In 2003, while Doctor Vincent Gramoli completed his Masters in Computer Science at Université Paris Diderot, an American called Andy Jassy had just founded Amazon Web Services (AWS) providing on-demand cloud computing services. Little did Gramoli know that a mere fifteen years later, his research and development into blockchain technology would become one of the largest global blockchain deployments on AWS's global cloud infrastructure.

Blockchain is an emerging way for businesses, industries, and public organisations to almost instantaneously make and verify online transactions. Historically, it has been susceptible to errors, such as individuals double spending or bottlenecks when there are simultaneous transactions.

Gramoli, a senior researcher at the University of Sydney and CSIRO, together with the Concurrent Systems Research Group at the University of Sydney, developed Red Belly Blockchain, a secure and fast blockchain system that is 'unforkable' – that is, it is continuously linear and never diverts. It relies on a novel leaderless consensus algorithm.

Gramoli and Concurrent Systems Research Group took part in ON Prime, CSIRO's pre-accelerator program, in 2017 which aided in providing early business model development for the startup.

"We learnt things and met great people," said Gramoli. "However, it turns out that blockchain is quite an atypical context where it is hard to come up with a product as the industry is still exploring use-cases at the moment."

ON Prime helps research teams validate their research and discover a real world application for it.

"We were able to conduct testing on a large scale that wouldn’t otherwise have been possible: we deployed Red Belly Blockchain on 1,000 virtual machines across 14 of AWS’ 16 regions (including North America, South America, Asia Pacific, and Europe) globally."

"We obtained a financial prize from ON Prime – what mattered was not the money but the reward. After all our hard work on blockchain, the validation that comes with the prize was the best part."

Gramoli is now a Future Fellow of the Australian Research Council, the head of the Concurrent Systems Research Group at the University of Sydney, a senior researcher at Data61, CSIRO's leading data innovation group, and the Chair of the Blockchain Technical Committee at the Australian Computer Society.

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