NTU establishes blockchain research centre with Algorand Foundation

NTU establishes blockchain research centre with Algorand Foundation

Part of global network of 10 centres.

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Algorand Foundation, a global blockchain eco-system has partnered with Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU) to establish a new research and education centre at the university, aimed at advancing blockchain technologies, as part of a US$50 million (S$69 million) global programme.

To be known as the Algorand Centre of Excellence at NTU (ACE@NTU), the centre will be one of 10 new Algorand Centres of Excellence (ACE) established around the world earlier this month.

NTU is the only lead organisation in Asia to be selected for this programme and joins other universities such as UC Berkeley, Carnegie Mellon, Yale and Purdue to host an ACE.

The ACE programme aims to establish a global network of blockchain and cryptocurrency research and education centres that advances collaborative, multidisciplinary, and cutting-edge knowledge and technology, NTU said in a statement.

Over the next five years, ACE@NTU is expected to become a centre for blockchain education and research as well as “foster a vibrant ecosystem to advance blockchain development and adoption in Singapore and the region”.

NTU Senior Vice President (Research) Lam Khin Yong said the research conducted at ACE@NTU would be interdisciplinary, ranging from engineering and computer science to economics and business.

“As part of NTU 2025 strategic plan to develop new technologies that can solve some of humanity’s greatest challenges, a key focus for ACE@NTU will be to develop real-world applications based on blockchain in collaboration with industry partners, which will have societal, sustainability and economic impact for Singapore and the region,” he added.

Five projects

According to Prof Lam, there are five initial blockchain research projects, of which one of them is SGVerse – a metaverse platform for smart grid technologies to be tested out across the world.

Two other projects include blockchain implementation for enterprise use, and blockchain-powered machine learning for financial data.

To facilitate exchange and cooperation among leading institutes and to promote the use of blockchain technology among key decision makers and the public, an International Blockchain Technical Alliance will also be set up by ACE@NTU, Prof Lam said.

NTU will also look to nurture new talents in the field through a new Master of Science in Blockchain postgraduate programme and a Minor in Blockchain for undergraduates, he added.

These modules will educate students on Algorand-related technology and content, with hands-on experience on its blockchain platform, promoting awareness and adoption of Algorand technology in the ecosystem, he said.

NTU will establish an “innovation sandbox” for blockchain, providing an environment where appropriate safeguards are in place and specific legal and regulatory requirements are relaxed for new blockchain technologies to be test bedded and validated, Prof Lam said.

Leading these efforts at ACE@NTU will be Director Professor Wen Yonggang, who is the Associate Dean (Research) at NTU’s College of Engineering, and Co-Director Professor Boh Wai Fong, the Deputy Dean at the Nanyang Business School.

Algorand was established by Professor Silvio Micali from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2017.

It is a fully decentralised, secure, and scalable blockchain that provides a common platform for building products and services for a borderless economy.

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