UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and the Frank H. Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise Partner with Ripple on $50 Million Blockchain Research Initiative

Friday June 1, 2018

(Chapel Hill, N.C. – Jun 1, 2018)  The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Kenan-Flagler Business School, along with the Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise, have been selected as part of a $50 million initiative Ripple is launching to support academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

The University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) initially will support 17 partner universities around the world, including MIT; Princeton; University College, London; Australia National University; and IIT Bombay.  Each university will determine its own research topics and areas of focus. In addition to financial resources, Ripple is committed to collaborating with university partners by providing subject matter expertise and technical resources as needed.

As globalization increases, so does the demand for technological solutions and talent to solve the world’s most complex financial problems. A report from 2017 showed that global investment in financial technology, or FinTech, companies grew by 11 percent. In addition, 4,500 job openings with the terms “blockchain,” “bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” in the title were posted on LinkedIn this year. That’s an increase of 151% over the total LinkedIn postings mentioning those terms in 2017.

As funding and demand for talent grows, universities and their student bodies are in a position to put themselves on the forefront of a growing industry.

“​Academia has traditionally been a critical driver of technical innovation. The University Blockchain Research Initiative 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,” said Eric van Miltenburg, senior vice president of global operations at Ripple.

Greg Brown, director of the Kenan Institute, concurred.  “The Kenan Institute and Kenan-Flagler Business School are uniquely qualified to be part of this effort,” Brown said.  “Our research focus has always been around real use cases that result in clear benefits to businesses and society, particularly with respect to cutting-edge technologies.  This partnership with Ripple to discover useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies is logical extension of our efforts.”