BTRIC Labs focuses on conducting technology research and development that is not specific to any given project in our Innovations Incubator program. The work done by BTRIC Labs could have applications in multiple projects or in the emerging technology industry as a whole. By conducting “blue sky” research, we work to advance the leading edge of emerging technology.
Through BTRIC Labs our employees are also encouraged to contribute to open source projects of their choosing. We believe it is vitally important to contribute to the projects that underpin much of the emerging technology ecosystem.
BTRIC Labs also provides offers to provide, on a cost recovery basis, support to carefully selected emerging technology projects that have a need for infrastructure or systems that are operated independently of their project.
Current research focuses
- Decentralization of user-created content, such as microblogging, social media, sound, video, search indices, and other data that is currently held in large, proprietary “data silos”, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Google. A practical and scalable approach to decentralization of this content, as well as a decentralized manner that content creators are monetized, is a crucial step to liberating information from traditional and new media gatekeepers. We are assessing promising projects and want to contribute to advancing this important effort.
- Scaling and usability issues that currently hold back worldwide, mass adoption of cryptocurrencies as a replacement for current payment methods, such as payment cards. This problem also has implications for other uses of consensus-based distributed ledger technology. There are many promising approaches under active development and some deployed systems. We believe this problem must be overcome, enabling transaction volumes that are commensurate with global payment card volume, in order for a full and true paradigm-shift to take place. This problem is complicated by several factors, and faces different challenges in developed economies versus emerging markets, but the work in advancing approaches to overcome it will benefit the entire crypto asset industry.
BTRIC Labs infrastructure collaborations
We provide infrastructure and support to carefully selected emerging technology projects that have a need for technology systems that are operated independently of their project, to enhance decentralization. For example, crypto asset issuers sometimes need independently operated services, such as mining pools, block explorers, or non-custodial web wallets.
For BTRIC Labs to provide this service, a project must contact us with their requirements. We evaluate the stability and quality of the project before we agree to provide services. We don’t want to discourage any project from approaching us, but we must be cautious with the projects that we lend our name and reputation to. For those that qualify, BTRIC is pleased to deploy and operate these services as an outside, unrelated entity. Because our funds are limited, we must provide service on a cost recovery basis, including any labor needed to evaluate, implement, and deploy infrastructure.
Projects that use BTRIC Labs for independent research and development infrastructure may be eligible for a tax deduction, the research and development tax credit, or some combination of both. Consult your tax advisor for more information.
If you are interested in exploring how BTRIC Labs could assist your project, please contact us.
Support the Launch of BTRIC Labs
For a limited time, BTRIC is conducting our launch fundraising campaign. When you contribute as a Founding Donor, we give you BTRIC Founding Donor (BFD) Tokens. You also have the opportunity to be listed and recognized as a Founding Donor. We accept fiat and cryptocurrencies. This is a limited-time opportunity to participate as a Founding Donor and receive BFD Tokens.
Holders of BFD Tokens will receive a free grant of “BTRIC Coin” when it launches later this year. In addition, on an ongoing basis, holders of BFD Tokens receive rewards from every other project that completes our Innovations Incubator program (not only the projects we are working on now, this also includes every future project). It’s our way of returning valuable benefits and rewards to holders of BFD Tokens as recognition for supporting our launch.
What is BTRIC Labs?
BTRIC Labs is the part of our organization that focuses on advancing research and development in the emerging technology field. We do this in a few different ways:
- We conduct research and development of technologies that are not bounded by a single project in our Innovations Incubator program. For example, general research into improving the efficiency of distributed ledgers could have applications in many projects, including many that are not a part of BTRIC.
- We contribute directly to those projects that underpin the field, by donating some of our employees’ paid time toward contributions in open source projects of their choosing. This is not limited to our engineers, all of our employees can choose to assist projects in any way that they choose (documentation, testing, community moderation, etc.)
- We enable selected projects to increase their resilience by operating infrastructure for them at-cost. The projects that we will perform this function are top-shelf, quality projects. We are able to operate infrastructure for them as an independent third-party.
What is “blue sky research”?
Blue sky research is research conducted by BTRIC Labs that doesn’t have clear applications but holds the potential to significantly advance the field. Carefully selected areas of research could yield breakthroughs that are unanticipated. Often, this type of research is not performed by commercial organizations because it doesn’t have a specific application or agenda. Since BTRIC is a non-profit organization, we can undertake some research that can lead to breakthroughs in technology. Since we are a small organization, we have to be very selective in the research we choose to perform, but breakthroughs that strengthen and advance emerging technologies are part of the reason we exist.
Why is “open-source” important?
Open source is important for many reasons. One of the key reasons relates to the transformational nature of emerging technology. Because the work we do has the potential to truly change the way aspects of society, and even society as a whole, the technology that underlies such transformation must be open source and available to all. Much of this paradigm shift relates to trust. People are losing trust in traditional institutions, such as corporations, banks, and governments. The promise of emerging technology is to replace aspects of those institutions with models where one need not trust the institution, but instead trust the technology. For example, Bitcoin is a peer to peer cryptocurrency that enables the transfer of value to and from anyone in the world in minutes. This was never before possible without both of the two parties being phyiscally together. Every other way to transfer funds at a distance requires counterparties, that you must trust, in order to make the transfer of value happen, such as Western Union, the Federal Reserve, or the SWIFT network. Instead of that model, crypto assets are based on trust of the software that implements them.
