Will coronavirus outbreak pave the way for digital economy?

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The coronavirus pandemic is going to shape the future of the digital economy as more and more people are forced to work, shop and connect with people online instead of venturing out, said Ripple’s managing director for Southeast Asia, the Middle East and North Africa, Navin Gupta, in a recent episode of Blockchain podcast.


As much as the impact of pandemic on the fintech industry and its customers is apparent, it is also true that these effects are far and wide. While the already-established companies are hastily changing their business models and future strategies to match with the changing landscape, the startups, on the other hand, are struggling to find sufficient capital and stay afloat.

Amid all this, there is one burning question common to all – whether or not the outbreak pave the way for the digital economy? Will the world post the coronavirus increasingly turn toward digital and give paper-based money entirely? According to Ripple, it is already happening.

A digital economy is imminent, Ripple

When Ripple’s leadership was asked about what the firm thinks will change in the industry we operate in, post the outbreak, Gupta shared a rather unique perspective. According to him, there have been two significant changes already. The first one involves the preference for digital sources. If we ask anyone, at this point in time, to choose between shopping online and going to physical stores, the answer will be using gadgets to fulfill the needs, he ascertained.

This organic shift to “digital first” has resulted in increased digital footprint with payment companies and traditional banks incorporating digital means of doing business more acceptedly than before, Gupta explained. 

The second shift came from the beneficiary side as well, Gupta continued, with more people switching to receiving money through digital means. This means that although some people may prefer to line up in front of the grocery store to purchase essentials instead of shopping for them online, they still want to make payments through electronic means or into an electronic wallet, he said.

Put simply, the unintentional yet gradual shift of preferences from physical to no-touch and manual to digital is mostly laying the groundwork for a digital economy.

Ripple to focus on customers from receive market

Commenting on how the apparent digital evolution has affected Ripple’s future plans, Gupta added that this would undoubtedly increase Ripple’s adoption rate naturally. We are now actively seeking collaborations with banks and other financial institutions in an attempt to demonstrate how our technology can be implemented across every industry, Gupta said.

Moreover, Gupta believes that since the outbreak has already switched the world to digital-first mode without any of the players requiring to urge people to adopt technology, all Ripple has to do is address the concerns of all beneficiaries and ensure that product type is covered and offered, that is from cash to bank accounts and wallets.

As far as the adoption rate of XRP, the third most popular cryptocurrency in the market, is concerned, Gupta says that the company is more focussed on making sure that the asset is regulatory compliant in all areas whenever a new opportunity for expansion presents itself. 

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