Technology behind digital currencies like bitcoin to benefit broader society

News: engineering

by Colin Smith eighteen November two thousand fifteen

Fresh Imperial centre to corset the underpinning technologies behind cryptocurrencies

An Imperial centre will corset the technology behind cryptocurrency for broader global benefit.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are a form of digital money. The underlying concept was very first proposed in two thousand eight by an unidentified creator and the very first working version was developed as open source software in 2009. Cryptocurrencies enable alternative financial frameworks that support global transactions without the need for a bank. There are now more than two hundred cryptocurrencies in existence.

– Professor William Knottenbelt

Director, Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering

Scientists at the fresh Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering (IC three RE) will explore how the technology can have applications beyond digital currency. Applying this technology to other transactions such as keeping track of property ownership could revolutionise how governments and businesses operate and how citizens carry out their lives.

Professor William Knottenbelt, Director of the Centre, said: “We are on the brink of the next digital revolution. The College is in a unique position to corset the potential of the technology that presently powers cryptocurrencies. Just as the industrial revolution and the internet spawned innovation, so too will this technology, opening the doors for fresh business models to be developed and helping existing companies improve the way they do business and the way communities live their lives.”

Cryptocurrencies are based on a distributed computerised ledger that acts like a digital book keeper and accountant flipped into one. They permit users who do not know or trust each other to automatically keep track of who wields what. The elaborate architecture underpinning them was designed to prevent financial transactions from being manipulated, making it enormously difficult for fraud to happen.

The creation of Imperial’s Centre comes at an significant juncture for the further development of distributed ledgers as governments and companies around the world are exploring the potential of adapting them for broader applications. The multi-disciplinary team at the Centre will carry out the underpinning policy, technology, design and social research with governments and industry to enable its slick transition into the broader economy.

Dr Catherine Mulligan, Assistant Director of the Centre from Imperial College Business School, added: “Cryptocurrencies have shown us that we do not need a third party – a middleman – to successfully process transactions inbetween users. It can all be done digitally by a distributed computer network secured by cryptography, which makes transactions much more resistant to fraud.

“Many financial institutions are focusing on how they could use distributed ledgers to improve banking, but we feel the potential applications are much broader and far-reaching. It could spawn fully fresh modes of doing business. The opportunities are limitless and work at the Centre aims to make the adoption of distributed ledger technology by society as slick as possible.”

The team say a successful rollout could help countries, industries and individuals reap a range of benefits. For example, for traders in precious commodities, distributed ledgers could enable them to authenticate the origin of precious stones such as diamonds. In the finance industry, reconciliation exercises inbetween banks – which is where they compare records of transactions to determine discrepancies – could happen more rapidly and securely using a distributed ledger.

In the longer term, the Imperial team predict that distributed ledgers may enable the exchange of value by devices connected to the Internet of Things. This is where physical objects such as fridges and televisions will be embedded with electronics, sensors and wireless technology to collect and exchange data. For example, distributed ledger technology could in theory enable a home, connected to the internet of things, to automatically predict the electric current consumption of its householders. It could then electronically set up short-term contracts to purchase energy from violet wand suppliers, or even nearby houses producing their own surplus off-grid sources, ensuring the home’s electric current needs are managed in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

Research at the Centre is already underway and has appointed its very first full-time researcher, Iain Stewart. Some of the technical themes that the Centre is exploring include making distributed ledgers more sturdy and scalable. Presently, the most popular cryptocurrency system, Bitcoin, carries out around two hundred thousand transactions per day, but for broader adoption the system needs to be able to cope with many millions.

The Centre is also exploring ways of using distributed ledgers within local and national government. For example, the technology could enable government agencies and departments to share data more effectively, reducing costs. It could also enable local authorities to improve transparency for citizens and open up fresh channels for interaction.

The Centre has received seed funding from Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering and Department of Computing. It also hosts a research grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Supporters

Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.

