Ripple has stepped up its rivalry with Swift, poaching Marjan Delatinne, who had been business director at the messaging network's new gpi programme - an offering Ripple has loudly trashed.
Delatinne spent 10 years at Swift, most recently selling its gpi (Global Payments Innovation) offering to banks. At Ripple she becomes sales director for Europe, hawking the firm's commercial blockchain technology to banks.
Ripple has positioned itself as the upstart rival to venerable Swift, boasting that its distributed financial technology can help banks slash the time and cost of settlement while enabling new types of high-volume, low-value global transactions.
Swift responded to the threat with its gpi programme, which launched in February and comprises a range of service level agreements intended to improve the customer experience in correspondent banking by increasing the speed, transparency and predictability of cross-border payments.
In September, before gpi even launched, Ripple used Swift's own Sibos conference to fire off a series of barbed tweets and acerbic commentary asking if the interbank co-operative's set-piece initiative is all it's cracked up to be.
Swift played down the antics, insisting that it had cordial relations with its young rival, although Ripple somewhat undermined this by tweeting about Finextra's story on the subject:
And Ripple is still not shying away from confrontation, asking Delatinne in a Q&A
on its own site whether she sees gpi as a competitor.
She answers: "Swift gpi aims to improve the existing infrastructure that banks have already implemented for some.
"On the other hand, I believe that Ripple is offering a completely new and transformative solution by combining the messaging rail with the real time settlement of a payment transaction. This is offering a way for banks to create a better user experience that hasn’t been possible before. Ripple’s goal is to help banks be successful and Swift is a bank owned organisation. So I don’t see us as competing against Swift."
Back in September, explaining why it thinks its offer is better, Ripple noted that at its core, the current cross-border payments system relies on a serial process between correspondents that creates risk, cost and delays with error rates running at up to 12 percent.
In contrast, its own bidirectional messaging, in which banks and all participants exchange and confirm rich, contextual payment information, in real-time before executing a transaction, increasing straight-through processing.
"Swift’s GPII does not address the antiquated infrastructure that makes real-time settlement a constant challenge. GPII does not change the underlying infrastructure at all, it merely makes a minor adjustment to its current settlement requirements," said Ripple.