September 25, 2018

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3 US Universities to Conduct Government-Funded Cryptocurrency Research



The University of Maryland, Cornell, and the University of California Berkeley will be conducting cryptocurrency research backed by $3 million in funding from the National Science Foundation, a US government agency that supports and funds scientific research.

According to principal investigator Elaine Shi, the universities will be focused on developing new cryptocurrency systems that can address “pain points” in bitcoin and other digital currency networks.

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Cryptocurrency Research Scope

This wide-ranging research, which is entitled The Initiative for Cryptocurrency and Contracts (IC3), will also involve Cornell researcher Emin Gun Sirer, Dawn Song from UC Berkeley, and Jonathan Katz, David van Horn and Michael Hicks from the University of Maryland.

“We believe that our research can help establish cryptocurrency as a prominent research area, and make a big impact in shaping the future of financial transactions and e-commerce,” explained Shi. The funding for IC3 came from the Secure and Trustworthy Cyberspace Program, an initiative devoted to funding research into cyber security and digital privacy that granted nearly $75 million in research funding last year.

In particular, the cryptocurrency research will zoom in on systems that enable expanded transaction scalability, privacy and user functionality. Smart contracts will also be one of the main points of the research.

Prior to this, the National Science Foundation has already invested in a program devoted to cryptocurrency initiatives. The agency has funded other efforts in Princeton University and in the University of California-Irvine. “There’s a lot of really good technical issues here that they have identified and have proposed to study,” Shi shared.

“We have been faced with many challenges in trying to bring formal rigor to cryptocurrency design. Personally, I am particularly excited about cross-disciplinary research challenges, and I believe that cryptocurrency can serve as a central playground for synergizing disparate research communities,” Shi added.

Interview quotes courtesy of Coindesk



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