Distributed ledger technology (DLT) company and cryptocurrency founder Ripple has added 11 new partner universities in its global University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), according to an announcement from the company. The program now supports a total of 29 partner institutions.
Among the universities that recently joined the initiative were Carnegie Mellon, Cornell, Duke, and Universit of Michigan in the United States; the National University of Singapore, the Institute for Fintech Research at Tsinghua University in China, and the University of São Paulo in Brazil.
We're excited to partner with 11 new universities around the world to help grow the blockchain ecosystem and support the industry leaders of tomorrow! https://t.co/QR9TsWhIdj
Ripple originally launched UBRI in mid-2018 with the aim “to support and accelerate academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.”
Since launch, the initiative has taken a very hands-on approach to its work within Universities.
As part of the initiative, Ripple has reportedly launched a series of faculty and student grants for research in blockchain and DLT-related fields. The program will also include an upcoming hackathon, as well as a blockchain and fintech speaker series and the University of California Berkeley’s Haas School of Business this Spring.
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At the University of São Paulo, UBRI will fund an interdisciplinary blockchain program from students in mathematics, economics, law, engineering, and business administration.
Ripple is keen to see the program continue to grow. “In less than a year, our initial UBRI partners hit the ground running with the launch of new research projects, events, course offerings and more,” said Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple. “Expanding the ecosystem to a more global, diversified network of UBRI partners will only continue to enrich these projects.”
While UBRI is one of the more high-profile DLT- and crypto-related initiatives in the academic world, a number of universities have taken it upon themselves to launch blockchain-related courses and programs for their students. Among these universities with self-started programs are the IT University of Copenhagen and MIT in the United States.
Additionally, Ripple isn’t the only corporation to have taken an interest in funding academic programs. Stanford’ Blockchain Research Center receives funding from Polychain Capital and the Ethereum Foundation.
These companies hope that they will grow and groom talent for the industry from the very beginning--perhaps enlisting top talent within their own companies along the way.
“These programs help [build] a very strong theoretical understanding as well as testing ground for engineers, cryptographers and researchers to build new solutions and grapple/experiment with the existing scaling challenges,” said Yossi Hasson, Managing Director of Techstars Blockchain Accelerator, in an email to Finance Magnates.
“We’ve seen a number of new projects being born out of these institutions and expect to see many more to come.”
Academia can also have a direct influence on regulation. In an exclusive interview with Finance Magnates conducted last year, MIT lecturer and associate fellow at Oxford Dave Shrier spoke of some of his experiences working with regulators: “I’ve spent a lot of time talking to regulators policy makers, and among others, the OECD and the EU are trying to do what I consider to be fairly progressive approaches to thinking about crypto or blockchain, and trying to actually enable a new economy and not quash innovation.”
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