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Curtin Uni launches cryptocurrency-based PhD scholarship fund

29 Jul 2019
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New Zealand-based blockchain studio Centrality will be one of the driving forces behind an Australian university’s initiative to offer a cryptocurrency PhD Scholarship Fund.

Curtin University launched the fund to to enable businesses and individuals to donate cryptocurrency to PhD students working in the areas of blockchain, cybersecurity, and data analytics.

The fund uses a web 3.0 payment system designed by Centrality and partner Nelnet International. The system will accept donations through the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains.

“By establishing the Cryptocurrency PhD Scholarship Fund, Curtin will provide the opportunity for entrepreneurs who have realised significant benefits from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum to give something back to these communities,” explains Curtin University associate deputy vice-chancellor research excellence, Professor Garry Allison.

Curtin University’s commercialisation director Rohan McDougall says the fund will also help to develop blockchain’s applications.

“Cryptocurrencies remain volatile but interest in the application of blockchain technology continues to grow. Further work is required to identify and develop those applications that are best suited to the attributes of blockchain.”

Centrality will also make its Web 3.0 platform and developer toolkits available for students and researchers. This will enable the Curtin community to use real-world software to build decentralised applications that leverage the latest technology, like Industry 4.0.

“As cutting edge technology like Web 3.0 and Industry 4.0 rapidly evolves, the agreement with Curtin will ensure that graduates are able to use up-to-the-minute skills to contribute to a future which focuses on digital equality and putting consumers back in control of their data,” comments Centrality’s group general manager Jerome Faury.

“Linking a blockchain app development platform to helping blockchain and tech-focused PhD students pay their way with cryptocurrencies may seem a little meta.  But it makes perfect sense to Centrality, engaging with old use cases for blockchain, like crypto assets, will help them develop new ways to use blockchain to fix today’s tech problems.”

“These graduates won’t just research technology, they’ll contribute positively to building a more equitable digital economy.”

Nelnet International managing director David Heffernan says that Nelnet International is excited to be partnering with Curtin and Centrality, to deliver blockchain-specific applications.

“Curtin continues to be a lead innovator in higher education and we are looking forward to accepting cryptocurrency through our payments platform to support this research initiative,” says Heffernan.

Professor Allison says the scholarship fund was a great opportunity for investors in cryptocurrencies to help nurture a new crop of PhD graduates to further develop these new technologies.