North Carolina’s Duke University has partnered with
blockchain startup Citizens Reserve to boost blockchain and cryptocurrency awareness
and education through several initiatives including the establishment of a new
lab and a new blockchain-focused educational program, the startup said on
The collaboration will seek to prepare students for the workforce
and provide them with the vital skills and connections needed to become
successful in the industry, in addition to internships and full-time job
The partnership will see Citizens Reserve establish a new
incubation lab on campus for students to work on blockchain projects, host
blockchain-focused events, and connect with other students interested in
learning about the technology. The lab will be equipped with tools, such as
mining rigs, that will allow students to explore various blockchain mechanisms.
Citizens Reserve will also support the university’s efforts
to create a curriculum to form students on the technology through in-class
participation, online forums, and joint meetups, as well as provide access to
work on real blockchain projects, and introductions to blockchain experts.
Campbell Harvey, a professor of finance at Duke University’s
Fuqua School of Business, will serve as the faculty advisor to the program and
will help build out the blockchain course curriculum.
“It is crucial that academic institutions be willing to
collaborate with thought leaders in the blockchain industry,” Harvey said. “Duke
is very proactive in external collaborations and we are excited about the
opportunity for our students to get hands on, industry-relevant experience.”
Duke University’s partnership with Citizens Reserve is the institution’s
latest initiative focusing on blockchain technology. In parallel, the
university is part of Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Institute (UBRI),
a global initiative launched in June 2018 aimed at accelerating academic
research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payment apps.
Besides Duke University, the UBRI initiative counts the
likes of Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, the National
University of Singapore, the University of Sao Paulo, and the Institute for
Fintech Research, Tsinghua University, as partners.
Duke’s Blockchain Lab opened
in November 2016 and is housed under the Innovation and Entrepreneurship
department. The lab acts as a platform for students to learn about and be
involved in blockchain technology. It focuses on education initiatives such as
hosting speakers in the industry and runs course events.
Citizens Reserve is a startup based in the Bay Area led by
former members of Deloitte’s global blockchain practice. Last fall, the company
launched the alpha version of Suku, a supply chain-as-a-service platform built
on blockchain. It has since partnered with Smartrac, a RFIC tag manufacturer
based in Amsterdam, to ensure that products like meat, livestock and vaccines
are tracked and traced along their supply chain routes via unique digital
Citizens Reserve has
raised US$11 million in funding so far.