Bitcoin and virtual currency are on the minds of a lot of people, ranging from consumers to legislators and from bankers to academics. Despite resistance by the financial sector to embrace Bitcoin itself, the underlying blockchain technology is catching the attention of many developers and engineers. Things have just gotten a lot more interesting now that Ledger has launched.
Ledger – Not to be Confused with the Bitcoin Hardware Wallet
The name Ledger will ring a bell for most of our readers, as this is one of the many companies producing Bitcoin hardware wallet solutions. But the Ledger in this article is not that company, but rather the name of an academic magazine focusing on cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
Creating Ledger (Journal) came to fruition after a round of discussion between Coin Center, MIT Media Labs and the University of Pittsburgh. All involved parties felt the time was right to create a tangible magazine related to cryptocurrencies while also targeting a very specific crowd: academics.
Doing so may turn out to be a good choice, as the concept of Bitcoin and other digital currencies gets technical very quickly. While most people can understand and accept the idea of decentralization, they have no clue – or no desire to know – about the underlying blockchain technology making all of this possible.
It is not necessary to grasp the full technological spectrum offered by Bitcoin and the blockchain, as anyone in the world can start using the protocol within minutes. But there is a lot of academic research being done on Bitcoin and other virtual currencies and it is that research that will be published in Ledger (Journal).
“I wanted to build an academic and interdisciplinary communication channel that would allow bright minds in economics, sociology, physics, law and political science to contribute at the highest-level towards the evolution of Bitcoin. I believe Bitcoin would benefit from greater diversity at the leadership level.” – Ledger editor Dr. Peter R. Rizun told the media in a statement.
At the time of publication, the majority of content published in Ledger is made available by Bitcoin core developers. Considering these people are immersed in the technological side of Bitcoin, it only seems to make sense they should submit their thoughts and ideas for publication. Doing so can only lead to more research and accelerated development, both of which will benefit the Bitcoin ecosystem.
Exploring Beyond Bitcoin’s Borders
If Ledger were only to focus on Bitcoin itself, the magazine would be out of source material relatively quickly. The main goal of this journal is to create a scholarly forum where new ideas and research for cryptocurrency and underlying technologies will be explored. The Ledger team wants to focus on cryptography, distributed ledgers and more importantly, distributed consensus.
“The purpose of Ledger is to provide something currently missing from the cryptocurrency world: a scholarly, peer-reviewed forum to bring together multiple disciplines to discuss new ideas and research. While there are spaces online to discuss new and ongoing issues in cryptocurrencies, they can sometimes lack the openness and accountability of an open system of peer review.” – Ledger editor Richard Ford Burley stated.
So far, there are quite a few prominent academics and researchers involved in the Ledger project. Universities such as Oxford, Stanford, MIT and Duke are working together to publish the first issue of Ledger by the end of Q1 2016. This issue will be made available through the University of Pittsburgh’s Library System.
Last but not least, it is important to note that Ledger will timestamp all content on the blockchain and authors are advised to digitally sign their content. Anyone who is interested in submitting related research to the Ledger project can do so by visiting this website. Submissions will be accepted until December 31st, 2015.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock