This special holiday episode of The Ripple Drop reflects on the impact of blockchain technology and digital assets over the past decade—and what’s ahead for the industry as we stand on the doorstep of a new year. Members of our executive team, including CEO Brad Garlinghouse, discuss what surprised them in 2019, industry milestones and predictions for 2020.
2019 Surprises: The Libra Launch and RippleNet Growth
The entrance of Facebook’s Libra white paper caught the world’s attention in 2019. VP of Global Institutional Markets Breanne Madigan explained how the announcement generated a global push for defined regulatory frameworks around digital assets and blockchain technology.
“I’d say there were a few things that surprised me this year,” said Madigan. “One was the degree to which the Libra project had the ability to catalyze global governments across the world to come together and start to understand the urgency around developing regulatory frameworks.”
Additionally, SVP of Customer Success Marcus Treacher explained that RippleNet’s record growth was his biggest 2019 surprise. “What surprised me was the pace in which we were able to grow a global network, RippleNet, by connecting banks and payment companies,” said Treacher. “We saw a tremendous uptick in volume, activity and onboarding of global companies.”
This sentiment was echoed by SVP of Marketing, Monica Long around the customer adoption of RippleNet’s On Demand Liquidity (ODL). ODL leverages the digital asset XRP to make instant cross-border payments without the need to pre-fund an account in the destination country.
“I was very pleasantly surprised by the demand that we saw for On-Demand Liquidity from the existing RippleNet customer base,” said Long. “For a long time we had validated the value proposition for On-Demand Liquidity both for market research and talking to our customers, but 2019 was a breakout year for that product and customer adoption.”
Industry “Aha Moments”
Throughout the past decade, blockchain technology and digital assets have had several moments that transformed the industry. CTO David Schwartz described the moment when he discovered Bitcoin as “everything just clicked.” It’s these unique moments of learning that shape future industry builders.
For CEO Brad Garlinghouse it was the moment that he watched MoneyGram’s CEO Alex Holmes praise ODL and explain how it has benefited the company’s business.
“Having spent maybe a year talking to the leadership team at MoneyGram and seeing the transition from skepticism to significant advocacy over the course of the year was really profound,” said Garlinghouse. “There was some doubt initially and then for them seeing On-Demand Liquidity solve a real problem and hearing them talk about the work we’re doing with them on their earnings calls was certainly a big “aha” and very gratifying event in 2019.”
Predictions for the Industry in 2020 and Beyond
As we stand on the doorstep or a new year and a new decade, our executive team shared their predictions of what’s in store for the industry.
“I think you’re going to continue to see consolidation, you don’t need 3000 plus cryptocurrencies out there,” said Garlinghouse. “I think the utility will bear out where you will see a migration to quality if you will. Technologies and cryptocurrencies that can scale with market demand with real use cases.”
David Schwartz expressed similar sentiment, but the key for continued growth is the ability of these technologies to find new use cases and solve real problems.
“I think we’re going to see more growth of blockchain into different use cases,” said Schwartz. “I think the focus is going to be can you solve an actual problem, not do you have a solution that someone might be able to use for something.”
Still sentiment was quite bullish about the long term impact of digital assets and blockchain on the greater financial industry. For SVP of Xpring, Ethan Beard, the technology has the potential to replace “the underpinnings of the entire financial industry” and he believes eventually every financial transaction will touch a digital asset.
SVP of Product Management Asheesh Birla made a similar argument noting that the long term potential of the technology is immense. “I think folks are underestimating the long term implications and impact that blockchain technology is going to have on everyday lives,” said Birla. “By the end of the decade I really do think almost every financial application will be reinvented using this technology, it’s just going to take a little bit longer than anticipated.”
The Internet of Value is something that Marcus Treacher believes can really be reached in the next decade. Treacher argued that the work Ripple is doing with RippleNet, the Interledger Protocol and the XRP Leder are setting the stage for a complete shift in the global financial system.
“The Internet of Value that we’re creating is very much coming to life,” said Treacher. “And I can see blockchain technology merging into other core enabling technologies and together creating the fourth industrial revolution.”
Ultimately, the coming year and decade will see blockchain technology and digital assets continue to emerge as core underpinnings of the world’s financial future. We are excited to watch this unfold.
Make sure you watch all the predictions and reflections above and if you’ve missed previous episodes catch up with us on Youtube. Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!