Ripple’s first client: Executive speaks about the journey from 0 to 1

With Ripple’s disruptive approach to cross-border payments, it is only natural that regulated parties will be reluctant to sign on as clients. Asheesh Birla, the Senior VP for Product at Ripple, spoke about signing on their first client and the challenges associated with it.

He stated that they had to convince the banks to get on board, quoting a period of two to three years to just get the first bank on board. He went on to speak about how “no one wants to be first”, comparing it to finding a “prom date in high school”. He said:

“We realized that like the United States isn’t going to be the first adopter. The regulation in the United States is too tough, the banks were not incentivized to take any risk.”

Birla spoke about their campaign to go to Asia and Germany, where more “favourable regulation” exists. Ripple’s first client was an online bank known as Fidor, which adopted the technology in May of 2014. Matthias Kröner, the CEO of the bank, said:

“Ripple enables us to securely and instantly send money anywhere in the world at no additional cost and through the same customer facing products and relationships we offer today.”

The SVP said that “no one was going to hear about” their first account, going on to describe the excitement that they felt when they signed them. He stated:

“They said yes and we were like, oh my god we found a prom date and they got things going.”

He described Ripple’s further journey into the space, with their expansion into Asia. It was the “perfect time” to enter the Asian market, said Birla, stating that they wanted to leapfrog the west. He stated:

“Going from 0 to 1 [clients] for any FinTech is just tremendously hard. You got so many people to convince, [and the] regulators are backed up right now with like listening to all sorts of things.”

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