Category Archives: Eric van Miltenburg

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Ripple’s University Blockchain Funding to Boost South Korean Interest

Ripples latest input of USD 50 million to its University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) in South Korea demonstrates the company’s intent to promote more interest in cryptocurrency in South Korea in the future.

The crypto space in South Korea is booming and has become world’s third-largest crypto market,  but this is mainly company driven, as South Korean legislators have largely been reticent towards any kind of progressive moment in the industry. Cryptocurrency activity is mainly unregulated as the central bank and financial regulators refuse to recognize it as a currency or financial product.

In early May, the new Financial Supervisory Service (FSS) governor Yoon Suk-heun revealed his positive outlook on cryptocurrencies, stating, “There are a lot of issues that need to be addressed and reviewed. We can figure them out but gradually.”

It is just this “gradual” process that Ripple would like to see accelerated. The company is urging the government to loosen regulations, setting its own example by making the donation of over USD 50 million to various universities across the country as part of a project which promotes and disseminates blockchain and cryptocurrency across the globe. There are 17 universities currently beneficiaries to Ripple’s program. Korea University is the only East Asian university on the list.

Ripple senior VP Eric van Miltenburg echoed views expressed recently by Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum:

“Frankly, if you think back to the early age of the internet, there were some people that only looked at the negative aspects of the internet saying we should shut it down for a while until we figure out what’s going on, and what’s good and what’s bad.”

He added that a more plausible approach was to examine specific use cases and applying regulations to protect users.

South Korea’s ban on ICOs and its tightening of crypto regulations have driven many investors to search for more less stressful pastures overseas. The negative impact on the industry created by this is certainly a driving force in Ripple’s decision to extend its university blockchain plan to South Korea.


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Ripple’s $50M University Blockchain Investment Gives Graduates Boost

Ripple has announced a USD 50 million University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) partnering with 17 universities around the world, reports, Business Wire.

The initiative will support the workforce of the future, including academic research, technical development and innovation in blockchain, cryptocurrency and digital payments.

Ripple’s UBRI partners include some of the world’s most prestigious universities including Princeton University, MIT, and University College London (UCL). Several universities across the US, along with others in Korea, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, India, Brazil, Cyprus, and Australia are also included in the project, giving the initiative a distinctly international flavor.

Although each university is to decide on its own individual research topics, Ripple is committed to collaborating with universities regarding subject matter and technical resources along with providing financial backing.

A 2017 report has shown that global fintech investment in companies has grown by 11% due to the continuing demand for technological solutions. In addition, 4,500 job openings with the terms “blockchain,” “Bitcoin” or “cryptocurrency” in the title were posted on LinkedIn this year showing an increase of 151% on 2017 figures.

Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple says that the figures reflect the degree to which he feels that university graduates will increasingly fill situations in the fintech space as cryptography and blockchain matures. Universities will play a major role in the development of these new technologies:

“Much of the enthusiasm and activity to date around blockchain is disconnected from real use cases that result in clear benefits to businesses or civil society. While Ripple won’t dictate research parameters, we are excited to play a role in helping to support faculty and student-led projects that explore increasingly useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.”

There are now many opportunities for blockchain developers, but clearly not enough skilled technicians to fill these gaps. Toptal, a marketplace for hiring tech talent, recorded a 700% increase in demand for blockchain developers since January 2017. These positions can be well paid. According to Jerry Cuomo, VP of IBM’s blockchain technologies division, the best blockchain developers can command a salary above USD 250,000.

The university sector is increasingly becoming a beneficiary of tech companies drives to further develop blockchain education. Last year, The University of Edinburgh and the Tokyo Institute of Technology received a commitment of USD 1 million to set up new blockchain labs from Charles Hoskinson, who helped develop Ethereum.


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