Ripple is to spend $50 million as it seeks to enhance research and innovations around blockchain and cryptocurrency technology. The firm has since formed a fund that will be used to finance its Blockchain Research Initiative among institutions of higher learning.
The initiative has already enrolled 17 reputable universities, around the globe that are to advance research and innovation in blockchain and cryptography.  Some of the institutions of higher learning that are part of the initiative include  Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), University College London, the Australian National University, among others from Brazil, India, Netherlands, South Korea, Cyprus, and Luxembourg.
The launch partners represent a broad cross-section of geographies and markets as well as a blend of various academic disciplines. The universities are to come up with own research topics as well as areas of focus.  The institutions are also to come with a curriculum and programs capable of educating students on blockchain and digital currencies as well as other FinTech subjects.
Some of the research programs that the universities will work on will involve Ripple’s technology and native cryptocurrency XRP. However, it is not a requirement. In addition, they are to work with Ripple to research and enhance a deeper understanding of blockchain.
“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, senior vice president of Ripple’s Global Operations.
Ripple has been aggressive in the research and development of blockchain technology having supported a number of research programs. For instance, the company is currently working with Princeton’s Center for Information Technology Policy to develop a program that will study the policy impact of blockchain and digital currencies
Under the UBRI initiative Ripple has also teamed up with other ten companies to take part I MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Labs FinTech project
The San Francisco based company blockchain research activities are a response to growing demand for jobs pegged around the emerging blockchain technology. Reports indicate that as many as 4,500 job openings with blockchain and cryptocurrency terms were posted on LinkedIn last year.
The research efforts could result in innovations that would go a long way in enhancing Ripple’s network that is currently being used to facilitate real-time transaction settlements for banks.


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