All Aboard

Chris Larsen


How do you create customers for a new business category? When Chris founded Ripple, a blockchain payment technology, that's just the problem he was faced with solving.


How do you create customers for a new business category? When Chris founded Ripple, a blockchain payment technology, that’s just the problem he was faced with solving.


How did you go about driving adoption for a new digital currency like Ripple? Who are your first customers? How did you get them? How did you get to the next target and how did you get all these people on board? Are there certain general principles at work here?

Chris Larsen

Oh, those early years, it's like you didn't even know if this was going to be a consumer effort or an enterprise effort, or are you trying to kill the banks? Are you trying to work with the banks? What do you think about the central banks? So, it was just wide-open in the early days. What we came down to was, look, there is something really unique happening here in these decentralized networks, right? It's a fundamentally different way of sending value instantly, atomically, without centralization. Now, it's really different from the way the current systems, which are based on 70s technology, work today and we all know, when you send money across the border, it can take days, it's super expensive, rates are super high, it's ridiculous, it would be easier to send money to Europe by putting it in a FedEx envelope, it would be better tracked, it would be faster, it would be cheaper than sending it through Swift and of course Money Transfer. It's ridiculous, right? Really, really holding back the world, right? So, that's the thing that's changing, but what's not changing, tons of parts of banking are not changing. Custody is not changing, the way you have to monitor for fraud, and money-laundering, it isn't changing. So, we came to a conclusion, let's be an enterprise effort, let's work with the banking industry who has this huge problem moving value around the world, and let's give them a solution that they can then provide to their customers, and I'm really happy with that. Now, it's already leading to not just banks but e-wallet providers like E-Cash in Bangladesh, 35 million and growing super fast, wallets for people that don't have bank accounts in Bangladesh. Most are receiving value from the Middle East, for example, but yeah, how else would you have touched that many people? You never would've. So, I like the enterprise playing out with fintech, I'm a big fan of that now. If I'm talking too long here, but I think that's a common mistake entrepreneurs make, right? We go into retail and customers because that's kind of, you're kind of what you see, and that's kind of on the surface of the ocean, right? It's what you see, and then you kind of realize, the enterprise, it is an enormous opportunity, it's almost like what's under the sea, it's like if you can scuba dive down into this new world, it was kind of invisible to you, so I'm a big fan of entrepreneurs looking at enterprise early on in their careers instead of stumbling upon it later.