A leading name in cryptocurrency has announced a new research initiative and invited one of Canada’s leading universities to take part.
The University of Waterloo (UW) will take part in Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative as the only Canadian participant. Leading researchers and developers will contribute to dedicated cryptocurrency research in an effort to advance collective knowledge surrounding digital payments and blockchain.
“Academia has traditionally been a critical driver of technical innovation,” said Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of global operations at Ripple. “This project 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.”
UW’s contribution to the initiative will be supported by a multi-million dollar contribution from Ripple, though the exact amount is undisclosed. Each university in the initiative will be able to determine their own research topics and areas of focus, and Ripple will provide additional resources in the form of guidance or technical collaboration if required. Schools were awarded more or less funding based on their fields of expertise.
In total, Ripple is committing over $50 million in funding to 17 different partners as part of the University Blockchain Research Initiative. Schools like the University of Pennsylvania are using the money to develop dual business/engineering degrees, while Princeton is creating a program that will study the policy impact of cryptocurrencies and blockchain in the U.S. and around the world.
In Waterloo, the program will support a few different initiatives. Firstly, it will go towards the newly named Ripple Chair, Anwar Hasan, a professor of computer engineering at UW. He will delegate a new research fund that will look specifically into areas UW excels at, which includes blockchain and cryptography. Earlier this year, RBC and UW opened a cybersecurity lab that had a focus in mathematical cryptography, which put the university high up on a list of potential partners for Ripple to join forces with. If that wasn’t enough, UW also opened Waterloo.ai this year, adding to Canada’s immense talent in the field.
“We know from recent world events and the experience of many of our partners that blockchain technologies will increasingly disrupt the way the world does business,” said Pearl Sullivan, dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Waterloo. “By increasing our ability to attract talent to Waterloo and work in conjunction with some of the world’s leading institutions, we will make a significant contribution to Canada and the world’s ability to address the challenges and opportunities that blockchain and cryptography technologies present.”
The funding will also go towards the creation of several multi-year graduate scholarships designed to attract new talent in the field.
Ripple has been on a donation-spree as of late, giving a combined $29 million to various public schools in the U.S. to help purchase supplies, then having Ashton Kutcher pop up on The Ellen Show and donate $4 million on Ripple’s behalf to her wildlife charity. The company focuses on frictionless global payment transfers and also created XRP, a cryptocurrency with the third-highest market cap in the world behind bitcoin and ethereum.