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Kahina van Dyke left Facebook for Ripple. Is she XRP’s silver bullet?

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The latest news from Ripple Labs: they have secured the services of Kahina Van Dyke, the former Facebook team leader in global financial services department. She will be Ripple’s vice president of corporate and business development. Mrs. van Dyke’s experience and credibility working in the global financial sector, especially in payment settlements, is nothing short of impressive. Is she the leader that can finally break XRP into the mainstream and mass adoption worldwide?

See you, Facebook! Can you please send my mail to Ripple Labs?

While Mrs. van Dyke’s was at Facebook, her job was to secure alliances between the controversial social media firm and big players in the banking and financial world so that Facebook’s users could use the social media platform for sending payments.

She managed to get PayPal, Citibank, Western Union, Mastercard, and Visa to join forces with Facebook. Among her most spectacular achievements was a deal in Africa that allows for small African businesses to accept Mastercard payments within the Facebook platform.

But even before joining Facebook, her expertise in payments and financial services was already quite impressive. By then she had more than two decades of working experience at places such as Citibank and Mastercard. She has the skills, the background, the expertise and the contacts.

When former Yahoo Vice-president and former Uber driver Mr. Brad Garlinghouse became Ripple’s CEO, he turned Ripple Labs into a company with a single mission: to use the blockchain technology to revolutionize the international payments system. In that process, he dropped Ripple’s pioneering smart-contract technology (called Codius, which is making a comeback, by the way) and every other priority to focus on a single problem and solve it better than anybody else.

Mrs. van Dyke fits perfectly with his agenda, as she already belongs in that very environment Mr. Garlinghouse wants to penetrate. She fits like a globe, and her hiring could be a breakthrough as Mr. Garlinghouse endeavors to make xRapid standard in the financial institutions’ sector all over the world.

Ripple Labs’ killer app is called xCurrent. It’s currently in use by more than a hundred banks the world over (and a new bank joins the network every week, on average) mainly in Japan and Northeast Asia but western institutions as Banco Santander and Western Union are also in the mix.

Ripple’s xCurrent creates a blockchain-based ledger that allows settling international payments quickly, safely and cheaply. It can settle payments in a variety of both fiat and digital currencies and, while it can use XRP as a currency, it’s not mandatory for users to deal in XRP (except for transfer fees).

Ripple has been very successful so far but also controversial. It’s being taken to the court for being a security but also because the service structure it has looks to some investors as a type of permanent ICO, especially when it comes to Ripple’s policy on XRP’s release and sale.

Another Ripple platform, xRapid, is driven by XRP. In Ripple’s own words,

“… uniquely uses a digital asset, XRP, to offer on-demand liquidity, which dramatically lowers costs while enabling real-time payments in emerging markets. Built for enterprise use, XRP offers banks and payment providers a highly efficient, scalable, reliable liquidity option to service cross-border payments.”

Considering how conservative most financial institutions are regarding change and how volatile cryptocurrencies still are, Ripple has had a hard time securing partnerships for xRapid and xCurrent (especially xRapid because it’s more reliant on XRP). But if enough banks adopt Ripple’s technology that would give Ripple the perfect case that it’s not ‘a security’ at all under SEC rules but a technology that enables financial institutions to do international transactions cheaply, safely and in real-time.
XRP’s decentralization has also been a point of contention.

XRP was fully pre-mined by Ripple Labs before the currency went live and the company is still the world’s main holder so there’s been the suspicion that the vast reserve it owns could allow it to manipulate the currency’s price. If enough partnerships happen and XRP indeed becomes the standard currency for settling payments globally, that would both create demand for XRP and make decentralization apparent. That would solve one of Ripple’s most serious credibility problems.

Persuading partners to adopt xCurrent has not been that hard for Ripple. Convincing them to adopt XRP has been a different thing, and this could be where Mrs. van Dyke could make all the difference, given the contacts and experience she already has among Ripple’s potential new partners. Ripple itself praised her:

“Throughout her career, Van Dyke has proven that financial services and technology, when working together, can dramatically improve the lives of people, businesses, and communities all around the world. Her time leading global teams within the traditional financial services industry — most notably at Mastercard and Citibank — has afforded her insight into how sophisticated risk mitigation and compliance frameworks enable more reliable, timely services.”

The international remittance and payments industries are heating up

The international financial system works on a system called SWIFT. It was implemented during the 1970’s, and it’s remained the same for decades, which is to say it’s stayed expensive, slow and unreliable. The digital revolution that came about with the popularization of the internet and the appearance of smartphones has not affected it at all because of two reasons. First, there’s the massive inertia prevalent in financial institutions worldwide.

Second, almost no technology developer has paid any attention at all to cross-border financial settlements, remittances or micropayments because they involve a lot of red tapes and physical presence in several countries while social media, messaging apps, or gaming apps are, by comparison, very simple and profitable to do.

