Ripple is taking strides to expand its network–and its technology offerings–in 2017.
According to Asheesh Birla, vice president of product for the enterprise blockchain solutions provider, this year “is all about expansion” to new clients, countries, and markets. The company is looking into integrating new technologies to further augment the speed and transparency of its network during the year, he added. Right now, Ripple is considering solutions that include artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“We have a very robust research team that is looking at ways to increase our efficiency—machine learning for fraud detection, compliance,” Birla told Bank Innovation. “We want to be on the forefront of machine learning and AI in the same way we are on the forefront of blockchain.”
Just yesterday, the company added 10 new banks to its roster, which will utilize Ripple’s technology for cross-border payments and remittance services, among others. The 10 additions bring the total number of Ripple’s network members–banks, and payments providers– to 75; the company collaborates with additional 90 banks across the globe.
“Our approach is a lot different than some of the other companies, who think of this [space] as only a technology problem,” Birla said. “These [banks] are already using our blockchain technology, and we are tackling other issues including standardization of the network rules.”
The new members include some of the world’s top payment service providers (PSPs) as well as traditional banks: Cambridge Global Payments, Star One Credit Union, Axis Bank, and BBVA, among others.
Ripple is one of the few blockchain startups to have made it out of the proof-of-concept phase, and the company’s focus on speed and innovation seems to have caught the financial industry’s attention. In fact, BBVA is already utilizing Ripple’s blockchain solutions to send real-time cross-border payments between Europe and Mexico (rather than conducting a test to see if that is possible, for instance); while Star One became the first credit union to offer Ripple remittances to its consumers (through eZforex.com, one of the other banks that just joined the network).
“BBVA is really going for the startups space, that has been taking market share away from them—they are blazing forward with adoption,” Birla said. “[Our clients] are pushing Ripple to expand faster—we don’t want the same user experience we have now just on Ripple, we want clients that will push us to innovate.”
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