Haas School of Business joins Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative

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The UC Berkeley Haas School of Business released a press release June 4 announcing its partnership with Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative, or UBRI.

Ripple is a company dedicated to connecting financial institutions across the globe to make sending payments easier, according to its website. The company’s UBRI project aims to accelerate research into cryptocurrency and other digital payments by donating $50 million throughout 17 universities.

Blockchain is a decentralized way of keeping track of digital finances so that no one party is in charge or can change digital records.

In spring 2018, Haas started a class called “Blockchain and the Future of Technology, Business, and Law,” which is about the basic technology behind blockchain and its varying applications, according to a Haas press release from November 2017. At the end of the course, the students work in teams to create business plans using what they have learned about blockchain.

“Blockchain is one of the most significant technologies to impact business in many years, but there’s a lack of understanding about what it means to business and law,” said Haas lecturer Greg LaBlanc in a press release.

Leslie Schibsted, Haas assistant dean for development and alumni relations, said in an email that Haas is glad to be partnered with Ripple because UBRI can help Haas lead in teaching the next generation of leaders who will advance the use of these technologies and in “advancing understanding” of how digital currencies are “transforming” multiple industries.

Haas will receive multiple millions of dollars over several years because of the UBRI, according to the June 4 press release. Schibsted said in an email that the money will be used to fund faculty, graduate and undergraduate research as well as “student activities such as competitions, pitch nights, and guest speakers,” a staffer to organize efforts for advancing digital currency and collaborations with other campus institutions.

“(UBRI) … speaks to the reality that university graduates will fuel a continually evolving and maturing financial marketplace and workforce,” said Eric van Miltenburg, senior vice president of global operations at Ripple, in an email.

Yao Huang covers research and ideas. Contact him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter at @Yhoneplus.”