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Dash and ASU elevate blockchain research, offering graduate course and scholarships

Blockchain Research Lab expands applications in wake of soaring industry growth

Blockchain Research Lab at Skysong

Arizona State University's Blockchain Research Lab and partner Dash are located at ASU's SkySong, home to a diverse business community that links technology, research, education and entrepreneurship.

January 18, 2018

Arizona State University and Dash, a top digital currency for payments, have announced a partnership designed to accelerate research, development and education in ways that advance blockchain transaction speed, efficiency and security and expand its uses.

The new $350,000 Dash-ASU agreement announced Wednesday includes:

• The Dash Scholars Program, which provides $100,000 in scholarships for undergraduate and graduate research fellowships

• Research lab and industry open-source projects, providing an additional $100,000 in funding for ASU’s Blockchain Research Lab (BRL) and $50,000 in new funding for the Luminosity Lab

• Blockchain course development, with $100,000 for creating an online graduate course expected to be offered at ASU this fall

The partnership comes after Dash contributed $50,000 in Blockchain Research Laboratory startup funding in August 2017. In November, Dash and ASU announced the creation of the Blockchain Research Laboratory at ASU, the first in academia.

“ASU welcomes this initiative and is ready to play its role in creating a potent blockchain research and innovation environment for young talents to develop practical blockchain applications,” said Dragan Boscovic, Blockchain Research Laboratory director and a research professor in ASU’s School of Computing, Informatics and Decision Systems Engineering.

RELATED: Q&A about cryptocurrency, blockchain applications with Dragan Boscovic

Dash is a blockchain-powered digital currency, with a number of unique industry features including InstantSend, PrivateSend and an entirely self-funded, self-governed organizational structure.

Blockchain is a decentralized, tamper-proof digital ledger technology that is transforming transaction prospects for many industries. In addition to being the foundation of cryptocurrencies like Dash, the blockchain structure — which consists of linked blocks of information — allows for direct transactions across a network of computers without need for a central authority.

The Blockchain Research Laboratory is focused on making blockchain accessible for uses beyond cryptocurrency, although cryptocurrency will remain a primary focus. According to Boscovic, the lab is investigating practical business applications for banking transactions, property exchanges and contract-based dealings that benefit from bypassing third-party brokers. For example, the lab is working with a Phoenix-area company to formulate a blockchain for eco-energy applications, such as exchanging stored solar power within neighborhoods.

Current research channels at the Blockchain Research Laboratory include analytics, shared business platforms that can segment company access based on specific transactions, management of IoT transactions between devices and appliances, nonprofit/humanitarian cryptocurrency transactions, and the development of smart contracts.

“This is a remarkable partnership precisely because both sides will benefit greatly from tight collaboration,” said Ryan Taylor, CEO of Dash Core. “Dash benefits from gaining valuable independent insights into how we can improve our plans for scaling to massively large numbers of transactions. ASU will benefit from gaining access to one of the most innovative teams in the digital currency industry. The entire blockchain industry will benefit from the best practices that will emerge from the research, and the creation of a graduate course is a tremendous leap in blockchain’s path towards rapid, mainstream adoption.”

The Blockchain Research Laboratory is an interdisciplinary initiative that includes faculty from Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering, W. P. Carey School of Business, W. P. Carey Information Systems and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

“The Blockchain Research Lab not only offers students early access to blockchain technologies that are transforming the nature of business transactions, it is providing them an opportunity to be part of the design process and a unique opportunity for real-world innovation and design,” said Kyle Squires, dean of the Ira. A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. 

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