National University of Singapore Forms Academic Blockchain Think Tank

National University of Singapore Forms Academic Blockchain Think Tank

by September 20, 2018

The National University of Singapore (NUS) announced the creation of the “Cryptocurrency Strategy, Techniques, and Algorithms” or CRYSTAL Center, an academic research lab and think tank, aiming to lead as one of the world’s foremost centers for research on blockchains.

The lab is founded by a team of NUS professors. Prof. Prateek Saxena, an assistant professor in the computer science department of NUS, and Prof. Keith Carter, associate professor of practice in the department of information systems and analytics will co-direct the Center located at the School of Computing at NUS.

The CRYSTAL Center aims to provide scientific clarity in shaping technical research ideas in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. The team of experts has been responsible for several academically grounded spinoffs over the last two years in the blockchain ecosystem.

CRYSTAL will initially comprise between five and ten faculty members and several scholars working different research sub-areas. This includes experts on program language design and verification (Prof. Aquinas Hobor and Prof. Ilya Sergey), distributed computing algorithms (Prof. Haifeng Yu), security (Prof. Min Suk Kang and Prof. Prateek Saxena), and market economics (Prof. Keith Carter).

The center will conduct research on scalable consensus protocols, verification & testing techniques, privacy-preserving computation, safe programming language design, applications, fundamentals of trading and analysis of cryptocurrency economics and highly available P2P network designs. These topics touch on many of struggles that the blockchain and cryptocurrency space presently currently faces.

Prateek Saxena

Prateek Saxena

“We hope to make debates in the community more scientifically-grounded. The goal is improve interaction between those armed with intuition and those with scientific rigor,”

Saxena said.

“We hope to draw attention to (unforeseen) scientific challenges, both near-term and long-term.”


CRYSTAL will engage in productive interaction with the industry to draw up new research problems and propose solutions to them. The research center also plans to host a series of structured events to facilitate interaction with the wider community. An annual workshop around three tracks — including the technical research, business and entrepreneurship tracks — is under works.

Previous research from the CRYSTAL center founding team has led to leading companies in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space including high throughput blockchain platform Zilliqa, decentralized liquidity network Kyber Network, enterprise blockchain company Anquan, and the scalability solution for smart contracts called TrueBit.