At a recent roundtable hosted by Amazon Web Services in New York, the director of strategic growth at Ripple’s investment arm Xpring offered a look at the company’s overall strategy. Vanessa Alexandra Pestritto says Ripple is pushing to grow the blockchain industry at large in addition to boosting cross-border payments and use of the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap, XRP.
“From an industry standpoint, we believe that there’s going to be multiple ledgers that will be used in different verticals. We don’t think it’s just going to be one to serve them all. So when we take a look at different investments we’d like to make or people we’d like to partner with, we are looking at the infrastructure layer and seeing who also has the alignment of values and view of interoperability.
I recently made an investment in Agoric, and that is a secure smart contract platform that can integrate into other layer ones. And this is going to allow for the ability to eventually make cross payments into other chains, but that’s deep and way ahead in the future. But that’s how far ahead we’re thinking.
The next area is decentralized finance. We’ve been spending a lot of time there at Xpring and taking a look at where there might be some opportunities for new decentralized BitMEX platforms or what might a new derivatives exchange look like. We’ve also been spending time looking at new synthetics, and some of the earlier DeFi companies have created a nice guild. And so we’ve been closely working with them and seeing how we can be of service to help them progress along because we believe it’s going to be huge and that we’re best collaborating with them up front.
And then, of course, payments. We also have someone on our team dedicated to seeing where XRP for payments can be of use and working with different merchants as well as consumer platforms and apps to see where there could be a good opportunity for us there.”
As for what it will take to actually achieve global adoption of blockchain and cryptocurrency, Pestritto says marketing strategies should differ depending on whether you’re trying to get a business or a consumer to use the technology.
For consumers, Pestritto believes it’s often best to not mention that blockchain is part of a product at all. Instead, she says companies should focus on explaining why people should want their product, and leave the technical jargon off the table.
“Depending on the vertical, we’ve had some discussions not just internally but with some investor partners and we would say, just don’t mention it. For gaming, for instance, in some cases, you’re not going to attract somebody to a new game by saying, ‘Hey we have a new blockchain game.’ No, you have a game. And it’s awesome. And it happens to be running on blockchain.
You’ll be able to have the assets that you’re building in the game or actually own them and that’s what you should be marketing. That you’re going to have true ownership of your new sword or shield or maybe one day you can make an NFT (non-fungible token) out of a potion. Wouldn’t that be fun? So things like that.
On the finance side, if you’re putting forward decentralized finance, new products and derivative synthetics then you’re going to go ahead and be much more transparent on that to the professional audience you’re going with. But on the consumer side I think there has to be an alignment of incentives and people getting what they want because with consumers, there’s a lot of competition to get towards them. So in a lot of cases, you just may not have to mention it to them.”
Ripple began making investments with Xpring last year. So far, Ripple has invested $500 million in a wide variety of companies building products and services using blockchain and digital assets.
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