The Very Beginning
Since 2014, Ripple has been experimenting on multiple projects developing a debit card that would allow owners to easily spend their digital currencies. It first began as a joint effort along side Shift Payments to create the "Shift Card". Which the project was focused on
The prototype card was integrated with both Coinbase and Ripple accounts at one point with the partners wanting to integrate the card with loyalty point programs and regular bank accounts in the future. Ripple was planned to be used for the settlement protocol for payment between fiat currencies, digital currencies, mobile minutes, etc. And in further innovation,
It would later be released that Shift Payments, now Shift, was introducing a VISA backed Bitcoin debit card. Suggesting the probability Ripple had been introduced to VISA long ago....
Unfortunately nothing came from it and the test wallets they used for the pilots have become dormant for several years. (although the main wallet has 375k XRP just sitting there)
Shift appears to have moved on but a possible explanation as to why nothing arose from it might be how cryptocurrencies were not favorably perceived in 2014.
However one of the co-founders of Shift, Meg Nakamura added that
Whether they ever use Ripple or not in the future is up for debate but one of Shift's co-founders was Gregg Kidd, the chief risk officer at Ripple during the time. Interesting enough both founded Hard + Yaka, a fund that makes early round investments in exchange space startups. Previous investments? Global ID, Gatehub, Ripple, Coinbase, Shift, Bitso (expect XRPL to run thru it), ShapeShift and to our next topic of conversation.....Marqeta.
Marqeta is an open API payment card issuing platform that has been enabling businesses to process credit and debit card payments. Marqeta has been establishing itself as a big company that has attracted notable clients and investors to utilize it's technology. Facebook and Oink are example of clients while this past July, VISA made a strategic investment in the company and formed a partnership to drive further innovations in commercial and consumer payments globally.
Marqeta is compatible with the Discover, MasterCard, and VISA networks.
The CEO of Marqeta, Jason Gardner, has been very vocal and supportive of blockchain technology and it's possible applications.
It was also revealed in January 2016 that Marqeta had been working with Ripple on a defunct debit card product that would allow users to spend cryptocurrencies at traditional points of sale.
With the test wallets to prove this collaboration,
(being really active last year and even doing fiat exchanges between USD and JPY)
Only time will tell where this collaboration will lead to but it's safe to say that Ripple has really positioned itself well in regards to VISA and Mastercard. And one other interesting development has been Marqeta's new partnership with Ali Pay.
One notable thing did occur (and is accelerating as we speak) this past March, Ripple introduced Payments Channels into the RCL/XRPL and ILP. Thus allowing the XRP Ledger to scale,
The network has now scaled enough to sustain the amount of transactions the VISA network sustains. One last note,
Ripple partners with ties to major credit card issuers don't end there. AirWallex is an international payments startup that is based in Australia that in October, it's partnership with Ripple became publicly disclosed.
This past May, AirWallex held a Series A Round in which it raised $13 million dollars in funds for the company. These investors included MasterCard, Gobi Ventures/Partners which is one of Alibaba's investment managers, and Tencent leading the investment round.
Tencent's WeChat has roughly 980 million monthly users, with users sending about $1.2 trillion in mobile payments in 2016. Along with mobile payments in China, Tencent wants to expand WeChat Pay usage to other regions including South Africa, Philippines, and Malaysia.
And there is one more region that AirWallex is targeting thru a formation of a partnership this past week, Europe. On December 1, AirWallex announced a partnership with Railsbank to enable
AirWallex also became Railsbank's
Airwallex’s VP of Europe Expansion, Michael Stachowiak speaking on the partnership shared,
Along with it's partnership with AirWallex, the previous day Railsbank was one of eleven companies to be chosen by MasterCard to be included in it's Start Path program. With Railsbank being chosen for it's ability to give companies access to global banking networks thru APIs.
Want to know what happened on November 30? (same day of Railsbank and MasterCard's annoucement) The European Central Bank hosted a digital transformation conference that Ripple was invited to.
A panel which consisted of Banca Sella, the Central Bank of Netherlands, PayPal, and Ripple was held to speak on the disruptive potential of fintech innovations for the retail payments ecosystem.
Want to know what happened on December 1? (same day as AirWallex and Railsbank's partnership) Brad gave us a nice tweet
The VISA and MasterCard connections are there and more subtle Alibaba and Tencent connections to Ripple are surfacing. There's a lot of money between Europe and China in e-retail.............