When the Bitcoin Foundation fell apart and funding for Bitcoin core development was needed, the MIT founded the Digital Currency Initiative to step in. In the years since, the DCI has evolved into a vibrant center of cutting edge research on some of the most difficult challenges around blockchain technology.

DCI Director Neha Narula joined us to discuss the DCI’s position between academia and industry, their policy on conflicts of interest, and their most fascinating research topics.

Topics covered in this episode:

  • How her interest in distributed systems and scaling lead led her to the blockchain space
  • The mission and history of the MIT’s Digital Currency Initiative
  • How cryptocurrency might evolve over time as an academic field
  • The DCI’s project on digital fiat currency
  • How zkLedger could enable privacy-preserving auditing for distributed ledgers
  • Why sharding is unlikely to succeed in the short- and medium term
  • Why Neha is most optimistic about layer 2 approaches to scaling like lightning network
  • The story of discovering and writing about IOTA’s vulnerability
  • How DCI handles conflicts of interest and strives for neutrality

Episode links:

This episode is hosted by Brian Fabian Crain and Sébastien Couture. Show notes and listening options: epicenter.tv/242