This decision comes shortly after the College hosted a Bitcoin forum, which determined a high level of interest amongst students and faculty. During the forum, Mike Hearn (Bitcoin Core developer) and Dr Will Knottenbelt spoke about cryptocurrencies and the benefits they could offer to both governments and individuals, including the popular blockchain technology.
The Centre will focus its efforts on research grants aimed towards improving the blockchain technology as well as designing solutions for other fields building upon it.
Dr Knottenbelt himself will serve as Director of the Centre, he’s a member of Department of Computing and currently teaches Applied Quantitative Analysis at the College.
Last year, the Imperial College London also hosted a student competition — in partnership with Entrepreneur First — amongst computing, engineering and business students, looking for the best blockchain-related projects and offering prizes of up to £3,000 or grants in the £500 range.
When questioned about cryptocurrencies in regards to the contest, Dr Llewellyn Thomas, a researcher from the Business Department at the College had the following to say:
“We’re in an era of change and we’re all aware of the digital world that is around us. Bitcoins are just one of a new wave of innovations that could have impact on our daily lives. The Imperial/EF Bitcoin Prize Fund hopes to tap into the full potential of these technologies by giving students the opportunity to explore and innovate in the field of blockchains.”