Ripple announced on Tuesday (July 30) that it had expanded its University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), which was launched in June 2018, to Japan.

What is UBRI?

UBRI is “a partnership between Ripple and top universities around the world to support academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and, digital payments,” with Ripple “providing both financial and technical resources to university partners and collaborates with faculty and students on research and technical projects.” Ripple partners with those universities that have a good reputation for research in the fields of blockchain technology, cryptocurrency, cryptography, and related areas.

Ripple says that its current partners are “academic institutions: 1) with existing centers of practice and faculty and students who are already active and productive in related subject areas; 2) that are experiencing high demand from students and have related student-driven activities; 3) that bring a variety of perspectives from across a range of academic disciplines and technology; and 4) that contribute to the program’s overall geographic diversity.”

Ripple provides these partners with financial assistance, access to Ripple’s products, and access to key members of the Ripple team. Although Ripple’s initial financial investment in UBRI is $50 million, it has said that it intends to commit additional resouces as this program develops.

Last month, Ripple announced that it was committed to using UBRI to helping “top tier Brazilian universities, including University of São Paulo and Fundação Getulio Vargas.”

Expansion of UBRI to Japan

Ripple said in its press release that this initiative has expanded to Japan, and that with the addition of the new Japanese partners, including Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo, there are now 33 supported university partners. 

Furthermore, Ripple said that it had “already seen cross-departmental collaboration and academic activity among faculty, post-doctoral, graduate and undergraduate students from its new partners.” Ripple cited Kyoto University’s Department of Economics as an example:

The University of Tokyo’s Department of Economics is arranging open seminars related to blockchain and settlement for the public. In addition, professors within the department are conducting research projects on related topics such as the evolving financial system and frameworks on regulation and supervision of the financial industry’s utilization of crypto assets and blockchains. As part of its commitment to nurturing the future generation of innovators, the University of Tokyo will also award scholarships to students involved in the research.

Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple, had this to say:

“University partners will continue to increase positive awareness of the transformative impact that blockchain technology will have across various industries. As the industry matures, the academic community plays a pivotal role in paving the road for innovative companies and entrepreneurs leveraging blockchain technologies and digital assets. Expanding the UBRI network across the globe to a wide range of university partners will only continue to promote and accelerate the development of blockchain technology and use cases.

And Emi Yoshikawa, Senior Director of Global Operations at Ripple, said:

Japan is quickly becoming a leading force in crypto assets and blockchain. The region has always been forward thinking and exploring ways to improve the current financial system. We have seen high levels of interest from the academic community on topics around blockchain and crypto. Ripple is committed to engaging and inspiring students to become part of the workforce of the future, across areas such as blockchain, distributed computing, banking and fintech.


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