The renowned Media Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has  announced the launch of its bitcoin initiative. The news came a few days after the head of the Lab, Joi Ito, spoke about the need for an independent platform to discuss bitcoin.

The Lab states that the aim of the initiative is to unite experts who deal with bitcoin:

“The goal of this initiative is to bring together global experts in areas ranging from cryptography, to economics, to privacy, to distributed systems, to take on this important new area of research. The effort will reach across the MIT campus, and we look forward to including collaborations with leading experts around the world”.

The organizers of the initiative put forward a number of more formal aims:  
• Conduct research and engage more students on digital currency topics that address questions about security, stability, scalability, privacy, and economics. 
• Convene governments, nonprofits, and the private sector to research and test concepts that have high social impact.
• Provide evidence-based research to support existing and future policy and standards.

The Lab states that all actions of the Initiative will be coordinated by a special group. This group will include Alex “Sandy” Pentland, Andy Lippman, Ethan Zuckerman, and Visiting Scholar Cameron Kerry.

“Students at the Media Lab and across campus will join in, with Jeremy Rubin, the undergraduate who helped run the MIT Bitcoin Project having an active role”.

The announcement of the initiative comes at a time when the bitcoin community is discussing another scandal at the Bitcoin Foundation. Newly elected Board member Olivier Janssens claims that the Foundation is on the edge of bankruptcy. Foundation representatives say the claims are false.

Joi Ito, director of Media Lab, has recently suggested that the Massachusetts Institute of Technology might become a place where technical standards for the cryptocurrency could be set. Now the Lab is taking this idea to the next level by launching the Bitcoin Initiative. Notably, this is not the only place that promotes the academic discussion of bitcoin. As CoinFox reported earlier, Austrian scholars study bitcoin in Vienna, where the Central Bank of Austria looked into bitcoin 1.5 years before their colleagues at MIT.