underrepresented in public perception to date and to connect the media and academic public.

eFin & Democracy is also associated with an Endowed Professorship at the Technische Universität Darmstadt for Legal Policy for the Digital Financial Sector which is establishing this field of research and making it attractive in the long term. It has also initiated an interdisciplinary panel of experts. Under the title Money : Technology : Democracy, their meetings offer an independent place to reflect on issues regarding the sociopolitical aspects of digital change in the financial sector. The project is funded by Stiftung Mercator.


Article Series on the Digital Euro by Mercator-Journalist in Residence Max Henning

Maximilian Henning is a freelance EU correspondent on digital policy. At eFin & Democracy, he has been researching the digital euro. As the project so far is still largely flying under the radar, a closer look at which party or institution pursues which interests is warranted. The following articles were published on netzpolitik.org in July.

Wer alles weiß, wenn du online bezahlst, netzpolitik.org, 2 July 2024 (German only)

Digitaler Euro: Was soll mir das bringen? , netzpolitik.org, 3 July 2024. (German only)

EU Council discusses Digital Euro – And how much privacy should it be?, netzpolitik.org, 4 July 2024.

More information about Maximilian Henning and his residency

Follow the [New] Money –On the Trail of Crypto, Cards, Coins and Cash

A Film by Sophia Igel and Philipp Scholtysik

A Market for Useful Knowledge and Non-Knowledge under the title Follow the Money – Of Analogue Values, Digital Currencies and the Quantification of the World was staged in Frankfurt/Main on 16 September 2023. In 1:1 conversations with visitors – and audible via event radio – around 90 experts followed the traces of money on a large scale, on a small scale and in their own lives. The film zooms in into 8 of these conversations, all revolving around digital payment.

Citizen’s report on the digital Euro

Citizens’ report on the digital euro

The European Central Bank and the political institutions of the European Union are preparing the possible introduction of a publicly accessible digital central bank currency in the Eurozone. For the Citizens’ Report on the Digital Euro, a group of laypeople was asked to take a close look at the topic and draw up a weighted list of topics on which the general public should be informed with regard to the digital euro. According to their assessment, accessibility and a broad understanding of security and data protection are at the top of the agenda.

To the report (German only)

New Podcast Episode

1.8. The Digital Euro and the European Central Bank

Digitalgelddickicht Season Digital Euro – Folge 8 (German only) | 29. April 2024

Go to Episode Info

Finanzen, Staat, Digitalisierung & Demokratie

Interdisciplinary Lecture Series
Every Monday, starting 22 April 2024, 18:00 CET

TU Darmstadt
Old Main Building (S 103/223)

The lecture series explores the ambivalent relationship between (digital) capital markets and (digital) democracy as well as the effects that evolving capital markets have on distribution issues. It reconstructs the history of capital markets and states as controversial as they were in earlier times and as they are today, on the one hand from the perspective of science, on the other hand it is also about a representation of facts and debates that is accessible to citizens. The lecture provides ways how to describe the issues at hand, raises the question of the objectives and means by which (digital) capital markets are (or should be) regulated and deals with the issues of prosperity and distributive justice in a digital world.

More about the event


The Podcast Digitalgelddickicht

The Podcast Digitalgelddickicht explores what is otherwise only discussed among experts. The podcast doesn’t have all the answers – and certainly no financial tips. Instead, it aims to pose questions and stimulate public conversation about how the digital transformation of the financial sector affects our political and social world. To this end, it collects different voices, including but not limited to those of experts. The Podcast is in German.

eFin & Democracy on Social Media

Current news from the project and links to interesting and further content about our key topics can also be found on X (formerly Twitter) under @eFin_Diskurs and on Mastodon under @eFin_Diskurs@mas.to (mostly in German).

The eFin-Blog

The Blog tries to understand the transformation and to promote debate – also as part of our democracy. Project staff and guests write freely and in a diverse fashion about what they are learning and exploring, what worries them and what fascinates them. The Blog is written in German.

The Citizen Lectures

In the Citizen Lectures scientists and experts are asked to provide insights into their specialist field, impart basic knowledge and make suggestions for a broader discussion.


Participation and dialog formats aim to involve citizens more directly. At the Market for Useful and Non-Knowledge they entered into a direct 1:1 exchange with experts. In the Bürgergutachten digitaler Euro (German only) laypeople looked at the topic in detail and articulated which aspects of its design the public should be informed about.


Digitalization and Finance: Video Portraits

As part of his residency at ZEVEDI and eFin & Democracy, videographer and artist Rainer Lind has brought a wide variety of people in front of his camera. He has created the kind of video portraits he is known for but with a specific focus: his interviewees’ life, hobby or profession has brought them in direct contact with the potentials and risks, hopes and abysses associated with an increasingly digitalized financial world: from crypto-enthusiast to Frankfurt’s senior public prosecutor Jana Ringwald (photo). The interviews are in German.

Podcast Episodes of Finance & Feelings

During her residency with us, finance journalist and podcaster Anissa Brinkhoff has investigated questions of gender equality and aspects of female finance in the analog and digital financial system. On her profile you can find all previous episodes of her podcast Finance & Feelings.
You finde the residency-related episode with Carola Westermeier here.
You find the episode with Mareice Kaiser here. The episodes are in German.

INTERVIEW: “Digital Money – Indifference is of no avail to us”

An AufRuhr Interview about the Project eFin & Democracy and the “BitBlockKryptoComic” with the Mercator-Journalist in Residence an graphic novelist Martin Karcher and team member Caroline Marburger. The interview is in German.

Previous events

Lecture Bitcoin, Ether and co. – The Potential and Dangers of Cryptocurrencies

13 March 2024
An event in cooperation with the Frankfurter PresseClub | more about this event

Performance Follow the Money – Of Analogue Values, Digital Currencies and the Quantification of the World

16 September 2023
Cooperation of ZEVEDI and the project group eFin & Democracy with the Mobile Academy Berlin and the cultural venue Mousonturm (Frankfurt) | more about this event

Lightning Talk at the re:publica 23 Do we need the digital Euro or (how) does money work democratically?

5 June 2023
Carola Westermeier at the re:publica 23 within the framework of the discourse project eFin & Democracy | more about this event

Film Screening & Panel Discussion „Modern Talking” – Contemporary History and Video Portraits on the Digitalized Finance Sector

16 May 2023
An Event with Mercator-Journalist in Residence Rainer Lind. In Cooperation with the Historischen Verein für Hessen e.V. | more about this event

Short Exhibition The BitBlockCryptoComic – The Making of a Graphic Novel

16 December 2022
Event in cooperation with Kunstforum der TU Darmstadt; with Mercator-Journalist in Residence Martin Karcher| more about this event

Public Lecture & Discussion Bitcoin – Gefahr oder Bereicherung für unsere Gesellschaft?

9 August 2022
Event in cooperation with Kultur einer Digitalstadt e. V. (KeD); with Mercator-Journalist in Residence Friedemann Brenneis | more about this event

Public Lecture & Discussion Warum Bitcoin?

26 July 2022
Event with Mercator-Journalist in Residence Friedemann Brenneis | more about this event

Panel Discussion Digitaler Euro: Pro und Contra

18 July 2022
Event within the framework of eFin & Democracy | more about this event

Citizen Lecture Verstehen Sie Krypto !

Summer Semester 2022
Event within the framework of eFin & Democracy | more about this Citizen Lecture

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