The Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science at the University of Pennsylvania announced the launch of The Ripple Project at Penn. This joint-school effort is supported by the blockchain-based global payments leader Ripple under its recently announced University Blockchain Research Initiative. The goal of this strategic collaboration is to support academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology.
Ripple’s financial donation to the University will support cross-disciplinary faculty research, financial aid for graduate students and a broad range of educational programs. The Ripple Project will enable faculty research at both Wharton and Penn Engineering to unlock the full potential of blockchain to inform the creation of truly valuable solutions in the marketplace.
As the field emerging around blockchain has grown, so has the demand for professionals with an understanding of the technology and its applications. The Ripple Fellowship will support select MBA-MS candidates each year in a newly established Wharton-Engineering dual-degree program, prioritizing students working on blockchain or cryptocurrency.
“Here at Penn, there is tremendous excitement and initiative around blockchain among faculty and students,” said Vijay Kumar, the Nemirovsky Family Dean of the School of Engineering and Applied Science. “By collaborating with Ripple, we will answer crucial questions about blockchain’s capabilities, applications and security, and we will develop a deeper understanding of the many emerging protocols built over blockchain. This level of knowledge is key to the technology’s future success.”
“Blockchain represents the fusion of technology and finance spanning schools and disciplines well beyond Wharton,” said Geoffrey Garrett, Dean of the Wharton School. “The Ripple Project will transform the way our students and faculty look at blockchain and its potential to change the world. We are thrilled to welcome Ripple’s collaboration as we prepare future leaders who will shape the future of how this dynamic technology is developed to transform fields as diverse as finance, logistics and healthcare.”
To harness the initiative of students, the insights of new research and the power of the Penn network in this field, the Ripple Project will also provide learning opportunities both inside and outside of the classroom. Ripple will support student-organized events, such as the Penn Blockchain Conference, which brings together the Penn and Philadelphia blockchain communities; the development of new curricular offerings that bridge business and technology; and events, workshops and lectures that promote engagement between industry, students and faculty.
“Blockchain is a major point of intersection between business and engineering. We plan to research a broad range of topics in in this field, ranging from privacy to smart contract design to regulatory questions to creating trust in decentralized environments,” said Kevin Werbach, associate professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School.
Penn is among the 17 initial leading global universities engaging with Ripple through its University Blockchain Research Initiative, which was launched to prepare the next generation of leaders in fintech. Each university determines its own research topics and areas of focus. In addition to financial resources, Ripple has also committed to collaborating with university partners by providing strategic guidance and technical resources to the University as needed. Demand for learning, research and project-based experience is at an all-time high among University faculty and students, and the partnership between Ripple, the Wharton School and Penn Engineering makes major strides in fulfilling that demand.
“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. It also speaks to the reality that university graduates will fuel a continually evolving and maturing financial marketplace and workforce,” said Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple. “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 society. 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.”
Ripple and Penn are hopeful that the partnership will engage students and faculty from a wide range of academic fields and backgrounds to produce interesting research and technical developments that will add value to the global blockchain ecosystem.
Ripple provides one frictionless experience to send money globally using the power of blockchain. By joining Ripple’s growing, global network, financial institutions can process their customers’ payments anywhere in the world instantly, reliably and cost-effectively. Banks and payment providers can use the digital asset XRP to further reduce their costs and access new markets. With offices in San Francisco, New York, London, Luxembourg, Mumbai, Singapore and Sydney, Ripple has more than 100 customers around the world.