Ripple 2016: A Year in Review

An absolutely phenomenal year! Image: Shutterstock

Ripple has had another phenomenal year, picking up customer momentum and moving our product closer to commercial production for cross-border payments. We grew our roster of clients and investors, announcing a substantial Series B funding round. Most importantly, we made incredible progress toward building holistic financial solutions grounded in solving real customer problems in global payments.

Let’s recap.

Ripple kicked off 2016 with the announcement of our joint venture with SBI Holdings, SBI Ripple Asia, as a distribution network for Ripple’s solutions in Japan, China, Taiwan, South Korea and ASEAN countries. SBI Ripple Asia hit the ground running, announcing a consortium of 15 banks just a few months later. In March, the group had grown to 30 banks. Nearing the end of 2016, the consortium launched with 42 members, using Ripple for domestic and cross-border payments.

In February, we published The Cost-Cutting Case for Banks, an ROI analysis on how the use of Ripple’s enterprise solution and XRP can significantly impact a bank’s operational costs. Good news for XRP kept coming later in the spring, when Ripple announced a partnership with Crypto Facilities for XRP derivatives. 2016 has been an important year for XRP, which remains central to our strategy as the most efficient settlement option for financial institutions.

In April, Ripple Head of Global Sales Nilesh Dusane was named to the inaugural BAFT Future Leaders list, which allowed him to work on a project with industry leaders in distributed ledger technology applications for transaction banking. The 2017 BAFT Future Leaders list is just around the corner, and we’re looking forward to next year’s presentations already.

Spring saw the payoff of a great deal of hard work: Santander announced that they were the first U.K. bank to use Ripple to send cross-border payments in real-time through a staff pilot program. The season of firsts rolled on into summer, and Ripple was granted the first institutional New York State Department of Financial Services “BitLicense” to sell and custody digital assets. ATB in Canada and ReiseBank in Germany sent the first live transaction using Ripple for a cross-border payment. We also opened our first European offices in London and Luxembourg, to support Ripple’s expanding presence worldwide.

In June, things began to heat up. Ripple added a list of new banks to our growing network, representing a major endorsement of our vision to connect the world’s financial systems and enable new economic opportunities. One of these new banks, Standard Chartered, added to a $55 million Series B investment round in September, allowing us to accelerate customer adoption, pursue strategic partnerships, and keep growing our team.

Fall 2016 also saw the creation of the world’s only blockchain bankers’ network with defined rules and governance, the Global Payments Steering Group (GPSG). Formed to oversee the writing and maintaining of Ripple payment transaction rules, the GPSG is going to be very important as we move into 2017— a year many predict will prove crucial for compliance and governance in distributed ledger technology for banks.

Rounding out the autumn, Ripple CEO and cofounder Chris Larsen weighed in on the importance of fintech to the U.S. government, pointing out that the next POTUS should appoint a fintech czar to maintain the nation’s leadership position as the competition continues to close in. Ripple announced that R3’s consortium of banks was trialling XRP to scale liquidity and reduce costs associated with cross-border payments.

Winter began with Chris Larsen’s announcement that he plans to transition to executive chairman of the board at Ripple, naming COO Brad Garlinghouse his successor as CEO in 2017. As Larsen pointed out, this is the best possible time for a change at Ripple. Our position has never been stronger. In November, Ripple was named to Forbes Fintech 50 for the second year in a row. Two of Ripple’s client banks won innovation awards. We listed a new exchange for XRP, and revamped RippleCharts.  

2016 was an impressive year, even just looking at the highlights:

A year ago, we described 2015 as ‘the year that Ripple grew up.’ We’re all grown up now, and experiencing the thrill of seeing some of our hard work pay off. We wish you all a happy new year and we look forward to working with you in 2017!