AMSTERDAM – Ripple is launching the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), a program comprised of collaborative partnerships with leading universities globally to support academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments. Through the program, Ripple will donate $50 million to universities around the world to help shape the workforce of the future.
UBRI is launching with 17 initial partners, including the University of Pennsylvania, CSAIL at MIT, The Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University, Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley University of Waterloo UCL (University College London), University of Oregon, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Korea University, University of Luxembourg, Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), University of Nicosia (Cyprus), Australian National University, Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil), McCombs School of Business, UT-Austin IIT Bombay International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H)
Each university will determine its own research topics and areas of focus. In addition to providing financial resources, Ripple will collaborate with universities by providing subject matter expertise and technical resources, as needed.
As globalization increases, so does the demand for technological solutions and talent to solve the world’s hardest financial problems. A report from 2017 showed that global investment in FinTech companies grew by 11 percent. In addition, 4,500 job openings with the terms “blockchain,” “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” in the title were posted on LinkedIn this year. That’s an increase of 151 percent over the total LinkedIn postings mentioning those terms in 2017.
As funding and demand for talent grow, universities and their student bodies are in a position to put themselves on the forefront of a growing industry.
“Academia has traditionally been a critical driver of technical innovation. The University Blockchain Research Initiative is an acknowledgment of the vital importance of the unique role universities will play in advancing our understanding and application of cryptography and blockchain technology.It also speaks to the reality that university graduates will fuel a continually evolving and maturing financial marketplace and workforce,” said Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple. “Much of the enthusiasm and activity to date around blockchain is disconnected from real use cases that result in clear benefits to businesses or civil society. While Ripple won’t dictate research parameters, we are excited to play a role in helping to support faculty and student-led projects that explore increasingly useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”
The initial launch partners represent a broad cross section of geographies and markets, as well as a rich blend of academic disciplines. In addition, Ripple is committed to working with campus initiatives to increase diversity in blockchain, cryptocurrency, FinTech and related fields.