There’s a lot happening with Ripple these days.  With SWELL just days away, Ripple kicked off October’s high profile activity with Quora Q&A; one informal set of questions with David Schwartz (a.k.a. “JoelKatz”) that builds on previous interactions,1 and one formalized session with Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse.2quora_logo

Both answered tough questions asked by Ripple’s various stakeholder audiences; banks and financial institutions, and XRP investors and crypto enthusiasts.

Brad Garlinghouse

Brad Garlinghouse doesn’t shy away from potential conflict when it’s necessary for forward progression of a transformational idea or innovation.  For those that don’t already know the story of the “Peanut Butter Manifesto,” you should really review and find out how intuitively he understands business missteps3 and how to avoid them; and also how he’s able to focus a team on one goal with focus and determination. brad_garlinghouse

The Quora question and answer session was covered by the mainstream press, with both CNBC4 and Forbes5 publishing articles on Ripple’s CEO along with his points as he answered the tough questions.

Here are some excerpts:

Q: How close are we to XRP being adopted by the banks?

A: Some of our customers are already in the early stages of using xRapid, Ripple’s XRP liquidity solution. Payments into emerging markets can require multiple currency traders (added costs) and pre-funded local currency accounts in the destination (trapped, dormant capital). Instead, payment providers and banks can use XRP to fund these payments on demand, without intermediaries, at a cost that is less than half of the current cost.

Q: Can the other banks clone Ripple like currency, so Ripple might become extinct?

A: Banks can create their own digital asset, but I believe that approach is deeply misguided.

A bank-issued digital asset can only really efficiently settle between the banks who issued it. I strongly believe banks need an independent digital asset to enable truly efficient settlement and we believe XRP is best positioned for that role.

It goes back to the fundamentals of what makes digital assets unique and special - they’re universal currencies, meaning anyone can use them as units of value anywhere in the world.

It’s these types of insights that will propel Ripple to a market leading position when it comes to blockchain technology used for banking and finance; while other blockchain start-ups are still in the “incubation” phase, Ripple has already rolled out one solution (xCurrent) and is looking to roll out the next one with selected partners (xRapid).

David Schwartz (a.k.a “JoelKatz”)

He’s known to the crypto community as “JoelKatz,” his avatar name on various social media forums.6   The Chief Cryptographer at Ripple is noted for his lengthy history of sharp and scientific debate on all topics crypto and money.  He’s regarded as one of the most knowledgeable experts in blockchain cryptography, and in his Quora session(s), he continued to build on this reputation by providing feedback for his own set of challenging questions: joelkatz
Q: How close are Ripple’s competitors, and how hard would it be for a FinTech startup to do the same thing ILP and XRP does?

A: ILP is something that Ripple has to build in order for us to execute our XRP strategy. We’d be perfectly happy to have others do that work for us. That would help our XRP strategy rather than harm it.

It’s like Twitter and the Internet. Twitter can’t operate without a healthy Internet. But if some other technology replaced the Internet, that would be just fine for Twitter. They’d just support that other technology as well and their service would work just the same, maybe better.

As for a startup doing the same thing XRP does, they’d have to do everything that Ripple’s done on that front. And to take the lead away from Ripple, they’d have to do it faster and/or better…

They would almost certainly have to launch a permissionless, public asset. And they would have to hold a very large fraction of that asset. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have Ripple’s revenue model or they would just be another walled garden.

Q: How does Ripple/Xrp contribute to the economic inclusion of the unbanked people around the world?

A: There are several key ways, and I’m sure I’m leaving many out:

The systems that Ripple is building are open systems built around documented standards. Institutions will find it much easier to interoperate, lowering the barrier to financial connectivity. If it costs you a billion dollars to add a new endpoint to a payment system, then you aren’t going to add endpoints that aren’t very, very significant. Bringing that cost down by orders of magnitude fosters inclusion.

The systems that Ripple is building settle faster and provide closed-loop communication between the endpoints. This reduces settlement risk and improves fraud control. Real time payments with concurrent settlement minimizes settlement and fraud risk, both major obstacles to increasing financial inclusion today.

These answers to the inquiries and concerns from the crypto community are one reason why so many XRP investors continue to remain steadfast in their investment decision.

I’ve learned a lot about Ripple and XRP from what JoelKatz has communicated, and I’ve also learned about how to debate others about these topics; stick to the facts and let science be your guide.  While the crypto markets are ruled by emotions and greed, it’s good to follow the advice offered by one of the most level-headed experts in the field.

Speaking of Science…

The XRPChat community located a document7 from CGI about a study that they conducted regarding payments trends.  The study is recent and is titled: “CGI Global Payments Research 2017 Key highlights and observations.” 8

Background:  CGI conducted a survey of approximately 360 bankers, payments processors, corporates, consultancies, academics, and government representatives in March and April of this year (2017).  The results of that survey revealed trends that promise to shape the landscape of payments for the foreseeable future.

CGI’s Survey Results and What they Herald

While CGI’s entire document is devoted to the very topic of summarizing the survey results, there were multiple occasions where the reader didn’t have to do any profound interpretation to see where the perception of Ripple's technology already ranks in the eyes of the survey target group.  One question asked on the survey was:
“Which form of payments will dominate cross border?”
The answer: cross-border-trend

It might be difficult for you to read, but the first line says "Shared ledgers (e.g. Ripple)"

Another question revealed an unmistakable trend:

“Which technologies will dominate payments in 2022?”
The answer: payment-trends

While this diagram doesn’t identify Ripple (or any other company) by name, it clearly is a listing of the traits where Ripple is strongest, and where the current SWIFT system (and even its projected post-GPI architecture) has consistently failed.  Ripple delivers in all categories, especially instant payments.

CGI also listed companies that will most impact retail payments in the next five years.  Even for retail payments, Ripple was ranked as more impactful than SWIFT in the eyes of those surveyed.

Final Note

When you encounter both leadership and future trends that firmly point in a direction, there can be profound implications.  I can’t think of any time in history when an opportunity so obviously outlined in sharp relief has presented itself - and keep in mind that the opportunity is open to everybody if they want to participate.

In the history of technological innovation and business opportunities, most rewards were restricted to only a small minority of participants.  By purchasing XRP, any of us can participate in Ripple’s success, along with the innovative transformation of how transactions are processed and communicated worldwide. xrp