Ripple is launching the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) to fund research and innovation in blockchain technology by universities around the world. The leading enterprise blockchain for global payments, Ripple announced today that it is donating USD 50 million to the initiative and has partnered with 17 universities.
Ripple highlighted the three main aims of UBRI: it will support collaboration in research and technical development; it will facilitate a new curriculum to meet high student demand and it will encourage discussion among students and business leaders in the cryptocurrency field.
The list of participating universities includes the Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology — which is working on self-driving cars, speech recognition and cryptography — and Delft University of Technology, Netherlands, which has partnered with quantum computing research centre QuTech. It also includes The Center for Information Technology Policy at Princeton University which is already focused on cryptocurrencies, AI and internet of things (IoT).
“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, in a statement.
Ripple will allow each university to choose where it focuses its research but will provide expertise and resources to further development when necessary. The initiative will provide a boost to the supply of developers in the blockchain industry. According to job analytics provider Burning Glass, the number of blockchain jobs posted in 2017 was double the number in 2016.
Ripple, based in San Francisco, provides three services that rely on its Interledger Protocol, including xRapid which uses the cryptocurrency XRP. According to analysis by CNBC, Ripple owns the majority of XRP, about 60 billion of the 100 billion XRP created, giving it a market value of close to USD 80 billion.