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International pioneer: WU Research Institute for Cryptoeconomics

Early this year, Vi­enna Uni­versity of Eco­nom­ics and Busi­ness es­tab­lished the Re­search In­sti­tute for Cryp­toe­co­nom­ics, which con­cen­trates the in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary ex­pert­ise of ap­prox­im­ately 30 WU re­search­ers from eight dif­fer­ent de­part­ments in the field of block­chain tech­no­logy, crypto­cur­ren­cies, and dis­trib­uted ledger tech­no­logy. It is cur­rently the largest and most di­verse re­search fa­cil­ity of its kind world­wide, and it is re­ceiv­ing con­sid­er­able at­ten­tion as a res­ult.

Cryp­toe­co­nom­ics is a young dis­cip­line with far-reach­ing tech­no­lo­gical and so­cioeco­nomic im­plic­a­tions. This makes the in­ter­dis­cip­lin­ary ap­proach taken at WU par­tic­u­larly rel­ev­ant for the fu­ture. “Given our wide range of De­part­ments and In­sti­tutes at the WU, we have ideal con­di­tions for con­duct­ing re­search into all aspects of cryp­toe­co­nom­ics - from tech­no­logy, eco­nom­ics, busi­ness and law - and for in­flu­en­cing the dir­ec­tion this re­search is tak­ing. The in­sti­tute is the largest and most di­verse re­search fa­cil­ity of its kind world­wide,” says WU Rector Edel­traud Hanap­pi-Eg­ger.

Cryp­toe­co­nomic re­search only just emer­ging in most coun­tries

“We are, of course, keep­ing a close eye on what’s go­ing on in the field in­ter­na­tion­ally. Most re­search in­sti­tu­tions are either still in the devel­op­ment stage, very small, or fo­cus only on one spe­cific crypto/block­chain topic,” says Sh­er­min Vosh­m­gir, the dir­ector of the new re­search in­sti­tute, who also foun­ded the Block­chain­Hub in Ber­lin. The In­sti­tute is co-­dir­ec­ted by Al­fred Taudes who acts as the aca­demic head of the in­sti­tute. The mem­bers of the Re­search In­sti­tute for Crypto Eco­nom­ics are renowned top re­search­ers from a vari­ety of dis­cip­lines.

Wide­spread pub­lic in­terest

In­terest in the re­search in­sti­tute’s activ­it­ies is huge. In the spirit of uni­versit­ies’ third mis­sion, the in­sti­tute’s re­search­ers share their know­ledge and ex­pert­ise not only with the scien­ti­fic com­munity but also with the pub­lic, the me­dia, the gov­ern­ment, and the busi­ness com­munity. “The in­sti­tute has re­acted to the great de­mand for in­form­a­tion with a ser­ies of lec­tures and con­fer­ences – a total of six events in the in­sti­tute’s first five months – and has been able to answer many ques­tions posed by private in­di­vidu­als, stu­dents, le­gis­lat­ors, and busi­nesspeople. The rush shows no signs of slow­ing, and thou­sands of people have at­ten­ded our events. The first Cryp­tomonday, an in-­house re­search sem­inar, had to be re­lo­cated to the WU Ce­re­mo­nial Hall to ac­com­mod­ate the crowd,” re­ports Sh­er­min Vosh­m­gir. Fur­ther activ­it­ies, like the present­a­tion of the Aus­trian block­chain “Artis” or the “Crypto-As­set” and "Block­chain for Science” con­fer­ences have also been very suc­cess­ful. In­sti­tute re­search­ers have pub­lished nu­mer­ous articles and pa­pers, and work­shops with com­pan­ies and pub­lic in­sti­tu­tions have also been or­gan­ized. Mem­bers of the re­search in­sti­tute team have spoken at ex­ternal events on block­chain and cryp­toe­co­nom­ic­s-re­lated top­ics, have been in­ter­viewed by the me­dia, and provide act­ive sup­port to the ad­min­is­trat­ive and gov­ern­ment sect­ors on le­gis­lat­ive mat­ters, for example as mem­bers of the fintech ad­vis­ory coun­cil es­tab­lished by the Fed­eral Min­istry of Fin­ance. The re­search in­sti­tute also sup­ports a Stu­dent Chapter that already has over 100 mem­bers.

Re­search Fo­cus on Sus­tain­ab­il­ity

The in­sti­tute’s first of­fi­cial re­search pro­ject on block­chain tech­no­logy and sus­tain­ab­il­ity, “Pro­gram­ming a Sus­tain­able World,” has been ini­ti­ated in co­oper­a­tion with the RCE Vi­enna (Re­gional Centre of Ex­pert­ise on Edu­ca­tion for Sus­tain­able Devel­op­ment), UNIDO, and other na­tional and in­ter­na­tional gov­ern­mental in­sti­tu­tions and NGOs. A re­search part­ner­ship with the City of Vi­enna is also cur­rently be­ing ne­go­ti­ated.

Re­search In­sti­tute for Cryp­toe­co­nom­ics

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