University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School Selected to Be Part of $50 Million Blockchain Research Initiative by Ripple

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UNC Kenan-Flagler joins 16 other prestigious academic centers around the world to accelerate innovation in blockchain and cryptocurrency.

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The University of North Carolina Kenan-Flagler Business School is part of a $50 million initiative by Ripple to support academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) will support 17 academic institutions around the world, and each will determine its own research topics and areas of focus. They include UNC Kenan-Flagler, MIT, Princeton, the University of Pennsylvania, the business schools at the University of California Berkeley and the University of Texas at Austin, Fundação Getulio Vargas (UNC Kenan-Flagler’s partner in Brazil for the Global OneMBA Program) and universities in the Netherlands, Australia, India, Korea, Luxembourg, the U.K. and Canada.

In addition to providing financial resources, Ripple will collaborate with university partners by providing subject matter expertise and technical resources as needed.

UNC Kenan-Flagler will use the support for curriculum development, research and project-based work in blockchain and distributed systems, cryptocurrency and distributed payments, innovation in banking and financial technology, entrepreneurship related topics, and implications for economics and law.

“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.

Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporations to send money globally. Its global network enables financial institutions to process their customers’ payments anywhere in the world instantly, reliably and cost-effectively.

“UNC Kenan-Flagler and the Kenan Institute are uniquely qualified to be part of this global initiative,” said Greg Brown, professor of finance and director of the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise at UNC Kenan-Flagler. “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 a logical extension of our efforts.”

Brown and Eric Ghysels, Edward Bernstein Distinguished Professor of Economics and adjunct professor of finance, will lead the UNC program to continue to build a comprehensive program focusing on the role of new technologies, specifically blockchain, cryptocurrency and cybersecurity, to transform finance and economics, computer science and related fields. By doing so, UNC Kenan-Flagler will help prepare the next generation of business leaders, entrepreneurs, computer scientists and other professionals who will develop and apply the technologies and business practices.

About UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School
Consistently ranked one of the world's best business schools, UNC Kenan-Flagler’s collaborative culture stems from its core values: excellence, leadership, integrity, community and teamwork. Professors excel at both teaching and research, and demonstrate unparalleled dedication to students. Graduates are effective, principled leaders who have the technical and managerial skills to deliver results in the global business environment. UNC Kenan-Flagler offers a rich portfolio of programs and extraordinary, real-life learning experiences: Undergraduate Business, full-time MBA, Executive MBA Programs (Evening, Weekend and global OneMBA®), online MBA@UNC, UNC-Tsinghua Dual-Degree EMBA, Master of Accounting, PhD, Executive Development, and UNC Business Essentials programs. It is home to the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise.

The Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise is a nonpartisan, business-policy think tank. Founded in 1985, it facilitates collaboration between the private, public and nonprofit sectors to build a greater understanding of how entrepreneurship, economic development and global commerce can work for the public good. It leverages best-in-class research to develop market-based solutions to today’s most complex economic challenges to better the lives of people in North Carolina, across the country and around the world.

Press contact: Sue DiMaggio, 919-308-0918, Sue_DiMaggio(at)kenan-flagler.unc(dot)edu

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