Stanford University Launches Center for Blockchain Research Backed by the Ethereum Foundation

Stanford University has launched The Center for Blockchain Research. The center will conduct research and develop courses on the emerging technology.

Stanford University has established the Center for Blockchain Research dedicated to researching and understanding the emerging technology. Blockchain is expected to have huge impacts on the way people and companies make deals and complete financial transactions over the internet. 

The center will be led by Dan Boneh and David Mazières, both professors of computer science. Staff at the center will include Alex Aiken, David Dill, John Mitchell, Tim Roughgarden and law school faculty Joe Grundfest. 

“Blockchains will become increasingly critical to doing business globally,” said Boneh, the Rajeev Motwani Professor in the School of Engineering, 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.” 

Center will also focus on education

The center aims to develop best practices for this growing field by bringing together the best university scientists and industry leaders. The center is being supported in part by large blockchain organizations including The Ethereum Foundation, which was started by the co-founder of the cryptocurrency Ethereum, Vitalik Buterin.

As well as research the center will develop and teach courses to help future students, professionals and business use blockchain to ‘develop financial instruments, protect intellectual property, manage vital records and more.’ 

“Blockchain massively lowers the barriers to creating tradeable, digital assets,” Mazières said. “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.” 

Blockchain has potential use in everything from real estate to voting

Many companies are excited by blockchains traceability, security, and transparency, potential to improve supply chain management, transfer of deeds, modernize voting technology and speed up real estate transactions. Blockchain is best known for its use in cryptocurrency. 

Stanford explains that blockchain works by ‘creating the digital equivalent of a ledger book of transactions and distributing multiple copies of identical ledgers over the internet. Each time a new transaction occurs, a data block is added to the chain of information stored in each and every copy of the ledger.’ 

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This distributed approach means that past transactions can’t be modified but new transactions can always be added. The center will look at ways to try and scale up the technology and investigate new applications for it. 

"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.” 

The first five years of the center is being supported by gifts from large blockchain organizations including The Ethereum Foundation, Protocol Labs, the Interchain Foundation, OtseGO, XFINITY Stiftung and PolyChain Capital.