During the Blockchain Live event, held yesterday – September 25th, 2019 – in London we attended an exciting panel about “Blockchain for cross border payments” with Lisa Biesenbach, ING’s DLT customer journey expert, Anthony Macey, Barcley’s Director of Emerging Technology, and last but not least Nadeem Ladki, Director of Business Development at Ripple.
Currently, the blockchain is not so widely used for cross border payments, but Biesenbach is pretty sure it will be:
“We are researching blockchain for many years. If we have a company in the Netherlands that wants to send money to the US, it is very complicated and takes a lot of time and with some risks. We try to facilitate payments through the blockchain in a regulated way, having this security we can have a faster solution for cross border payments. Right now the % of cross border payments made through the blockchain is low because the tech is new and we still need to figure out a lot of things, for example for the regulation”.
Macey, instead, doesn’t have the same opinion: “Currently 0%, maybe 1%, of all cross border payments run on the blockchain”. Also speaking more in general, Barclays seemed not so open-minded and friendly regarding cryptocurrencies and blockchain.
“Not all people want to be their own bank. It is risky. How much ownership do you want to have? As an individual, if something goes wrong, you will have to deal with a lot of issues. It is a bunch of nonsense. If you have no intermediaries, it can be risky. So maybe you have to have third parties to avoid issues”, said Macey, closing his speech saying that “the killer app for cryptocurrencies are illegal transactions”, even if he admitted it is not the only application for sure.
From his side, Ladki said “Ripple Labs now is focusing on cross border payments because we think this is an important use case. And that’s what we are doing with MoneyGram, for example. We are pretty excited for the next 2-3 years. The market is 7 billion, and we feel the 20/30% will be moved on the blockchain”.
Also, this speech for Ripple was yet another good opportunity to clarify that “XRP is not a security”, after a lot of problems they are facing with the SEC because of some unhappy investor.
It was inevitable also a question about Libra, and Ladki explained it is very different from what they are trying to do at Ripple.
“I don’t think we are doing the same thing. They want to launch a new fiat reserve currency. They are very ambitious to solve unbanking problems. Instead, Ripple is here not to replace banks but to improve it, to work together. We don’t try to push out regulators. Libra wants to start a new currency with no government involvement. We are regulated and we want to follow regulation. If they succeed, it is ok, we are just complementary”.
Also, an important point of view was that the final user doesn’t necessarily need to know what the blockchain is or how it works.
“At the end of the day, the customer doesn’t care if you use the blockchain. They just need to improve their experience”, explained ING’s Biesenbach.
“The blockchain can improve the user experience avoiding fees and slow transactions. The customers will be happy, and they don’t necessarily need to know how it works. The real goal is to solve the issue”.