This week observed Ripple’s invite-only yearly conference, Swell, which brings together the greatest minds and influencers from the crypto and general finance space under one roof to talk about the future of fintech. The Swell event essentially connects the world’s most trusted voices across financial services, payments, technology, and policy for the most provocative dialogue in the contemporary global payments arena.
This year’s Swell conference took place in Singapore, the hub for global technological and financial innovations, on November 7th and 8th with the sole purpose of examining different trends alongside real-world issues in the remittance industry. The keynote speakers for the summit consisted of eminent personalities like Dr. Raghuram Rajan, the former governor at the Reserve Bank of India, Kamal Quadir, CEO of BKash, and the Singaporean Foreign Ministry Ambassador, Chan Heng Chee.
Dr. Raghuram Rajan, former Governor of the Reserve Bank of India and Distinguished Professor of Finance at the University of Chicago, shed light on the importance played by blockchain technology and digital assets in propelling economic growth, ushering in financial inclusion and, consequently, revolutionizing businesses in emerging markets globally.
On the flipside, CEO and Chairperson of MoneyGram, Alex Holmes, announced that the company is currently moving as much as 10% of its transaction volume through ODL between U.S. and Mexico. Implemented in June, ODL on Moneygram is set to expand to four more corridors by the end of this year.
Other trailblazers across the globe share the reality of what is unfolding in the payments industry today, and why does it matter. Let’s delve into some of the major takeaways from the Swell 2019 conference.
On-Demand Liquidity And Its Impact on the Global Payments Architecture:
ODL or On-Demand Liquidity, which leverages XRP as a bridge currency to eliminate the need for pre-funding in cross border payments, was only introduced during last year’s Swell conference. Since then, the platform has seen tremendous growth and a sevenfold hike in customer interest, starting the end of Q1 to the end of October.
At this year’s Swell, Ginger Baker, Ripple’s Senior Director of Product, hosted a panel of ODL customers to share thoughts on the rate of adoption of digital assets and the underlying blockchain technology. The panel, which included goLance, Bitso, FlashFX, and Interbank Peru, focused on the impacts of ODL on business and further opportunities for growth.
Increase Adoption: Although now the world is seeing unprecedented adoption of blockchain-based payments, to further fuel innovation and make the adoption mainstream, the panelists called upon the need to expedite and further streamline services.
In the words of Joisie Mantilla, Emerging Technologies Innovator at Interbank Peru,
It is important to change the traditional thinking around how existing financial institutions enable cross-border transactions. Only then, we can improve banking technology and allow underserved people to change their relationships with banks. ODL is allowing our customers to do just that.
This phenomenon could potentially change the entire generation.
ODL Impact: By leveraging XRP, ODL frees up capital and, thus, guarantees the most competitive rates in the crypto domain.
Founder and CEO of goLance, Michael Brooks, explained,
Our customers are looking for the lowest cost and fastest service. ODL allows us to offer that.
Bangladesh’s bKash Revolutionizing Banking:
bKash Ltd., one of Bangladesh’s growing mobile payment platforms, has essentially made banking possible for thousands of citizens who previously had no access to financial institutions. In just over a decade, bKash has made digital banking possible for 36 million customers, with 90% of them being newly banked. The platform now processes around 6.7 million transactions daily.
In the words of bKash’s CEO, Kamal Quadir,
People of Bangladesh, who previously majorly relied on cash, are now able to use their mobile phones to send and receive money, pay for goods and services, set up savings accounts and more—bringing unprecedented speed, convenience and reliability to a financial system that was virtually inaccessible before.
Swell as an Opportunity for Growth:
Bárbara González Briseño, Bitso’s Head of Finance, shares,
We want to see the network effects come into place in Mexico excluded for many years, thanks to traditional systems. As more players come into space, it creates more corridors and offers more opportunities for those who have been excluded and ignored.
Swell is undoubtedly one of the best places to make this a reality. As Interbank’s Mantilla stated,
Swell is a great place to meet your future connections. It’s about taking a chance on what the future might look like.
With its yearly annual conference, Swell, Ripple, yet again manages to stand by its promise of changing how the world moves money. The two-days-long event featured leaders across financial services, payments, and technology industries, envisioning a future that everyone has been waiting for almost a decade now. What remains to be seen is to what extent Ripple and XRP pave the way for a new era of banking and financial system; for, truly a “new reality to unfold.”