2018: The Forming of Team XRP

Hodor

Hodor

I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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We are here because of choice.

We choose to spend our time organizing, interacting, planning, creating content, and speaking our mind not because we are members of some select group of insiders or marketing team, but because each of us has a stake in the success of the Internet of Value.  

Yes, we're 'here for the technology,' and for the world-changing innovations that will enable the complete democratization of finance, and the creation of entire new asset classes and industries;  and we are also here because many of us are counting on a specific digital asset to drive this transformation across the globe.  

Only one digital asset was created specifically to scale and support global transaction levels for cross-border payments.  

Ripple has endeavored to be the best at one thing - payments.   And this means using only the best technology to do the job.   As 2018 unfolded, even amid regulatory uncertainty, developers for the large company laid the groundwork for digital asset adoption by banks, improving on XRP with new features such as Deposit Authorization.  1

Ripple also tasked computer scientists to research how to transform the XRP protocol to reach speeds orders of magnitude faster than their current levels, while showing increased levels of robustness and fault-tolerance in the face of adverse conditions.   This future code change is known as Cobalt.   2

XRP is the foundation of the Internet of Value;  as a bridge asset, it can settle payments in real-time, as opposed to the multi-day service level of present-day correspondence banking.   And it does all this while fulfilling the promise of a no-counter-party, decentralized currency that possesses the necessary characteristics of speed, scalability, and security.  

Starting after its creation, many of us decided to purchase XRP in recognition of its potential, even as the rest of the world still seemed infatuated with Bitcoin, the oldest of the cryptocurrencies.  

At first we were contrarians, and it was an uphill battle to spread the word about XRP's technological improvements on Bitcoin, especially when so many early cryptocurrency investors were financially motivated to protect its market share.  

As time went on, however, the cryptomarket started to wake up to the belief that, to move digital assets into mainstream adoption, support needed to be shown to the innovative cryptocurrency that had pioneered a new, energy-efficient means of double-spend prevention;  and in 2017, we started to see the formation of a loose-knit group of people that were on social media trying to spread the word about this new cryptographic network.  

Then 2018 happened.  

At first, it seemed that crypto had entered a new golden era, but the market quickly retreated into what would be one of the longest bear markets in its short history.   And this is where 2018 became interesting.  

Leadership is not tested when times are easy;  when the sun is shining, and the weather is calm, it almost seems as if leadership may not be needed.   What could go wrong?   Even for the developers still working on applications that ran on the slow, proof-of-work technology of yesteryear, it seemed that the market would continue to reward them even if their products worked poorly, or not at all.  

Unscrupulous ICO teams were publishing white-papers and then collecting the wave of money that would pour in.

But even during the hype-fueled days of the ICO boom, some leaders with clear insight, such as Brad Garlinghouse and others from Ripple, saw problems.   When the bear market continued unabated during much of the year, many companies that were previously flush with cash suddenly had to contract and lay off talented developers.   We heard cryptomarket pundits declare the ICO market 'dead,' after dozens of projects failed to deliver on the value originally hinted at within their glossy marketing.  

But XRP was different.  

I grant you that I may not be an impartial judge, but what I saw seemed in marked contrast to the shrinking, fair-weather communities that seemed to comprise Bitcoin and the fading POW networks;  the XRP Community seemed to be attracting more people even as the bear market progressed.   These new investors were wise enough to conduct their own fundamental analysis on XRP and determine that it was worth holding, even through some of the gut-churning months of 2018.  

It was a wide mix of people that had one thing in common - our investment in XRP.   Despite that tenuous commonality, we all pulled together and decided to make a difference, even as the largest companies 'building on XRP' were doing their thing.  

We sponsored competitions, bought swag, wrote articles, produced YouTube videos, and built applications.   We organized ourselves - quite effectively - through social media.

The tide was changing, and now it seemed that the world was watching, even as XRP gained traction with high-profile moments such as Ripple's donations to Donor's Choose, the Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund, and Madonna's Raising Malawi organization.  

Those of us that comprised the loose-knit team of XRP investors actively 'getting the word out' were inspired by these developments, and our efforts, supercharged by the addition of multiple community-developed apps and tools by developers such as WietseWind, continued to attract more like-minded individuals.  

