Cryptocurrency startup Ripple, the blockchain-based payment network, is donating $50 million to 17 universities around the world to bolster the adoption of blockchain, the technology underpinning bitcoin.
Ripple announced the partnership, called the University Blockchain Research Initiative, on its website June 4. The company said its donations will be made in U.S. dollars, not cryptocurrency.
“We’re excited to announce the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), a collaboration with top universities around the world to support and accelerate academic research, technical development, and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital payments,” the San Francisco-based company said.
Interest In Blockchain Spikes
Ripple said interest in blockchain is skyrocketing as people are starting to discover the game-changing potential of distributed ledger technology.
“From new business-use cases — such as making cross-border payments faster, lower cost and more transparent — to uses of blockchain for good, students and faculty globally are emerging as major contributors to the creation of a more robust and valuable blockchain and payments ecosystem,” the company said.
Here’s the complete list of the 17 universities that Ripple is investing in:
- Princeton University (Center for Information Technology Policy)
- MIT (Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory)
- University of Pennsylvania (Wharton School)
- Indian Institute of Technology Bombay
- Australian National University College of the Law
- Delft University of Technology (Netherlands)
- Fundação Getulio Vargas (Brazil)
- University of California, Berkeley (Haas School of Business)
- International Institute of Information Technology, Hyderabad (IIIT-H)
- Korea University
- University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business)
- University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
- University College London
- University of Luxembourg
- University of Nicosia (Cyprus)
- University of Oregon
- University of Waterloo (Canada)
Ripple is showing the world how confident it is in the future of blockchain by putting its money where its mouth is. In April 2018, the company invested $25 million of its XRP cryptocurrency into Blockchain Capital Parallel IV, a $150 million fund that will invest in blockchain ventures, as CCN has reported.
Ripple has also used its burgeoning crypto wealth for good social causes. Two weeks ago, Ripple partnered with actor Ashton Kutcher to donate $4 million in XRP to the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund, which aids endangered species. Kutcher, an investor in Ripple, is a longtime bitcoin bull.
Meanwhile, blockchain continues to generate headlines for its versatility. Retail giant Walmart recently filed a patent for a blockchain-based digital marketplace.
Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry, recently joined a diamond blockchain program being developed by South African gem juggernaut De Beers Group.
Even Crypto Skeptics Embrace Blockchain
Even avowed cryptocurrency skeptics have conceded that blockchain could transform healthcare, banking, supply-chain management, and the entertainment industry. That’s why even Old Money like the Rockefeller family is investing in blockchain startups.
And many of the top business schools in the world, including Wharton and Stanford, have expanded their MBA course offerings to include classes on bitcoin and blockchain. “We’re at the point where there’s a critical mass to teach this domain,” said Kevin Werbach, a professor at the Wharton School.
John Jacobs, a former Nasdaq executive who’s now the executive director of the Center for Financial Markets and Policy at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, said he “constantly” gets calls from recruiters asking, “We need people to understand how to apply blockchain technology.”
Penn State University image from Shutterstock.