The prestigious Princeton University has launched an initiative to study the “decentralization of social power” through blockchain technology in an effort to explore the vast depths of its social possibilities.
Ahead of the launch, Bloomberg reported that Princeton’s Venture Forward campaign received $20 million in donations from high-profile alumni Peter Bridger of Fortress Investment, Ethereum co-founder Joseph Lubin, Pantera Capital CEO Daniel Morehead and Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital.
The initiative aims to study the ways in which modern technology, especially blockchain, can disrupt and change social norms, just as other technologies such as the printing press and the Internet have done in the past. A Friday video from the university states that “we are at a very early stage in understanding the opportunities and challenges” associated with cryptocurrency and blockchain.
“The initiative will bring together scientists from different disciplines to understand the potential benefits and pitfalls of blockchain and other technologies, and their potential to disrupt centers of societal power.”
Princeton’s Venture Forward campaign is an engagement and fundraising campaign to build community and alumni engagement, seek critical philanthropic support for the university, and share Princeton’s defining principles and their impact on the world.
The university believes that focusing on decentralization will promote growth in three areas of study. An official release from the university states that it will help to understand “the underlying engineering behind blockchain and related technologies,” discover new uses for blockchain in finance, voting, news and elsewhere, and determine “the implications such technologies could have.” have for society.”
#PrincetonU launches an initiative on blockchain and its potential to disrupt and redistribute power in society, supported by Peter Briger, Jr. ’86, @ethereumJoseph ’87, @dan_pantera ’87 and @novogratz ’87 in a combined large gift to #VentureForward: https://t.co/MZyEfSapL2 pic.twitter.com/w85CHzMPh4— Princeton University (@Princeton) March 10, 2022
Princeton’s School of Engineering and Applied Science will take on the work of the new initiative led by Professor Jaswinder Pal Singh, who has served on the Blockstack PBC Board of Directors since 2019. Singh is embracing a “highly collaborative research approach” to determine how blockchain can “result in the most benefit and the least harm,” a university statement said.
Singh noted that computer scientists have had a long uphill battle to figure out how to achieve consensus “among a dispersed set of entities that don’t trust each other.” He added that while Bitcoin (BTC) has largely solved that problem, decentralization could be another turning point for society.
“The decentralization of trust can be as powerful and transformative as the world wide web. It can transform existing systems and lead to new applications that we can’t even imagine today.”
Related: Cambridge University Launches Crypto Research Project with IMF and BIS
This is the second time in many weeks that Princeton has revealed its continued involvement in the blockchain industry. On March 2, Cointelegraph announced a partnership with Metaverse and NFT project Radio Caca (RACA) and Princeton’s Blockchain Society.