Ripple is one of the few companies that actually “walks the talk” when it comes to engaging foreign markets. The huge bank consortium that’s planning on using Ripple technology – and potentially XRP – is based in Japan. During one of the most active trading mornings last week, according to XRP community members, much of the XRP trade volume was comprised of trading from South Korea. 1 Another “Asia” example? Recently in a presentation by Dilip Rao 2 Ripple discussed India’s electronic payment infrastructure and trends.
Sometimes it’s easy for U.S.-based businesses that to be lulled into a sense of complacency based on our competition with other US based businesses. However, any blind spot to the massive Asian market would be a mistake for any new financial technology company, and it’s one that Ripple is purposefully avoiding.
Asian Market Sizes and Complexities
“The emerging (Asian) markets are home to 85% of the global population. India and China’s 2.5 billion people alone represent more than a third of the world’s population, making even modest market developments… extremely significant.” 3
Japan is third in the world in terms of GDP. It has recently simplified the tax treatment of crypto-currencies to match that of most western countries. Starting on July 1 of this year, that consumption tax (8 %) disappears, and crypto-currency sales will be treated instead like capital gains investments. 4
As one example of the sheer size of some of the Asian markets, China’s mobile payments market has been quoted in recent publications in the trillions per year range – and that’s only for Alipay and WeChat. 5 This multi-trillion-dollar number represents a 20-fold increase in just four years, so you can see where this is heading – mobile is the new direction, and payment settlement via a mobile platform is going to command massive transaction volume.
India is going through its own payments transformation, in a different way than Japan or China. In India, the “cashless” trend has taken center stage on a national level, with digital payment methods being adopted nationwide in this country of 1.3 billion people. 6
In 2016, India successfully implemented the world’s largest biometric ID system known as Aadhaar, with over 1.154 billion people enrolled as of June 2017. 7 These unique 12-digit biometric “Aadhaar” numbers form the backbone of any new payments system integration in India.
These changes; easing of crypto-currency usage in Japan, the rise of mobile payments in China, and a unique digital identification in India, all point to a quickly changing landscape. Governments, citizens, customers, and even the banks themselves are expecting and demanding more from their financial technology.
How is XRP positioned?
Dilip Rao, Managing Director of Asia-Pacific at Ripple, stated that
“Ripple is the connective tissue that connects bank ledgers. We’re able to connect banks to be able to transact real time, cross-border settlements without friction while allowing countries to retain their currencies and regulatory oversight…
Banks or clearing houses can use Ripple as an alternative to correspondent banking to facilitate straight through processing.” 8
The Japanese bank consortium is one example where Ripple has taken precise steps to directly address the Asian market.
“The objective of the consortium is to make domestic and cross-border payment efficient by taking advantage of the latest distributed ledger technology available in the world,” Emi Yoshikawa, Ripple’s director of joint venture partnership, told CNBC.
The consortium was launched in October (2016) and represents over 30 percent of all banks in Japan, according to Yoshikawa . Members include AEON Bank, Nomura Trust and Banking, Resona Bank and Mizuho.”
SBI Ripple-Asia has an office in Tokyo, and the company recently opened an office in Sydney, Australia to more directly serve the Pacific-Asia market. 9 To augment XRP liquidity, the company has also seen the opening of sixteen new exchanges worldwide. These exchanges and their additional trading volume will create a liquid market that will potentially support banks’ usage of XRP, which is the name for Ripple’s cost-reducing digital asset that’s used as a bridge currency during ForEx trades and transfers.
The puzzle pieces in Asia are being put into place to enable banks and payment providers in Asia to utilize the Ripple stack of technology to deliver fast, low-cost payments. While other Silicon Valley fintechs wonder about “where to start” in Asia, Ripple is already there; ready for go-live!
- youtube_link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dctKqPbQJiA