18.06.2021

NASA Looks to Hire Data Scientist With Crypto and DLT Background

According to a LinkedIn job listing posted on Sept. 20, NASA is looking to employ a data scientist for its Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California, whose primary function is the construction and operation of planetary robotic spacecraft and conducting Earth-orbit missions.

The United States’ National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is looking to hire a data scientist with crypto and blockchain expertise.

Crypto and blockchain considered a plus

Among the high number of required qualifications, NASA listed knowledge in one or more related fields including big data, machine learning, Internet of Things, analytics, statistics and cloud computing, among others. In a separate line, the agency listed experience with cryptocurrency and blockchain technology, stating that such qualification will be considered a plus.

The listed qualifications are supposed to be implemented by the data scientist in designing and implementing a program for analyzing complex, large-scale data sets used for research, modeling, data mining and predictive analysis at NASA, the agency wrote.

NASA on blockchain

The major global aerospace agency is not new to blockchain technology. In January 2019, NASA proposed an air traffic management blockchain framework in order to enable secure, private and anonymous communication with air traffic services.

In April 2018, NASA awarded a grant supporting the development of an autonomous spacecraft that could implement blockchain technology to make decisions without human intervention.

Morningstar Develops Blockchain Platform for Debt Securities

The credit rating arm of financial services giant Morningstar is developing a blockchain platform for the $117 trillion debt securities industry.

Morningstar Credit Ratings is building an evaluation system for debt securities issued as tokens on a blockchain, Forbes reports on Oct. 2.

Michael Brawer, COO at Morningstar Credit Ratings, stated that the firm is working with a number of blockchain-oriented firms who are seeking to issue debt instruments on a blockchain.

According to Forbes, Morningstar rates a wide range of assets based on their past returns to investors on a scale of one to five. The company reportedly started working with blockchain technology in June 2018, when Morningstar published a report on how firms like Bank of America, Apple and Walmart are using blockchain tech, and how it might affect credit ratings agencies’ coverage.

Two major blockchain efforts in debt securities

So far, Morningstar has been working on two major blockchain-based efforts in the debt securities industry. One of them intends to put Morningstar’s system for rating bonds directly on the Ethereum blockchain via a technology called an oracle, the report notes.

Oracles move data onto a blockchain in a way that ensures the data is not manipulated and therefore makes it eligible to be used in a smart contract.

The second project involves making quantitative rating models for debt securities available on a blockchain. Credit agencies use said models to determine the creditworthiness of different types of debt securities.

According to Brawer, the smart oracles project could be ready as soon as the end of 2019, but the blockchain modeling project might not be ready for launch until the end of 2020.

The potential partners for Morningstar’s product reportedly include blockchain-focused startup Figure, Coinbase-backed alternative investment provider Cadence and decentralized finance platform Polymath.

Meanwhile, it is still unclear whether Morningstar’s blockchain methodology needs to be approved by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the report notes. Brawer said that there is a very elaborate and intricate governance process which is all based on the Dodd-Frank law and SEC regulations.

In July, blockchain-based alternative investment provider Cadence launched an investment platform for debt.

MIT Research Group Calls Crypto a Testing Ground for a Central Bank Digital Asset

MIT’s crypto and distributed ledger tech research group, the Digital Currency Initiative, recently explained that a central bank digital currency (CBDC) will eventually use some of the concepts and technology currently at play in the experimental crypto space.

“CBDC should not be a direct copy of existing cryptocurrencies with exactly the same design and features but there are things we can learn from their emergence – the usefulness of programmability in money and the importance of preserving user privacy”, the MIT group wrote in a lengthy report on Jan. 22.

A birth from necessity

Pointing to the intersection of technology and finance, the MIT group noted that digital value transfer innovation has lagged behind the world’s rapidly growing desire for computerized payment solutions, as partially seen in the e-commerce sector.

The crypto space came into existence out of such necessity, the group wrote, which has contained significant trial and error so far in its history, causing authorities to reevaluated money’s current state.

A choice of aspects

In the crypto space, much of the ecosystem allows contributions from virtually anyone, making it an open system of development and counterbalance to an extent, while also igniting levels of market competition, the MIT group explained.

“The cryptocurrency ecosystem should be viewed as a laboratory where developers are inventing different technologies, monetary policies, governance strategies, and reward systems which are competing”, the group wrote, adding:

“The space is still in its infancy, but make no mistake – successful ideas from this area will eventually find their way into the more conservative world of fiat digital payments.”

The report lists several key takeaways from the crypto and distributed ledger industry so far, including decentralized blockchain consensus protocols, “Atomic cross chain transactions as an example of programmable money”, and blockchain-based privacy methods.

Cointelegraph reached out to the authors of the MIT group’s report for additional clarity but received no comments as of press time. This article will be updated accordingly upon receipt of a response.

In May 2019, Cointelegraph also reported on one MIT professor’s work with Facebook’s LIbra project.

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