Ripple announced the launch of a new University Blockchain Research Initiative that will see Ripple Labs donate $50 million across 17 universities worldwide to promote academic research and blockchain innovation.

The new initiative, announced June 4, inaugurates a program intended to “shape the workforce of the future” by supporting technical development and innovation in cryptocurrency, digital payments, and distributed ledger technology.

Ripple Invests in the Next Generation of Human Capital

The new Ripple University Blockchain Research Initiative will provide 17 different universities with multi-million dollar funding over several years in order to promote cutting-edge research into the blockchain sector.

The project will focus on three primary streams; technological innovation of distributed ledger technologies, the business applications and socio-economic risks of blockchain technology, and regulatory and legal implications.

Ripple SVP of Global Operations, Eric Van Miltenburg, stated:

“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”

Providing the next generation of blockchain innovators with enterprise-level resources and support will place Ripple in a position to capitalize on the future of the crypto job market which, according to KPMG, grew by 11% last year.

With over 4,500 crypto or blockchain related jobs posted via professional networking site LinkedIn this year alone, the blockchain industry is experiencing massive 151% surge in growth.

Academia Set to Benefit from Cash Injection

In addition to providing financial resources, Ripple will collaborate with academic institutions to offer relevant expertise and a range of technical sources. Universities that participate in the initiative will select their own research topics and areas of focus.

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Some of the universities partnering with Ripple in the research initiative already have a significant presence within the blockchain sector.

The Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University boasts a dedicated research unit targeted toward cryptocurrencies and IoT devices, while the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology is currently applying blockchain technology to self-driving vehicles and speech recognition technology.

The initiative will also partner Ripple with University College London, one of the world’s top universities. Dr. Paolo Tasca, Executive Director at UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, commented on the collaboration:

“To improve technology literacy and drive the adoption and integration of blockchain into a range of business processes, we are dedicated to groundbreaking scientific research and teaching in this field and we are delighted to have Ripple supporting our endeavours over the next four years”

Providing academic institutions with the freedom to set their own research guidelines may inspire interesting and unique use cases outside the profit-driven paradigm of the current market. Miltenburg highlights the importance of fostering research into useful blockchain technology:

“Much of the enthusiasm and activity to date around blockchain is disconnected from real use cases that result in clear customer benefits. While Ripple won’t dictate research parameters, we are excited to play a role in helping to support projects that explore increasingly useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

Cover Photo by Baim Hanif on Unsplash

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Sam TownSam Town Author

Sam Town

Samuel is a freelance journalist, digital nomad, and crypto enthusiast based out of Bangkok, Thailand. As an avid observer of the rapidly evolving blockchain ecosystem he specializes in the FinTech sector, and when not writing explores the technological landscape of Southeast Asia.

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