In order to trust software, you must be able to view and audit the source code. Many people lack the ability to do this on their own, but they can see that it has been done by others with the required expertise. More importantly, if they chose, they could obtain a copy of the source code and review it. This is not possible unless the source code is open.
Because emerging technology moves trust from counterparties to the software itself, open source software is essential as the foundational “building blocks” on which the new way of structuring society is constructed.
Why is decentralization important?
Decentralization is the underlying principle that enables society to be restructured. In the past, and up to the present day in many cases, control is held by a few centralized institutions, be them banks, businesses, the media, and even governments. Decentralization removes these “gatekeepers” and enables everyone to compete on a level playing field. For example, just a few decades ago, all news and information available to most people were from a very small number of sources: a local or regional newspaper, a weekly or monthly magazine, and a few radio and television stations in the area. The Internet changed that, with information flowing instantly from anywhere in the world to everywhere in the world. However, even on the Internet, businesses like Facebook, Google/YouTube, and Twitter have become large centralized services. These businesses, like the news sources of the past, hold enormous power to highlight what they choose, and even more dangerous, to censor what they choose. As corporations, they are driven by a mission to provide ever-increasing profits to their shareholders. In so doing, they may choose to “curate” the information available to the users of their services in a manner that they believe to be favorable for increasing advertising revenue or even affecting public policy to favor their interests. This is counter to a well-functioning society, and decentralization offers a solution to this challenge.
In a decentralized world, there would be many “Twitters”, each operating independently, but working together in concert with all the others. The actions of one of these services would not impact the service as a whole. From the user’s perspective, the experience could be much the same as it is today. However, from an architectural standpoint, decentralized servers would ensure that no party can control the message, selectively highlighting and censoring content. In order to make informed decisions in a representative democracy, voters need access to uncensored information. Decentralized services are one of the best ways to ensure this occurs.
Why is scaling and usability important?
In a word: adoption. You could have the most innovative technology solution ever conceived of, but if it isn’t able to scale to support the number of users, or if it is too difficult for many users to use, it’s not going to have an easy time getting adopted by the masses. BTRIC Labs will conduct research into leading approaches to improving these two critical factors. Solutions that are found will have implications for crypto assets as well as other applications of distributed ledger technology.
Scalability refers to the volume of users or transactions a given system can handle. For example, currently, Bitcoin is capable of about a dozen transactions a second. By comparison, Visa, the debit and credit card platform, is capable of at least 24,000 transactions per second. So, clearly, work needs to be done to meet or exceed Visa’s scale. There is much work ongoing into both “on-chain” and “off-chain” solutions to work toward this goal, but that’s beyond the scope of this FAQ.
Usability refers to the end-user experience. Is it easy for a business to accept Bitcoin at the point of sale? Is it easy for the average person to spend Bitcoin at that business? In our view, the bar that must be met or exceeded here is, again, Visa’s model. Crypto assets must become as easy to work with as a payment card in order for mass adoption to occur. Again, this is an area of intense interest to crypto assets such as Bitcoin, as well as the wider DLT field. Another example of usability is in peer to peer content distribution networks, such as a decentralized form of Twitter or Facebook. If they are too difficult for end-users, that presents a barrier to entry. Services must be at least as easy as Twitter or Facebook from an end-user perspective.
These solutions will be found and will be widely adopted. BTRIC Labs will research, develop, promote, and collaborate with others in finding and implementing these solutions.
What are “IoT” and “AR/VR” and why are they important?
Both the Internet of Things (IoT) and Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) are important emerging technologies that will enable society to gain efficiencies never before possible.
The Internet of Things (IoT) refers to the connection of devices (other than computers and smartphones) to the Internet. Cars, kitchen appliances, and even heart monitors can all be connected through the IoT. This list will continue to grow. At its essence, IoT enables smarter decisions to be made about things in the real world. Electrical grids can be made much more efficient, traffic patterns more regulated. In combination with distributed ledger technology, IoT holds the potential to create new ways that technology can ensure a fair world, with rules enforced by consensus, instead of by decrees.
Virtual and Augmented Reality are two complementary technologies that have potential to change how people interact with computing devices. Augmented Reality is providing electronic information that enhances the human senses, especially vision. Imagine if you could look at a product in the store and instantly know that it has ingredients you are allergic to or look at a piece of clothing someone is wearing and be told that it’s available for purchase at XYZ store, and actually, it’s on sale right now! Virtual Reality is an artificial, computer-generated simulation or recreation of a real-life environment or situation. It immerses the user by making them feel like they are experiencing the simulated reality firsthand, primarily by stimulating their vision and hearing.
How can I get involved with BTRIC Labs?
BTRIC Labs will publicize our work once we’ve begun, both here on our website, as well as through industry media. We will invite participation from all stakeholders. We want to listen to everyone’s perspective and examine all the viable approaches to accomplishing our mission. If you’d like to reach out to us, just fill out this form.