University College London (UCL) has joined the governing council for enterprise-grade distributed ledger platform Hedera Hashgraph.

Paolo Tasca — former cryptocurrency lead economist at Germany’s central bank, Deutsche Bundesbank, and founder of UCL’s ’s Centre for Blockchain Technologies — confirmed that the university is the first academic institution to join the council.

In an interview with Cointelegraph on May 6, Tasca said that joining the council was consistent with the university’s experimental and practical approach to research, manifested through a range of industry engagement programs.

Hedera Hashgraph’s Governing Council follows a decentralized governance model that aims to bring up to 39 international organizations together from diverse industries. Existing members include Boeing, Deutsche Telekom, Google, IBM and Swisscom Blockchain, among others.

Each member of the council runs a node on the Hedera Hashgraph public network and is responsible for approving updates to the Hedera platform codebase.

The platform, which keeps its source code open for review, uses a hashgraph-based consensus algorithm to allow for multiple branches of blocks, as opposed to a single chain.

UCL’s plans for its work on Hedera

Tasca told Cointelegraph that UCL will draw on its wide Research and Industry Associate network — a community of over 180 associates— for its input to the various working groups within the Hedera Governing Council.

These span ongoing central bank digital currency (CBDC) work with multiple central banks, which has relevance for the council’s new Tokenomics working group.

UCL will also contribute its blockchain antitrust expertise to the council’s Legal and Regulatory working group.

In addition to its governance duties and working group contributions, Tasca said the university intends to use its partnership with Hedera to engage in research on the hashgraph consensus mechanism.

To foster adoption of the Hedera blockchain, it will engage its researchers on projects that utilize hashgraph, as it has previously done in its Call for Proposals initiatives. Students and industry partners will also be invited to take part in hackathons, such as the center’s Block-Sprint.

The center’s work

As previously reported, UCL’s Centre for Blockchain Technologies has recently partnered with the European Commission and the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications to coordinate blockchain solution providers in tackling the COVID-19 pandemic.

As Tasca outlined, beyond its industry engagement initiatives, the center is focused on education projects and research into the technological,  business and economics, and legal and regulatory aspects of distributed ledger systems.