I think the simplest answer to these questions is, there are some researchers in Stanford that we think have been doing very good work solving problems in cryptography and other fields relevant to the blockhain/cryptocurrency space, and we gave them some money so they could do more of their excellent work, and we’re already benefiting from some of it in the context of our work on using verifiable delay functions ( https://notes.ethereum.org/52JZtwErThe9KmN6TNd1lg ). They are happy to work with our researchers, and get insights from us about what problems are relevant to the crypto space. That’s basically all there is to it.
We actually were not thinking much about legal research when sponsoring the CBR (we certainly are interested in such topics, but it did not come up in CBR discussions specifically) and there was certainly no intent to use CBR as a mechanism to influence policy. There were no smart contracts or dapps involved. We do not have any governance rights.