Digital Currency

MIT Ups Investment in Bitcoin

A former White House advisor has joined MIT's staff to head up a new digital currency initiative. Bryan Forde, who formerly served as President Obama's advisor on mobile and data innovation, will be working in the Media Lab alongside researchers at MIT and other institutions to explore what's involved in creating a safe, stable and secure digital currency.

The research and academic aspects of the new project will be led by MIT CSAIL's Nickolai Zeldovich, a professor in security and distributed systems.

The new project incorporates work already done by the institute's student Bitcoin Club , as well as the MIT Bitcoin Project, a student initiative that has handed out Bitcoin to undergraduates, run a Bitcoin competition and supported "hack nights" for Bitcoin developers. Last month, the institute hosted the first MIT Bitcoin Expo.

The initiative will have three goals, according to Forde:

  • To conduct research and "engage more students on digital currency topics that address questions about security, stability, scalability, privacy and economics";
  • To convene organizations in the public, private and non-profit sectors to research and test concepts with "high social impact"; and
  • To provide "evidence-based research" to support existing and future policy and standards.

MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito explained in a blog entry that the digital currency initiative "is more about rallying interest within the MIT community than forming a general long-term solution for Bitcoin development and governance."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal and Campus Technology. She can be reached at dian@dischaffhauser.com or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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