Monica Long, Head of Marketing at Ripple and Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple, had a conversation regarding the company, the crypto market and the whole industry.
He started talking about the year that we are currently leaving behind. Garlinghouse said that there are three things to mark about 2018, the bear market that affected the whole space, the regulatory environment that has been also changing and the growth that Ripple experienced.
Bitcoin and other virtual currencies lost an important part of their value and have been falling until a few days ago. Some ICO tokens, for example, lost more than 95% of their value in just a few months. In terms of regulatory issues, countries are starting to take the necessary measures to improve the legal framework surrounding virtual currencies and blockchain technology.
Although this bear market has affected Ripple as well, Garlinghouse said that 2018 has been a ‘heroic’ year for the company. Ripple has increased the number of employees, customers and volume.
He explained that there have been very bad actors influencing the markets. Several Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) that were just scams and others that were just scamming users. Better actors such as recognized exchanges have also been affected by hacks and attacks. Which is not good for users and the whole space.
Ripple has been focusing on regulatory engagement, which is very important for the company and will continue in the future. He said that he made a wrong prediction in which he believed that the space was going to receive a larger influx of funds from institutional investors. Nevertheless, Garlinghouse explained that this did not happen because the market was not mature enough to receive them.
He has also talked about a Bitcoin ETF and how the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is working around it. He said that the SEC is worried about the market being manipulated but he would like to see an ETF approved in the long term. However, he did not want to make a prediction about how this is going to be played out in the future.
About 2019 he marked that it is important for the space to have higher standards since there are several activities that are clandestine. Due to the fact that virtual currencies were always related to illegal activities, he says that this is not good for the industry and for new institutions entering the market.
Garlinghouse said about it:
“One of my predictions [for 2019] is that we will continue to see increased transparency in lots of different projects.”
He went on saying that it is only a matter of time for banks to start holding digital assets. About it, he said that banks are motivated by profit and that they could see an opportunity to expand their businesses. For Ripple’s CEO, this is just a matter of time before banks start holding digital assets.
In terms of regulatory issues, he said that there are several countries that have improved their regulatory frameworks. Nonetheless, the United States has experienced a year in which regulatory issues have been not so clear, increasing uncertainty in the market.
He mentioned that countries such as Thailand, Singapore or the United Kingdom have been creating regulatory frameworks to engage. Garlinghouse has also commented about the decision taken by the SEC regarding Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC) labelling them not as securities. He criticizes that the agency did not provide further information about other digital assets such as Ripple.
He also asks regulatory agencies in the US to provide better information about other cryptocurrencies and the blockchain industry for those industries to continue expanding.
Garlinghouse said about XRP:
“I think it’s very clear XRP is not a security. There is a whole number of reasons for that. If Ripple the company shuts down, XRP trades on over a hundred exchanges around the world and XRP would continue to trade. Ripple is one important participant in the XRP ecosystem but there are a whole bunch of participants.”
He went on talking about RippleNet and Ripple’s year. He said that they have 300 employees, new customer signups, and they might sign around 100 new contracts in the calendar year 2018. The volume has also grown in terms of the number of customers, deployments and more.
During a very hard year for virtual currencies in which several projects are shutting down, Ripple took a measured approach to grow its business. Garlinghouse believes that the team growth at the company follows the growth of customers and volume, putting Ripple in a strong position in the market.
About xRapid Garlinghouse stated that in October they’ve signed three production contracts. One of the companies is Catalyst a company that aggregates 1,400 bank credit unions that can use xRapid to source liquidity into Mexican Peso.
At the same time, they are working with four digital asset exchanges that are working with xRapid: Bitso, Coins.ph, Bittrex and BitStamp. In the future, Ripple will be partnering with oher exchanges, as he mentioned during the interview. Although he is positive about the future of the space, he says that this is just the beginning and new institutions will start to enter the market and start using Ripple’s products.
Garlinghouse says that they expect to have the largest growth in places where the banking industry is underperforming and offering fewer services than in other economies. Some of these countries are located in Southeast Asia and the Middle East.
There are several companies around the world that are also starting to work on top of Ripple’s services. One of the companies is Santander that created the One Pay FX application. This allows institutions to reduce transaction fees and provide faster services.
In terms of XRP use cases, he said that they have the xSpring project that aims at increasing the number of companies working with XRP. In the long run, Garlinghouse explained that there is organic development on top of XRP.
He has also talked about critics that say that XRP is centralized. Nevertheless, Garlinghouse said that people want to increase FUD since Ripple only runs seven validators, making 4% of the public validators. He went on explaining that the XRP ledger is more decentralized than Ethereum and Bitcoin.
“By almost any measure now, the XRP ledger is more decentralized than the Bitcoin ledger or the Ether ledger,” he said. “You have a very small number of miners controlling well passed 50% of mining power.”
Additionally, he says that they are very transparent with their project and that he tries not to answer and talk about the FUD around Ripple.
He ended by saying that Ripple and the company are much more transparent than many other projects in the crypto and blockchain space.
The XRP virtual currency was able to surpass Ethereum a few weeks ago. Ether has experienced a lot of selling pressure from Initial Coin Offering projects that were not able to keep holding their ETHs during this bear market. At the time of writing this article, XRP has a market capitalization of $15.22 billion and each XRP can be purchased for $0.373.