Fidelity Labs, the R&D and Innovation unit of Fidelity Investments, said Monday it is the first in the financial services industry to join faculty members at Cornell University, Cornell Tech, UC Berkeley, University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, and the Technion, along with leading technology companies, to take part in the Initiative for Cryptocurrencies and Contracts (IC3).

Fidelity Labs will collaborate with domain experts, entrepreneurs and others to explore blockchain-based programs that will make tomorrow’s financial systems more flexible, transparent, efficient and secure, the company stated.

“Emerging digital assets, smart contracts and other blockchain-based applications have the potential to transform financial services in the future, potentially altering the industry landscape and status quo,” said Hadley Stern, Senior Vice President at Fidelity Labs.

“IC3 was founded to advance the development of blockchain technology and applications by making its collective world-class expertise in cryptography, distributed systems, game theory, and programming languages available to industry partners, such as Fidelity Labs,” said Ari Juels, co-Director of IC3 and a professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech in New York City.