Cryptocurrency Research Group launches, Ethereum co-founder on board

The co-founder of Ethereum Vitalik Buterin is launching a Cryptocurrency Research Group (CCRG) to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing blockchain technology.

By Tom Rodgers

Vitalik Buterin has partnered with CCRG founding directors Aaron White, a professor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York, and Kieren James-Lubin, a PhD student in mathematical physics at the University of Berkley in California.

Details on the research group remain scant.

The CCRG website’s news section still contains placeholder text and neither White nor Buterin responded to a request for comment for this story.

However, it is understood that the group will focus on solving the main three issues associated with blockchain: privacy, safety and scalability.

CCRG will not immediately seek outside funding, saying it is in the early stages of its bootstrap process and will soon release details about its inaugural research conference.

A statement on the group’s website says “Decentralized consensus technologies provide, for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe, secure, public, and irrefutable. If adopted, these technologies could fundamentally transform how the world operates, introducing a range of efficiencies to commerce, finance, law, and insurance, and enabling the creation of the next generation of the World Wide Web.”

But some of the biggest blockchain challenges remain outstanding with no clear way forward.

The scalability of transactions, for example, is a major issue preventing cryptocurrencies from becoming mainstream.

Blockchains grow larger as the number of transactions increases, and slower verification also means larger transaction fees.

Buterin’s Ethereum currently processes transactions at around 15 per second, double the rate of Bitcoin. But this is compared to Elon Musk’s PayPal, which can process 200 transactions per second, and traditional credit and banking companies like VISA, which can verify 2,000 transactions per second.

Buterin has hinted that a solution called ‘sharding’ will be implemented into his own Ethereum cryptocurrency to solve this problem.

It involves a technique where the blockchain is split into smaller chains called “shards” which can process transactions much more quickly.

As for the other founders, Prof White notes his research interests as the ramifications of blockchain on property transfer and digital contracts.

As the director of legal research project the Cardozo Blockchain Project, Prof White urged the US government to develop rules to limit consumer risk on Initial Coin Offerings while allowing firms to access the decentralised capital.

He told CrowdFundInsider “if we do not, there is a risk the tech will not be developed here and developed abroad.”

James-Lubin’s Linkedin profile  lists him as President of Brooklyn-based firm BlockApps, where Prof White is also an advisor.

BlockApps, which pitches itself as Blockchain-as-as-Service, attempts to encourage developers to make blockchain-based apps for business use. It aims to address issues in the use of smart contracts for business supply chains, as well as looking at privacy and safety for companies using the blockchain to make business records uneditable and to move processes online.

While there is little further information available on the CCRG, the group is expected to harness research from all over the world to face these issues of privacy, safety and scalability.

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