Ripple Wants to Turn Every eCommerce Company Into a Crypto Company

The world isn’t becoming digital, it’s already gone digital.

And in today’s online ecosystem, staying ahead of the curve is crucial for merchants looking to maximize their reach and potential profits.

That’s why many eCommerce players and merchants are turning to crypto as a way to stand out within an increasingly crowded online landscape.

“Crypto is a digitally native global asset,” Brad Chase, head of liquidity products at enterprise crypto solutions company Ripple, told PYMNTS. “And if you think about this new digitally native, tech-savvy customer segment that is emerging, they hold crypto, and they want to use it for payments.”

“To be a player in this space and to tap into these new markets, you want to be able to accept those assets as part of your merchant or payment flows,” Chase said. “It’s a way that [merchants] can differentiate and show they’re leaning into innovation as a brand by being not just where their customers are right now, but where they will be tomorrow.”

Being among the first to offer differentiated payment options can attract crypto enthusiasts and consumers who actively seek out businesses that support their preferred payment method.

But the integration of cryptocurrencies holds immense opportunities for improvement in eCommerce and merchant payments — not just from a customer acquisition and retainment standpoint, but also from a back-end operational and payment infrastructure point of view as well.

“It’s really a twofold opportunity to improve eCommerce and merchant payments,” Chase said. “Part of why crypto is so appealing is that it’s always on, globally available 24/7/365. And that’s a big shift compared to the way that legacy financial systems and rails work.”

Commerce is Increasingly Driven by Technology and Innovation

Cryptocurrencies are not bound by geographic borders or currency exchange rates, and the lower transaction fees, speed and security they offer make them a compelling option for modern eCommerce merchants, Chase explained.

“Traditional payments, particularly global cross-border ones, are very slow and very expensive. You have long settlement times of multiple days, and there are multiple intermediaries needed to de-risk settlement challenges, which at the same time introduce counterparty risks and fees … There are some studies that show up to a 70% reduction in cost by going from traditional rails to crypto rails,” he said.

“As merchants start to remove those intermediaries, they can provide a better customer experience with more efficiencies and lower costs that they can then pass on to their customers,” he added.

Beyond capturing payment flow efficiencies and lowering operational and settlement costs, eCommerce players and merchants stand to benefit from crypto payments in other ways. 

“One of the key advantages of crypto payments lies in the rich data source they provide … which enables effective compliance, fraud prevention, and valuable customer insights,” said Chase, noting crypto payments offer an opportunity for businesses to leverage data-driven strategies to enhance their operations, better understand their customers and generate additional revenue.

Embracing Cutting-Edge Technology

Over the past few years, institutional adoption of blockchain and crypto technologies has been on the rise and is predicted to reach nearly $250 billion by 2030 with a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 54.5%.

This surge in adoption is not only a testament to the growing recognition of the potential of these technologies but also a harbinger of the explosion of innovation that is expected to follow, and as companies in various sectors increasingly embrace the usability of blockchain and crypto technologies, the stage is set for a revolution in how value is exchanged and transferred globally.

“We’re seeing tokenized assets and things like stablecoins emerging, both of which have a lot of applications within eCommerce and payments use cases,” Chase said.

Key to the scalability and usability of crypto payments is interoperability, and key to interoperability is liquidity, he said.

That’s why Ripple is building products like Liquidity Hub, so that enterprises can “lean in and adopt crypto payments” without doing the heavy technical lifting or taking on an outsize level of risk themselves.

“When you have that interoperability layer, value can start moving and flowing freely,” Chase said.

And when value starts moving seamlessly and cheaply around the world — the same way people send an email now without having a second thought about cost or the feasibility of transit — that’s when new businesses and capabilities can start to shape an entirely new operating ecosystem.

“When you have this technology that’s shown its promise and now you’ve taken the rough edges off of the first version, that’s when enterprises can lean in and adopt it … the same way that no one asks if you are an internet company now, because everyone is, that’s what we see happening with crypto,” Chase said.