Technology behind digital currencies like bitcoin to benefit broader society

News: engineering

by Colin Smith eighteen November two thousand fifteen

Fresh Imperial centre to corset the underpinning technologies behind cryptocurrencies

An Imperial centre will corset the technology behind cryptocurrency for broader global benefit.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are a form of digital money. The underlying concept was very first proposed in two thousand eight by an unidentified creator and the very first working version was developed as open source software in 2009. Cryptocurrencies enable alternative financial frameworks that support global transactions without the need for a bank. There are now more than two hundred cryptocurrencies in existence.

– Professor William Knottenbelt

Director, Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering

Scientists at the fresh Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering (IC three RE) will explore how the technology can have applications beyond digital currency. Applying this technology to other transactions such as keeping track of property ownership could revolutionise how governments and businesses operate and how citizens carry out their lives.

Professor William Knottenbelt, Director of the Centre, said: “We are on the brink of the next digital revolution. The College is in a unique position to corset the potential of the technology that presently powers cryptocurrencies. Just as the industrial revolution and the internet spawned innovation, so too will this technology, opening the doors for fresh business models to be developed and helping existing companies improve the way they do business and the way communities live their lives.”

Cryptocurrencies are based on a distributed computerised ledger that acts like a digital book keeper and accountant flipped into one. They permit users who do not know or trust each other to automatically keep track of who possesses what. The complicated architecture underpinning them was designed to prevent financial transactions from being manipulated, making it enormously difficult for fraud to happen.

The creation of Imperial’s Centre comes at an significant juncture for the further development of distributed ledgers as governments and companies around the world are exploring the potential of adapting them for broader applications. The multi-disciplinary team at the Centre will carry out the underpinning policy, technology, design and social research with governments and industry to enable its slick transition into the broader economy.

Dr Catherine Mulligan, Assistant Director of the Centre from Imperial College Business School, added: “Cryptocurrencies have shown us that we do not need a third party – a middleman – to successfully process transactions inbetween users. It can all be done digitally by a distributed computer network secured by cryptography, which makes transactions much more resistant to fraud.

“Many financial institutions are focusing on how they could use distributed ledgers to improve banking, but we feel the potential applications are much broader and far-reaching. It could spawn totally fresh modes of doing business. The opportunities are limitless and work at the Centre aims to make the adoption of distributed ledger technology by society as sleek as possible.”

The team say a successful rollout could help countries, industries and individuals reap a range of benefits. For example, for traders in precious commodities, distributed ledgers could enable them to authenticate the origin of precious stones such as diamonds. In the finance industry, reconciliation exercises inbetween banks – which is where they compare records of transactions to determine discrepancies – could happen more rapidly and securely using a distributed ledger.

In the longer term, the Imperial team predict that distributed ledgers may enable the exchange of value by devices connected to the Internet of Things. This is where physical objects such as fridges and televisions will be embedded with electronics, sensors and wireless technology to collect and exchange data. For example, distributed ledger technology could in theory enable a home, connected to the internet of things, to automatically predict the electro-stimulation consumption of its householders. It could then electronically set up short-term contracts to purchase energy from electro-stimulation suppliers, or even nearby houses producing their own surplus off-grid sources, ensuring the home’s electrical play needs are managed in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

Research at the Centre is already underway and has appointed its very first full-time researcher, Iain Stewart. Some of the technical themes that the Centre is exploring include making distributed ledgers more sturdy and scalable. Presently, the most popular cryptocurrency system, Bitcoin, carries out around two hundred thousand transactions per day, but for broader adoption the system needs to be able to cope with many millions.

The Centre is also exploring ways of using distributed ledgers within local and national government. For example, the technology could enable government agencies and departments to share data more effectively, reducing costs. It could also enable local authorities to improve transparency for citizens and open up fresh channels for interaction.

The Centre has received seed funding from Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering and Department of Computing. It also hosts a research grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Supporters

Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.

