Payments company Ripple is launching a $50 million fund
to finance blockchain and crypto research at
The new fund highlights the early-stage nature of
blockchain and crypto tech, which many companies around the
world are trying to use to create commercial ventures.
Crypto payments company Ripple has announced a new $50 million
fund to finance university research into blockchain and
Ripple has partnered with 17 universities around the world for
the new project, including MIT, University College London,
Princeton, and the Australian National University. Universities
involved in the project will be able to apply to Ripple’s
University Blockchain Research Initiative fund for cash. Some of
the $50 million has already been allocated.
Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple, said in
a statement: “Academia has traditionally been a critical driver
of technical innovation.
“The University Blockchain Research Initiative is an
acknowledgement 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
Ripple is not the first to collaborate with the university
sector. Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop ethereum, last year
committed to investing
$1 million in setting up new blockchain labs at the University of
Edinburgh and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
Both instances highlight the fact that the cryptocurrency space
remains an early stage, development-led sector, despite large
numbers of businesses trying to build commercial products using
the technology and the huge amounts of capital these companies
Blockchain tech, which was first popularized as the underpinnings
of bitcoin, still faces issues around processing power, privacy,
and energy usage, among others. Developers around the world are
looking at these and other issues in a bid to improve the nascent
van Miltenburg said in a statement: “Much of the enthusiasm and
activity to date around blockchain is disconnected from real use
cases that result in clear benefits to businesses or civil
“While Ripple won’t dictate research parameters, we are excited
to play a role in helping to support faculty and student-led
projects that explore increasingly useful applications of
blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”
closely linked to the cryptocurrency XRP, sometimes also
dubbed Ripple, and owns 60% of the currency. The sale of XRP is
used to generate the money for the new university fund.
Ripple initially wanted businesses to use XRP to send and receive
global payments but struggled with adoption. It has since pivoted
to offering a blockchain-based payments product and pitching XRP
for use as a liquidity solution.