MIT is pushing forward with its blockchain research — with the help of Ripple.
As part of MIT Connection Science, a research initiative that applies data and analytics to build better societies, the school announced it was the first academic institution in North America to participate in a new program that’s part of a global Byzantine consensus database.
What this involves is MIT running a validator for the Ripple Consensus Ledger — a distributed ledger that settles global transactions in real time and is the foundational ledger for the digital asset XRP. Ripple validators are servers that confirm transactions on the network. Ripple, a VC-backed startup, provides global financial settlement solutions to enable financial values to be exchanged.
“In this new experiment with Ripple, we are taking MIT’s experiential research approach to the blockchain, and we anticipate this collaboration will provide us new opportunities to test and deploy data applications and research,” said MIT professor Alex “Sandy” Pentland. “We’re pleased that the Ripple team has fostered a substantive dialogue with us about the future of finance through the decentralization of digital currencies and value.”
MIT Connection Science’s role will be to develop blockchain, financial services and enterprise data projects and initiatives in order to determine how executives and entrepreneurs can innovate FinTech with such technologies. MIT is also launching a course online called “Future Commerce: FinTech Innovation” as part of this initiative.
“We’re extremely excited for MIT to run a Ripple validator. Having a globally renowned institution like MIT contribute to the consensus process on Ripple fortifies the resiliency and security of the network. Beyond that, it’s incredible to have a partner we respect so much share the mission of enabling money to move like information does on the Web today,” said Stefan Thomas, CTO of Ripple.
According to Ripple, its network has never lost or reversed a single transaction in three years of production. Ripple’s technology has been deployed through real-money pilots with 30 different banks around the world and recently closed 20 million ledgers, in comparison to bitcoin, which has closed about 400,000 blocks.