"Team XRP" is growing, and getting stronger by the day:  Our efforts have succeeded in educating those in the cryptomarket, and now we are on the cusp of seeing XRP transform cross-border payments.

In 2019, I predict that we will see XRP adopted on a scale as-yet-undreamed.  

General Crypto News

Fidelity handles over $7 trillion dollars in assets.  3   4  It's a major institutional trading house, and has managed to survive and thrive throughout challenging market situations, attracting and retaining 27 million customers, according to their own website. 5

On October 15th of this year, CNBC announced that Fidelity was forming a new company specifically to address custody for cryptocurrencies, and its purpose would be to execute trades on multiple exchanges for investors.  6

Fidelity Investments Chairman and CEO Abigail Johnson stated that:

“Our goal is to make digitally native assets, such as bitcoin, more accessible to investors.   We expect to continue investing and experimenting, over the long-term, with ways to make this emerging asset class easier for our clients to understand and use.”

The two points of this announcement to keep in mind for the time being are:

  • The new company will only be available to Fidelity's institutional clients.  
  • Only exchanges that have a track record of compliance will be considered (KYC & AML)

The announcement is one of the biggest in 2018, as Fidelity represents one of the first mainstream financial houses to dip their toes into crypto trading;  an acknowledgment of the increasing demand by customers as 2019 approaches.  

Henri Arslanian, the PricewaterhouseCoopers & RegTech Leader for China and Hong Kong, stated in a recent interview that:  7

“The entry of institutional investors will bring a lot of much-needed experience into the crypto industry.  A lot of elements are helping with this process, especially as regulatory clarity is becoming more and more inclusive towards crypto.  From Hong Kong to Switzerland, 2018 has been a year of changes and positive development for the field and this will be continued in 2019.”

He also stated that XRP's rising profile as a leader in actual business use would continue to attract more institutional investment in 2019, noting its use by Ripple, which is successfully competing with SWIFT for cross-border payments.  

I agree with PwC about their perspective on XRP's influence.   While some cryptocurrencies will eventually fade as mainstream investors continue to turn away from proof-of-work tokens, XRP will set the standard for new crypto-assets that can be used in real-world business applications.   2018 has seen this trend accelerate, and I expect 2019 will include dramatic shifts in market sentiment towards those digital assets with real utility.  

Ripple News

Ripple provided its end-of-year retrospective through a combination of Insights content, a Ripple Drop Episode, an AMA with Brad Garlinghouse, and a series of summary videos highlighting the accomplishments of 2018.  

The content was provided in a sequence starting with the AMA session with Brad Garlinghouse, and then summarized in comprehensive fashion via blog entries and video(s).   The material was a great look backwards, and can be used as good reference material to share with others.  

The individual videos have not all been posted on YouTube, so you'll need to take a look at Ripple's Twitter account to access some of it:  Ripple Twitter Feed

xRapid End-of-Year Status

Ripple is careful with announcements.  

In mainstream finance, some corporations that are in the process of going through organizational changes may occasionally invite scrutiny from news media outlets.   Note the emphasis on "occasionally." 

In marked contrast, companies that interact with the crypto space are constantly under a microscope.  

Ripple has learned how to handle this with aplomb, only announcing new customers when those RippleNet members are ready for the inevitable surge in attention.  

In terms of Ripple's customer list, we only know what we've been told, but my guess is that, behind the scenes, Ripple is working with a variety of companies unknown to the general public. 

With that caveat, let's take a look at where we stand for xRapid at the end of 2018:

Exchanges

  • Bitso
  • Bittrex
  • Coins.ph
  • Bitstamp

Banks, Credit Unions & Financial Institutions

  • Catalyst Corporate
  • Cuallix
  • Mercury FX

It's a compact and efficient list to start off the xRapid ecosystem of users at the end of 2018, and these early adopters will set the stage for subsequent integrations;  the lessons learned will help them - and Ripple - understand how to adjust the use of XRP for settlement even further.   This experience will pave the way for further use in 2019.  

Regulatory Certainty

2018 showed us how important regulatory certainty is to businesses, banks, and others that are considering usage of digital assets to lower their costs.  

At the end of 2018, two key pieces of legislation has been introduced in the United States, and the United Kingdom has now shown a recent willingness to communicate exact tax treatment of crypto-assets.  

