The FinTech Center at Morgan State University  is pleased to announce  a highly competitive research grant initiative to  encourage research and academic writing in the field of blockchain and related topics.

The grants will be given to high-quality publishable papers that expand the body of knowledge of the  technical, economic, sustainability, and regulatory aspects of blockchain and FinTech.  This  research could explore their impact on different sectors including banking, logistics, and government, as well as the relationship between cryptocurrencies and sustainability.

The interdisciplinary Center for the Study of Blockchain and Financial Technology provides funding to faculty and graduate students to  explore ways  that  blockchain and Fintech technologies can be leveraged to address the financial, social, and economic issues that are currently transforming our world. The Center funds research in a wide variety of disciplines including, but not limited to, law, policy, sociology, accounting, computer science, economics, environment, engineering, health, entrepreneurship, finance, marketing, and supply chain.

Applicants must first submit a letter of intent (LOI)  by February 19, 2021.  The FinTech Center will select  LOIs  based on the suitability of the topic and the scope and methodology of the writing.  Selected researchers must submit a complete paper by August 30, 2021.  The completed papers will undergo a peer-review process and up to five of those papers will be awarded $10,000 each. The competitive funding will be provided to the author(s) in proportion to the amount of work contributed to the final research paper. The announcement of awardees will be made on October 11, 2021.  Awardees are expected to present their research findings at the HBCU Blockchain Research and Innovation Conference Friday, November, 13 and Saturday, November 14, 2021.

The awardee(s) must be directly affiliated with an HBCU in the United States.  Awardee(s) will need to submit a W-9 form to receive the award.

Funded Research Papers

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

Submit New Letter of Intent

Scalability and Privacy in Blockchain Networks...

Value and Monetization in Blockchain Networks...

Policy, Regulations and Contracts...

Cryptocurrencies and Sustainability

The research statements below are a representative sampling of real-world problems that are top of mind for Ripple and its University Blockchain Research Initiative and others in the community working in blockchain, cryptocurrency and global digital payments.   This list of topics is not prescriptive, but it can be used as a resource to develop your own research topic. 

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

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?