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Supporting the Next Generation of European Blockchain and Crypto Leaders with UBRI

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Ripple is building on its business momentum and growth in Europe as it strengthens ties with the region’s academic community, adding four new universities to its University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) program

UBRI is marking its fifth year by establishing new European partner universities including Trinity College Dublin (Ireland), EPITA (France), IE University (Spain), and University of Trento (Italy). These academic partners will help further blockchain education and research across the region. 

Since its inception in 2018, UBRI has committed over $11 million to its now 14 partners across Europe. This momentum comes at a time when innovation is moving at a staggering pace throughout the region which has set its sights on becoming a global crypto hub. Europe is ramping up research efforts with its Market in Crypto Assets (MiCA) legislation to foster regulatory clarity for growth and mainstream adoption. UBRI continues to match this ambition by bringing forward education that keeps up with the rapidly changing crypto landscape.

Eric van Miltenburg, SVP Strategic Initiatives at Ripple said, “As UBRI celebrates its fifth year of supporting global universities to both drive and transform blockchain education and research, four leading universities with budding talent will now benefit from brand new ways to explore, create and grow in the worlds of blockchain and crypto. It’s crucial that we arm the next generation with the knowledge and practical skills needed to build on blockchain technology for real-world utility. By providing more regulatory clarity — which means more opportunities for crypto projects to thrive — Europe is primed to accelerate this mission.”

Building on its new partnership with UBRI, IE University will host a three-day virtual asset regulation workshop for students focused on applied research, entrepreneurship, and corporate transformation. With the aim of developing a new leading research paper, students will get the opportunity to acquire the necessary skills for entry into the regulation-driven crypto world. 

Ikhlaq Sidhu, Dean at IE University in Spain, commented, “We are delighted to partner with Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative to address the future of virtual asset regulation and the technology needed to support it. IE University is proud to drive and prepare our next generation of leaders toward a crypto- and blockchain-enabled economy with the support of UBRI for years to come.”

Expanding Opportunities with UK Centre for Blockchain Technologies (UK CBT)

Ripple has also reinvigorated its partnership with the Centre for Blockchain Technologies (CBT), an education program started at University College London (UCL) with support from UBRI, now more collaboratively named UK CBT as the program expands its network of resources. As the national network of leading blockchain research and education initiatives, this program will now extend beyond UCL to include Birmingham and Edinburgh, with more to be announced. 

UK CBT will continue to contribute to XRPL-related projects and create specific programs to encourage XRPL innovation and adoption. This will include delivering XRPL workshops for universities, developers and industry players, accelerator programs to support early-stage idea building on XRPL, and support of conferences like UBRI Connect — bringing forward the innovative possibilities of blockchain onto a global stage.

Dr. Paolo Tasca, Founder and Director of the world’s largest research center on blockchain technologies, UCL Centre for Blockchain Technologies, said, “The UK CBT is born from a desire to position the UK as a global leader in blockchain. We believe that enhancing collaboration between governments, regulators, industry leaders and universities can actively advance the agenda for innovation, define standards and equip the next generation with exponential digital technologies skills. With the support of Hedera, together with Ripple’s UBRI, we are shaping a future where blockchain revolutionises socio-economic systems and propels the UK to the forefront of technological leadership.”

Unlocking Innovation and Driving Collaboration 

Ripple is hosting its third annual Apex XRPL Developer Summit this week in Amsterdam, the conference’s European debut. In the Netherlands, UBRI boasts a partnership with TU Delft. Just ahead of its annual conference, UBRI hosted a hackathon — XRPL Hackathon – Apex 2023 — catered toward its European partners and beyond. With $10,000 in prizes, the on-campus contest set out high level challenges culminating in in-person demos and judging at the TU Delft campus. 

An UBRI-led team took home the top prize in the Pre-Apex Hackathon at TU Delft for their visionary and technically challenging projects. UCL and University of Trento joined forces at the hackathon to compete together and won first prize of $7k for their XRPL Charity project, with second place awarded $3k to UBRI partner University of Luxembourg for ZeroEnter. 

Learn more about UBRI or check out open positions at Ripple and apply to join a growing, global team.

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