by Joseph Young
University College London, a public research university in London and a constituent college of the federal University of London, has launched a student thesis competition on blockchain security and financial cryptography.
Any paper or thesis that has been submitted to and graded by a university will be eligible to participate in the competition sponsored by Finyear, Blockchain (formerly blockchain.info), Clearmatics, and Tramonex.
The competition also welcomes independent researchers and participants from established startups and companies, but individuals that are already well funded by organizations or companies will not be qualified to receive the cash prizes.
The UCL and its sponsoring fintech companies will award two prizes of 5 BTC each: 5 BTC for a contribution to security of bitcoin/blockchain in a Master thesis/student work; and 5 BTC for discovery of attacks bugs or flaws in ZK proofs, ring signatures, ECCs, key management and other advanced cryptographic techniques relevant to blockchain tech.
“This is a grass-roots independent academic effort to crowd-source security research for the benefit of a broader community which intends to protect their financial assets stored in blockchains,” stated UCL. “This is primarily a game which is declared of public interest.”
The competition’s panel of judges includes reputable professors at established educational and research centers from around the world, including University of Amsterdam, University of Luxembourg, UCL, Lille University of Science and Technology, University of Edinburgh, and representatives from financial organizations such as Deutschebank.
The competition will continue until the end of September and students will be able to submit their work on easychair.org.
UCL’s Interest in Bitcoin
Since late 2015, researchers and professors at the UCL began to conduct studies and research on the bitcoin blockchain and its underlying technology. The rising interest among the staff members and researchers at the UCL research facilities led to a gradual increase in awareness of bitcoin on the campus.
In November of 2015, UCL introduced its first bitcoin seminar, discussing the economics and technology behind bitcoin and the merits of using a cryptocurrency with students. Since then, the university continued to launch various seminars on bitcoin, hosting two or three seminars on bitcoin and blockchain technology each month.
The seminars and discussions on bitcoin in the UCL campus became so popular that the researchers at the facility began to work on an alternative cryptocurrency called RSCoin, in an attempt to create a centralized cryptocurrency on a permissioned blockchain for governments and banks to use.