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Published May 13, 2022
A gift from Ripple, a leading provider of enterprise blockchain and crypto solutions, will establish a Ripple Blockchain Collaboratory at the University of Wyoming, which will foster innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and cybersecurity to help transform the finance and technology industries.
“Given the caliber of its leadership and research programs, the University of Wyoming is in the perfect position to help promote and accelerate the development of blockchain technology and real-world use cases like central bank digital currencies, NFTs and carbon credit markets,” says Lauren Weymouth, director of university partnerships at Ripple. “We are thrilled to welcome the University of Wyoming to our University Blockchain Research Initiative and look forward to working alongside faculty and students to create a more robust and valuable global blockchain ecosystem for all.”
The Ripple Blockchain Collaboratory will be based in the UW Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation, the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Law. This funding will support UW undergraduate and graduate students interested in blockchain, cryptocurrency and cybersecurity as they pursue degrees and launch their careers, ensuring a skilled workforce for Wyoming’s technology future. Additionally, UW will operate an XRPL validator on campus, which performs the vital work of verifying transactions.
“We thank the Ripple Foundation, which has consistently supported blockchain higher education efforts around the world,” says Steven Lupien, director of UW’s Center for Blockchain and Digital Innovation. “Their generous gift will fund blockchain education, cybersecurity, blockchain applications in energy and legal scholarship. Additionally, by joining our blockchain advisory board, they’ll help shape education programs and university projects for years to come.”
“This generous support from Ripple will greatly enhance our ability to make progress in these technology areas that are so important to Wyoming’s economy, to our research in the college and for our students’ interests,” says Cameron Wright, dean of the College of Engineering and Applied Science.
Offerings in the College of Engineering and Applied Science and the College of Law’s entrepreneurship and business law practicum will engage students in active-learning opportunities that include class projects, case studies, research and studies on real-world applications and regulatory frameworks. In recent years, the Wyoming Legislature has passed dozens of laws that establish a supportive business environment for digital assets, paving the way for Wyoming’s future lawyers to practice in innovative fields that strengthen Wyoming’s economy.
“As the global economy becomes more digital and fast-paced, innovations such as blockchain and cryptocurrencies are becoming more of the norm, rather than the exception,” says Klint Alexander, dean of the College of Law. “It is important that the law keeps up with these changes, and Wyoming has become a global epicenter for the development of rules and regulations in this increasingly important space.”
This funding also will advance blockchain research in the area of sustainability. For example, UW’s Mike Borowczak and Soheil Saraji, assistant professors in the departments of Computer Science and Petroleum Engineering, respectively, are leading researchers on energy tokenization, which is a carbon credit ecosystem using smart contracts that operates on blockchain technology. Energy tokenization would standardize carbon markets and increase transparency, accessibility and liquidity. It also would engage all stakeholders including the energy industry, project verifiers, liquidity providers, nongovernmental organizations, concerned citizens and governments.
This gift comes on the heels of the recent approval by the UW Board of Trustees to launch the School of Computing, which will be a hub of computing leadership and activity at UW and across the state.