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UW Leads the Pack in Cryptocurrency

June 16, 2021

The University of Wyoming has reached an unprecedented milestone.

The Wyoming Advanced Blockchain Laboratory (WABL) in UW’s Department of Computer Science has not only minted its first block on the Cardano network -- it has minted 121 blocks and counting as of June 15, ramping up its services as Cardano stake pool operators.

“This is a great educational and research operation made possible by our academic research collaboration with IOG and their other research groups,” says UW Professor James Caldwell, WABL co-director. “One message I’d like to get out is: If you have any Ada cryptocurrency, please consider staking it with our stake pool (UWYO).”

The UW Department of Accounting and Finance is a partner in this success. While the lab established the Cardano staking node, the College of Business portfolio management class provided the initial pledge of capital and will use analytics on the stake pool parameters to try to optimize returns.

“The University of Wyoming Advanced Blockchain Laboratory has allowed students in different areas of studies to participate in an exciting and promising new area of finance,” says Pete Spriggs, a UW student in the portfolio management class. “Our staking pool enables students to learn, research and further develop the Cardano network. I believe there is a great opportunity not only to profit from staking in this pool, but to further solidify the decentralization of the network. I am proud that the University of Wyoming has taken the initiative to be one of the first state institutions to operate a staking pool.”

The staking operation benefits UW not only through monetary returns, but also by providing real-world experience for students and opportunities for researchers. Additionally, it is furthering Wyoming’s participation in the digital economy.

UW students benefit from these operations. In the Department of Computer Science, students can learn about blockchain, systems administration, security, peer-to-peer networks, and modeling and simulation, among other things. In the Department of Accounting and Finance, students learn about blockchain, digital market assets, the effect of parameters on market returns and sustainability, among other things.

Researchers, too, can use information generated during staking operations to further theories of blockchain and cryptocurrency. These include analyzing and observing the behavior of the network; development of blockchain contracts; financial and economic analyses; the economic impact of decentralization; cost; risk; rate of return; and profitability.

Since 2017, Wyoming state leadership has been working to provide a comprehensive regulatory structure for blockchain, passing 24 laws that are attracting blockchain companies to the state. Legal frameworks and initiatives such as these are vital for Wyoming’s future. The state is looking to diversify and, as a result, has become an international epicenter of innovation in blockchain and cryptocurrency -- creating a favorable environment for the changing digital economy.

If you are interested in delegating Ada cryptocurrency to the UWYO node, email Caldwell at jlc@cs.uwyo.edu.

For more information on the UWYO staking pool, cryptocurrency and blockchain, go to www.uwyo.edu/foundation/news/2021/crypto-staking/index.html.

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