Both of these developments indicate the perceived importance of the role that digital assets will play as a means of cross-border value transfer, and Brad Garlinghouse hinted that further clarity should be incoming in 2019;  while we don't know the form this further clarity will take, I predict that recognition and use of XRP for cross-border settlement will continue to grow quickly, leading to increased levels of volume on all exchanges, and specifically the exchanges that have opted for xRapid integration.  

xRapid in 2019

Already, we know of more exchanges that have been discussed in relation to xRapid integration in one way or another.   In some cases, these exchanges have declared their interest publicly;  in other cases, the exchanges have been discussed or considered by Ripple.

Here is a list of possible new xRapid Exchanges in 2019:

  • SBI VC (Announced by Ripple but delayed)  8
  • Bitrue (Indicated their interest)  9
  • QuidaxHQ (Indicated their interest)  10

It's important to note, that, even though many exchanges would like to be an xRapid partner, and receive the associated boosts in volume from xRapid adoption in 2019, Ripple is solely responsible for the exchanges which they choose to work with.  

My guess is that, like Fidelity, Ripple is only interested in dealing with exchanges that have adequate know-your-customer (KYC) and anti-money-laundering (AML) procedures in place.  

This would limit their interest to a subset of available exchanges on the market.  

In addition, Ripple is targeting specific corridors for xRapid;  in some cases this means integration with exchanges that may (currently) be volume leaders, if it means serving a corridor where usage of XRP can dramatically lower FX costs for remittance processors and banks.  

In terms of the possible xRapid businesses and banks, the list is long, and should probably include any business that has tested - or is currently using - xRapid or XRP to transfer value.  

Possible xRapid Production Integrations in 2019

  • SendFriend  11
  • SBI Remit  12
  • FlashFX  13
  • InstaReM  14
  • TransferGo  15
  • Zipremit  16
  • IDT  17
  • Currencies Direct  18
  • Cambridge Global Payments  19
  • Viamericas  20
  • MoneyGram  21
  • Western Union  22

Thank you to @XrpCenter (Twitter avatar) for help in sourcing this updated list:  It's is a mix of large and medium-size remittance processors that reflect a variety of global payment corridors.   The encouraging point is that they've each confirmed that xRapid significantly lowers payment processing costs, in conformance to some of the earliest projections prior to production use.  

Generally speaking, the older and larger the remittance processor, the longer it will take to integrate a new set of payment rails in the back-end;  this is why we've seen some of the smaller, more nimble entrants to the payments space move in quickly to seize the early-adopter advantage, such as Cuallix and Mercury FX.  

With greater regulatory clarity on the horizon, along with a global trend towards usage of border-less, decentralized digital assets, XRP is on the edge of production usage in 2019.  

Coil News

Stefan Thomas and his new company, Coil, is looking to grab the reins of leadership when it comes to web monetization, micropayments, and innovative uses of ILP and Codius.  

In addition, the team understands the importance of supporting other worthy projects and efforts that contribute to the overall mission of making the Internet more useful for all public stakeholders;  the latest indication of this is a tweet he sent out announcing a new philanthropic endeavor meant to benefit the Internet Archive:

Tweet from Stefan Thomas

For those that don't know what the Internet Archive is, or haven't used it yet, the organization is:  23

"...  a non-profit digital library offering millions of free books, movies, & audio files, plus billions of saved web pages in the Wayback Machine."

I've used the Wayback machine many times while doing crypto research;  it helps to look at what sort of content existed at a site years earlier, on occasion.   If you haven't used it yet, I advise you to give it a try;  you can access the Wayback Machine, which is essentially a text box where you can enter a URL.  

After searching, the Wayback Machine will present you with a calendar of snapshots that are available, and you can look at the site content on specific dates.   I've used it to look at the content of the old "XRPTalk" website, which was disbanded a number of years ago.  

If you've ever used the site or its tools, it's the right thing to do to donate at least a small amount to the team;  the service they provide is worthwhile, and helps all citizen-users of the Internet.   To make it more friendly for the XRP Community, the Internet Archive integrated XRP payments directly on their donation page:

Internet Archive Tweet

It's a straight-forward approach;  they've established an XRP wallet and published their public key for those of us that want to directly send them some zerps.  

