Fomenting collaboration between USP and startups by means of a digital currency: the dawn of a “USPcoin”

The University of São Paulo has a long tradition of collaborating with the private sector, as a supplier of expertise in research and innovation for the creation of novel and better solutions for real-world problems. This type of extension initiative aims to bring science closer to the everyday life and benefit society as a whole, and is among the three pillars of the university, together with teaching and research activities.

One particular form of collaboration in this scenario refers to startups, which commonly seek USP’s services to enhance their solutions and, consequently, improve their prospects for market growth and results. Examples of services provided by the university include mentoring, consulting, execution of experiments and simulations, statistical analyses, among many others. Sometimes, however, startups face an obstacle when trying to engage in such activities: on the one hand, they commonly do not have the necessary capital to pay for the use of USP resources, given their position in the business life cycle; on the other hand, USP agents need resources to finance their research and extension activities, including the need of purchasing lab supplies and providing scholarships for students and researchers. The result is an ecosystem of complementary needs between startups and USP.

The purpose of this project is to bridge this gap, facilitating and encouraging the collaboration between USP and Brazilian Startups. To accomplish this goal, we are studying the creation of a digital currency (a “USPcoin”, or U$P for short) that can be used within the university for the exchange of services and supplies among laboratories, research personnel, and startups. The challenges in this scenario are multidisciplinary, including: economic aspects, such as valuation of startups and liquidity of the digital currency; legal aspects, like compliance with regulations that may apply to this ecosystem; and technological aspects, given the need of a reliable infrastructure for handling the system’s use cases. Even though the discussions on this matter started just recently, we are confident that Blockchain is a very strong candidate for addressing the technological requirements of this scenario!


This project is supported by the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) in partnership with the Interdisciplinary Research for Innovative Solutions (IRIS), an initiative of the University of Sao Paulo Innovation Center (InovaUSP).


Contact information at USP: Prof. Dr. Vanderley M. John <vmjohn(at)> (general coordination),  Prof. Dr. Leandro dos Santos Maciel <leandromaciel(at)> (economics aspects), and Prof. Dr. Marcos A. Simplicio Jr. <mjunior(at)> (engineering aspects) 


See also:

  • Interdisciplinary Research for Innovative Solutions (IRIS) []
  • University of Sao Paulo Innovation Center (InovaUSP) []