Ripple founder: Current international payment system “unacceptable”
Chris Larsen: Payments are where it's at.
Ripple's founder Chris Larsen has attacked the international payments system, suggesting that cryptocurrency will fundamentally change that market.
"The problem in the world today is that the world’s value networks… they don’t inter-operate. It’s literally faster to Fedex money to Europe than it is to send it through your bank," Larsen said in an interview with Benziga. "In today’s wired world, that is unacceptable."
The first and largest opportunity for blockchain technology is payments, he said.
"If you look at any financial product… it always ends up in a payment... We’re talking about trillions of dollars that are stuck in the world. Fixing the cross-border payments is analogous to building an internet of value. That’s why we’re so excited about that category."
Larsen said he appreciates the applications of blockchain technology beyond finance, giving land title registration as an example, but said that making cross-border payments is the largest and most potentially lucrative opportunity.
Others agree. Ripple's (XRP) primary competitor, Stellar Lumens (XLM), is also designed for cross-border payments and it has attracted a lot of attention. Its prices have tended to remain fairly robust, even during market slumps.
But it still can't match the scale of Ripple, whose US$51 billion makes it the third largest coin by market cap in the world. By contrast, Stellar Lumens is the seventh largest coin by market cap, with a considerably lower US$8.6 billion according to CoinMarketCap.
The clear and immediate applications of cheaper and faster international payments have seen both Ripple and Stellar Lumen attract a lot of partners. Ripple has focused mostly on large banks, and a handful of global banks already use Ripple in their payment networks, according to Benziga.
Meanwhile, Stellar's partnerships have been more focused on developing countries, acceptance of XLM as a payment method and true decentralisation, in contrast to Ripple's concentration under the umbrella of a private corporation.
With blockchain technology still being new, payment-focused coins might be one of the most lucrative applications of the day. But years later, payments might be done with any coin rather than the ones specifically made for it.