The signing up of The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) to Ripple’s xCurrent was among the key highlights for quarter 1, Ripple ’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse revealed in an ‘Ask Me Anything’ session. The session was conducted by Ripple’s chief marketing strategist, Cory Johnson. The signing up of six new clients to xRapid which included Cambridge FX and Western Union was just as big a milestone for the company, with the development team working hard to take the product from beta to production before the end of the year.
The need for Ripple’s payment solutions has never been greater, given the continued increase in global commerce which has not been supported by a rise in the number of correspondent banking relationships. In the last 10 years, the number of correspondent banking relationships has decreased by 50% due to high capital requirements, Brad revealed. This makes Ripple a godsend for the sector as it reduces greatly the capital needed for cross-border funds transfer.
Equally exciting for Ripple was the launching of the first customer-facing application that’s based on Ripple’s infrastructure: Santander’s OnePayFX. The app allows Santander customers to make same-day transactions for their clients in the UK and Spain. While there have been inventions in the financial services industry, they are mostly just at the application layer and they are constrained by everything underneath. Ripple’s vision is to drive innovation throughout the payments experience by changing the nature of payments flow at the infrastructure level.
Brad further broke down xVia, Ripple’s simple API interface which allows enterprises to access many currencies and payment networks globally. Using xVia, companies across the world can process their payments in almost any payment network in real-time and with miniscule fees. While sending information such as text messages and emails to the employees only takes seconds, sending them money could even take a week while also incurring very high fees. This is a challenge xVia is solving for many enterprises globally.
The quarter has been one with stark contrast: Ripple had its best quarter ever while XRP had its worst quarter ever, a situation Brad believes was a natural and expected by-product of the industry’s maturation process. With the industry still trying to find stability, there has been a lot of misinformation and speculation which has affected the prices of most digital currencies negatively. The situation wasn’t helped by the ambiguous regulatory framework and hands-off approach many governments have taken. Ripple has nevertheless set itself apart by leaning in and working with regulators and this could prove to be a major differentiator in the long run.
XRP should not be considered a security, Brad responded to a question on the hot debate in the crypto community. The first reason it’s not a security is that it does not represent a share of Ripple and the two are independent. The second reason is that the XRP ledger and ecosystem would continue to operate even if Ripple were to become defunct. The third reason is that there is a real utility in the XRP token and it’s solving a real problem.