Alternative finance – crowdfunding, community shares and peer-to-peer lending – is increasingly playing a role in local economic development. New research by Mark Davis and Tim Braunholtz-Speight from the Bauman Institute in Leeds assesses the potential of decentralised finance. The research, ‘Financial innovation today: Towards economic resilience’ launched in Leeds today and funded by Friends Provident Foundation, looks at the qualitative data drawn from interviews with alternative finance practitioners to understand better where they are coming from, where the sector might be going, and why we might all want to get involved in alternative finance. Here we summarise some key points of interest: 1. Alternative finance is going through rapid growth The UK ‘AltFin’ sector is growing fast, worth £3.2bn in 2015 – a five-fold increase on two years previously. This is still a small part of overall UK financial services, but in some sub-sectors the alternative is becoming significant. … (To read the full article, subscribe below)