A consortium that has the potential to redefine the management of digital assets such as cryptocurrencies is now in development.

To that end, the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) received a two-year, $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to establish the National DigiFoundry (NDF).

To develop the NDF, UTSA will create a new Decentralized Autonomous Organization (DAO), a national organization that promotes engagement and collaboration between the public and private sectors. At a time when digital assets, including cryptocurrencies, surpassed a trillion dollars in market value, this collaboration is paramount, said John Huggins, interim executive director of UTSA’s National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC).

“We are pleased to fund innovation and translation in a range of key technology areas, including digital assets,” said Anna Brady-Estevez, a program director within the NSF’s Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer programs.

The NDF will collaboratively explore global standards and best practices for the use and exchange of digital assets. The organization will leverage blockchain technologies to establish work groups, publish digital asset industry recommendations and advance other NDF sponsored activities.

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“This project will deliver long-term benefits. It has already attracted interest from diverse stakeholders, including multiple federal agencies, health care providers, military services, Web 3.0 companies, public transportation operators, investors and various entrepreneurial startups,” Huggins said. “This NSF grant will allow UTSA to partner in unique ways with universities, industry, government, nonprofits and national labs to innovate in the digital asset ecosystem.”

Current digital asset management systems pose several cybersecurity challenges.

They are prone to decentralized notification attacks, multi-call transaction audits and risks associated with on-chain transaction verifications using multi-signature wallets.

The NDF wants to build a resilient framework that can adapt to the fast-paced digital asset market. Its solutions will include improved access for digital asset users, availability of cybersecurity experts and seamless access to customer feedback.

University of Texas at San Antonio received a two-year, $300,000 grant to establish the National DigiFoundry, a consortium looking to redefine the management of digital assets.
Source: The University of Texas at San Antonio

Managed by national subject matter experts, this “innovation sandbox” offers a controlled environment where researchers can collaborate, build value and mitigate risks. The NDF established three inaugural work groups including climate chain disaster response, health care research publishing and secure information sharing.

The project will be led by the NSCC, Texas’ largest hub for government, university and industry partners in national security. This San Antonio-based ecosystem advances research and innovation in forensics, visualization, cybersecurity, data analytics, post-quantum cryptography, attack and threat modeling and mitigation, machine learning and artificial intelligence, and software, hardware and platform integrity.

UTSA’s national security leaders expect the NDF’s influence to span beyond the financial and cryptocurrency sectors. Applications include crucial areas such as health care, advanced manufacturing, supply chain management, energy, transportation, and Web 3.0 related products and services such as blockchain technologies and token-based economics, said Huggins, who will serve as the principal investigator of the NDF project, along with Charles ‘Coz’ Cosnowski, the NSCC’s research lead.

UTSA is collaborating with Forward Edge-AI Inc, a member of the NSCC and the first official member of the NDF. The San Antonio-based firm specializes in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity solutions to meet complex public safety and national security challenges.

“The NDF represents an exciting new model for quickly transitioning new digital asset technologies into practical, valuable and innovative use cases,” said Eric Adolphe, chief executive for Forward Edge-AI.


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