More on blockchain.lab

At the blockchain.lab at York University, we are investigating research questions that have real-life management and entrepreneurial applications of blockchains.

A blockchain is a distributed or decentralized database that maintains a continuously-growing list of data records secured from tampering and revision. This cryptographic technology offers a way for people who do not know or trust each other to create a record of who owns what that will compel the assent of everyone concerned. Originally developed to underpin the bitcoin cryptocurrency network, the blockchain has many enthusiastic supporters who see its potential beyond cash and currency. The potential for blockchain to enable a distributed ledger of digital assets is the source of their enthusiasm.

The following is a catalogue of research from blockchain.lab

Research Grants

  • 2019: Henry Kim (Principal Investigator) with Sigma Analysis, “Exploring Application of Blockchain Technologies for Managed Investing,” Ontario Centre of Excellence – Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I Research Grant ($49,961).

    Description

    Sigma is a Toronto-based investment management firm that has been a pioneer in managed account investing, risk management and smart risk analytics. Sigma was founded in 1999 to advise institutional investors in hedge fund portfolio construction and risk monitoring. Sigma’s mission is to deliver customized investment solutions with an elite group of professionals that delivers high-touch, bespoke and value-added services to institutional investors. Blockchain has emerged as an exciting new technology that has started to spur innovation in Financial Services, especially in cryptocurrencies and back-end business processes,. Thus, Sigma appreciates that the investment management space has significant potential in adopting blockchain, and seeks to capitalize on this potential. Moreover, Given its reputation for innovation and mathematical sophistication, Sigma is expected by its industry and clients to be a fast follower rather than a late adopter of breakthrough technology. To capitalize on the potential and to meet and exceed expectations, Sigma is collaborating with Prof. Henry Kim of the Schulich School of Business at York University. As Co-Director of BlockchainLab, he brings a wealth of experience in blockchain research in partnership with industry. In this collaboration, Sigma will explore enabling technologies required to work with blockchain-enabled alternative asset exchanges that will create markets for assets such as cryptocurrencies and security tokens, as well as studying models and software tools for investing in these alternative assets. In addition, a requirements document specifying technology considerations will also be delivered.
  • 2019: Henry Kim (Principal Investigator) with Accu-Label, “Meeting Changing Customer Requirements in Food and Agriculture through application of blockchain technology,” Ontario Centre of Excellence – Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I Research Grant ($45,000).

    Description

    Blockchain technology has recently been considered in many different areas of Agriculture. Accu-label is looking to advance the application of blockchain technology in the areas of traceability, fraud prevention, and response time during food recalls, while simultaneously increasing the value and quality of information available to all relevant stakeholders in the food supply chain, including end consumers. Application of blockchain technology to provenance in the food sector is strongly complementary to Accu-Label’s ability to print variable data on individual fruit and vegetables to achieve item-level traceability. The combination of new blockchain technology with Accu-label’s existing individual item level labelling technology will enable Accu-label to increase market share and revenues through enhancing existing products and services, as well as developing new products and services. To that end, this project will deliver a business case that will address the cost and benefits of Accu-Label investing in blockchain technologies. In addition, a requirements document specifying technology considerations will also be delivered.
  • 2018: Henry Kim (Principal Investigator) with Hero Engineering, “Blockchain Enabled Smart Microgrids,” Ontario Centre of Excellence – Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I Research Grant ($45,246).

    Description

    This project proposes a transactional energy marketplace that directly connects energy producers with energy consumers. This type of decentralized approach has the potential to improve system efficiency, reliability, and sustainability by incentivizing market participants to produce and consume local, renewable energy, thereby decreasing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Blockchain technology facilitates energy transactions among market participants by executing smart contracts, where the transactions are not necessarily limited to trading electricity, but also to obtain information from electrical assets within the grid. As such, the application of a transactional energy model running on a blockchain platform has the potential to greatly improve the efficiency and resiliency of energy systems. The proposed transactional marketplace will be implemented at the Living City Smart Grid, in Vaughan, Ontario, where smart buildings and sources of renewable generation already exist.
  • 2018: Henry Kim (Principal Investigator) with Nuco Networks, “Applying Deep Neural Networks for Blockchain Interoperability I and II,” Ontario Centre of Excellence – Voucher for Innovation and Productivity I and National Research Council Industrial Research Assistance Program Research Grants ($65,200).

