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Blockchain in Payments Report 2019: Flywheel Set in Motion

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The world today is hyperconnected. With nearly 55% of the world’s population online, it’s never been easier for people to connect, engage with one another and share what’s on their mind. While this ability to exchange information has become customary, the ability to exchange value remains complex, unreliable and expensive. The second annual Blockchain in Payments Report examines how payment service providers use or plan to use blockchain technology and digital assets to overcome these challenges and change the way the world moves money.

This year’s findings reveal widespread adoption of blockchain-based payments by financial service providers. This strong adoption signals that both customers and providers have proven the value and feasibility of blockchain technology. Moreover, trust has been won.

To further fuel innovation and increase adoption speed, factors including simplified implementation and regulatory clarity are necessary. These factors are highly likely to be met over the next 24 months given the competitive drive exhibited by survey respondents and the collaborative efforts of providers and regulators.

Below we share a few key findings around these factors from the 2019 Blockchain in Payments Report. To download the full report or to learn more about how blockchain technology and digital assets can be leveraged within your financial institution, contact us today

Increase Speed of Implementation
Expediting and streamlining implementation is imperative to rapidly bring blockchain and digital asset technologies mainstream. Slightly over one third of respondents (35%) are concerned about the potential difficulty and time needed to integrate blockchain and digital assets within their business. 

Best practices speed up implementation times and help financial institutions overcome the hurdles of integrating with legacy systems, ensure regulatory compliance and more. Given the growth in migrations from pilot to production over the past two years, blockchain technology providers now have lessons to draw upon and sufficient experience to develop playbooks. 

We understand the need for rapid implementation and our 200+ customers see the benefits. Our global payments network, RippleNet, leverages a streamlined implementation process to help financial institutions worldwide enable faster, lower-cost global payments for their customers. With RippleNet, technology that once could take over a year to plan, design and move into production, can now be deployed in just a few weeks. 

Clarify Regulatory Policy
To realize the full potential of blockchain and digital asset technologies and increase the speed of adoption, the survey reveals that clear regulatory frameworks are necessary.  

Around one third of respondents state regulatory concerns in their evaluation of blockchain and digital assets. 35% state that regulations are too uncertain, while 32% believe that regulations are prohibitive. These regulatory concerns, however, vary notably by a payment service providers’ adoption stage, level of digital channel usage and location. 

In markets where regulators have made their regulatory framework for blockchain-based initiatives public, respondents are notably less concerned about regulation being too prohibitive. Adoption speed in the U.S. and abroad heavily relies on companies and industry leaders to educate and collaborate with policymakers to help them shape conditions that will enable technological innovation to thrive, while protecting consumers. 

Boost Adoption with Digital Assets
Changing public sentiment by fintechs, banks and regulators regarding digital assets signals an increasingly vibrant market for this technology. A few global banks are exploring the potential of stablecoins and digital currencies, and some central banks are evaluating the potential of central bank digital currencies. For all of these examples, the primary use cases center around cross-border payments and trade settlement, in particular bond and commodity trades.

The report mirrors this positive trend. The data shows that the cross-border payments use case is generating strong interest. Respondents are eager to differentiate themselves and recognize the competitive edge that adopting digital assets in conjunction with blockchain technology offers. 

The use of digital assets in settlement and/or as a base currency is a game-changer: instant payment with nearly zero counterparty and settlement risk, lower capital requirements and no pre-funding—which is still largely considered a necessary evil to expedite international payments. 

RippleNet provides an alternative to avoid pre-funding with instant settlement through On-Demand Liquidity (ODL). RippleNet customers can use the digital asset XRP to bridge two currencies in three seconds, ensuring payments are quickly sent and received in local currency on either side of a transaction. 

Improving Global Payment for All
Faster adoption of these technologies  is contingent on blockchain providers’ ability to simplify and expedite implementation by sharing best practices. It is also critical that the industry continue to educate regulators about the positive attributes of blockchain and digital asset technology so that they can develop well-informed regulatory frameworks worldwide. But perhaps the biggest catalyst, is the boost that digital assets offer when paired with blockchain technology for cross-border payments.

In a world where information moves instantly to all corners of the globe, it is unacceptable that global payments can take days, sometimes weeks, to arrive at their destination—if they arrive at all. Through RippleNet and ODL, we are changing the status quo and working with our customers to make it easier to use these revolutionary technologies to improve global payments for all.

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