‘In 5–10 years, a ripple address will be as normal as email’


In a recent interview with Ripple Singapore co-founder James Cox, I asked him where he thinks ripple will be in one, five and/or 10 years.

“I think in 5–10 years time, having a ripple address will be as normal as an email address,” he said. “This will include many of the 2 billion people currently outside of the banking system. There will be a far greater range of goods and services bought and sold on ripple in the future. We are hoping that Ripple Singapore’s gold and silver demonstrate that it is not just currencies that can be traded on the network. I think we are at the foothills of a much broader ‘Value Revolution.’”

The ‘Value Revolution’ he talks about is what makes ripple so exciting. Yes, ripple can make cross-currency transactions much easier, but it’s more than that: it lets us transmit value over the internet. RippleSingapore, for instance, gives consumers the ability to send “the right to redeem 1 Troy Ounce of .9999 Pure investment grade gold” to someone on the other side of the globe instantly. They also let you do the same with silver and platinum.

Other ripple gateways let users transmit insurance, company ownership (i.e. shares), even private digital content over the network. And that’s just the beginning. I can imagine a future where you can transmit ownership of almost any tangible good: gasoline, soybeans, comic books, frequent flyer miles, concert tickets, coupons, alternative-energy credits and more.

While I tend to think of these developments as new and exciting, Mr. Cox reminds me that it’s just the market finding innovative ways to do what its always done. “The more things change the more they stay the same,” he says. “For all the marvelous technology, the marketplace has not changed one bit in thousands of years. In the marketplace, trust networks come first, and when these are established, goods soon follow.”

People buy and sell things using whatever method they can find that’s the most efficient and cost-effective. Ripple’s more efficient, faster, cheaper and more secure than any other solution on the market. That’s what will drive its adoption rate. And that’s why Mr. Cox might be right: perhaps a ripple address will be as normal as email in 5-10 years.

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