Blockchain U: Arizona State and Digital Currency Dash Launch Research Lab

August 17, 2017, 2:00 PM UTC

Students at Arizona State University will soon have a chance to get hands-on experience with blockchain, one of the world’s hottest technologies that is used extensively for digital currencies such as bitcoin and Dash.

On Thursday, Dash announced that it is partnering with ASU’s engineering school, among the nation’s largest, to create a “Blockchain Research Lab” to work on blockchain technology and teach about its possibilities. According to a press release:

Initial research will focus on blockchain scalability, best practice, network architecture, environmentally -friendly mining, latency and throughput. Work will commence this month, and as the partnership progresses, may also include on-campus student lessons taught by Dash Core executives.

Blockchain technology, which is software that relies on multiple computers to create a tamper-proof ledger of transactions, is best known for powering bitcoin. But it’s also attracting enormous interest from major industries like shipping and finance, which see its record-keeping system as a means of creating more secure and efficient supply chains.

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Like other crypto-currencies, Dash is both a digital money and a specific type of blockchain. In an interview with Fortune, Dash CEO Ryan Taylor says he believes Dash is superior to bitcoin because its design allows for faster transactions, and because it is built around voting incentives that encourage good governance.

Dash, which began in 2014 as a privacy-focused crypto-currency known as Darkcoin, is considerably less used than bitcoin, and has a value of around $1.5 billion versus more than $50 billion for bitcoin.

Dragan Boscovic, the technical director of the CASCADE research lab at ASU, where the blockchain unit will be housed, said the lab is working with Dash in part because it has many practical uses.

“Dash is the blockchain for the masses, and it’s impressive for several reasons. The instant transactions (InstantSend) is a very important feature that meets the most demanding need of practical business applications,” said Boscovic in a statement.

Other universities, including MIT and Princeton, have undertaken blockchain research but, according to Dash, the new lab will be the first official research entity devoted to actively researching applications for the technology.

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