Ripple has announced plans to invest the sum of $50 million into a blockchain research initiative in partnership with highly ranked universities around the world.
So far, 17 schools have been confirmed as part of the initiative including The University of North Carolina, The University of Pennsylvania, University College London, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Korea University, amongst others.
Ripple wants to Build “Workforce of the Future”
Explaining the reason behind the commitment, Ripple stated that the initiative is designed to support the workforce of the future” by supporting technology development and academic research and innovation in the blockchain, digital currency and digital payments ecosystem, which is set to expand dramatically over the coming years.
Speaking to the media, Eric van Miltenburg, SVP Business Operations at Ripple said:
“As globalization increases, so does the demand for technological solutions and talent to solve the world’s hardest financial problems, such as retail remittances.”
According to Ripple, each university on the programme will be able to choose its areas and topics of research focus. While some university research projects may involve Ripple’s proprietary technology and XRP cryptocurrency, this is not a requirement or a prerequisite for funding. In return, it will contribute specialist blockchain expertise and technical resources to aid research.
Can these Initiatives Help XRP?
The move comes at a time when Ripple is facing tremendous market pressure, with its performance showing a downturn of more than 70 percent on its January valuation. This makes it one of the worst performing coins of all top cryptocurrencies. Perhaps as a show of strength to boost investor confidence, Ripple also revealed that the $50 million sum will be made available in fiat, and not in XRP tokens. Ostensibly, this proves to the market that the firm has a healthy asset base and is confident in its long-term prognosis.
Ripple has also announced significant partnerships with large financial institutions for real-time bank transaction settlement. Deals have been struck with global money transfer behemoths MoneyGram and Western Union to facilitate the transfer of vast sums of money at high speed with minimal transaction fees. Other deals within this partnership strategy include a November 2017 deal with American Express and Santander, Spain’s largest bank.
Under this deal, the two financial powerhouses direct American Express’ FX International Payments platform (FXIP) – which Santander relies upon for its cross-border payments services – through the RippleNet network. The network is a proprietary technology developed by Ripple specifically to target the banking and financial services industry, and it does not obligate the banks to make use of its XRP cryptocurrency.
The Ripple University Blockchain Research Initiative is possibly a reference point in a developing trend of collaboration between blockchain tech firms and research institutions as the world increasingly comes to view blockchain as an inevitable part of the future.