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Hong Kong PolyU launches research lab on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies

Hong Kong PolyU launches research lab on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies

The
Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) recently
joined forces
with Monash University and Melbourne-based
investment institution CollinStar Capital  to establish the first university-industry
joint research laboratory on blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies in Hong
Kong.

Advances and applications of blockchain technology is
particularly relevant to Hong Kong, given the city’s large financial sector
which accounts for 18% of its GDP and 6% of employment. The Hong Kong
Government is also determined to develop the city into a FinTech hub of the
region. Other than FinTech, blockchain technology can also be applied to
various domains such as healthcare, logistics, governance and identity
management, thus bringing transformative effects on society as a whole.

Despite its potentials, blockchain technology has been
facing rising challenges in privacy leakage, control against misuses, hacking
security threats, etc. The challenges will accelerate in face of attacks by powerful
quantum computers, which may become sophisticated for real application within a
decade.

This 3-year, multi-million-dollar collaboration aims to
significantly enhance the efficiency, privacy protection and security of
blockchain technologies against attacks from quantum computing.

PolyU's research team led by Dr Allen Au, Assistant
Professor of Department of Computing, will work on enhancing the efficiency of blockchain
technology while addressing two key areas of concerns: privacy and security. 

Dr Au said the team will enhance technologies such as
Linkable Ring Signatures system and Zero-knowledge Proof system, which enable
efficient proving of the validity of online transactions without leaking
private information, such as user identity, transaction amount and account
balance. They will also develop protection systems that can be operated on
today's computers yet secured against attacks from quantum computers.

To enhance accountability measures against misuse of cryptocurrency
such as  money laundering, ransom payment
request, while still safeguarding anonymity and authenticity, the team will
also develop mechanisms for introducing measures such as setting
spending/transfer limit, revealing identity under court order, suspending
accounts involved in suspicious transactions, etc. These measures are also
applicable to other types of blockchain operations and transactions beyond
cryptocurrencies.

Dr David Chung (Credit: Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

Officiating at the opening ceremony of the Joint Laboratory,
Dr David Chung, Under Secretary for Innovation and Technology said the advancement
of Hong Kong as a leading blockchain development centre requires concerted
efforts from the industry, academia and the Government.

“Positioning itself as the leading research and technology
advancement centre in Asia-Pacific in the focused areas of blockchain and
cryptocurrency, I am confident that the joint laboratory will help foster the
development of these technologies in Hong Kong,” he said.

Ir Professor Alex Wai, Vice President (Research Development)
of PolyU, said the University is in the leading role of blockchain and
cryptocurrency research in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

"By joining hands with Monash University and Collinstar
Capital, we will continue to drive the advancement in blockchain ecosystem.
Through this collaboration, PolyU is devoted in making the cyberspace safer,
more convenient and effective for business and financial services. We believe
this collaboration will make influential change to the way of business and our
living in the future." 

Credit: Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Recently, PolyU also formed
another university-industry collaboration with a Hong Kong-based financial
institution group to set up the AMTD FinTech Centre of PolyU Faculty of
Business.

The launch ceremony of the FinTech Centre on PolyU campus
was officiated by Mr Nicholas W. Yang, GBS, JP, Secretary for Innovation and
Technology of the Hong Kong.

The FinTech Centre will conduct FinTech related research,
consultancy and training projects for the financial industry, provide support
to start-ups, facilitate exchanges among local and overseas experts, and offer
FinTech education for students, financial personnel and the public.

In addition to the around 200 academics in the Faculty
of Business, the FinTech Centre will also have cross-disciplinary support from
experts of other PolyU faculties and departments including computing,
engineering and applied mathematics.

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