Technology behind digital currencies like bitcoin to benefit broader society

News: engineering

by Colin Smith eighteen November two thousand fifteen

Fresh Imperial centre to corset the underpinning technologies behind cryptocurrencies

An Imperial centre will corset the technology behind cryptocurrency for broader global benefit.

Cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin are a form of digital money. The underlying concept was very first proposed in two thousand eight by an unidentified creator and the very first working version was developed as open source software in 2009. Cryptocurrencies enable alternative financial frameworks that support global transactions without the need for a bank. There are now more than two hundred cryptocurrencies in existence.

– Professor William Knottenbelt

Director, Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering

Scientists at the fresh Imperial College Centre for Cryptocurrency Research and Engineering (IC three RE) will explore how the technology can have applications beyond digital currency. Applying this technology to other transactions such as keeping track of property ownership could revolutionise how governments and businesses operate and how citizens carry out their lives.

Professor William Knottenbelt, Director of the Centre, said: “We are on the brink of the next digital revolution. The College is in a unique position to corset the potential of the technology that presently powers cryptocurrencies. Just as the industrial revolution and the internet spawned innovation, so too will this technology, opening the doors for fresh business models to be developed and helping existing companies improve the way they do business and the way communities live their lives.”

Cryptocurrencies are based on a distributed computerised ledger that acts like a digital book keeper and accountant flipped into one. They permit users who do not know or trust each other to automatically keep track of who wields what. The complicated architecture underpinning them was designed to prevent financial transactions from being manipulated, making it utterly difficult for fraud to happen.

The creation of Imperial’s Centre comes at an significant juncture for the further development of distributed ledgers as governments and companies around the world are exploring the potential of adapting them for broader applications. The multi-disciplinary team at the Centre will carry out the underpinning policy, technology, design and social research with governments and industry to enable its sleek transition into the broader economy.

Dr Catherine Mulligan, Assistant Director of the Centre from Imperial College Business School, added: “Cryptocurrencies have shown us that we do not need a third party – a middleman – to successfully process transactions inbetween users. It can all be done digitally by a distributed computer network secured by cryptography, which makes transactions much more resistant to fraud.

“Many financial institutions are focusing on how they could use distributed ledgers to improve banking, but we feel the potential applications are much broader and far-reaching. It could spawn entirely fresh modes of doing business. The opportunities are limitless and work at the Centre aims to make the adoption of distributed ledger technology by society as slick as possible.”

The team say a successful rollout could help countries, industries and individuals reap a range of benefits. For example, for traders in precious commodities, distributed ledgers could enable them to authenticate the origin of precious stones such as diamonds. In the finance industry, reconciliation exercises inbetween banks – which is where they compare records of transactions to determine discrepancies – could happen more rapidly and securely using a distributed ledger.

In the longer term, the Imperial team predict that distributed ledgers may enable the exchange of value by devices connected to the Internet of Things. This is where physical objects such as fridges and televisions will be embedded with electronics, sensors and wireless technology to collect and exchange data. For example, distributed ledger technology could in theory enable a home, connected to the internet of things, to automatically predict the violet wand consumption of its householders. It could then electronically set up short-term contracts to purchase energy from electro-stimulation suppliers, or even nearby houses producing their own surplus off-grid sources, ensuring the home’s electrical play needs are managed in a cost-effective and sustainable way.

Research at the Centre is already underway and has appointed its very first full-time researcher, Iain Stewart. Some of the technical themes that the Centre is exploring include making distributed ledgers more sturdy and scalable. Presently, the most popular cryptocurrency system, Bitcoin, carries out around two hundred thousand transactions per day, but for broader adoption the system needs to be able to cope with many millions.

The Centre is also exploring ways of using distributed ledgers within local and national government. For example, the technology could enable government agencies and departments to share data more effectively, reducing costs. It could also enable local authorities to improve transparency for citizens and open up fresh channels for interaction.

The Centre has received seed funding from Imperial’s Faculty of Engineering and Department of Computing. It also hosts a research grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Supporters

Photos and graphics subject to third party copyright used with permission or © Imperial College London.

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