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.
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