On Campus: Professor Cesare Fracassi on University of Texas Austin’s Expanding Blockchain Initiative

On Campus is a new Ripple Insights series that highlights the institutions, people and research that make up Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI), launched earlier this year to promote greater understanding of blockchain, crypto and digital payments through deeper engagement with academia.

Institutions like McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas at Austin with its campus-based Blockchain Initiative and annual blockchain conference are at the heart of this UBRI effort. We sat down with Professor Cesare Fracassi, the director of this initiative at the University’s new Center for Analytics and Transformational Technologies, to learn more about the work underway at UT Austin and the impact of UBRI on the program.

Professor Fracassi’s ultimate goal is to leverage UBRI to accelerate what he sees as lagging understanding of blockchain in academia. By expanding its presence on the UT Austin campus and building an interdisciplinary approach to its study, he believes students will be best set up to advance blockchain innovation after graduation.

Link to full article at Ripple.com

What Will Blockchain Really Mean for Business

For much of the last decade, blockchain was known chiefly as a technology developed to support bitcoin, the world’s first all-digital currency. However, the technology supporting it has emerged as a way to potentially revolutionize how companies process transactions. In a 2018 global Deloitte survey, 65 percent of surveyed business executives said their companies would invest $1 million or more in blockchain technology in the coming year and 84 percent predicted that blockchain is “broadly scalable” and will become a mainstream technology.

One way blockchain may become mainstream would be through food traceability that improves food safety. For instance, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention issued a food safety alert on November 20 for romaine lettuce, one of many food scares in 2018. This has the potential to force an entire season of romaine lettuce in the U.S. to be lost, costing millions of dollars. Blockchain has the potential to help the producers, processors, retailers and consumers of certain foods – romaine in this instance – by narrowing the scope of a safety alert.

Still, as with any new technology, predictions about blockchain’s future are often marked by hyperbole. While some observers dismiss blockchain as a fad, others insist the technology will disrupt entire industries. The more likely answer is somewhere in the middle, says Cesare Fracassi, associate professor of finance and director of the Blockchain Initiative at the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin. OUTLOOK spoke with Fracassi about how the technology started, its potential to add speed, efficiency and transparency to business transactions, the remaining technological hurdles, and why blockchain may be a gamechanger for some businesses, but not for others.

Link to full article at CoBank.com