The RMIT Blockchain Innovation Center Association along with the influential thought center on the right the Institute for Public Affairsreceived harsh criticism in a 1200-word report in the newspaper Guardian Australia from other employees.
The center received $ 6 million from RMIT Universitybased in Melbourne and claims to be the “first” research center for blockchain social sciences.
However, a third of the university’s blockchain research staff, including co-directors Jason Potts and Christopher Berg, are current or former IPA scholarship holders, a sometimes controversial think tank that advocates libertarian free market economic policies.
An anonymous RMIT official was quoted in the article The link with the IPA was a matter of “deep concern for an academic community that values independence and transparency” amid “severe austerity, including cuts”.
“Given the generous funding available for blockchain technology research, the university needs to ensure that the project goes smoothly and that the funds are used appropriately.”
Another official said the university had one limited knowledge of the centre’s activities, funding and links with the IPA. “It is a reckless move that suggests something is wrong with the university. The staff deserve answers,” the official said.
However, all IPA positions are volunteer in nature and are not paid for their efforts, and it is understood that the facility has not provided direct funding to the center.
An IPA spokesman said it had no research program on blockchain technology and had not published any research reports on the subject.. Although he republished an article on Blockchain Hub in his magazine, The spokesman said the investigation was completely independent of the IPA:
“You didn’t do research for the institute, we just thought it would be an interesting article that our members would enjoy. The authors were not paid by the IPA to write or republish the article.”
The center has also received funding from outside sources, including a recent Australian Research Council (ARC) grant of $ 423,540 for a three-year project to study the impact of cryptocurrency technology on the tax system and the tax system for the provision of public goods in Australia “.
The ARC also granted a BIH researcher unrelated to the IPA a grant of more than $ 900,000 for a five-year project on DLT technology.
The Australian Research Council and RMIT have confirmed that correct procedures and audits have been followed in relation to funding for BIH and there is no indication that the center or any of its investigators have acted improperly or are ineligible for the grant.