The Information & Telecommunication Technology Center (ITTC) will receive a $2 million gift from Silicon Valley financial technology company Ripple to research technologies related to blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.
The gift, which will provide $400,000 a year for five years, will support research. Led by Perry Alexander, the AT&T Foundation Distinguished Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Science and director of the Information & Telecommunication Technology Center EECS, faculty and students will determine the research topics and areas of focus. Ripple also will collaborate with students and faculty at KU by providing subject matter expertise and technical resources, as needed. With Ripple’s support, faculty and students will be able to pursue research projects specifically targeted at aspects of application and analysis of blockchain systems
“It’s a win all around: Students can do research and get practical application experience in blockchain, which is valuable technology training that everyone, including Ripple, wants to see,” Alexander said.
The Ripple gift also will support the KU Blockchain Institute, a student-led organization that promotes the implications and applications of blockchain technology across the professional fields of engineering, business development and policymaking.
Engineering Dean Arvin Agah expressed his gratitude for Ripple’s support and insight into a growing area of technology. “The concentration of expertise at the ITTC and KU’s environment of collaboration across disciplines puts the university in a unique position to capitalize on this opportunity and make exciting discoveries in this burgeoning field,” Agah said. “We are grateful to Ripple for the gift. This type of recognition again shows that KU has world-class faculty conducting research on par with other top-tier institutions.”
Ripple’s $50 million University Blockchain Research Initiative began in 2018 with an initial group of 17 universities around the world; KU is part of the second wave of eight universities. Ripple, based in San Francisco, is led by CEO Brad Garlinghouse, a Topeka native and KU alumnus. He received a bachelor’s degree in economics from KU in 1994 and an MBA from the Harvard School of Business.
Left: Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse; Right: Professor Alexander