Britain once again the destination for blockchain and cryptocurrency development as Hong Kong firm invests in research lab

Blockchain and cryptocurrency research company IOHK will invest $1 million in a research laboratory at The University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics

The dichotomy between Bitcoin and its anarchistic base of supporting mavericks, track record of instability and eternal incompatibility with the genuine FinTech and financial markets economy and the institutional and academic legitimacy of the intrinsic blockchain database software which underpins it has made a further step today in the form of the first ever investment into an academic institution in Scotland to research and develop the technology.

Britain is the world’s largest financial technology development center, with London not only generating the future methods of conducting interbank and institutional transactions via the large scale in-house development teams that lead the world’s infrastrucutral direction from within the hundreds-strong R&D divisions of major Tier 1 banks, but also from the several start-ups that adorn the Old Street “Silicon Roundabout” area in Shoreditch.

Ranging from OTC trading technology to connectivity, and from banking systems to automated liquidity management solutions, London is the capital of not only the financial markets industry globally, but also for the systems that power it.

Today, this is further reinforced by an investment – albeit a small one – by a cryptocurrency research company into one of Britain’s most prestigious educational institutions.

IOHK, based in Hong Kong, was founded in 2015 by North American technology entrepreneur and mathematician Charles Hoskinson, who attained his alma mater from the Metropolitan Starte University of Denver, and University of Colorado in Boulder where he studied Analytic Number Theory before moving into cryptography.

With Mr Hoskinson as CEO and founder, Jeremy Wood, who has lived in Japan since 2008, studied at Indiana University before his emigration and then became a founding member of the Kansai Bitcoin Meet-up, before joining Etherium in 2013 to manage the company’s operations.

This week, IOHK will invest $1 million into the establishment of a blockchain research laboratory at The University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics.

The company, which employs 70 staff has researchers and developers which work remotely in countries from South America to Japan, where it also has a small office, and according to its management, is already profitable.

The School of Informatics at The University of Edinburgh is one of Britain’s most notable educational establishments for computer science (Nottingham University being another) and related studies and as a result Edinburgh became one of IOHK’s first university partnerships.

The two partners of IOHK are jointly investing a maximum of $1 million in The Blockchain Technology Laboratory, which is the first such industry-academic partnership for the study of blockchain in Scotland.

Professor Aggelos Kiayias, Chair of Cyber Security and Privacy at The University of Edinburgh’s School of Informatics, is director of the lab. He will organise collaborations with fellow academics at the university and oversee researchers and students from undergraduate to PhD level in a broad range of topics related to blockchain.

Recent joint work led by Professor Kiayias involved a new idea using a cryptographic principle called Proof of Stake. This allows blockchains to scale to many more users than they’ve yet been able to handle – an important step in making the technology usable by finance and businesses at large.

This move is a further step which demonstrates the value of blockchain as a method of automating and advancing operations in the institutional financial sector, as bolstered by the several high value investments in R&D by institutions ranging from JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs to PriceWaterhouseCoopers, and marks another distancing of the underpinning blockchain technology from the Bitcoin itself.

Image: Univeristy of Edinburgh’s main campus

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