Hey all, just wanted to throw in my two cents. I've been a financial advisor for about 7 years and live in a bustling metropolitan area. My client base ranges from the middle class investor all the way to the extremely wealthy. I've also worked in the retail banking space for over 15 years and have seen the ebbs and flows of how banks have consistently had to change their business models over the last 5 years. I have worked for large US national banks as well as smaller regional ones, so I'd say I have a pretty decent perspective on . I have been following ripple for the last 15 months and have been impressed with the progress they have made.
I'd just like to share a few observations from my lens. (Note these are my opinions only and do not constitute as investment advice.)
1) Retail banks are notoriously slow. There are massive nationals banks out in the ether that are still using back end legacy systems from the 1980s. While on the surface you may see a shiny website and pristine branch, the back office systems are strewn together and it baffles me how these systems are still functioning on the day to day. Don't expect them to move quickly to adopt new technology. However.....
2) Retail banks are dealing with razor thin margins over the last 3-5 years as more and more customers demand free accounts, service and better technology. Also, there has been a 15% decline year over year over the last five years of people walking into traditional branches. This is a huge problems for retail banks because as more and more people go online to do their transactions the less opportunity bank staff has to cross sell them on other products and services that the bank offers. However, as more people go online the less overhead banks have to deal with from staff to the real estate. It's a serious catch 22 and most haven't figured out the best way to balance it. I can guarantee that most banks looking closely at blockchain to enhance their operational infrastructure. But....
3) If there is one thing banks are more concerned about than razor thin margins, it's regulators sniffing around for issues. Banks are absolutely terrified of regulators. Let me repeat this for emphasis, banks are absolutely TERRIFIED of regulators. There has been tens of billions of dollars that have been doled out to the Department of Labor, IRS, FINRA etc over the last 5 years. Ripple has done the right thing by first working with regulators on AML and KYC so that banks can be more comfortable with using their software, such as xCurrent. However, since there really hasn't been any clear direction yet on crypto or digital assets, banks may still be wary of incorporating XRP. Until we get further specific clarification from regulators we most probably will not see widespread adoption of xRapid. Now please don't misunderstand me, I do wholehearted believe banks will get the green light from regulators on XRP, it is just a matter of time. Whether that will happen in 3 months or three years remains to be seen.
4) I have yet to meet a client over the last 12 months who has not asked me about bitcoin or ethereum. I have yet to meet a client who has asked me about ripple or XRP. What does this tell me? First, as much as we like to think that ripple has come a long way with getting its name out there, it still has a long way to go. Brad has done an excellent job over the last three months of pushing ripple into the limelight, we just need another 6-9 months of this kind of push along with another quick bill run and you will start to see the average investor looking into ripple and XRP. Second, people are fickle, they look at bitcoin and ethereum and see the hundreds and thousands of dollars it has grown to and think "wow, such growth!" When they see XRP trading in the cents range they don't bother looking into it because in their minds they equate it to a penny stock, not realizing that XRP had the most percentage growth out of all the cryptos last year. As ridiculous as this sounds, this is just psychology at play in the minds of the average US investor. As XRP continues to grow into a more whole dollar figure and people get more familiar with the name, we will see more average investors jumping in.
5) Wealthy investors do not have the patience nor the expertise to purchase XRP currently.This is a huge barrier of entry, however I suspect as ripple and XRP become more of a household name, better and more efficient exchanges will carry USD/XRP paring for easier purchase.
All in all, I think ripple has taken the necessary steps to be successful in the long run. It's been incredible to see how far they have come in such a short period of time.
Hope this was somewhat helpful, or maybe this just cements what most people already know. Again, none of this constitutes as investment advice, these are just my observations.