Blockchain effort to upgrade U.S. dollar gets NSF funding

June 15, 2020 //By Rich Pell
Blockchain effort to upgrade U.S. dollar gets NSF funding
Blockchain startup KRNC has announced that the National Science Foundation (NSF), an independent agency of the U.S. federal government, has awarded it a $225,000 grant to design crypto features for the U.S. dollar.

Offered as the first protocol for "forking" fiat currencies like the U.S. Dollar and the Euro, KRNC (Key Retroactivity Network Consensus) is a blockchain protocol that, says the company, "upgrades fiat money with scarce digital gold." It will be distributed free of charge to users in proportion to their already existing wealth, so anyone who holds dollars can interact with decentralized applications without having to purchase cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ether.

"KRNC takes the positives of Bitcoin and adds them to money the public already owns," says Clint Ehrlich, the project's chief scientist. "It’s the virtual equivalent of taping gold to everyone's dollar bills."

The blockchain employs a new technology - Proof-of-Balance - which was inspired by formal mathematical models of animal communication. Current protocols use older technologies - i.e., Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake - that require an "honest majority" for security, while Proof-of-Balance, says the company, eliminates that requirement, allowing a blockchain to remain secure even if an adversary outspends all honest protocol participants.

"This is the first blockchain protocol with asymmetric resistance to Sybil attacks ," says Anna Guzova, KRNC's lead mathematician. "It's a paradigm shift – one that unlocks thousands of times more reliability and performance."

To receive NSF support, KRNC was required to undergo anonymous peer review by a panel of outside experts. Based on their evaluation of the protocol’s intellectual merit and commercial potential, NSF awarded a phase-one R&D grant to create the KRNC blockchain.

KRNC is being funded through America’s Seed Fund, an NSF program that awards $200 million a year to startups commercializing high-impact scientific discoveries. For more, see " KRNC: A Hard Fork of Fiat Money ."


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