Hong Kong’s PolyU Creates Blockchain, Crypto Research Lab

Hong Kong’s Polytechnic University has established a blockchain research laboratory that will work on systems to secure the emerging technology against quantum computer-based attacks.

The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has set up a research lab focused on blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, teaming up for the project with Monash University and Australian asset manager CollinStar Capital. The partnership is intended to continue for three years and involves millions of US dollars. The lab aims to improve efficiency and enhance the resistance of the distributed ledger technology (DLT) against quantum computing attacks.

Led by Allen Au, PolyU’s research team will work to improve blockchain’s efficiency while focusing on two significant aspects: privacy and security.

Au noted that his team would target technologies like Linkable Ring Signatures and Zero-knowledge Proof systems, which ensure that online transactions are validated without leaking personal data such as user ID, account balance, and transaction amount. The team will also work on protection mechanisms that can work on regular PCs even though their mission is to secure against quantum computer attacks.

In an attempt to reduce the use of cryptocurrency for money laundering and ransom payment, Au’s team will also work on systems that ensure the ability to set spending/transfer limit, reveal identity under court order, and suspend accounts involved in suspicious transactions.

David Chung, PolyU’s undersecretary for Innovation and Technology, stated that Hong Kong’s ambitions in the blockchain space require a concerted effort from the region’s industry, academia, and the government.

“Positioning itself as the leading research and technology advancement centre in Asia-Pacific in the focused areas of blockchain and cryptocurrency, I am confident that the joint laboratory will help foster the development of these technologies in Hong Kong,” he added.

PolyU’s VP Alex Wai revealed the university had a leading position in blockchain and cryptocurrency research in the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area.

“By joining hands with Monash University and Collinstar Capital, we will continue to drive the advancement in blockchain ecosystem. Through this collaboration, PolyU is devoted in making the cyberspace safer, more convenient and effective for business and financial services,” Wai said.

The development of blockchain-based applications is important for Hong Kong as the city has a large financial sector on which it counts for 18% of its GDP. Last year, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority partnered with its Singapore counterpart to support fintech and blockchain.