After 12 years, Ripple’s president sees its payment and enterprise businesses evolving further

Although Ripple has been around since 2012, it and the XRP Ledger are doubling down on its global payments journey. At the same time, it’s also aiming to become the go-to enterprise infrastructure provider, the company’s president, Monica Long, said on TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction podcast.

Distinct from the Ripple network and protocol, the XRP Ledger is a decentralized public ledger with an open source code base that anyone can contribute to or use, Long said. And there are thousands of developers globally who do, she added.

“The original creators of the ledger saw that this could be a modern system for value movement that is as fast and as free as email,” Long said. “So instead of the analogy of the post office versus email we’ve got the banking system today versus what you can achieve on a blockchain with a decentralized exchange.”

When the ledger first launched in 2012, it imagined it as a version of bitcoin that would achieve faster confirmation times with a lower cost system, Long said. “The developers thought of blockchain and a public ledger as a great way to represent and move and transact value all around the world.”

Blockchains, by default, are transparent through on-chain data, which shows a transaction’s journey, from beginning to end.

“Foreign exchange is pretty concentrated in terms of the players who actually have enough capital to provide liquidity for those transactions,” Long said. “And so when you have a lot of concentration, you have a lack of competitiveness for the pricing.”

But in the future, Long said that blockchain technology could solve problems that traditional financial institutions face using know your customer (KYC) and other compliance requirements through a decentralized environment. “Then you can see more participants acting on or providing liquidity on these decentralized exchanges. So I think that you can see a real monumental shift in the end and costs of those types of transactions.”

As the saying goes, the “genie is out the bottle” with blockchains — and that is something that Long thinks is a key thing as an industry. But the industry needs workable regulatory frameworks and regulations so it can bring innovations to market. “But I think that’s definitely going to happen,” she said.

The XRP Ledger has been “enterprise grade” and one of a handful of blockchains out there being used in enterprise applications. The company’s 2024 and longer-term vision is to be “that enterprise infrastructure provider,” Long said. “Building in such a way that we’re able to offer things like on-and-off ramps, crypto liquidity, custody compliance and all these features together.”

For a variety of enterprise use cases, Long compared it to Amazon offering AWS. “Now we’re able to offer our version of AWS, but it’s for crypto.”

Going forward, the network is looking at how it can integrate payments and custodying; its first major acquisition in May 2023 was $250 million for Switzerland-based crypto custody firm Metaco. “That’s how you’ll see the evolution of our business.”

This story was inspired by an episode of TechCrunch’s podcast Chain Reaction. Subscribe to Chain Reaction on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite pod platform to hear more stories and tips from the entrepreneurs building today’s most innovative companies.

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