XRP 2018 Retrospective and Current Events

It's good to look back on 2018 and think about what the 'big items' were that seemed to bubble up through peoples' collective memory;  when it comes to the contributions from the XRP Community, a large number of developers spring to mind.   Some happen to be former Ripple employees or contractors, and some were previous Bitcoin fans that suddenly awoke to the realization that there was a much better network - with better architecture - available.  

Wietse Wind's Creations in 2018

When you think of contributions by XRP Community developers, it's impossible to ignore the XRP Tip Bot.  

Created by Wietse Wind, a developer from the Netherlands, it made its debut in 2017 on Reddit, and then he quickly added support for two other platforms - Discord and Twitter.   While Reddit and Discord were great additions, the XRP Tip Bot found its biggest home on Twitter, where the social interactions are quick, spontaneous, and fun.  

Social tipping of XRP doesn't involve large amounts;  WietseWind put a cap of five XRP on each tip to avoid trouble with money transmitter laws and KYC, but collectively, the number of tips and the amounts involved ended up being a very significant quantity in 2018.   Here are the latest numbers as of December 29th:

XRP Tip Bot Statistics

The XRP Tip Bot received a massive boost in reach and in its features after two other developers joined WietseWind's team:  @baltazar223 and @ThisIsTriss.   The team quickly released a new version of the XRP Tip Bot onto both IOS and Android, with new features such as QR code generation and scanning:

XRP Tip Bot Update

After the team made these updates, the XRP Community now had a portable version of the XRP Tip Bot to use 'in real life' outside of social media.   This meant that whole new doors opened for us, including some of the following examples:

• P2P Tipping 
• Tipping a coffee shop using their QR code 
• Tipping an Uber or Lyft driver with the XRP Tip Bot 
• Tipping others in your personal mobile network of contacts 

The popularity of the application was immediately felt, and it's been downloaded and installed thousands of times since its roll-out.  

SMS Text

Expanding on the concept of the XRP Tip Bot, both WietseWind and @baltazar223 created an application called XRP Text that allows people to send XRP to each other using text messages - using both normal text messaging and Telegram.

The idea is simple;  you start a chat session with the "XRP Text Application" phone number.

That's it.   Within this chat session, you can deposit money, withdraw money, or send funds to any other person with a mobile phone:

XRP Text Screenshot

The application is simply structured, and it's inspiring to know that XRP can transfer value over a mobile device, truly as simply as sending a text message!

XRParrot

In addition to the XRP Tip Bot, WietseWind released many other projects and applications, including XRParrot, an intuitive way for customers to transfer amounts from their European bank accounts into XRP with no stops in-between.  

The convenience of the XRParrot application was something that helped it to quickly gain traction, in addition to its competitively-low fees.  

And of course, for XRP fans in Europe, using the XRParrot application was one way that they could directly support WietseWind's community development efforts, especially if they'd already planned previously to purchase XRP.  

XRP Community Blog

The XRP Community Blog site was started by Wietse Wind to provide a centralized area for multiple community bloggers to contribute XRP-related blogs.  

It's proved to be a fantastic idea that quickly gained traction, and now the site draws thousands of readers every day on a regular basis;  much more than any one blogger could command on their own.  

XRP FUD Bingo

XRP FUD Bingo is a resource created by WietseWind where common misconceptions about XRP are addressed in a consistent fashion, so that individuals on social media can quickly point new users to it if they hear familiar concerns.  

Because some topics in cryptocurrency are repetitive, XRP FUD Bingo has provided an opportunity to craft thoughtful, consistent responses to oft-repeated misinformation sometimes heard on social media.  

XRP Ledger Exposed

Competition sometimes motivates people to perform at an elevated level, or to set higher financial goals.   The XRP Ledger Exposed is a site that seeks to have fun with this competitiveness, as well as to cater to some XRP fans' voyeurism.  

The site allows a user to enter their own public key and then see where their XRP holdings rank in the overall network of wallets.   In addition, the site contains a "Richlist Stats" feature that shows the XRP holdings in various wallets, stratified into categories for statistical analysis.  

This is where I access my updated "1 %" number when benchmarking XRP distribution progress.  

XRP Ledger Exposed also shows the current status of all escrow contracts, which are cryptographically-locked transactions that will only complete after a specified number of days:

Ledger Exposed Screenshot

The site also has capabilities to show a visual history of one wallet, and a 'live' transaction flow for the entire ledger.  

