Ripple & Considerations of Blockchain Architectures

When working on solving some of the world’s most complex problems, the world’s most forward-looking financial institutions are focused on the enterprise blockchain. For numerous other organizations, the enterprise blockchain is at the forefront for promoting greater efficiency, a better customer experience, a higher return-on-investment, significant security, and a reduction in fraud.   

The blockchain platforms now going mainstream offer numerous benefits for an enterprise to consider. This is especially true for financial organizations.   In this article, I’ll focus on Ripple and compare it to other blockchain architectures – particularly with regard to their considerations, benefits and acceptance.

One industry that the “blockchain” is really having a major impact is around “Fintech”.   When it comes to payment processing, the Ripple platform provides a good example of how a consortium of financial organizations can resolve long-standing problems.  

Here is a quote from the CEO of Ripple reflecting on how financial institutions now handle global payments,

“Global payments are undeniably going through a sea change, led by financial institutions adopting blockchain to fix their customers’ broken payments experience. Now more than 100 financial institutions are looking to Ripple as the solution to the problem…”

–  Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple

RIpple

This is very important to grasp since we’re witnessing what appears to be a major shift in how financial institutions address the user experience. Not only the customer’s experience but the financial organization’s experience as well.

When a financial institution considers a specific ledger platform, an organization should consider how to address several factors with that platform.

1, Risk-  Perhaps the most challenging to address, since risk can appear in many facets of the lifecycle (whether during Proof-Of-Concept, the implementation phase, or thru changes in code). Thus, having a rigid design could be riskier than having a more modular design.  

  1. Acceptance – having your partners in consortium as well as your customer base accept the platform. In Ripple’s case, its customer base uses XRP to process payments or make exchanges against fiat currency. Achieving wide acceptance can hinge on whether its centralized or decentralized. For example, Ripple is highly centralized and thus poses a challenge for many to accept as a true crypto.
  2. Privacy – Another area that is a major concern (especially to a financial institution’s user base) is privacy.  Ripple made a good call to lock coins into a smart contract, though there is still room for progress.
  3. Innovation – One of the challenges that a blockchain developer or architect runs into is determining whether a “pipeline” of innovation exists or not.   There are many blockchains out there – but they’re not all created equal. Some platforms are rigid in modularity and/or use cases (such as Ripple). Other platforms are more flexible and promote a code-agnostic approach (such as XTRABYTES).  This feature allows one’s development team to create a plethora of “dapps” (decentralized applications) that span many use cases.
  4. Vision –  Although not technically a requirement, having a vision is critical from a business acceptance perspective.

For example, Ripple clearly states their “vision” is to be a global settlement network. That is, a platform that allows anyone to transfer money in any currency to any currency in a matter of seconds. A good place to understand a cryptocurrencies’s vision is to review its whitepaper and research its founders.

The Ripple platform was released in 2012 and has grown to over 100 member financial organizations.  The market cap has increased from 9 Billion (December 2017) to over 18 Billion (March 2018). Based on these facts, the “Acceptance” part has clearly been fulfilled..

RippleWhen considering a blockchain platform, one should also consider that platform’s use cases.   Ripple has a very specific use case.  Chances are, if you’re not a financial organization, Ripple won’t be a focus for your prospective platform.

When considering a blockchain platform, its critical to address that platform’s Risk, Acceptance, Privacy, Innovation and Vision.  Your crypto blockchain project’s success depends not only on its current features and popularity but also on its innovation and vision.    

Remember, you’re driving your organization’s success and innovation.  Steve Jobs summed it up very  clearly:

“Our DNA is as a consumer company – for that individual customer who’s voting thumbs up or thumbs down. That’s who we think about. And we think that our job is to take responsibility for the complete user experience. And if it’s not up to par, it’s our fault, plain and simply.”

Quote by Steve Jobs

Thank you…

Joe Holbrook

Certified Blockchain Expert (CBE)

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