Ian Edwards, writing for Bitsonline, reports that the Tezos Foundation, the organization which controls the $232 million USD raised during Tezos’ 2017 ICO, has announced it has issued grants to four research institutions: Cornell University; the University of Beira Interior; Decet Consulting; and France-IOI. The grants are the second group announced by the Tezos Foundation and come less than a month after it began requesting proposals for grants. The amounts of the grants were undisclosed.
The grants will fund a wide range of work, from high-level research work on methods to scale blockchain networks to providing educational tools and content for students. The grant to Cornell University will go to a team led by Associate Professor Emin Gün Sirer, who is an advisor of the Tezos project and the Co-Director of the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Smart Contracts. He has done work on many aspects of computer science, including distributed systems and a virtual currency called Karma. He spoke to Bitsonline after giving a presentation at the Satoshi’s Vision Conference in March, where he weighed in on the bitcoin scaling debate. His two-year grant from the Tezos Foundation will focus on sharding in blockchain protocols, which the Cornell team may apply its work to Tezos.
Tezos Foundation is now looking to build out its platform’s ecosystem.
The grants to both Decet Consulting and France-IOI will both involve education programs. Decet, a research institution founded by Gordon Speagle of the College of Engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will develop documentation for the Tezos ecosystem such as specifications, tutorials, and instructional guides. France-IOI, a website which provides computer science educational material, will develop educational tools, content, and activities related to the technology underlying Tezos in partnership with the Institut Mines-Télécom Atlantique and the Blaise Pascal Foundation.
At the University of Beira Interior in Portugal, Tezos will fund two projects, one considering implementing Tezos for event logging of robots in factory environments, and the other looking at static analysis of smart contracts in programming languages such as Michelson and formal verification techniques and support for machine-checked smart contracts.
The announcement comes a few weeks after Tezos issued its first grants to three other community foundations. The Tezos Commons Foundation, Tezos Japan Foundation, and Tezos Korea Foundation were created for the purpose of promoting Tezos through events and other educational programs.
Under the leadership of new president Ryan Jesperson, the Tezos Foundation has taken several important steps in recent months. The launch of the betanet occurred on June 30th, a few weeks before the opening of the grant-making process. In a blog post, the Foundation explained its strategy, saying:
“As a foundation, we believe our role within the community is to deploy resources that support the long-term future of Tezos. Grants offer a strategic way to help community members, such as educational and research institutions, open-source developers, or activists from all over the world to support the advancement of this decentralized network.”
It’s far too early to say if Tezos will be able to catch up with other smart contract platforms which have operational mainnets such Ethereum and EOS, or various second layer protocols being built in the Bitcoin network. But with several of their grants scheduled to last over two years, Tezos appears to be taking the long view.