By David Drake
Research and development are critical components of driving innovation because they allow for the development of new technologies, knowledge and techniques. With changes in technology, people are able to generate more outputs with the same amount of resources, and sometimes even fewer resources – an aspect that increases productivity.
At the same time, startups that seek to advance innovative ideas need to access knowledge and capital to accelerate the scaling up of these innovations. The emerging cryptocurrency market needs both, which highlights the importance of funding initiatives that are beginning to come into play.
Earlier this month, two big names in the cryptocurrency space, Ripple and Binance announced plans to set up funds to support research and development in the cryptocurrency space as well as support blockchain startups.
Carl Kirchhoff, CEO and co-founder of Sportsfix, predicts the stratification of digital currencies for application in specific areas.
He says, “I think the major trend we will see for cryptocurrencies throughout these fundraising initiatives is stratification of cryptocurrencies for specific use cases and stores of value. Coins will have advantageous design elements that will help them excel in certain ecosystems in unlocking value between stakeholders through their utility. In Essence this is what SportsFix aims to do- to unlock value and cooperation between our main stakeholders – fans, sports teams, and sponsors. We envision a world where Sports are accessible, affordable, and most importantly more engaging.”
On his part, Marcus Vandea, CEO of Playfold, says, “Before there are any crypto revolutions, established services will compete against startups to control the emerging market. Changes must come not only from implementing technology, but also the business innovation, behavioural incentives, community inclusion, efficiency, and integration with AI and other services.”
Through a $50 million fund called University Blockchain Research Initiative, Ripple will support university research on blockchain, cryptocurrencies and digital payments. Already, the company has 17 universities on its list of partners from different parts of the world. On the other hand, Binance, through a $1 billion fund, will support blockchain startups that manage assets valued at below $100 million.
According to Antonio Sainz, co-founder & CEO INCLUSIVITY, this investment will generate long-term results.
He says, “I share the thought of Paloma Durán, Director, Sustainable Development Goals, United Nations. We have the historic opportunity to be the first generation to eradicate poverty, but we must do it while fighting against inequality and exclusion in a sustainable way. Every investment must have these values. In the future, the market will give value to companies for their goodwill and for their social conscience and not only for short-term results. This is the true ‘social impact’ that we seek from INCLUSIVITY.”
Furthermore, the investment by Ripple and Binance will facilitate the growth of big ideas in the cryptocurrency space while encouraging a shift in order to embrace new challenges as well opportunities that blockchain will create across sectors.
Yoli Chisholm, the founding executive and advisor of RoleCoin by STEAMRole, says, “These funds are positive for the ecosystem because they encourage change agents with great ideas to forge ahead knowing there is potential investment support particularly to tackle huge challenges in areas like education and healthcare.”
She adds that, “The promise of blockchain technology in large part is the democratization across sectors including payments in a way that ignores borders, the need for middlemen and centralized authorities. This makes for an environment where a lot of good can be done. Businesses that have social impact as a core value tend to need significant support because not only do they typically disrupt powerful incumbents but tend to require a change in behavior.”
According to BlockVest Decentralized Exchange & Index Fund founder, Reginald Ringgold, digital platforms and blockchains will create standards that will allow free flow of value the same way standardized shipping containers facilitated transportation of goods in the physical world.
By making funding to facilitate implementation of blockchain-based projects and research available, Ripple and Binance will increase both public interest and awareness of blockchain technology in a significant way, according to Juan Imaz, founder and CEO at Profede.
He says, “Through projects such as Ripple’s Blockchain Research Initiative and Binance’s Social Impact Fund, the public is gaining awareness and an interest for blockchain. These positive social moves from cryptocurrency companies are showing the public just how powerful and influential the crypto world has become over the last few years. Through moves like these initiatives others can discover the powerful potential of distributed ledger technology.”
Moreover, Imaz projects a rise in mainstream adoption of blockchain as university students learn and develop the technology.
“As students learn, develop, adopt and become part of the new move to using, creating and comparing the use of blockchain, they become the next generation of blockchain users to catalyze mainstream blockchain adoption. This not only has a direct effect on the students but helps educate consumers and helps in marketing efforts. As this new blockchain technology wave is emerging and current, partnering with universities to create an ecosystem where accelerated technical development and furthered knowledge is gained is a great social initiative that will see blockchain reach the next level,” he adds.
Disclaimer: David Drake is on the advisory board for most of the firms mentioned or quoted in this article.