Ripple Sets Out to Upstage Bitcoin in India

Jul 11, 2018
India Cryptocurrency bitcoin ripple

Ripple, the third-ranked cryptocurrency by market capitalization, is looking to capture the Indian cryptocurrency market. The company has identified the country as a pivotal cog in the wheel in its quest to upstage Bitcoin. Ripple plans to leverage its technology to provide banking services to the one billion people using mobile banking services in India.

Ripple Wants to Corner the Indian Cryptocurrency Market

According to many experts, India is on the precipice of becoming an economic superpower. A recent global trends report indicated that India could become a significant commercial hub by the year 2030. Presently, the country ranks third behind the United States and China as the largest economies in the world based on “real GDP”.

All of these metrics seem to appeal to Ripple, which has been on a quest to expand its sphere of influence. Much of the company’s moves have been in the banking sector, where the Ripple Ledger is experiencing increasing adoption. However, this adoption has yet to translate into real utility for the XRP tokens.

Ripple believes cornering the Indian market might help with that.

Giving Away Two Billion XRP Tokens

Ripple is facing an uphill battle in India, as Bitcoin holds a special place for crypto traders in the country. As a result, the company doesn’t seem to be targeting retail traders. Instead, Ripple is looking at the general banking market of over two billion people.

According to Asheesh Birla, the VP of the Ripple Product Division, the company is hoping to capture at least half of the market. Speaking at the Scaling and Digital Disruption in Fintech panel, Birla said:

“We looked early on at India, and we looked at two billion people – a huge market. And we decided, how do you get two billion people onto Ripple? Do we give the currency away to every Indian, that’s like two billion – just give it away?”

Ripple plans to play to its strengths by focusing on the huge business potentials in mobile banking. Commenting on the plan, Birla also said:

“We realized in the next five years, one billion people will become banked in India, but they’ll be banked through their phone. So, then we started targeting mobile phone providers and telcos.  And so now, I think that in our pipeline we have probably 50 percent of the market in India, either integrated onto Ripple or in the deal, in the sort of pipeline to be signed to India. And guess what, we’re going to take that back to Wells Fargo, and we’re going to say it’s not a better way to send into India than Ripple.”

The Current Cryptocurrency Landscape in India

While Ripple is looking at expanding in India, the current climate might not be entirely conducive. The country’s apex bank has banned banks from conducting business with cryptocurrency exchange platforms. The courts have so far dismissed any challenge to the RBI’s decision.

Recently, reports emerged that a government panel set up to look into the cryptocurrency market may adopt a more nuanced approach to cryptocurrency regulations. Inside sources say that the government is looking to classify cryptos as commodities rather than issuing a blanket ban.

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I bumped into Bitcoin in 2010 while I was still engaged in the fierce battle of obtaining my Engineering degree. I found the content of Nakamoto’s white paper fascinating since it reminded me of the works of legends like Haber and Stornetta. When I am not writing about cryptocurrencies, I am either attempting to beat my scrabble high score or engaged in some internal existential debate.

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