The idea of transferring value from one place to another was forever changed by the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto’s white paper, which led to the introduction of distributed ledger technology (DLT), or blockchain, and the first ever Bitcoin. Originally intended to be used outside the purview of banks—notably in the case of Bitcoin—Ripple has instead embraced the idea that banks and other financial institutions provide one of the largest potential use-cases for DLT.
Ripple’s vision has been to “rewire the global financial infrastructure to dramatically improve the costs, speed, and certainty of how transactions flow,” according to CEO Brad Garlinghouse in a video published by Ripple in March of 2018. Garlinghouse goes on to say,
There’s a lot of friction and costs associated with banks and financial institutions working with other institutions. We can change and accelerate how that works, really materially and dramatically…
Ripple has been working to make this vision a reality by focusing on cross-border payments.
Last year Ripple released, in beta form, its DLT application xRapid. xRapid uses the digital asset XRP to source liquidity and settle transactions on the XRP Ledger (XRPL) in a matter of seconds versus the current legacy system of 3-5 days for settlement. Additionally, the cost of using XRP is a fraction of penny for each transaction, no matter if the value being transferred is $0.25 or $25 million. Finally, as of this writing, the XRPL has had almost 42 million ledgers (blocks) close without a single issue, providing much more certainty to financial transactions versus the current system. It seems Ripple has developed the necessary technology to ensure the “costs, speed, and certainty” of transactions place their end-users at a significant advantage to the current antiquated financial systems.
Throughout most of 2018 speculation has run rampant about when xRapid would “go live” for enterprise use which would increase the demand for XRP due to the subsequent rise in transaction volumes. The speculation came to an end on October 1 with Ripple’s official announcement at SWELL—its annual conference, held in San Francisco this year, for financial institutions and payment providers. With the rollout of xRapid in beta, Ripple announced several partners who were trialing the technology. These partners included companies like Money Gram, Cuallix, IDT Corporation, and Mercury FX, among others.
Ripple’s official announcement states:
RippleNet is now providing on-demand liquidity to financial institutions for cross-border payments using the digital asset XRP. xRapid…is commercially available and moving into production with multiple customers, including MercuryFX, Cuallix and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union.
A couple pre-packaged statements from Ripple partners at the SWELL event attest to the efficiencies Ripple has attempted to bring to the financial industry with its products and about the readiness of the market for DLT use. To no one’s surprise, they’re pretty positive, but even so offer some useful numbers and information:
- Alfred O’Hagan, senior vice president at IDT Corporation: “We used to batch payments but now with xRapid we can price and send payments individually. It puts the customer at the center of the experience.”
- Daumantas Dvilinskas, CEO of TransferGo: “By changing the way we move money we actually decreased the cost by 90 percent.” TransferGo stated they have also saved their customers $25 million by using Ripple technology.
- Alenka Grealish, senior analyst for corporate banking at Celent: Celent interviewed 700 global payment professionals in 22 countries: “45 percent… are already in production, piloting, or close to signing with a blockchain provider”; “75 percent…state they are extremely or very interested in using a digital asset as settlement and/or a base currency”; “85 percent of those using blockchain in production and 90 percent of those quickly moving into production are either extremely or very interested in using digital assets as a form of payment.”
Based on these comments and Ripple’s deployment of xRapid into commercial use, Ripple has positioned itself as the potential leader in the DLT space.
Garlinghouse made a comment in that video from March 2018 that stands out against the backdrop of Ripple’s recent successes:
When I zoom out and look at where Ripple sits in the blockchain and crypto ecosystem, we are incredibly fortunate to be the only company with real customers, solving real problems…we’re the only one’s who have crossed the starting line.
Hot on the heels of SWELL, Ripple may be looking at something more than just a swell with its DLT success. Ripple may very well have a tsunami coming its way.
Disclosure: Buck owns XRP in his portfolio.