The result is that this market is still monopolized by SWIFT (with Western Union as an alternative) for international payments and Mastercard and Visa in control of online payments. One exception is PayPal, but in favor of Ayden, eBay dropped it (just earlier this year).

In this context, Ripple’s blockchain technology and currency are set to disrupt the whole industry. But it has some competition. Stellar Lumens, backed up by IBM, is trying to enter the same market. But there’s also Quorum, a blockchain startup owned by JP Morgan Chase (and Quorum has the advantage of already being a banking industry insider).

Quorum has had a hard time taking off, probably because of the strong links it has with the infamous bank, which is rumored to be considering getting rid of its blockchain project.

So what Mrs. van Dyke contribution to Ripple will be? We can’t say for sure, of course, but given her history and Ripple’s ambitions, it’s bound to one of the most relevant moments in Ripple’s short history. We will have to wait and see what she can do for Ripple, but the prospects are promising.

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Disclaimer: This article should not be taken as, and is not intended to provide, investment advice. Global Coin Report and/or its affiliates, employees, writers, and subcontractors are cryptocurrency investors and from time to time may or may not have holdings in some of the coins or tokens they cover. Please conduct your own thorough research before investing in any cryptocurrency and read our full disclaimer.

Image courtesy of Maxpixel.net

Altcoins

KaratGold Proves Its Business Model By Providing Official Documents

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There has been a lot of renewed enthusiasm in the cryptocurrency market thanks mainly to Bitcoin’s strong move about 10,000.  Although Bitcoin continues to show its dominance, the altcoin market has yet to benefit from that rally.  A few of the largest altcoins remain popular but the rest of the market continues to lag behind.  In 2018, there was a lot of talk regarding a possible altcoin apocalypse where only the strong would survive.  That prediction appears to be playing out as expected.  Going forward, only the best projects that have a real world need will survive.  Crypto traders will have to spend a lot of their time doing proper research in order to find the best opportunities, just like in all financial markets.  One promising project that appears to have the makings of a future winner is KaratGold Coin.

KaratGold Background

KaratGold Coin is a cryptocurrency developed by the reputable German company Karatbars International, which maintains a leading position in the market of small gold items and investments. The project is part of a larger ecosystem, which involves several blockchain solutions that can be used for transactions, communication, investing and other tasks. During the past few weeks, however, the KaratGold ecosystem has been a target of unsavory scam allegations.  

Karatbars International and GSB Gold Standard Banking Corporation…

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ICTE May Bring About Sweeping Changes for Cryptocurrency Exchanges

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Cryptocurrency has taken the world by storm during the last few years. An entirely new financial market was created almost overnight which has captured the imagination of all its participants. Cryptocurrency is even starting to attract institutional money from investment banks, hedge funds, and other proprietary trading firms. Despite the rapid growth, traders remain extremely frustrated by having to deal with the fragmented nature of centralized crypto exchanges.

A Change is Needed

When cryptocurrency first began, there weren’t many participants and the trading volume was relatively insignificant. But, over time, that has radically changed. Some tokens now have a capitalization in the billions and are being traded 24-7 by institutions all over the world. Despite the volume, significant problems exist with the current way that exchanges work. Some of those problems include the following:

  • Constant fear of hackers
  • Exchange manipulation
  • Fragmented liquidity
  • Risk of identity theft

One of the biggest issues regarding centralized exchanges is the risk of being hacked. These hack stories seem to always be circulating around the internet. While experienced traders may have the tools to avoid becoming a victim, potential new traders have zero interest in dealing with this. And it’s not just the small exchanges that are at risk. Even large exchanges, such as Mt. Gox and Binance, are subject to being hacked.

Another huge risk is having to deal with…

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Altcoins

SonicX and Dash Could Challenge Facebook’s Libra for Global Payments Market Share

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When Satoshi Nakamoto unveiled Bitcoin to the world, the dream was always for Bitcoin to serve as a new universal currency.  It would be free from the bureaucracy of governments.  And free from the tyranny of the old-world financial cartels.  Although the dream hasn’t yet materialized, it comes closer and closer with each passing day.

One of the biggest roadblocks for Bitcoin has been scalability.  At a speed of approximately 7 transactions per second, Bitcoin lags behind other cryptocurrencies like Ripple and global payment processors like Visa.  Many expect the lightning network to have a positive impact on Bitcoin’s TPS but until that comes to fruition, mass adoption will likely need another significant development.

Libra Currency Announcement

One development that could help pave the way toward mass adoption is the launch of the Libra currency.  Libra is expected to go live during the first half of 2020 according to Facebook’s June announcement.  According to Facebook, Libra will make sending money online cheaper and faster.  It will also have a hand in improving access to financial services, especially for the unbanked.  Given Facebook’s global reach, including many third world countries, providing financial access to the unbanked could provide a huge spark to global economies.  Additionally, it could provide the growth spark that cryptocurrency needs.

Facebook’s most popular messenger, WhatsApp, has approximately 1.5 billion monthly users.  This application is…

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