Stanford University’s computer science department has established a center for blockchain research to promote the study of and develop best practices for this nascent technological field.
Unveiled on Wednesday, the Center for Blockchain Research is a five-year research program that has been underwritten by a variety of cryptocurrency organizations, including the Ethereum Foundation, Protocol Labs, OmiseGo, DFINITY Stiftung, the Interchain Foundation, and cryptocurrency hedge fund Polychain Capital.
The center will be led by computer science professors Dan Boneh and David Mazières. Other inaugural faculty will include computer scientists Alex Aiken, David Dill, John Mitchell, Tim Roughgarden and law school professor Joe Grundfest.
“Blockchains will become increasingly critical to doing business globally,” said Boneh, the Rajeev Motwani Professor in the School of Engineering at Stanford, and an expert on cryptography and computer security. “Stanford should be at the forefront of efforts to improve, apply and understand the many ripple effects of this technology.”
“Blockchain massively lowers the barriers to creating tradeable, digital assets,” added Mazières. “It allows individuals who don’t know each other, or even trust one another, to make irreversible transactions in a whole variety of fields in a safe and secure way.”
In addition to blockchain research, center faculty will coordinate to develop courses on blockchain technology that can be offered to students even after the conclusion of the five-year program.
“This is a fascinating area of research with deep scientific questions,” said Boneh. “Once you get into the details you quickly realize that this area will generate many PhD theses across all of computer science and beyond.”
San Francisco-based cryptocurrency startup Ripple has committed to donating $50 million to support blockchain education at 17 universities.
Last month, EOS creator Block.one donated $3 million to Virginia Tech’s College of Engineering to promote blockchain research. Block.one CTO Dan Larimer, a Virginia Tech alumnus, will advise the department on curriculum development and will also teach some live classroom sessions.