On Campus: Democratizing the World’s Economy With Blockchain

This article was first published on Insights – Ripple

“It just started to sprout like mushrooms,” remarks Professor Shafi Goldwasser on the emergence of blockchain technology. “I was interested in understanding its significance as a platform for collaboration, and what its impact would be on the economy.” 

This 2012 Turing Award Laureate is a professor of computer science and the director of the Simons Institute for the Theory of Computing at UC Berkeley. She shared her thoughts on the potential for blockchain as part of a conversation about her organization’s work with Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI). 

She explains that blockchain is a platform that can enable the broadcasting of anything—news, events, transactions, deeds, contracts, agreements—in an immutable fashion, all around the world, in just seconds. She believes that blockchain could ultimately transform and democratize the world’s economy. 

Professor Goldwasser expects blockchain will help to optimize a wide range of industries. Transportation, with its competing approaches like Lyft, Uber and public transit, is a prime example because the decentralized blockchain model makes it possible to integrate all options while extracting the best performance from each. 

To help people understand the technology behind blockchain and its future implications, Professor Goldwasser considers UBRI an important teaching and collaboration resource. At the Simons Institute, she is leveraging UBRI to produce collaborative research programs, including 2019’s “Proofs, Consensus and Decentralizing Society.” 

Additionally, funds from the UBRI initiative have backed 12 student fellowships, 20 research projects, three new blockchain focused courses and ten events including those hosted by Blockchain @ Berkeley and She256.

Also, the UBRI program helped launch The Berkeley Blockchain Xcelerator, an entrepreneurship training module to educate, mentor, provide resources and exposure for global scholars, entrepreneurs and startup companies. The UBRI initiative is also providing support for the Simons Institute Lattices Workshops. 

In 2019, UC Berkeley ...

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