Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto Development

Academic institutions from all corners of the world are offering classes on cryptocurrencies and supporting research initiatives in this burgeoning sector. From New York to Tokyo, universities are spearheading a plethora of crypto-themed courses.

Also Read: The Daily: US Defense Department Probes Blockchain, Singapore Approves 1X

Two New Accelerators at Columbia University

Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto DevelopmentIBM and Columbia University have announced two new accelerator programs for blockchain developers. The programs will support 10 different startups, will last about eight weeks, and give each company access to technology and services valued at approximately $400,000. The academic institution and the technologies giant will not seek equity or a payment in return.

The Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator is designed for pre-seed idea-stage companies with an affiliation to New York City-based universities. The IBM Blockchain Accelerator is meant for later stage growth companies from all over the world and is focused on enterprise business networks.

Satish Rao, Executive Director at Columbia Blockchain Launch Accelerator, commented: “Early and late-stage teams will undoubtedly benefit from IBM’s technology resources, expertise and established network coupled with Columbia’s ground-breaking research and talent in blockchain and data transparency, all while benefiting from rapidly growing NYC blockchain communities.”

University of Luxembourg to Improve Crypto Security

Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto DevelopmentVNX Exchange, a Luxembourg-based platform for tokenized venture capital assets, has reportedly partnered with the University of Luxembourg in order to enhance the security of crypto assets. As a part of the cooperation, researchers at the university’s Interdisciplinary Centre for Security, Reliability and Trust will try to create a safer trading environment by developing higher levels of network security and designing new IT frameworks.

Dr Radu State, expert in network security at the center, explained: “Broadly, we need to address two aspects: protecting against criminals who might try to hack the system to steal money or information, and guaranteeing compliance with anti-money laundering and KYC regulations.” Besides better security on the trading exchange, researchers are also challenged by the need to verify that the contracts that control the execution of individual transactions contain no vulnerabilities.

University of Tokyo Receives Blockchain Donation

Universities in New York, Tokyo and Luxembourg Support Crypto DevelopmentThe University of Tokyo has received a donation of about $800,000 (90 million Japanese yen) to assist a blockchain innovation course for engineering students. The donation was supported by the Ethereum Foundation and several companies participated including Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group, the holding company behind the second largest bank in Japan by market value.

The purpose of the course, according to the donation announcement, is to teach students interested in entrepreneurship about blockchain technology and startup management knowhow. It will offer intensive lectures and various events to students who have very strong math capabilities. The blockchain innovation course will also encourage the development of a win-win-win business model for companies, users, and society.

Do you think more universities should offer crypto-related courses? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.

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BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik to Go on Hunger Strike, Lawyer Says

Alexander Vinnik, the suspected operator of the infamous BTC-e exchange, plans to start a hunger strike on Monday, days before his next court hearing. The Russian, who has been accused by U.S. authorities of laundering billions of dollars through the now-defunct crypto trading platform, fears he is not going to receive a fair trial.

Also read: BTC-e Successor Wex Loses .nz Domain

Complaints About Rights Violations

Vinnik, who has been detained in a Greek jail since his arrest in Thessaloniki last summer, is protesting prison conditions and violations of his rights, the head of his defense team, Timofey Musatov, told Russian reporters. The lawyer said Vinnik has already informed the Russian consul in the northern Greek city about his decision to go on a hunger strike.

Greek police detained the Russian national in July 2017 on a warrant issued by the U.S., where he has been charged with laundering funds from the Mt Gox hack and more than 20 other crimes. Prosecutors believe Vinnik and his accomplices laundered between $4 billion and $9 billion through BTC-e, once the largest Russian crypto exchange.

BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik to Go on Hunger Strike, Lawyer Says

In early October, a court in Thessaloniki ruled in favor of Vinnik’s extradition to the U.S. His lawyers have filed an appeal with the Supreme Civil and Criminal Court of Greece in Athens and his next hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29.

Russia has previously objected to the extradition of its citizens to the United States. The authorities in Moscow want him back in the Russian Federation, where he is accused of stealing 600,000 rubles ($9,000).

France also requested Vinnik’s extradition in June. However, according to Musatov, the 90-day European arrest warrant issued by Paris has already expired. Vinnik wants to return to his native country and even confessed to Russian fraud charges in May. His defense team fears the French authorities would immediately hand him over to the U.S., where he faces a possible life sentence.

Fear of an Unfair Trial

BTC-e Operator Alexander Vinnik to Go on Hunger Strike, Lawyer SaysBut Vinnik and his lawyers don’t want a trial in Greece, either. They claim the Greek judicial authorities are depriving him of a proper legal defense, as he has been moved multiple times between the prison in Athens and the court in Thessaloniki for hearings and interrogations.

In a letter to the Russian Consulate in Thessaloniki, quoted by RIA Novosti, Vinnik complained that he had been treated inhumanely. He said he has been transported numerous times between various Greek cities, handcuffed in the back seats of small cars. He described it as torture and claims he has been forced to sleep on the floor without a mattress.

His lawyer, Musatov, stated:

On Monday, Vinnik will go on a hunger strike to protest against this situation. He sees no other way out – it’s either justice or death.
At his next hearing at the Supreme Court on Thursday, Vinnik’s defense team plans to ask for the appointment of a new judge, as different Greek courts have supported extradition requests filed by Russia, France and the U.S. Musatov wasn’t able to confirm whether the defendant will be present in court.

What are your expectations about the outcome of the Vinnik case? Tell us in the comments section below.

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