Bear with me...this will be a long, but I think very interesting, post. I read the article that came out today from Google talking about Google Pay and how it's already available on Airbnb, so I went down a rabbit hole for about 8 hours and dug a hole to China. Literally. And it basically was facts that I've read before, but never connected them all together. Take a look:
The craziest thing to me is how everything is connected in terms of companies, investors, you name it. And I should start by saying that I'm assuming the investors I mention (big name investors) probably have some power behind them and obviously they want a great return on their investment.
So we start with Founder's Fund. Founder's Fund (owned by Peter Thiel) is an early investor in Ripple, and also Airbnb. Founder's Fund and CapitalG (Google) are early investors in Lyft. Lyft uses Cross River Bank to pay their driver's, and Cross River Bank has implemented Ripple's software. Lyft uses Stripe as their payment processor, and CapitalG and Founder's Fund are early investors in Stripe, which also had an early investment from American Express Business Travel - this was acquired by Standard Chartered Bank who also invested in Ripple. So right there you can see how using Ripple links a ton of people, and has the potential to save companies money, which makes the big investors in those companies happy.
EDIT: Cross River payment solutions currently integrate with and are used by Stripe. In September, Cross River announced its partnership with Earthport, and Earthport announced its gateway partnership with Ripple in 2015. Earthport also has Stripe as a client...going to come back to this in the morning, there's a lot there.
Then we go a little deeper. A vc firm, 500 Startups, founded by ex Google and PayPal employees invested in WePay, which is considered a market leader among payment providers for crowdfunding site and small business tools. WePay already partnered with Apple Pay and Android Pay (now Google Play), and they were acquired by JP Morgan at the end of 2017. At the end of 2017 there were also 15 JP Morgan executives in Ripple's office one day.
Google Ventures is an early investor in Ripple and Uber. dLocal is a payment provider who integrated Ripple's software in the second half of 2017, and its customers include Uber, AliPay, WeChat Pay, and Union Pay, which are China's 3 major digital payment providers and they're *** huge.
AliPay is part of Alibaba, Union Pay has a partnership with PayPal, and WeChat is part of Tencent Holdings, which is the world's biggest investment corporation. Tencent also has Tenpay, a payment system similar to PayPal. It was reported that Tencent was working closely with China's Central Bank in 2017 to develop a central payments clearing platform for online payments. In August 2017, key leaders from China's Central Bank met with Ripple at their HQ. AliPay and WeChat are the payment providers for DiDi Chuxing, which is bigger than Uber in China - in fact Uber sold their China operations to Didi for a minority stake in Didi. AliPay is also accepted by Uber and Airbnb. Remember - Alipay uses dLocal which integrated Ripple's software in 2017.
EDIT: China's central bank announced in August 2017 that all banks and payment companies must connect their systems with the Online Settlement Platform for Non-Bank Payment Institutions. All payment transactions handled by third-party providers will go through the new clearing platform beginning in June 2018. TenPay and AliPay each hold a 10% stake in the clearing platform. From above, Ripple has worked with China's central bank recently (fall 2017).
EDIT: Referring to the above ^^, I would not be surprised in the least bit if Ripple came out with an announcement and said they're partnering with China. Just China as a whole is a partner. It already looks like it could happen the way things are connected.
Alibaba and Union Pay also invested in Ucar, a rival to Didi.
Tencent invested in Uber and Lyft, Alibaba and Didi invested in Lyft, and Softbank Group invested in Uber. Softbank Group also has a 30% stake in Alibaba. So again, because of the savings, if Ripple is saving these companies money, I would imagine everybody wants Ripple to be used in the companies they've invested in, especially if they are already linked to Ripple in some way.
EDIT: I missed some juicy stuff last night. In 2017 Stripe announced a significant global partnership with AliPay and WeChat Pay. The integration will now enable all Stripe merchants in over 25 countries to make money from Chinese consumers.The partnerships directly connects China's growing cash-less consumer base to hundreds of thousands of Stripe-powered businesses and merchants all over the world. Remember, Lyft uses Stripe, and Founder's Fund/CapitalG/Standard Chartered/Andreessen Horowitz are investors in Stripe, Horowitz in Ripple as well.
