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Aussie University Establishes ‘World’s First’ Research Center on the Social Science of Blockchain

Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:59 PM
Samburaj Das
Last Updated March 4, 2021 4:59 PM

The Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) has established the RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub to explore the social science of blockchain technology.

In an announcement  today, RMIT unveiled details of the research center focused on blockchain technology, an innovation that the university believes will become “a core infrastructure for the global economy.” The hub is being proclaimed as the world’s first research center aimed at exploring the social science of blockchain technology.

The research center will be led by Professor Jason Potts from RMIT’s School of Economics, Finance, and Marketing. Professor Ian Palmer, pro-vice chancellor business and vice-president at the university stated:

The RMIT Blockchain Innovation Hub is the only full-service, research, learning and industry-linked blockchain body in the world.

Blockchain, the underlying tech that powers cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, will ‘revolutionize businesses as we know it  in the coming years” with smart contracts and instant payments globally, the university added.

The new hub  will establish a global interdisciplinary research team looking into the economic, cultural and societal implications of blockchain technology. Notably, it will also partner with companies in multiple industries to share research to ensure that students are work-ready upon graduation. The hub will also develop and implement policies to facilitate the future blockchain economy and will also engage with policymakers and government to discuss and debate the social and policy impact of the decentralized technology.

The new blockchain-specific research hub opens within months of the University of Sydney (USYD) developing its ‘Red Belly Blockchain’ with the striking claim of processing 400,000 transactions per second, over 7x that of the world’s biggest payments network – Visa.

Blockchain Hub

Australia is quickly becoming a hotbed for financial technologies (FinTech) with markedly rampant development in blockchain tech in both private and public sectors as well as a number of industries.

The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX), the country’s biggest stock exchange, is among the world’s first securities markets operators to embrace blockchain technology in a move that could completely replace its existing post-trade process. The ASX is currently completing a trial of a blockchain developed by New York-based Digital Asset.

Earlier this year, the Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA), one of the country’s biggest banks, announced the issuance of a blockchain-powered ‘cryptobond’ for the Queensland Treasury Corporation, touted as the world’s first blockchain bond issuance by a government entity.

In August, two pro-bitcoin Australian senators who called on the central bank to legalize cryptocurrencies established a bipartisan blockchain advocacy group in the Australian Parliament. Australian bitcoin adopters saw relief this year after the government – finally – put an end to the double taxation of digital currency transactions.

Tasked by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), Australia is also taking the global lead to develop international blockchain standards and unveiled a roadmap to that end in March this year.

Featured image of RMIT from Shutterstock.