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Blockchain company Ripple announced that they hired Kahina Van Dyke, a banking industry expert as well as former global payments director, as Ripple’s senior vice president of business and corporate development. The announcement was made amongst a slew of new hiring for senior positions at Ripple, including chief cryptographer David Schwarts to become the company’s new chief technology officer.
Ripple’s New Corporate Executives
Van Dyke previously worked as board director for Progressive Insurance along with other positions in key financial corporations throughout the years. According to Ripple’s recent blog post, the company stated that “Ripple is thrilled to have Kahina Van Dyke join our leadership team as the new senior vice president of business and corporate development. With more than 20 years of experience in banking and technology, Van Dyke will focus on driving new, strategic partnerships for Ripple across the global financial services industry.”
Ripple’s decision to hire Van Dyke and other experts is due to the companies ongoing campaign to persuade the financial industry at large to use XRP – ripples own cryptocurrency – to conduct cross-border transactions. Although the token boasts numerable advantages, such as drastically reduced transaction fees for global transfers and quicker processing times, the token still hasn’t achieved mainstream adoption yet.
Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s CEO, stated that “David and Kahina exemplify success. At every step in their careers, they have shown the type of leadership qualities and business prowess that will be instrumental as Ripple continues to grow. This is a fantastic duo that showcases the two sides of Ripple. David is a world-renowned leader in the blockchain and digital asset world, and Kahina is a seasoned veteran in the traditional banking and financial services industries.”
According to an interview with Fortune, Van Dyke believes that her experience in convincing mainstream banks to accept once-radical technologies will translate well into this new position, where she will be expected to help more conservative institutions embrace blockchain technology and XRP.
“We’ve been having problems with cross-border payments for 30 years,” said Van Dyke, adding that overseas money transfers are horribly inefficient both in terms of the time it takes as well as the fees involved. She added that the pace of change in traditional financial institutions is extremely slow in comparison to the “fast-moving” culture of Facebook. “There is a reason you have only a handful of major money transfer operators in the world today. Without question, cross-border transactions are one of the most complex and multifaceted problems in payments,” she added. “In highly developed markets and emerging markets, fragmentation in technology across financial services infrastructure slows down and prevents greater efficiency in cross-border money transfers.”
As for Schwartz, he is coming in to replace long-time CTO Stefan Thomas. Among other things, Schwartz stressed the importance of hiring more technical staff to keep up with the changes to their platform. Their team will also be tasked with helping further decentralize the XRP Ledger. Ensuring that their platform remains decentralized in important since the SEC has suggested that digital assets that can be influenced by a central actor have to be registered as securities – a statement that possibly could be applied to Ripple.
The Big Picture
At the moment, Ripple’s XRP is the third largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, coming in at $17.6 billion, only behind Ethereum and Bitcoin. As the company continues to grow in scope, changes in leadership are becoming increasingly common. All of this is to be expected as this new giant in the blockchain world strives to position itself into the circle of mainstream corporations.