EDIT: Let's dig deeper into Alibaba, shall we? In November 2017, they acquired a 36% stake in Sun Art Retail Group, a Hong Kong listed business that is the largest operator of supermarkets and hypermarkets in China. Alibaba believes it can use the colossal amounts of data it picks up through its e-commerce and payment services to improve the consumer experience in-store, while also leveraging AliPay. The Auchan Group also has a 36% stake in Sun Art Retail Group. The Auchan Group is a French international retail group with a ton of supermarkets and hypermarkets. In 2017 the Auchan Group started operating BingoBox in China, which is China's version of Amazon Go. Customers at BingoBox pay through AliPay or WeChat Pay. GGV Capital is an investor in BingoBox, and a very early investor in Alibaba (2004). Side note, but Source Code Capital is an investor in BingoBox and Kakao - Kakao runs Korea's dominant messaging service and has a Fintech project called Kakao Pay which Ant Financial invested in. The partnership will leverage Ant Financial's strengths in digital finance services.
EDIT: Tomorrow I'll try to dive into AliPay and WeChat Pay and just how connected they are to the world, because it's huge.
And now onto India. Alibaba and Ant Financial (affiliate of Alibaba, most valuable fintech company in the world, and operates AliPay) have a 62% holding in Paytm. They also have a majority share in the parent company, One97 Communications. Paytm is trying to become the Alibaba of India. They have Paytm Mall, which is a clone of TMall, online retail operated in China by Alibaba. They also have Paytm wallets - could they follow in the footsteps of Alipay? Alibaba and Ant Financial are literally copying what they did with Alibaba but in India. Softbank also has a 20% stake in Paytm...remember they have a 30% stake in Alibaba. You can also use Paytm to pay for Uber...It's all connected. Patym is becoming Alibaba's vehicle for their ecommerce play in India.
Alibaba has a laser focus on payments because it sees payments as a key strategic battle to winning ecommerce. Up until a couple of days ago they were going to acquire MoneyGram, a top 5 global money transfer firms, but that was blocked by the US government. Remember, Ripple stated 3 of the top 5 global money transfer firms are on board with Ripple, so this move would have made a lot of sense seeing as Alibaba is already connected with Ripple. Alibaba said they're still going to work with MoneyGram even though they can't acquire them.
EDIT: Because why not do some more research. Alibaba has an 83% holding in the ecommerce firm Lazada. As of summer 2017, Lazada serves in six countries in Southeast Asia, and while it is primarily focused on online ecommerce, they did acquire Redmart to get into egroceries. Sounds very familiar to the Alibaba/Paytm relationship in India. The really interesting part of this is that Ant Financial (AliPay) merged with Lazada's helloPay platform to bolster payments processing capabilities. It goes even deeper. Earlier in 2017 Lazada announced an alliance with Netflix and Uber on a membership program called LiveUp. Subscribers get a range of deals and services across its platforms, Alibaba's platforms, as well as discounts on Uber rides and a free six-month subscription to Netflix. LiveUp started only in Singapore, but plans to expand throughout the Southeast Asia region. The alliance also helps Netflix find footing in Southeast Asia.
Also in India - Flipkart has big investments from Tencen/Softbank/Axis Bank. Axis Bank started using Ripple's software in 2017, Tencen's WeChat Pay runs on dLocal which uses Ripple's software, and Softbank obviously has a huge stake in Alibaba, which has AliPay running on dLocal as well.
And then for * and gigs, Bezos has personally invested in Uber and Airbnb. Amazon has Instacart through their acquisition of Whole Foods, and Andreessen Horowitz is an investor in Instacart...and Ripple. If we want to dig a little deeper, Sequoia Capital, which may just be invested in every company ever, has invested in Airbnb, Google, Instacart, PayPal, Stripe, and Yahoo. If we really want to stretch it, the President of Sequoia Capital's wife worked at Yahoo at the same time Brad was an SVP at Yahoo...which happened to be the same time Yahoo invested in Alibaba.
And this honestly might just be the tip of the iceberg, I'm sure there are so many more dots to be connected and a ton that I missed. But, it makes you wonder. If the companies are saving a lot of money through using Ripple's software, and eventually XRP, I can only imagine that the big name investors behind these companies using Ripple could potentially be encouraging their other investments to start using Ripple as well, if they aren't already. Is Alibaba, with their majority ownership, steering Paytm in the Ripple direction?
Welp, my brain hurts. This was a fun project though. Crossing my fingers for an announcement that Alibaba is completely using XRP, and somehow all of these actually are connected because I can't wrap my head around just how massive that would be.