The Blockchain Technology Laboratory (BTL) network was created in 2016 through the initiative of R&D technology company IOHK. The BTL at the University of Edinburgh aims at studying all aspects of distributed ledger technology.
The Blockchain Technology Laboratory is led by Prof. Aggelos Kiayias, Chair in Cyber Security and Privacy at the University of Edinburgh and Chief Scientist at IOHK. As Director of the lab, Prof. Kiayias organises collaborations with fellow academics at the university and oversees researchers and students from undergraduate to PhD level in a broad range of topics related to blockchain systems.
A blockchain protocol, initially showcased by the global digital currency Bitcoin, is typified by a publicly accessible and reliable ledger of transactions. Distributed ledger systems can manage relations between stakeholders by encoding them and enforcing them as part of the ledger operation. Fully understanding this technology, in terms of its resilience to attacks, scalability, performance and incentives, remains an important open research and development question that is at the core of BTL’s mission. It is a coordinated effort between academia and industry that aspires to provide advances, both foundational and applied, and ensure that the maximal potential of the technology can be realised in an expedient manner.
The research lab at the University of Edinburgh also serves as the headquarters for IOHK’s growing network of global university partnerships. The Tokyo Institute of Technology and the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens launched similar centres with IOHK in 2017.
Research collaborations are interdisciplinary and include, beyond cryptography and computer science, economics, game theory, regulation and compliance, business, and law. The lab provides a direct connection between developers and researchers, helping to get projects live faster and pursues outreach projects with entrepreneurs in Edinburgh’s vibrant local technology community.