If you haven't yet explored the various perspectives on the XRP Ledger on WietseWind's Ledger Exposed site, you should take the opportunity to do so.   It's not only an educational site with fantastic, up-to-the-minute statistics, it's also a site where XRP fans tend to indulge their imagination about what's possible for their own XRP ownership goals.  

XRP Ledger History on Google Big Query

One of the projects WietseWind took on that was most exciting for many in the XRP fan base was his effort at migrating the entire XRP Ledger history to the Google Big Query platform:

Google Big Query Tweet

Since that time, there have been many different blog posts, social media communications, and discussions about the results of data analysis resulting from access to the Google Big Query data-set.  

Coil Monetization

WietseWind was one of the first XRP Community developers to work with the Coil team to monetize a website, namely the XRP Community Blog. This provided a mechanism for blog authors such as me to be remunerated automatically when Coil subscribers read content on the site.  

This pioneering use of Coil helped set an example for others in the XRP Community who followed suit, setting up their own Coil integration.

IoV Meets IoT

One of the projects that caught my eye was WietseWind's efforts to connect the Internet of Value (IoV) with the Internet of Things (IoT).   The IoT is generally known as ongoing trend at making every household appliance connected to the Internet, for purposes of data collection and ease of management by the owner.  

WietseWind decided to link this with the IoV, using the Interledger Protocol;  the web payments standard for communication of payment information.  

It was a simple idea, but he needed to overcome a series of technical and engineering challenges to make it work;  in the end, his project was a success, and he configured a light socket to activate when it received a payment via ILP.  

To learn more about his project, you can read about it on the XRP Community Blog site: Raspberry Pi Interledger XRP Power Switch: How-to.  

Other XRP Community Developers in 2018

WietseWind provides an incredible example of what is possible by one person, and he is truly one of the most creative and remarkable developers I've ever seen;  and now that he has a team of two other talented developers helping him, I can't wait to see what he has in store for 2019.  

In addition to WietseWind's efforts, the XRP Community benefited from a myriad of other creative developers, architects, and designers during 2018.   Any effort I make in corrrectly listing all these individuals will meet with failure;  so I won't bore you with my inadequate attempt at comprehensive inclusion.  Suffice it to say that, along the way, I've made every effort to mention these accomplishments as they become available to the general public.  

Rife with Examples

One of the greatest things about 2018 was the fact that many - if not most of the projects were open-source;  they were published either on Github or Gitlab, making the underlying code accessible to other developers who may wish to access and use the XRP Ledger in future projects in 2019.  

Open-source code is important for supercharging the community-driven projects that made 2018 so memorable, and I predict that twice as many projects and applications will be developed by sole operators and small teams in 2019.  

XRP Community in 2018

Some of the creations by WietseWind and others managed to catapult the XRP Community to a new level of recognition for the entire cryptomarket and even mainstream media.  

Micropayments for Charity

The XRP Tip Bot's use as a fund-raising mechanism on a micropayment scale was quickly identified and pioneered by @KingBlue (Twitter avatar), who has so far used it to raise a surprising amount of money for St Jude's Children's Hospital:

KingBlue Tweet

@KingBlue's efforts paved the way for subsequent charities and efforts;  while I won't make any haphazard effort to list all of them here, I can say with certainty that the XRP Community has had a measurable impact for good using the XRP Tip Bot to help organize fund-raising efforts.  

It's fun, quick, and convenient for XRP Tip Bot users to either send a tip directly over social media, or to deposit directly into an XRP Tip Bot account.   I think 2019 will see an extension of this effort, and I hope that we're able to positively impact a wide variety of worthy causes.  

Bloggers, Vloggers, Contest Organizers, Short Story Authors, Painters, Graphic Designers, Clothing Designers, Sculptors, Game Designers, Movie Makers, and Musicians

2018 saw the incredible creativity of a wide variety of contributors from the XRP Community.  

Personally, one of my favorites was the short story contest organized (and funded by) @XRPeteSampras.   It managed to attract an incredible number of authors, and I ended up reading many of the inspirational short story submissions.   If you have any doubt about the level of story-telling talent among those in the XRP Community, all you need to do is navigate over to XRP Chat to see some of these contest entries for yourself.  

