It is possible to use blockchain and related technologies to create a securer, fairer and more transparent decentralized society that transcends national boundaries while respecting local laws and regulations.
WHO WE AREUniversity College Oxford Blockchain Research Centre is an initiative of University College Oxford (Univ), one of the constituent colleges of Oxford University. It is led by Professor Bill Roscoe a fellow of Univ since 1983 and former head of Oxford University Computer Science Department. Bill began his blockchain research at Chieftin Lab in Shenzhen which he set up with his former research student Bangdao Chen at the beginning of 2017. The centre has recruited a number of international experts in blockchain as well as related areas and is looking for more. We regard blockchain as an interdisciplinary topic, involving multiple areas of computer science, mathematics, law, international relations, economics and finance.
University College Oxford (Univ) has created a Blockchain Research Centre under the leadership of its Fellow Professor Bill Roscoe FREng. Univ, having been founded in 1249, lays claim to being the oldest college of Oxford University. Its alumni include the poet Shelley, Bill Clinton, Stephen Hawking, prime minister Clement Attlee, and former British finance minister Philip Hammond, who was a Univ undergraduate in the 1970’s at the same time as Bill.
Bill has been at Univ since arriving there in 1975, a Fellow since 1983 and a full professor since 1997. He filled a number of significant leadership positions at Oxford University including as head of its Computer Science Department 2003-14. Since giving up that position he has taken partial retirement from Oxford and founded Chieftin Lab, Shenzhen alongside his former student Bangdao Chen. The two of them have created a new UK company The Blockhouse Technology Ltd(TBTL), which is the initial sponsor of the new Research Centre. The new blockchain research centre is part of Bill’s and Bangdao’s vision and it will cooperate closely with Chieftin as well as TBTL. Indeed our logo a version of Chieftin’s in Univ colours!
Bill’s background of research in concurrency, automated verification, applied cryptography and payment protocols equipped him both with the background to work on blockchain and a network of leading experts in similar areas. He and they have looked at blockchain afresh through the eyes of their scientific roots. Bill has worked with team to rethink blockchain mining and trust models, to build new models of privacy and escrow in the blockchain, and to create models of fair exchange to support completely secure blockchain-based exchanges.
They have also created radical new approaches to solving the cryptographic challenge that blockchains pose: they need long-term secure cryptography even though cryptanalytic technology is ever developing, including the enormous and difficult to quantify threat posed by quantum computers.
Finally they have been working to understand smart contracts and routes to their effective use and security, including specification and verification.
Both The Blockhouse Technology Ltd and the University College Oxford Blockchain Research Centre are based on the philosophy of “bringing the blockchain to the mainstream”, eliminating the negative qualities that put off reputable organisations from adopting it.
We propose that mainstream public blockchains will use green technology, positively contributing to the environment, and will embrace regulation and rule of law including appropriate KYC technology. We want to realise the dreams of those who see blockchain as the key to maintaining records with complete integrity, efficiency and transparency, and eliminating corruption.
We anticipate a diverse and interdisciplinary group of researchers in the new Lab, working on economic, business and legal aspects of blockchains, as well as the mathematical and scientific method interests of the present team. Our research will in some cases be performed in house at our newly refurbished premises in the heart of North Oxford, and in some cases funded at Oxford or other universities. A list of intended research areas is given below.
If you are interested in working for us, collaborating with us, or funding our research please contact email@example.com
Digital Civilisation: The Next Step
I wrote my digital civilisation manifesto three years ago. Since then the world has been horribly disrupted, firstly by covid and, as write this, by the war in Ukraine. Both have, in their own ways, turned accepted norms upside down and reminded us that the values we all rely on cannot be depended on. Both have emphasised, in different ways, the importance of digital connectivity, the need for dependable information and the dangers of fake news and other forms of misinformation. The pandemic pushed virtually the whole of society online, young and old, whether willing or not.
At the same time these have emphasised the dangers of leaving the construction and management of technology to the tech giants or over-assertive government. We need a worldwide community to stand up for the rights and interests of individuals and ordinary businesses. Our Digital Civilisation DAO is a prototype for this which we hope can evolve into a community-led force for good.