Whilst they aren’t direct competitors by technology (obviously, Ripple is far superior) the realm through which both Ripple and SWIFT operates does mean that they are competing to achieve the same goal, this in turn makes them direct competitors, how they achieve this goal however is very different. It’s a case of the blockchain vs the real world, and frankly it’s one of the hottest debates in cryptocurrency at the moment.
Ripple want to achieve a platform for fast, easy, cheap and secure international payments that can be used on a retail and an institutional level. SWIFT also want to achieve the same thing, though the difference here is that Ripple want to do this via two paths, the production of XRP (a token which can be used for money transfer) and of course, their homebrew blockchain technology.
SWIFT too are exploring the blockchain, though they are taking a more adaptive approach, and are using a ready made blockchain solution in R3, a blockchain solution developed by Corda. As the race hots up, we want to explore who’s winning at the moment, in order to understand who might reign champion in the future.
With R3 behind SWIFT, many people believe that their combination of traditional finance and blockchain technology will be enough to help SWIFT charge ahead. Indeed, the scope of R3 is huge and will certainly help SWIFT grow, though we do have to consider the ‘brand’ that sits behind Ripple at this point. Ripple has a slightly more humble beginning and offers a more bespoke package, therefore they have far more control over the products and services that they offer their customers, check out Santander’s OnePayFX app for example, one of the biggest international payment applications, backed by Ripple’s technologies.
According to Brave New Coin:
“While Ripple and R3 can be seen as competitors, the two companies also work together. In 2016, R3 entered into an agreement to promote Ripple to its banking consortium. In return, the agreement included an option to allow R3 to buy up to 5 billion XRP tokens at a price of $0.0085 at any time before September 2019.”
“It seems the two companies were able to agree on a way forward as in December last year, R3 announced a Universal Settler application to facilitate global payments on Corda with Ripple's XRP token as the first settlement mechanism. XRP is the first cryptocurrency supported by the settler, and it would seem to further align the Corda and XRP ecosystems. While the settlement was confidential, the fact that R3 enabled settlement using XRP suggests R3 received XRP in return.”
Who’s winning the race? Ripple or SWIFT?
Actually, there’s no true answer to this question, the pair are competing but then actually have a hand on each others projects too. Perhaps the conclusion to this saga will be far more simple and that actually, both Ripple and SWIFT will find equal successes, working together to make the international payment space less centralised, faster and of course, more efficient.