The short story contest was one of many examples of individuals taking the lead in organizing promotions to elevate the profile of XRP and the XRP Community in a positive way during 2018.  

One method of helping promote XRP was the passive support exhibited by many in the XRP Community via their purchases of XRP swag in a wide variety of online crypto shops.   Whether these are t-shirts, stickers, socks, caps, hoodies, coins, coffee cups, watches or toys, these articles help raise brand awareness for XRP and its ecosystem - specifically helping to 'break the ice' in interacting with those that may not have yet been exposed to blockchain technology or cryptocurrency.  

The more that our community 'creatives' can engage a wider audience with their XRP-related content, the greater positive impact we can have for XRP adoption. 

2018 saw the 'first try' at some of these ideas, and I predict that, now that we've seen what a huge impact these activities and creations can have, more will be on the way for 2019.  

XRP Surpasses BTC on Uphold

The evidence in 2018 has pointed to a growing swell of support behind XRP as it continues to draw the attention of institutional and retail investors that are looking for solid fundamental value in their crypto-assets;  in prior blogs, I've talked about XRP's growing overall share of the crypto market cap, along with social media statistics, Google search trend results for 2018, and the anecdotal opinions of various financial thought leaders.  

So in one way, it was no surprise that Uphold recently indicated that XRP now comprised their largest holding:

Uphold Tweet

It was also an effective way for Uphold to introduce its 'transparency' feature on the corporate website that allows any public viewer to observe how much crypto of each type is held in custody by the exchange.   As they indicated in the tweet, they now hold more XRP than Bitcoin by market value.  

Uphold has taken steps to solidify its position as a market leader in cryptocurrency and ForEx trading, taking the time to invest in a platform that is compliant with regulations, and that responsibly operates by publishing its list of assets and obligations on a real-time basis.   I'm impressed by this transparency, and I predict that their commitment to responsible exchange operation will attract significant institutional interest from others.  

Gone are the days when unregulated crypto exchanges could rely on a lack of competition to bring in cornered customers;  in 2018, the cryptomarket is comprised of exchanges seeking to compete for both retail and institutional investors. These traders are looking for reputable companies, and Uphold is clearly aware of that trend.  

Bitrue

Bitrue is a Singapore-based exchange that has been consistently posting high percentages of trades using XRP pairings.   They went live with support for XRP on July 27th of this year, indicating that they planned on using it as one of the base pairings.  

Even at that time, the exchange indicated that they'd set their sites on integrating with Ripple's xRapid solution at some point in the future, revealed during a question-and-answer session over Twitter:  24

Question (Me):  "Will Bitrue integrate xRapid?"

Answer (Bitrue):  "We are intent to do that but it’s still under discussion.  

One thing very important is we will enable fiat currency by the end of the year in some countries and will put XRP again as base token to trade fiat.   And we will have our API ready soon next month so xRapid can integrate our API to enable itself."

To me, this was a very encouraging answer, because it indicated an understanding that Ripple would probably look carefully at an exchange's implementation of KYC and AML procedures prior to considering any listing.   Bitrue was identifying these goalposts as early as their go-live date.  

And recently, the exchange sent out the following tweet, announcing an expansion of XRP's role as a base crypto-asset on the exchange:

Bitrue Pairings Tweet

Currently, Bitrue is listing as many pairings as their preferred stablecoin (USDT), and the volume level each day for XRP is reflected by this strategy;  many traders opt for using XRP to move value quickly into and out of exchanges due to its three-second settlement time, as opposed to proof-of-work crypto-assets, which can take an hour to reach a minimum level of confirmations.  

It will be interesting to hear about the new pairings that the exchange will pursue in response to their informal survey of XRP stakeholders on Twitter.  

Bitrue has shown a surprising amount of volume out-of-the-gate, successfully competing with other exchanges in the market, and is currently ranked in the top 100 exchanges worldwide.  

If they are used as an xRapid partner for the Singapore corridor by Ripple, I expect that their volume will grow immensely as banks and financial institutions use it for sourcing liquidity to the country.  

Congratulations to Bitrue on their recent pairings update, and I wish them luck in pursuing an xRapid implementation.  

