US-based Ripple is ramping up its instant liquidity capabilities in a bid to stand out in the increasingly competitive cross-border payments sphere, and has been on an acquisition spree to build back end capabilities.
“We’ve been ramping up our efforts around On-Demand Liquidity,” says Amir Sarhangi, vice president of product innovation at the firm. “We announced the MoneyGram deal in June. That in itself had a lot of demand for us in terms of where we’re headed with our efforts on the product side and we continue to make progress with other customers who are already live in our existing corridors, for example in the Philippines and into Mexico. This is really about us being able to move much faster when it comes down to opening up new corridors.”
On Monday, Ripple announced the acquisition of Algrim, an Icelandic engineering company that specialises in crypto trading and blockchain platform building. The same day the payments firm’s investment arm, Xpring, announced the acquisition of real-time crypto payments platform Logos Network.
On Algrim, Sarhangi is bullish about what the team brings to Ripple.
“There’s a lot of work being done with our partners on the crypto exchange side, in bringing a particular corridor live and this team is really well versed in everything to do with exchanges. They have a lot of experience with a lot of traditional exchanges,” he says.
“What I really like about that is, traditional exchanges have really matured over the years and the technology and overall scaling of that industry is really top notch. Then the team switched over and started working with crypto exchanges which is in general more nascent in terms of technology and maturity. So this team has a great combination of both – they know where the gaps are on the crypto side and they can bring a lot of their expertise having integrated into all different types of exchanges in the past.
Xpring's acquisition of the Logos Network comes as part of Ripple's strategy to build decentralised finance (defi) products based on XRP, critical to which will be building XRP derivatives, futures and forwards, and loans. The firm has previously looked externally to build defi products, having bought into Securitize in 2018 and Dharma earlier this year.
For Sarhangi, focusing on exchange activity and working to make sure APIs are integrated by developers is crucial.
“In our case we have additional requirements for how we integrate to exchanges and the use cases that we have,” he says. “There are certain features and functionality that we end up building on our side to make sure that we provide a good customer experience. This acquisition is not only about integrating into exchange but also about building capabilities to make sure that we’re providing a really good experience with top of the line features and capabilities.”