Ripple made its biggest move yet this summer, having bought up $30 million USD worth of shares in MoneyGram. As part of that deal, the mainstream money transfer company agreed to partner with Ripple on cross-border payment settlements.
Now, Ripple’s leadership has signaled they’re keeping the company’s war chest open and have new potential investments in the works.
On August 9th, Ripple chief executive officer Brad Garlinghouse told Yahoo Finance UK it was “very hard to predict” which deals would actualize, but the CEO said the cryptocurrency company was amid negotiations with several firms regarding outright acquisitions or more modest investments.
As Garlinghouse explained:
“We’re in a very strong position, our business is growing strongly, we have a strong balance sheet, and I intend to press our advantage […] Anything we can do to accelerate our growth and give us more capabilities that serve customer needs is a good place to be.”
Ripple Keeps the Pace Up as Others Gain Ground
The accelerating expansionary strategy comes as Ripple has recently been facing rising competition from several different directions.
Just a few weeks into the year, banking giant JP Morgan announced it was developing a “JPM Coin” stablecoin. The institution has since indicated the coin will be used in settlement trials within its interbank blockchain rail, the Interbank Information Network (IIN), later this year. The moves instantly made waves in the cryptoeconomy, as some suggested the bank was moving in on Ripple’s turf.
“Pretty much every big corporation is our client and most of the major banks in the world are too,” JP Morgan blockchain lead Umar Farooq explained at the time, aptly noting the sheer global reach of the institution.
Moreover, in May a dozen large banks invested $50 million into a blockchain settlements project being spearheaded by a startup named Fnality. VISA unveiled its own blockchain payments network the following month, too.
It remains to be seen whether Ripple can contend to fend off its insurgent competitors over the long run. However, what Ripple does have going for it in the blockchain payments rat race is plenty of money and plenty of ideas on how to spend that money.
“We’ve publicly announced we’ve made [investments of] about $500 million in the space over the last 18 months,” Garlinghouse told Yahoo Finance UK on Friday.
Beyond pure spending, Ripple has also made inroads in leaning on, not against, large enterprises. For example, in the spring Ripple Labs joined the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) alongside mainstream powerhouses like SWIFT, Accenture, and Barclays.
Newest Ripple Challenger? Crypto Folk Point to the Fed
The Federal Reserve, the central banking system of the United States, has begun working on a real-time payments and settlements system. Cryptoeconomy stakeholders have already hailed the development as bad news for Ripple.
Announced this month, FedNow has been envisioned by the Fed’s Board of Governors as new public infrastructure that will vamp up domestic payments in the America. One of those governors, Lael Brainard, explained the planned system as being designed to cater to the needs of institutions and individuals:
“Everyone deserves the same ability to make and receive payments immediately and securely, and every bank deserves the same opportunity to offer that service to its community. FedNow will permit banks of every size in every community across the country to provide real-time payments to their customers.”
Of course, even if FedNow proves to be a real threat to Ripple’s business model, the cryptocurrency company will have time to make its own maneuverings. The new system could arrive as late as 2024.
There’s no telling what the future holds, but Ripple will undoubtedly look quite different in five years’ time as the startup continues trying to chart its own path forward.