Nicola Greco

I am working to re-decentralize the webRead more about my work here. PhD student at MIT advised by Tim Berners-Lee and friend at Berkman Center. Once an entrepreneur, a UCL student, a Mozillian.

Idea: Research Coin and futuristic research labs

April 1, 2017

Futuristic research labs

A few months ago, I started asking myself this question:

How can we run a futuristic research lab and fund great research?

This is the type of questions that the excellent people at Protocol Labs Inc. are also trying to tackle. Their strategy as a company and as an industry R&D&D lab is to launch token-based network protocols and use the token sales to fund new research.

Universities are not companies, and it is difficult to fund research from which the outcomes are unknown (or yet to be researched!). Given the incentive power that tokens have in these new blockchain-based decentralized systems, I wonder if we can borrow some ideas from these systems to rethink the way we fund and we run university research labs.

The above question lead to another question:

Can we fund research at MIT by launching an MITCoin?

While I am still trying to answer that question, I have no clear idea about what values an MITCoin could actually bring. Is there a more generic Research Coin that can be used to reward great research?

In the rest of this post, I am describing a sort of proposal for Research Coin. My plan here is to update this blogpost and propose a lot of bad ideas, which I don’t necessarly endorse. Hopefully a great idea will come out of this, if you are interested in the problem or you are running a research lab and want to be part of this conversation, please get in touch with me! :)

Attempt 1: Research Coin




What to do with these tokens? (crazy ideas starting here)


I also have other inexplored ideas:

Future directions

I am struggling to see why Attempt 1 can really work, and I scared it might incentivize new types of behaviour (corrupted peer reviewers!) or even disagreement on who decides, who is in the “closed” circle of conferences and journals.

Help me think about Attempt 2!

- Nicola Greco,
Keep on rocking the decentralized web

Thanks for reading

  • Verifiable Markets on the blockchain Jun 21, 2017
  • Idea: Research Coin and futuristic research labs Apr 01, 2017
  • Idea: Computation Coin Feb 17, 2017
  • Idea: Research Coin and futuristic research labs - April 1, 2017 - Nicola Greco