The prestigious Princeton University has launched an initiative to explore the “decentralization of social power” using blockchain technology in an effort to explore the enormous depth of its social potential.
Prior to the launch, Bloomberg reported that the Princeton Venture Forward campaign had received $20 million in donations from notable alumni Peter Bridger of Fortress Investment, Ethereum founder Joseph Lubin, Pantera Capital CEO Daniel Morehead, and Mike Novogratz of Galaxy Digital.
This initiative is designed to explore how new technologies, especially blockchain, can disrupt and change social norms, just like other technologies that made the printing press and the Internet of the past. Friday’s video from the university states that we are “very early in the process of understanding the opportunities and challenges” associated with cryptocurrency and blockchain.
“The initiative will bring together researchers from different disciplines to understand the potential advantages and disadvantages of blockchain and other technologies, as well as their potential to disrupt centers of social power.”
The Princeton Venture Forward campaign is a fundraising and commitment campaign aimed at increasing community and alumni engagement, seeking critical philanthropic support for the University, and spreading the defining principles of Princeton and its impact on the world.
The university believes that the focus on decentralization will lead to growth in three areas of study. The university said in an official statement that this would help it understand “the infrastructure behind blockchain and related technologies,” discover new ways to use blockchain in finance, voting, news, and more, and identify “the consequences this technology can have on society.”
The university said the new initiative will be taken over by Princeton School of Engineering and Applied Sciences led by Professor Jasvinder Pal Singh, who has been on the Board of Directors of Blockstack PBC since 2019. “It results in the greatest benefit and the least harm,” the university said.
Singh commented that computer scientists face a long battle to figure out how to reach a consensus “among a distributed group of machines that do not trust each other.” He added that while Bitcoin (BTC) has largely solved this problem, decentralization could be the next turning point for society.
“Decentralizing trust can be as powerful and transformative as the World Wide Web. It can transform existing systems and lead to new applications we cannot even imagine today.”