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Funding Boost for Edinburgh Napier cyber project, LastingAsset

AN EDINBURGH Napier University spin-out has set out to enhance security on crypto assets.

The crypto asset security project from the School of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment (SCEBE) at Edinburgh Napier University (ENU), has secured £74,948 in funding from Scottish Enterprise’s High Growth Spin Out Programme. 

LastingAsset is building a decentralised institutional custody solution, which aims to help users securely store digital assets like cryptocurrencies or NFTs – which can often otherwise be lost.

This latest support will allow the technical team to build an initial proof of their concept, and follows awards of £29,516 and £59,958 from Phase 1 and Phase 2 of Innovate UK’s highly competitive CyberASAP programme.

This paves the way for the first patent to be submitted this year.

The technical team working on the innovation has been led by Dr Zakwan Jaroucheh and supported by Professor Bill Buchanan OBE and Dr Baraq Ghaleb.

The commercial team has been led by Nanik Ramchandani of Imagine Ventures, and Matthew Burdge, Head of CPD and Consulting at ENU.

Dr Jaroucheh said: “Crypto assets are popularized by cryptocurrencies but there are other assets also available, for example – NFTs, stablecoins, and security tokens.

“I believe that secure custodial solutions are a core building block for the development of an overall crypto assets’ ecosystem for the future tokenized economy.”

Custody plays a fundamental role for organisations seeking to access crypto assets and decentralised finance (DeFi) applications.

Custodians store private keys – which are used to access crypto assets – and approve and sign transactions.

Dr Jaroucheh added: “One of the main challenges crypto asset custodians face is to strike the correct balance between usability and safety.

“In current custodian platforms, security, or private key protection, is introduced at the expense of other essential aspects such as cost, scalability, governance policy flexibility, and convenience. LastingAsset’s innovation, substantially improves on this.”

Mr Ramchandani said: “An estimated 20% of all coins mined to date have been lost. The key challenge of the utopian vision Web3, a decentralised system where users control their own assets, has been the inability to securely store one’s assets.

“This is a critical area where further innovation is required, and we are very excited about the potential impact of this project in securing digital assets.”

Professor Buchanan commented: “Around three years ago, we created the first identity lab in the world (the Blockpass ID Lab), and which has attracted some of the best talent around.

“The work in the lab has generally focused on creating more trustworthy systems, and which has a strong focus on creating systems which move towards a tokenized economy.

“This new potential spin-out highlights this drive, and, especially in building trust, privacy and security into our digital world.”

Fiona Mason Head of Business Engagement and IP Commercialisation at Edinburgh Napier University, said: “We are delighted to see another of our Napier IP projects supported by Scottish Enterprise.

“The High Growth Spin Out Programme is truly excellent in its support for developing university research into economically beneficial industry impact. We are excited by the opportunities ahead for LastingAsset“

Leah Pape, Head of High Growth Services at Scottish Enterprise, added: “LastingAsset is an innovative spinout breaking new ground in the growing field of digital asset security.

“It’s great to see this young company taking its next steps towards proof of concept with our support. Edinburgh Napier University’s School of Computing, Engineering and the Built Environment is one of Scotland’s many world-leading innovation assets and is an incredible breeding ground for the high-growth companies of the future.

“We look forward to working more with LastingAsset as the company develops.”

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