The Center for the Study of Blockchain and Financial Technology at Morgan State University is pleased to offer competitive seed grants to faculty to encourage research and academic writing about blockchain technology, crypto-assets, digital payments, and related topics.

The interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Blockchain and Financial Technology provides funding to faculty and graduate students to explore the tools and techniques necessary to assess and develop scalable, cost-effective, secure, and compliant solutions.

The Center funds research in a wide variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, the arts, law, sociology, accounting, computing, economics, engineering, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, supply chain, etc.

Scholarship in the technical, economic, and regulatory aspects of affected industries such as the financial and banking sector, logistics sector, and government sector are being funded. For example, The Center has funded research on blockchain-based systems, ICOs, IEOs, IFOs, and global payment systems. Research on how to leverage the technology and how to apply these new tools and techniques to vast amounts of financial data has the potential to profoundly impact the financial markets.

The Center’s research topics are driven by the faculty’s intellectual curiosity as well as business and industry needs. Potential research areas of interest for the Center include:

Sciences Related

Data Science
Algorithmic Protocols
Network Analysis
Software Engineering

Business Related

Digital Derivatives
Digital Market Structure and Liquidity
Market Liquidity
Game Theory
Adoption
Regulatory Impact

Interdisciplinary

Decentralization
Distributed Systems
Incentive Structures

UBRI is interested in the following research topics. The research statements below are a representative sampling of real-world problems that are top of mind for Ripple and the ILP/XRP ledger teams, as well as for the broader community working in blockchain, cryptocurrency and global digital payments. This list of topics is not intended to be prescriptive, but can be used as a resource for universities as they develop their own research strategies within the framework of the University Blockchain Research Initiative and beyond. This list is preliminary; the intent is to use it as a working document that can be modified based on university partner feedback and the introduction of new topics, both by Ripple and by university faculty and students. This is not a comprehensive list.

Can consensus protocols be built with block finality and asynchronous safety with littIe-0(N2) communication?

What are possible attacks on Cobalt/ XRP LCP as described in respective papers? For example: frontrunning; What are possible mitigations?

How would you graph and analyze blockchain transactions using wallet identification, transaction
clustering, etc.?
What are useful ways to measure decentralization? What is the effective decentralization of the major
assets in the digital space?

Are there novel deanonymizing attacks on anonymity coins?

Are there any novel derivative structures on digital assets that can leverage cryptography/multiparty
agreement protocols?
What are the best structures to incentivize price discovery and deep liquidity on distributed exchanges, where time-priority is poorly defined?

What are ways of measuring the utility of digital assets in the market? How much should crypto-crypto trading volume be weighed compared with crypto-fiat volume? What are the best ways to measure the flow of fiat into and out of the digital asset ecosystem?

What factors move or correlate with digital assets? Is the digital market a leading or trailing indicator for other asset classes?

Are there novel attacks on various cryptocurrencies that are cheap but possibly not incentive
compatible (i.e., if I’m willing to pay some cost to attack the network, how small would that cost be?)?

Given XRP’s consensus mechanism, what are the most efficient ways to scale the ledger?

Are tokens isolated from fiat? Is there an incentive structure for cryptocurrencies that accounts for the fact that tokens aren’t isolated from one another?

Evaluate the incentives in emerging blockchain networks (proof of work, Byzantine fault tolerant (XRP),
etc.) on a variety of fact
What assumptions about the adversary are reasonable for blockchain consensus protocols (e.g., how
important is safety/liveness under unbounded asynchrony? Is adaptive security really needed for PoS?)
What is the price impact of an order/execution on open order books? How does this evolve as markets
become more liquid?

How do adoption curves take place globally (e.g. : December 2017 run-up in cryptocurrencies)? What
adoption models make sense for the new digital asset class and where are we in terms of these
models?

How does Metcalfe’s Law apply to global payment systems/networks? What is the strength of
different digital asset ecosystems based on different network analyses?

Given the trajectory of the internet, what network topology should be expected for lnterledger connectors?

What can be learned from TCP congestion and flow control strategies for lnterledger transport protocols like STREAM?

What are the implications of sending data over the lnterledger as a replacement for the internet itself? Could internet SDN controllers be repurposed for lnterledger?

Large scale testing of lnterledger: How does lnterledger perform in large scale distributed simulations?

How can privacy be preserved while sending micropayments through lnterledger (e.g. lnterledger VPNs or TOR over ILP)?

What is the overall regulatory landscape within the digital asset space and what is their impact on local/global perception of these new technologies?

What are the potential downstream impacts (on banking, exchanges, payment companies, etc.) of different regulatory stances of major economies (India, Japan, Brazil, US, etc.)?

How would offline payments be implemented for Interledger? (Similar to how credit cards do offline payments)

What architecture or tools (FPGAs) could be used to build super-fast Interledger connectors?

List of Research Projects funded for the Spring of 2019

The Center encourages research proposals from participating HBCUs. Proposals will be reviewed on an on-going basis. Guidelines for Proposals.