NSF REU Research project 

NSF iconIMTFI icon

Private Digital Currencies and Closed Payment Communities: Law, Regulation and Financial Exclusion After Bitcoin

As part of an ongoing National Science Foundation (NSF) research project at UC Irvine studying the impact of law, regulation, and financial exclusion after Bitcoin, a research experience for undergraduates (REU) was developed to encourage interdisciplinary collaboration and learning with six skilled and knowledgeable undergraduate researchers. The REU project recruited two rounds of undergraduate researchers from UC Irvine's Donald Bren School of Computer Sciences, training them in social science research, with the findings presented in two rounds of presentations. 


The research contributes to a long line of Bitcoin and Blockchain based research at UC Irvine under the direction of Dean Bill Maurer. The purpose of the NSF project is to look closer at movements and meanings of both technology and legislative changes stemming from cryptocurrencies and blockchain system development.


Phase I - June to September 2018

REU researchers: Yicong Huang, Zoe Nie, Brian Minh Nguyen

Graduate Student Researcher: Melissa Wrapp

Phase I of the NSF project in Summer 2018 broadened the disciplinary focus of the NSF research done to date in the Anthropology department. Approximately 130 different cryptocurrency platforms were studied, with whitepapers coded and findings recorded in a database. REU researchers in Phase I studied and presented their findings through two presentations and write-ups.


Phase II - October 2018 to February 2019

REU researchers: Ryan Jaimes, Aditesh Kumar, Zoe Nie

Graduate Student Researcher: Farah Qureshi

Building from the work of Phase I, Phase II refined records from Phase I, growing the database to 180 different cryptocurrency platforms. REU participants in Phase II chose specific case studies to focus on and create code walkthroughs, available for viewing here. Findings were summarized and presented at the end of the project.


For information on findings, please navigate to the NSF REU Findings page


© UC Irvine School of Social Sciences - 3151 Social Sciences Plaza, Irvine, CA 92697-5100 - 949.824.2766