Big things are happening for Ripple. The currency has garnered heavy popularity over the years and recently, if only for a brief period, overtook Ethereum’s position as the number two cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin in mid-September, following a 100% surge in its price.
At the time, the currency boasted a market cap of over $22 billion, beating out Ethereum by a few hundred thousand dollars.
Knocking the Head Honcho Aside
Ethereum tokens have been the product of massive sell-offs throughout the year despite experiencing a massive boom in December 2017 and January 2018, when numerous initial coin offerings (ICOs) were initiated by new business ventures and startups seeking to get their hands on capital.
These ICOs were largely funded via ether tokens or coins built on the Ethereum blockchain, which are now being sold by these companies to garner fiat funds.
This has caused heavy drops in the price of Ethereum, though it has since managed to retake its number two spot on the crypto ladder.
Still, XRP and Ripple continue to garner notice from figures like Nigel Green, founder and CEO of the investment advisor organization deVere Group.
Green recently commented that XRP would likely spike to $1 by the end of 2018, and stated:
Cryptocurrencies are the future of money, and clearly, XRP is proving to be one of the most useful cryptocurrencies for businesses, organizations and individuals. The use of XRP is set to increase, and naturally, this will positively impact its price.
Partners or Long-Time Competitors?
Rumors are also continuing to swell that Ripple could potentially overtake SWIFT, which one source cites as the “ultimate representative of the traditional money transmission system.”
The other thought is that if Ripple doesn’t push the platform aside, it may somehow absorb its technology.
Twitter user, Steven Diep, commented:
Ripple to acquire SWIFT. That’s possible, anything is possible. There are so many co-incident clues, no doubts. You can’t disagree with my speculative assumption.
Perhaps one of the biggest clues is that Ripple is scheduled to attend the Sibos Conference, which is organized by SWIFT and set to occur in Sydney next week. In Sibos, some of the biggest financial players meet to discuss strategies and technology designed to assist economic expansion and efficiency.
Trying to Get the Banks Onboard
In addition, Ripple is known to have developed several partnerships with leading banks and traditional finance institutions including Moneygram. The recent launch of xRapid – Ripple’s XRP-incorporated payment solution – has also garnered much attention, and the product boasts several global clients.
The company’s chief marketing strategist Cory Johnson recently released a brochure suggesting that Ripple is looking to push for further xRapid adoption very soon, with Johnson claiming:
I expect our rollout would be… most will be xCurrent, a little bit will be xRapid, and even less will be xVia. Over time that might change, but initially the oldest stuff gets the most traction because customers have had a chance to look at it the longest and get used to the idea more quickly. I think they’re going to those places where they’re ready for a change, but where does it have some actual use?
Ripple Sets Up International Partnerships
Part of Ripple’s campaign to boost xRapid adoption involves partnering with Viamericas, a U.S.-based company that provides border payments to nearly 35 different countries.
Viamericas later stated:
We believe that digital assets like XRP will play a key role in the future of cross-border payments, helping to safely address some of the structural inefficiencies of legacy settlement infrastructure.
Johnson also commented on the acceptance of XRP in the Philippines and Mexico, saying:
Mexico and the Philippines – those are countries where there’s a lot of remittance payments going out of other countries and into Mexico, into the Philippines, and there’s a lot of trade in XRP, so I think we’re going to see a lot of adoption of our products in those countries.
SWIFT isn’t Quite Blockchain-Ready
Despite this ongoing success, neither Ripple nor SWIFT have expressed any interest or potential plans in working with one another.
What can be confirmed is that SWIFT has shown a lasting desire to utilize blockchain technology to improve its current operations.
The company’s interest in blockchain stems back to 2015, when executives announced that they would provide financial support to the Linux Foundation, which works to accelerate technology development and commercial adoption through the building of sustainable ecosystems.
A year later, SWIFT began a series of studies regarding the usability of the blockchain on its platform.
Representatives later reported on the results of the studies, explaining that while many of the findings proved positive, there were still several obstacles in the way that prevented immediate integration of blockchain solutions:
Our analysis has confirmed that DLTs have the potential to bring new opportunities and efficiencies to the financial industry with their key strengths, including the ability to create trust in a disseminated system; efficiency in broadcasting information; complete traceability of transactions; simplified reconciliation and high resilience. However, despite the benefits, there were tough obstacles that had to be overcome for SWIFT to start contemplating the imminent possibility of migration.
Overcoming the Obstacles
In 2017, SWIFT said it would begin another series of tests regarding Proof-of-Concept (PoC) blockchain. Over 30 banks participated in the study to better understand if the technology could potentially assist in reconciling their international accounts in real time.
The results were listed as extremely positive, though some issues were not overpowered, and it was later decided that switching to a DLT-based standard wasn’t possible for SWIFT at the time.
Head of research and development at SWIFT Damien Vanderveken commented:
The PoC went extremely well, proving the fantastic progress that has been made with DLT and the Hyperledger fabric. The DLT sandbox enabled us to control access, to define and enforce user privileges, to physically segregate confidential data and store it only with the relevant parties while supporting a strong identity framework by linking all participants to their BIC and having all keys signed by a SWIFT certification authority.
SWIFT is utilized by over 11,000 companies in over 150 countries. In addition, the company’s shares are considerably higher than those of Ripple, despite the cryptocurrency venture’s newfound success.
Thus, it’s very likely that SWIFT will aim to remain a direct competitor to Ripple rather than join with it. However, this remains speculative, and no conclusive evidence exists to say for sure.