Ripple has announced the $50 million University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) that is aimed at supporting academic research, technical development, and innovation in blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, and digital payments. This initiative will include 20 of the top educational institutions globally.
Ripple has pledged $50 million in support of the initiative and in addition, it has committed to providing financial resources, collaborate with university partners by providing subject matter expertise and technical resources where needed. It will also not dictate research parameters and will help and support both faculty and student-led projects and technological development to increase societal understanding of blockchain exploring increasingly useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
For instance, Princeton University will be creating a UBRI program whose aim will be to study the policy impact of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the US and around the world, while University of Pennsylvania, UBRI will be supporting select MBA-MS candidates each year in a newly established Wharton-Engineering dual-degree program. Similarly, the Center for Information Technology Policy (CITP), Princeton University will have the responsibility of creating a UBRI program that will research on the policy impact of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the whole world. All this showing how this funding aims at prioritizing students working on blockchain or cryptocurrency.
The academic institutions involved will include; Australian National University College of the Law, CITP at Princeton, CSAIL at MIT, Delft University of Technology (Netherlands), Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil), Haas School of Business, University of California, Berkeley, IIT Bombay, International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H), Korea University, McCombs School of Business, UT-Austin, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, The University of Pennsylvania, UCL (University College London), University of Luxembourg, University of Nicosia (Cyprus), University of Oregon, and University of Waterloo.
The initial launch partners represented a broad cross-section of geographies and markets, as well as a rich blend of academic disciplines. Also, the University Blockchain Research Initiative has linked Ripple with MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab’s new FinTech initiative that encompasses close to a dozen respected companies in the financial services industry. Together, they will be working with groups of CSAIL’s 116+ researchers on topics revolving around blockchain, cryptocurrencies, cybersecurity and global payments.
A report from 2017 showed that global investment in FinTech companies grew by 11 percent creating 4,500 job openings with the terms “blockchain,” “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” in the title were posted on LinkedIn. This initiative will nurture talents in the field to feed the growing workforce to solve the world’s hardest financial problems.
Traditionally universities have been important drivers of technical innovation; this is why 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.