Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse has made a bold prediction for 2020 on the state of cryptocurrency adoption. In this month's Ripple Insights blogpost, Garlinghouse estimated that starting next year, more top institutions will enter the crypto industry.
Garlinghouse predicted that “half of the top 20 biggest banks in the world will actively hold and trade digital assets in 2020.”
While it’s a lofty goal, there is one recent piece of evidence to support the idea that banks are getting closer to crypto. Earlier this week, State Street, the second oldest bank in the US, partnered with crypto exchange Gemini. Financial institutions can now store their bitcoin at Gemini and receive reporting information about it from State Street. While State Street isn’t holding or trading bitcoin, it shows that the bank is willing to get closer to the industry.
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Garlinghouse also said that 2020 may be the year of central bank digital currencies (CBDC). Sharing this sentiment, Ethan Beard, SVP of Ripple's investment arm Xpring, expects at least one CBDC to launch next year.
There is a lot of backing for this claim. Decrypt has closely covered the growing number of countries investigating the idea of building their own digital fiats. China is leading the way, and will likely issue a centralized digital Renminbi first.
South Korea is making moves too. KT, the biggest telecommunications company in South Korea, will launch its blockchain-based digital currency later this month in the city of Busan. And that’s not to mention the European Central Bank, the Marshall Islands, Iran and Russia.
It's interesting that Ripple would choose to highlight this contentious point. Central banks launching their own digital currency will inevitably impact the firm's primary use case. Governments creating digital currencies will make it much easier to transfer money between banks, and potentially across borders too—Ripple’s entire raison d’etre.
Garlinghouse even touched on this topic, that coins without a genuine use-case may not last long.
He said, “The world doesn’t need 2000+ digital assets. While I don’t think there will be one coin to rule them all, it’s clear that if an asset doesn’t have a proven use case beyond speculation, it is not going to survive.”