UCL IXN and Ripple: collaborating at blockchain's bleeding edge
UCL Computer Science master's students spent three months with blockchain and crypto company Ripple. The ongoing relationship between UCL and Ripple is accelerating research into blockchain.
Ripple is a leading provider of enterprise blockchain and cryptocurrency solutions for payments. RippleNet is Ripple's global blockchain payment network that enables financial institutions, payment service providers and banks to carry out cross-border transactions quicker, more reliably and with reduced cost.
Through the UCL Industry Exchange Network (UCL IXN), students spend part of their course working full-time with an industry partner to solve real world problems. By way of its University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), Ripple takes on eight students a year from the MSc programmes in Computational Finance and Financial Risk Management.
UCL and Ripple's first IXN project took place in the summer of 2019. Since then, students' dissertations have covered an array of on-chain and off-chain topics. For example, two projects have focused on comparing the strengths and weaknesses of consensus algorithms. Blockchain uses these algorithms to make an agreement about the status of the ledger. Another group of students investigated unusual blockchain transaction patterns to see if the networks could be vulnerable to fraud. Finally, UCL MSc Computational Finance student, Simon Sive, studied the tokenization of securities in real estate. Simon researched the existing players and identified the opportunity gaps in the market, which divides property into tradable shares or digital assets on a blockchain network.
Ripple's UBRI programme works with over 35 universities in 18 countries, providing strategic guidance, technical support and charitable grants. The company classes UCL as a top tier partner and is impressed by the talent and enthusiasm of the UCL students. To date, Ripple has only hired seasoned professionals at the post-graduate level. Moving forward, the company will start hiring at graduate level and believe UCL will be a premium source of talent for them.
The partnership came about thanks to Ripple's close relationship with the UCL Centre for Blockchain Technology (UCL CBT). Established in 2016, the UCL CBT brings together the work of eight UCL departments and partners with academia and industry around the world. Ripple applauds UCL CBT's well-supported ecosystem and their passion for innovation, creativity and collaboration.
“Building new use cases for financial technology, including blockchain, starts with academia—not unlike what we saw with the onset of the Internet. Through UBRI, we're fostering the next generation of technical talent to help advance the blockchain industry.
Lauren Weymouth - University Partnerships Director at Ripple
To find out more about partnering with UCL IXN and the associated UCL NXI internships, contact UCL Computer Science's Strategic Alliances Team