Ripple attended a UK parliament hearing on Digital Currency on Tuesday to field questions on the benefits of blockchain and cryptocurrency. The debate offered a balanced view on digital currencies and the one thing the panel agreed on is that blockchain in industry and cryptocurrencies are hugely different.
Ryan Zagone, Director of Regulatory Relations at Ripple, explained to the panel how Ripple can improve the transparency and efficiency of cross border payments, particularly between banks, generating cost savings of up to 60%.
Mr Zagone described the current drawbacks of international remittance:
“you can literally mail a box of cash and have better tracking and certainty than you could sending a payment through a bank”
Mr Walker questioned Ripples use as an interbank payment service, citing its extreme volatility. However, Mr Zagone clarified that the exposure for banks using XRP for remittances was only 3 to 4 seconds, making exposure to volatility risk very low and easily manageable.
According to Mr Zagone Ripple has signed over 120 financial institutions to the Ripple Net and is expected to sign more in the coming year.
Blockchain: “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly”
Mr Martin Walker, the Director for Banking and Finance at the Centre for Evidence-based Management, took the critical stance on blockchain and cryptocurrency.
He split blockchain innovation into “The Good, the bad and the ugly”. Saying that “The Good” was the most underfunded but promising. He also grouped most ICOs and cryptocurrency into “The Bad”, placing companies with suffering from the ‘Blockchain Fad’ as “The Ugly”.
After dismissing blockchains use cases for healthcare and housing registry, as is being attempted in Georgia, one of the questioners stated: “Your being very negative here Mr Walker”
Mr Walker tried to explain that blockchain was in large part a ‘Fad’ that distracted from real innovation in the banking sector. In terms of demonstrable benefits, he believed that blockchain had contributed “little to nothing”.
One of the main problems was the poor communication between senior banking management and software developers as they are not usually on the same page. Although he admitted that it has made banks more aware of their cost breakdowns.