Silicon Valley company donates $2M to KU to research cryptocurrency technology

photo by: John English/Special to the Journal-World

The setting sun catches on the University of Kansas campus in this aerial view looking north over Lawrence in January 2017.

A Silicon Valley company donated $2 million to the University of Kansas to support research on technologies related to cryptocurrency and digital payments, such as Bitcoin.

Ripple, a tech company providing digital commerce services, will provide $400,000 each year for five years to the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center at the KU School of Engineering, according to a university news release.

With the funds, KU will determine its own research topics and areas of focus while Ripple will collaborate with students and faculty and provide technical resources and expertise.

The gift also will support the KU Blockchain Institute, a student-led organization that promotes the use of blockchain technology. Blockchain is a digital record that is resistant to being modified or manipulated and is often used to track the use of cryptocurrency, or digital money.

Perry Alexander, a KU distinguished professor of electrical engineering and computer science and director of the Information and Telecommunication Technology Center, said that with Ripple’s support, faculty and students would be able to pursue research projects specifically focused on 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.


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