Ripple CEO: ‘Blockchain Tourists’ Aren’t Creating Real World Use Cases

Blockchain

Ripple’s CEO has said that there are too many people using blockchain as ‘a buzzword,’ who aren’t developing real world use cases.

During a Q&A session on Quora, Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple CEO, said:

“Blockchain is like the new big data or AI – too many people are using it as a buzzword and not focused [on] solving a real problem.”

He added:

“We like to call them blockchain tourists! There are many applications that are nothing more than science experiments.”

According to Garlinghouse, the uses being implemented through the distributed ledger could be better applied via a database. He didn’t give names as to these use cases.

As he explains:

“That is why Ripple is focused on a real world use case, solving a real (and very large) customer problem, which has converted into commercial traction that is unmatched in the enterprise blockchain space.”

Ripple’s digital asset, XRP, functions similarly to bitcoin on the blockchain. At the time of publishing, on the 4th October, Ripple is the third most valuable digital currency in the market. One token is currently worth $0.211993, which is a 5.43 percent rise in 24 hours. Over seven days its value has increased by 4.32 percent. Its market value is currently worth $8.1 billion, pushing it ahead of bitcoin cash.

Revolutionising the Financial World

One of the main and first uses of the blockchain technology was within finance. Since its early days, however, the technology is being employed in a variety of sectors. These include healthcare, education, supply chain management, energy and humanitarian to name a few.

According to Garlinghouse, Ripple has the potential to change the finance sector.

He questions that if we can connect to people instantly and for free, why can’t we do the same for payments? He said that:

“Payments were never designed for the Internet, so we’re focused on the unsolved problem – the underlying infrastructure.”

Today, the world sends over $155 trillion across borders. Yet, the market opportunity is bigger than simply moving those payments more efficiently. Garlinghouse claims that if they can solve the problem, ‘we’ll enable an Internet of Value that:’

  • Connects billions of people around the world to transact – instantly

  • Gives rise to entirely new businesses and industries

  • And increases financial inclusion

It’s clear the market has the potential to change the financial industry. This is being realised through use cases every day. This can be seen through IBM’s endeavor with the technology.

IBM Builds a DLT

In June, it was reported that the global technology company was creating a blockchain that will be used by seven of Europe’s largest banks, called the Digital Trade Chain. The consortium will include Deutsche Bank, HSBC, KBC, Natixis, Rabobank, Societe Generale and Unicredit. This is to aid international aid for small- and medium-sized businesses.

As a result, it will mark one of the first real world use cases involving the technology. Even though the banking sector has been researching into the blockchain for years, it’s only now that applications are beginning to emerge.

At the time, Wiebe Draijer, chairman of the executive board at Rabobank, said:

“We take care of the payment that’s still the old payment technology, but the whole infrastructure, the administration is done on the blockchain.”

He added:

“Ultimately we will also move the payment into that blockchain solution, when the payment in blockchain is ready to be robust for large-scale application.”

Draijer stated that many tests with banks and fintechs are underway experimenting with the blockchain. However, this venture with IBM demonstrates how far the financial world has come with its experiments.

“We are moving a step further with seven banks, putting together an application based on blockchain where we facilitate small-and-medium-sized enterprises when they export. And the blockchain technology is very powerful and supports that proposition.”

Tracking Meat

Of course, while Garlinghouse claims too many people are using the blockchain as a buzzword, there are plenty of real use cases for it.

For instance, in tracking food to improve consumer confidence.

China is one country that is using the DLT to track China’s pork and chicken. Last year, Walmart teamed up with IBM and the Tsinghua University in Beijing. By putting Chinese pork on the blockchain it’s hoped it will prevent food disasters occurring.

The success of this venture has meant that Chinese web insurer ZhongAn Technology is using a blockchain-based platform to track the entire chicken farming process. It’s hoped this will improve China’s food safety concerns.

More recently, Japan’s government has revealed that it too is using the technology for its wild game meat. By using a NEM-based blockchain it will build and store its transaction records.

Through the Mijin blockchain consumers will be able to trace the meat from the hunting grounds to the restaurant. It’s also hoped that it will help with the country’s overpopulation of wild game meat. This is through the dwindling numbers of licensed hunters in the country.

Tracking Humanitarian Aid

Another real world use of the technology can be seen through tracking aid.

In 2012, Ban Ki-Moon, the 80th secretary-general of the UN, said that corruption in 2011 had meant that 30 percent of all development assistance had been prevented from reaching those who needed it.

He said:

“This translates into bridges, hospitals and schools that were never built, and people living without the benefit of these services,” he said. “This is a failure of accountability and transparency.”

For many a solution was required, but finding it wasn’t easy. That was until the blockchain entered the scene. As a result, it’s now being used in many humanitarian situations ensuring aid gets to those who need it.

The UN is one agency that is embracing the technology. So much so, that it’s reported that there are seven UN organisations experimenting with the technology.

The UN Office for Project Services (UNOPS) has organised a working group of agencies looking into it. These include the WFP, the UN Development Programme (UNDP), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN Women, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the UN Development Group (UNDG).

Featured image from Shutterstock.