The PYMNTS team caught up with experts in the payments field to ask them their views on industry trends, predictions for the coming year and what their ideal payments system looks like.
Here's what Chris Larsen, CEO of Ripple, had to say about what will change the payments world and what to look for.
PYMNTS: What were the biggest trends in payments and FinTech in 2015?
CL: There have been a number of storylines for payments this year – Apple Pay and the growth of mobile payments or wallets, the issues of identity and security in payments, and the worldwide push for faster, more global payments. We view faster cross-border payments as the biggest opportunity. All of these trends have staying power and will continue to become key pillars of the payments world, but it all tracks back to faster payments infrastructure. Ultimately, every payment relies on banks' back-end infrastructure, and the modern payments ecosystem cannot continue to rely on an antiquated infrastructure that fosters slow, expensive and uncertain settlement. Thankfully, many public and private initiatives are focused on accelerating payments. Even the U.S. Federal Reserve is exploring ways to make payments faster
PYMNTS: What are your expectations for payments in 2016?
CL: At Ripple, we are committed to delivering bank-grade software solutions that solve for the settlement challenges in cross-border transactions. The problems in cross-border payments are especially pressing, because in addition to the slow, expensive, and uncertain nature of payments, you have a problem of access with less than 10 banks globally possessing the liquidity required to settle these transactions. Ripple solves for these problems by making it possible for all banks, both the largest and the smallest players, to directly settle funds with full visibility and certainty.
In 2016, we see the use of distributed financial technology being adopted at scale. Ripple is already being tested or piloted at banks around the world, and will soon turn the corner as the only distributed ledger technology being used at commercial scale. Once that happens, we believe there will be a succession of banks embracing this approach in 2016 and beyond.
PYMNTS: What does an ideal payments environment/solution look like to you?
CL: We believe that the world is moving toward an Internet of Value that functions much like today’s Internet where information can be exchanged instantly and freely. This Internet of Value will be powered by an interoperable payments system of bank ledgers and distributed ledgers that track assets, transactions and more. It is already beginning today, and we believe Interledger Protocol, which was announced earlier this month and allows different ledgers to work seamlessly together, will help speed that along.