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Waterloo joins world’s research leaders to advance blockchain and cryptography

Monday, June 4, 2018

The University of Waterloo will join top universities across the globe on an initiative designed to advance research and innovation in blockchain, cryptography and digital payment systems.

As the only Canadian participant in Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative, Waterloo will help contribute to the world’s research capacity in cryptocurrency and blockchain. The program will support a Ripple Chair held by Anwar Hasan, a professor of computer engineering who is an expert in cryptography, graduate studies scholarships designed to attract new talent and a new research fund. 

In all, Waterloo’s contribution to the initiative will be supported through a multi-million-dollar contribution from Ripple, a San Francisco-based technology company that specializes in digital payments and blockchain. 

“We know from recent world events and the experience of many of our partners that blockchain technologies will increasingly disrupt the way the world does business,” said Pearl Sullivan, dean of the Faculty of Engineering at Waterloo. “By increasing our ability to attract talent to Waterloo and work in conjunction with some of the world’s leading institutions, we will make a significant contribution to Canada and the world’s ability to address the challenges and opportunities that blockchain and cryptography technologies present.”

Blockchains are digital ledgers that record transactions. They are secure, easy to track and can't be changed.

Each university in the initiative will determine its own research topics and areas of focus. In addition to financial resources, Ripple has committed to collaborating with university partners by providing strategic guidance and technical resources as needed.

“Academia has traditionally been a critical driver of technical innovation,” said Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple. “This project 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.”

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