A group of global governments, tech firms and blockchain startups have announced the launch of a new initiative dubbed the Blockchain Research Institute.
The syndicated research group said it is committed to the academic analysis of the impacts of blockchain on a wide range of industries, including financial services, retail and manufacturing, along with the impact of the tech on a number of executive level professions.
In addition to the focus on how blockchain will impact actual jobs, the institute aims to distinguish itself from other think tanks and internal working groups by attracting the "smartest people in the world" with cold, hard cash.
In conversation with CoinDesk, the co-author of "Blockchain Revolution" and CEO of the Tapscott Group, Don Tapscott, explained his vision for a protracted research effort conducted over more than a year and funded by a basic membership fee of $200,000.
Tapscott said the institute – which is designed to give investors immediate access to tailored research conducted by a wide range of industry leaders – will eventually give away most of what it learns, explaining:
"We want to help our members get a jump and compete, and also, after six months, a lot of this material will come into the public domain under the creative commons license. We want to create a rising tide that will lift all boats."
Founded as a non-profit organization and based in Toronto, Canada, the group of founding members include Accenture, IBM, SAP, Digital Asset, NASDAQ, Pepsico, the Province of Ontario and Nuco Inc.
The group is expected to spend its first year studying the impact of blockchain on eight industries, or "vertical opportunities", including energy, media, technology, healthcare and government.
Associate members, including Hyperledger, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance and the Chamber of Digital Commerce, are then aiming to help minimize the amount of redundant work. "We don't want to duplicate anything that's already being done," Tapscott said.
Including access to monthly webinars and a private website to view published material, the membership – which Tapscott expects will reach 30 by the time the program launches next month – will receive a custom executive report based on the institute's findings and aimed specifically at the members' demands.
For example, in addition to the industry analyses, seven "horizontal opportunities" consisting of reimagined roles of various executive level positions will be offered. These will include blockchain-specific job descriptions for chief logistics officers in supply chains, chief financial officers and chief information officers.
"There's been virtually no work that's been done on this."
Beyond the founding members, Tapscott points to the people actually conducting the research as a distinguishing characteristic of the group.
In a prospectus made available to CoinDesk, the researchers are divided into three categories, focusing on finance, government and the private sector.
A list of "proposed partial faculty" members include: Jesse McWaters of the World Economic Forum; Primavera De Philippi of the National Center for Scientific Research, Paris; Andreas Antonopoulos, the author of "Mastering Bitcoin"; former FDIC regulator Jason Brett; chairman of VeriFi Hong Kong, Pindar Wong; and Katie Haun, the US federal prosecutor for digital currencies.
Based in part on a research methodology developed by Tapscott's Global Solutions Networks, the Blockchain Research Institute is designed to bring diverse thought leaders together for an extended period of time to meet the specific research demands of an industry-leading membership.
Not everyone who can't afford the $200,000 price tag will have to wait the six months after the research is complete to see the results, however.
For governments, not-for-profit organizations and companies in certain verticals, lower fees are being offered.
The program is schedule to begin 3rd April and to complete 20th December, with a final Program Summit to be held for members in the spring of 2018.
"At the end, they get a private briefing at their location. It's half consulting and half syndicated research."
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