Inside Look at Ripple’s Korea University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI)

Korea has been significantly involved in the cryptocurrencies market, as the country recently announced that it will be regarding cryptocurrencies as an asset. This is definitely a surprise, given the fact that Korea is not a big participant of international markets. It has also been revealed that the Korea University is one of 17 universities that Ripple will be funding in the UBRI.

While Korea’s interest in this relatively new market is evident, many of its regulations makes it difficult for crypto businesses to run its operations. This comes from the ban on Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) in the country, forcing many to move their operations to other countries. Fortunately, this ban has been lifted since last week, welcoming domestic ICOs with open arms.

Eric van Miltenburg, Senior Vice President of Global Operations at Ripple, discussed Korea’s involvement in cryptos as well as the regulations in place and the UBRI with the Korea Times. Unlike many individuals who take a firm stance for or against regulations, it seems that Miltenburg does not completely oppose it as long as it favors consumers and businesses.

In particular, he shared,

“We just think it needs to be a regulation that bounces, that needs to protect consumers without stealing or prohibiting innovation…but a more powerful approach was looking at specific use cases and applying regulations in areas that would allow protection for users. So, I think that philosophy would certainly pertain to regulations in Korea as well.”

An endeavour that is in the works is Ripple’s $50 million investment in a previously announced, “University Blockchain Research Initiative” (UBRI). The initiative includes 17 universities worldwide that will be conducting studies and useful research on anything related to blockchain technology. The direction in which the schools will be taking is placed in their hands.

While a complete list of the schools is yet to be released, it has come to our attention that the country’s ‘Korea University’ is another to onboard the project. When asked about the UBRI, Van Miltenburg said,

“By engaging with universities, they have a lot of interests in this topic. And frankly, in talking to faculties, there’s not enough in terms of resources to be able to satisfy the demand they are seeing.”

He also believes that,

“There is a lot of excitement and enthusiasm about this new technology… I think it is important that more people understand the real use case of an application of the technology.” Van Miltenburg mentioned that this initiative aligns with Ripples core values, as they have been working on “how to improve the efficiency of moving money and value across borders.”

As for the Korea University, it is believed that they have recently reinforced a blockchain security study center at the grad school of information security. The approach that the school will take in studying blockchain technology is allegedly by focusing on all matters algorithms.

Van Miltenburg trusts that the UBRI has and will continue to extend, with possible works with the Japanese and Chinese markets. He stated that it is a program, “that will evolve over time… Schools in Japan and China could be part of that.”

Will Korea’s participation encourage more countries to reconsider cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology?

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