Algorand supports cryptocurrency teaching and research

The School of Computing and Information Systems has partnered with the Algorand Foundation to develop a first-of-its-kind subject in blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies for Masters’ students.

A $400,000 grant from the Algorand Foundation, a leader in decentralized, scalable and secure blockchain infrastructure, to the School of Computing and Information Systems (CIS) marks the first time an Australian university has won an award paid in cryptocurrency.

The grant assisted CIS to develop a new subject in blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies, covering the fundamental ideas from mathematics, economics and computer science that underpin blockchains. The new subject was introduced in Semester One, 2022.

A world expert on the topic, CIS’s Associate Professor Joseph Bonneau, has developed the course.

The new subject has boosted the University’s educational offerings for blockchain-driven innovation. Head of CIS, which is based within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology, Professor Uwe Aicklen says the course will help to meet the need for skills in these new areas.

“Educating our students and community with the knowledge and skills to engineer our future is at the heart of our mission,” Professor Aicklen says.

“The project is being funded in Algorand – an eco-friendly cryptocurrency designed by MIT Professor Silvio Micali – and is an important opportunity for the University to grow our ability to teach and research in an area of growing importance to the global economy.”

The team is endeavouring to provide a blockchain pedagogy that is more engaging and effective than other offerings globally. Alongside the class, they are offering year-long research projects in relevant areas for Master’s level students, building a pathway to doctoral studies for promising candidates
in the class.

The partnership has also explored the potential of blockchains for Australia’s arts communities. Working with the cutting-edge Australian Art Orchestra, the awardees created a website where concert goers redeemed their tickets online to obtain a digital collectable – a Non-Fungible Token (NFT) issued on the Algorand blockchain – with artwork created by one of the orchestra’s

“Building the platform on the Algorand blockchain protocol will ensure that it will be financially sustainable for the Australian Art Orchestra to continue generating NFTs well after the initial phase of the project,” Professor Aicklen says.

The CIS partnership with the Algorand Foundation will continue through 2022 and provide opportunities for artists and students to work with the blockchains to power their projects.

Learn more here.

First published on 3 June 2022.

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