Two professors have launched the nascent Center for Blockchain Research (CBR), Stanford Engineering announced in a press release on Wednesday. The center, which seeks to foster scholarship on blockchain technology and its societal implications, brings together faculty and students from engineering, law and economics to perform technical research supporting the “thriving ecosystem” of blockchain.
The CBR is co-directed by Dan Boneh and David Mazières, both professors in the computer science department. Other inaugural faculty include computer science professors Alex Aiken, David Dill, John Mitchell ’78 and Tim Roughgarden and law and business professor Joseph Grundfest Ph.D. ’78 J.D. ’78.
“Blockchains will become increasingly critical to doing business globally,” said Boneh in the RAHIM ULLAH/The Stanford Dailypress release. “Stanford should be at the forefront of efforts to improve, apply and understand the many ripple effects of this technology.”
In addition to developing a set of best practices for the industry, the CBR also works to create courses related to the applications, regulation and management of blockchain technology.
In Autumn 2018, Boneh and Mazières will jointly teach CS251: “Cryptocurrencies and Blockchain Technologies,” a class looking at cryptocurrencies with a focus on Bitcoin and Ethereum.
“[Blockchain] 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,” Mazières said.
The center’s initial operations are underway, with sponsorship from various blockchain-related groups including the Ethereum Foundation, Protocol Labs, Interchain Foundation, OmiseGO, Dfinity and Polychain.
Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin tweeted that he is excited to support the CBR.
Boneh expressed his confidence in the potential for a wide range of scholarship in the quickly-growing field. The rising popularity of blocktrain technology has raised questions about scaling, security and reliability that the CBR hopes to address.
“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.”