Ripple Ramps Up Focus On Blockchain Infrastructure

Blockchain technology firm Ripple is ramping up its focus on distributed ledger infrastructure at a time the company said many are more concerned with bitcoin.

In a press release issued Wednesday (Dec. 20), Ripple said it is launching the Infrastructure Innovation Initiative, a team within the company that will focus on providing Ripple’s DLT and payments technology to central banks and market infrastructures. The initiative will enable regulators and financial institutions (FIs) to use Ripple’s technology to explore blockchain themselves and develop solutions.

The team will be led by global head of infrastructure innovation Dilip Rao.

“My first priority will be piloting interoperability between payment systems, the use of DLT for domestic clearing and settlement and novel applications of xCurrent as well as our digital asset XRP,” Rao said in a statement.

Ripple added that its Infrastructure Innovation Initiative is part of efforts to develop the “Internet of Value.” The infrastructure focus follows several collaborations between Ripple and stakeholders in the financial services space.

Last month, Axis Bank in India announced that its cross-border payments service, developed using Ripple infrastructure, had officially launched to facilitate transactions between the UAE and Singapore. Corporate customers of the bank can use the service to transfer money in real time between Axis Bank and Singapore’s Standard Chartered Bank.

The blockchain industry is quickly fostering competition, with Ripple’s one-time collaborator and current rival R3 also making headway in this space. R3 is reportedly developing its own cross-border payments solution using blockchain infrastructure. The two firms remain in a legal dispute after R3 alleged Ripple backtracked on its agreement to allow R3 to purchase 5 billion of Ripple’s cryptocurrency at a fixed price before September 2019.

Ripple countersued R3 last September on claims R3 failed to meet its obligations as part of the agreement.

R3 managing director Charley Cooper said in a statement last month that the company’s cross-border payments initiative was not a result of competition with Ripple.

“This wasn’t spawned by one particular company,” he said in an interview with American Banker. “It’s something we’ve been working on that predates a lot of other work in the industry by various different parties.”