The adoption of the products that Ripple have has been modest to say the least. They have a seat on the SWIFT directors’ board and they have also launched their very own retail mobile app as well. This is named as being One Pay FX. This uses the payment product and the smartphone app also gives customers the chance to move money between four different pilot countries. The countries include Brazil, Spain, the UK and even Poland. Ripple’s XRapid product has also won a lot of currency converts. Mercury FX is actually a currency exchange that is based in London and they are a firm that give all of their clients a chance to receive an alternative to using banks. They do this by offering support when dealing with international currencies. They have come out to say that they are going to be moving their pilot program to a brand new live production. SWIFT has been playing monopoly for so long now but so far they have not been passing down any long-term costs or even savings. Why haven’t they been doing this? The answer is because they are lazy and that they are also very inefficient as well. At the end of the day, Ripple isn’t the only blockchain that is trying to go after Swift. Banco Santander is trying to work with other blockchain platforms to try and overtake the company and they are also working hard to try and explore other applications as well. There are a lot of banks out there who have placed bets in different areas and the competition has really jolted Swift to try and pull their act together. Swift have been working hard to try and prevent this from happening and now 180 banks are now working with them. They are trying to offer non-blockchain alternatives and they are also trying to offer so many cross-border payments as well. At the end of the day, it is important to know that GPI is not a rebuild of the back office. A lot of people have also come out to say that Ripple’s own technology may not work but that is not the issue because it could save banks more money than what it would cost to invest in. Vandenreydt has stated that it is a lot like heart surgery in the fact that the system is still working during the transition. That is where most of the cost is and in June 2018, over 180 banks were still using the encrypted, non-blockchain option to try and transfer $100 billion in payments every single day. Schwartz has stated that you tend to be pressured to try and keep things as they are rather than replacing them all the time. He seems to think that the clean sheet approach is always better than replacing the whole thing at a much lower cost. Of course, it is important to know that there are currently well over 10,000 banks in Swift’s own network. Newman had hoped that he could transition all of the members of Swift to the new system by the year 2020. GPI isn’t a requirement of the Ripple killer but it does present another huge hurdle that Ripple needs to work hard to try and clear. Schwartz is a CTO and this means that he will have to report to the CEO. When you look at the technical vision that Ripple has however you will see that he is very much in charge. David is not a guy that requires a ton of micromanagement and Chris Larsen has added saying that he is the soul of the company. Schwartz’s number one priority is to try and persuade the blockchain community to try and tell people that the company is losing control of the company that they have worked so hard to try and build. This is a twist because Ripple have been accused of trying to centrally control Swift. The debate is centred around trust, or at least a lot of it is. The XRP blockchain has been designed so that it is completely open to anyone and therefore it is trustworthy and independent. Ripple has, at least historically been disproportionate in terms of its influence over who controls it. When you look at the ETH and Bitcoin blockchains you will soon see that the validation comes from miners who are always trying to confirm new blocks and transitions. They do this to try and exchange currency. The founders over at Ripple sell the tokens and they have even given some out to their team. More than half of the XRP that exists right now is owned by Ripple. Of course, it is important to understand that the XRP blockchain is going to be confirmed and that it is going to be done using a consensus system as well. It comprises of groups and even validators that work hard to try and analyse the network transactions or even the nodes. They are in-turn then put into groups and it is so important that these groups are able to trust one another. These are known as being unique node lists. Sure, validators get the chance to choose their very own UNL but the list is assembled by default and this is an area that could possibly be centralised.
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Now, to try and offset any concerns that could flood the market or even manipulate the prices, Ripple have done everything they can to lock the XRP that they have into smart contracts. The company holds all of this in Escrow and they are releasing over 1 billion tokens every single month. If you did want to completely decentralise it however then you would have to build on the XRP blockchain. This needs to be in the same way as ETH. When you look at the validators, you will soon see that 10 out of the 150 support the network and these are all managed by Ripple. When you look at Bitcoin however you will see that 58% of them are processed by four different mining pools. These are all found in China and it is not clear how many of the non-Ripple community are relying on the UNLs that Ripple have in place. At the end of the day, when you look at Ripple’s own system you will find that it is far more centrally controlled when compared to what you would first think. When you ask Ripple how many of their transactions rely on the sanctioned validators you will soon see that their answer is that they have no idea. They don’t actually know and this is not good at all. The man himself has been Ripple’s best weapon so far and he has proved time and time again that the blockchain is truly decentralised. He has also proven that it is completely secure. Credibility is so very important when you look at the world of cryptocurrency and there isn’t much to know about Ripple so far. Some would say that this is a cause for concern.