    Description

    We may be at the cusp of an "Internet of Value." It will be powered by blockchain technologies used to maintain digital ledgers for assets of value--e.g. for money, property deeds, health records, or bills of lading. Just as the traditional Internet is a network of networks, The Internet of Value will be a network of blockchains. And just as telecommunications infrastructure, and standards like the TCP/IP protocol enabled different networks to be connected and inter-operate, blockchain infrastructure, standards, and protocols will need to be developed to enable different blockchains to be connected and inter-operate. Nuco Networks Inc. is a Canadian blockchain company developing these technologies. The Blockchain.Lab.Yorku.ca is an inter-faculty research initiative at York University to investigate blockchain, as well as other emerging technologies such as AI techniques like Deep Neural Networks. Blockchain.Lab.Yorku.ca and Nuco Networks Inc. are bringing our strengths together in a collaboration titled, "Applying Deep Neural Networks for Blockchain Interoperability." Many current blockchain implementations use third-party "miners" who expend excessive computational power and electricity to demonstrate or "prove" that they are competent, committed, and incorruptible to verify transactions. Our collaboration will address research challenges in designing a system where third party miners help to bridge different blockchains, while proving their credibility by applying computational power for a practical neural network problem that, say, helps a hospital with patient diagnosis. We hope our efforts will contribute to innovations that will lead to more efficient global commerce and apply AI to solve global problems.
  • 2018 - 2019: Henry Kim (Collaborator) with Getu Hailu  from University of Guelph, and Henry An from University of Alberta, “Trade and Competitiveness: Productivity, Innovation, and Product Differentiation,” Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Rural Affairs – Research Program ($151,600).

    Description

    In a previous OMAFRA University of Guelph funded food manufacturing project, we find that exporters are more productive than non-exporters, efficient plants self-select into the export market and Ontario food manufacturing plants are more productive than other provinces. However, in recent years, antitrade sentiments, often fueled by the idea that international trade has created more losers than winners, have become increasingly common in foreign policy. This is exemplified by Britain’s vote to exit the European Union (Brexit), opposition by the U.S. to the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), and the ongoing renegotiation of the North-American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA). The proposed project focuses on the demand side to examine the competitiveness of Ontario and Canadian food manufacturing firms. Specifically, we aim to examine: (1) the link between inventory, productivity and export market participation for small- and medium sized food processing firms; and (2) the feasibility of adopting a novel food supply chain management strategy (i.e., blockchain encryption technology) and how the technology would benefit exporters from Ontario (and Canada) by differentiating their products from global competitors. We are primarily interested in identifying the factors that characterize likely adopters, and to provide an ex ante estimate of the benefits and costs of employing the technology.

Publications

Blockchain in the Enterprise

Blockchain in Energy

Blockchain in Finance, Accounting, and Economics

Blockchain Infrastructure and Technology

Blockchain and Society

    • Sengupta, Ushnish and Henry M. Kim (2020), “Business Process Transformation In Natural Resources Development Using Blockchain: Indigenous Entrepreneurship, Trustless Technology, and Rebuilding Trust,” In: Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technology Use Cases: Applications and Lessons Learned (Eds: Trebelmeier, H., Silaber, C., Clohessy, T.), Springer, Accepted.
    • Battista, Danielle, Hrvoje Stancic, Henry M. Kim, Chandana Unnithan, and Victoria Lemieux (2020). “Blockchains and Provenance: How a technical system for tracing origins, ownership and authenticity can
      transform social trust,” In: V. Lemieux (Ed.), The Truth Machine: Exploring the Social, Records and Technical Potential and Pitfalls of Blockchain and Distributed Ledger Technologies. Revision Requested.

Thought Leadership and Community Service

The Team

Co-Founders

Project Leads

Alumni