PIs Elaine Shi and Gün Sirer, with Berkeley PI Down Song, have received an NSF Large Collaborative grant on the science and applications of crypto-currency, leveraging cryptography, game theory, programming languages and systems security techniques to establish a rigorous scientific foundation for crypto-currencies and to build trustworthy infrastructure to enable their next generation applications. This work is key because crypto-currencies are a billion-dollar market, and hundreds of companies are entering this space, promising exciting new markets and eco-systems; but most crypto-currencies rely on heuristic designs without a solid appreciation of the necessary security properties, or any formal basis upon which strong assurance of such properties might be achieved.

Shi and Sirer have been quoted  about the grant in Bitcoin Magazine, Coindesk, and CoinTelegraph; the latter described the award as "probably the [NSF's] broadest effort in the Bitcoin space to date".

Co-PIs on the grant are Michael Hicks, David van Horn, and Jonathan Katz of UMD.