UCF recently signed a memorandum of understanding with Tel Aviv University to support the advancement of blockchain education and research, as well as approaches to accelerate applied solutions in the new technology. The goals are to formalize innovative collaborations and academic exchanges, and to promote blockchain start-ups in Florida and Israel.

The agreement is one of eight between Florida institutions of higher education and TAU designed to boost research opportunities, academic collaboration and economic development, which were signed during a diplomatic trip organized by Gov. Ron DeSantis. The other Florida institutions include Florida Atlantic University, Florida Gulf Coast University, Florida Institute of Technology, Florida International University, Miami-Dade College and St. Leo University.

Blockchain is a distributed ledger where data is “chained” together by linking encrypted blocks of information across a peer-to-peer digital network. It is most often associated with cryptocurrency, such as bitcoin, which is already disrupting established financial assumptions. Additionally, blockchain is poised to affect other industries, including medical technology, digital entertainment and cybersecurity.

“This partnership with Tel Aviv University will further our efforts at joint research on applications for blockchain technology,” says Jeff Jones, vice provost for UCF Connect and UCF Global. “The exciting opportunities with this emerging technology should be fruitful areas for collaboration with TAU.”

UCF offers programs in financial technology in response to the growing interest and evolution in the field due to innovations such as blockchain and cryptocurrency. The program is believed to be the first in Florida’s State University System. In addition, UCF offers a Master of Science in Data Analytics to train the next generation of professionals who will leverage large and complex data sets to drive innovation across the business spectrum.

Tel Aviv University established the Institute for Applied Blockchain Research in 2018 to be on the forefront of blockchain research and application. The institute is designed to accelerate blockchain entrepreneurship in global markets.

“Tel Aviv University is thrilled about collaborating with the University of Central Florida in the field of innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly to blockchain innovation,” says Raanan Rein, vice president of Tel Aviv University. “As part of its globalization strategy, Tel Aviv University is strengthening its ties with universities in Florida in various cutting-edge research areas.”

By combining the resources of the two universities, this agreement provides Florida and Israel with opportunities to foster research, application and start-up success in blockchain technology. Blockchain start-ups will find increased expertise and partnerships in Israel and Florida, which in turn will provide more opportunities to create products and services that positively impact the local and global communities.

With world-class incubators and regional strengths in key innovation districts, including smart cities, healthcare, hospitality and immersive entertainment, Central Florida, in partnership with Israel, is uniquely positioned to become the global blockchain center of excellence.