Ripple’s Managing Director for South Asia and MENA [the Middle East and North Africa region], Navin Gupta spoke with The Asian Banker on February 6, 2019, regarding the progress of Ripple and how it is changing the financial industry.
The recent announcement by Ripple noted that they had partnered with over 200 banks and Financial Institutions [FIs] around the world and that 100 of these customers were signed within 2018. Navin Gupta mentioned how signing the first 100 partners took over two years as banks and FIs were hesitant about DLT and cryptocurrencies.
Mr. Gupta continued that Ripple was aggressively closing the gap between itself and SWIFT with these new partners. He stated:
“Every one of those 200 financial institutions, of which 50% are from Asia and the Middle East, are production ready and are in the process of going live… What we are seeing across governments and central banks that we are engaged with is the effort to streamline digital assets and to bring it either into an existing framework or build new policies through which cryptocurrency and digital assets itself can be managed.”
In addition, Gupta mentioned how 2019 would be a much favorable year as compared to the previous years and also said that there were clear “regulatory signals” in ASEAN such as Thailand, Philippines and Singapore moving ahead on digital assets.
Navin Gupta added there they had also signed major commercial banks from Korea, Japan, India, and even ASEAN. He also said that there were rapid improvements in the Middle East.
The National Bank of Abu Dhabi [NBAD] was the first bank in the Middle East to sign on to RippleNet in February 2018 and FIs like Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait and BFC Bahrain are also part of RippleNet.
Gupta continued that these banks and FIs were “progressive” institutions and that they were production ready. He stated:
“There is a very significant amount of movement from high street banks to join the network and we believe at different points in their lifecycle they will make this decision.”
@regretandreward tweeted in a reply to the interview:
“Smaller banks are the ones that benefit the most from XRPAID as they are the ones paying the high fees to the big banks in order to use their nostro accounts. Small banks 1st then larger banks will follow”
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Ripple’s initiative invests in Bolt Labs to improve secondary payment channels and expand interoperability
Ripple’s arm, Xpring which invests and incubates in companies and individuals which help improve the XRP ecosystem, invested in Bolt Labs. With the new investment, Xpring hopes to develop solutions that will help improve the security of secondary payment channels and increase the interoperability by integrating with the ILP.
Bolt is a private, off-chain scaling solution which was built on top of Z-cash, a privacy-focused cryptocurrency, has attracted more than a few well-known investors in the crypto-space and Ripple’s Xpring is one among them. In a blog, Bolt Labs said that their solution will focus not only on ZCash but also other publicly available cryptocurrencies that do not have inherent on-chain privacy features.
It also stated:
“The potential for these implementations to be networked together with technologies like Interledger opens the potential further for cross-chain interactions with these privacy guarantees baked in.”
The above statement suggests that they might have a “potential” implementation for these on Interledger Protocol [ILP]. ILP was created at Ripple developed by the Interledger W3C Community Group. ILP aims at connecting two different blockchains, to integrate two different ledgers and have seamless operations between them.
This would vastly benefit the payments industry, which is facing a revolution at the hands of a nascent technology like blockchain. Ripple, a payments provider, which is leveraging cryptocurrency and blockchain to facilitate faster payments, would benefit largely from this partnership. In addition, this could also signify a potential development on the XRP Ledger and its on-chain/off-chain privacy and the currency, XRP.
A Twitter user @XRPCentre tweeted:
“If the solutions being developed by the company are able to improve the privacy of the ILP transactions, they would also be enhancing the privacy of XRP/ILP payments, which is a very demanded feature…. It’s all about interoperability and destroying network effects. If ILP succeeds in being the best protocol for cross-protocol/ledger transactions, you’d naturally search for the best asset therein.”
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