CCX

Crypto Circle eXchange is an ICO-funded exchange platform headquartered in Malta (ICO) and in South Korea (mailing address on website).  25  Its exchange coin is called "Circle eXchange Coin," which is used to fund the development of the site.  26

The exchange's ICO is still ongoing, and the exchange is supposed to go live in the second quarter of 2019 according to its road map.  

On December 27th, the exchange announced that it would be supporting XRP at its initial roll-out:

CCX Exchange ICO

CCX also stated that their plan is to provide direct fiat pairings, which would give XRP an additional direct Canadian Dollar - to - XRP on-ramp.  

CCX adds to the number of exchanges that now provide an entry point for those living in Canada, and because it supports fiat pairings directly, the possibilities are also open for future development as an xRapid partner, potentially.

Currently, the field of Canadian exchanges is relatively small, and the market share is dominated by Coinsquare and QuadrigaCX;  however, history has shown that exchange listings are quite fluid, and depend on many aspects of adoption, including promotions, fees, usability, and convenience.   It will be interesting to see the techniques that CCX uses to grow its business in the Canadian market.  

NOTE: I do not endorse any ICO.  

End-of-Year XRP Ledger Statistics

During the surge in general cryptocurrency popularity in early 2018, I took two general measurements of the XRP ledger statistics:

  • Number of Wallets
  • Minimum XRP holdings to be considered in the 'top 1%'

The date was January 15th, 2018, and now it's germane to take a look at the latest numbers in comparison:  27

Wallet Statistics

This is the trend that we want to see:  A decreasing amount of XRP that would put an individual into the 'top 1%' of XRP wallets, and a dramatic, raw increase in the number of wallets.   These numbers indicate that the number of funded XRP wallets increased by 40% in less than one year.  

That amazing adoption number was achieved during one of the most profound bear markets in the history of cryptocurrency;  it's proof positive of trends measured in other ways, all indicating XRP's increasing popularity among retail investors and institutions alike.  

The other amazing thing to keep in mind about the number of wallets is that many exchanges and applications don't create new wallets for their users;  many of them, such as the XRP Tip Bot, separate out funds using the 'tag' system.   This means that the actual number of new people adopting XRP may in fact be much higher than 400,000!

Team XRP

2018 was a year of consolidation, preparation, and creativity for those of us supporting XRP.  

We organized ourselves into loose-knit groups of people to promote adoption.   Every creative talent available to us has been leveraged in this effort, and along the way, the community has found time to pioneer the use of micropayments for fund-raising.  

Community developers, Codius hosts, and XRP validator operators have volunteered by the dozen, eager to create their own projects, showcase their skills, and learn about 'building on XRP.'

And the businesses that champion XRP's use continue to pass noteworthy milestones in their efforts.  

Ripple's customer list expanded dramatically in 2018, doubling in about one years' time.   The company has fine-tuned its solutions.   Ripple has passed the 300-employee benchmark, and are expanding further, with new positions advertised on social media.  

We know that Coil will most likely have a significant update for us in 2019;  will they go live with web monetization?

Banking adoption will be the super-massive use case that will result in utility-driven demand, and Xpring-funded projects are specifically targeted to bring increasing levels of XRP liquidity ahead of this point.  

2019 is looking very promising, indeed.  

We've heard of some of the traditional investment houses such as Fidelity explore the idea of their retail customers trading crypto;  I predict that when these investors enter the market, they will seek out clear leaders in the crypto-asset space.   And XRP, championed by the best and the brightest Silicon Valley companies such as Omni, Coil, and Ripple, will immediately attract their attention.  

The next wave of cryptocurrency adoption will not tolerate failed experiments;  rather, it will be driven by fully-tested innovations that have proven to the world that they stand ready to deliver on the Internet of Value.  
xrp symbol
Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to Annie Spratt

  1. https://developers.ripple.com/known-amendments.html
  2. https://arxiv.org/pdf/1802.07240.pdf
  3. https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/fidelity-by-numbers/overview
  4. https://kryptomoney.com/pwc-official-appraises-ripples-xrp/
  5. https://www.fidelity.com/about-fidelity/fidelity-by-numbers/overview
  6. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/10/15/fidelity-launches-trade-execution-and-custody-for-cryptocurrencies.html
  7. https://kryptomoney.com/pwc-official-appraises-ripples-xrp/
  8. https://ripple.com/insights/sbi-virtual-currencies-to-exclusively-list-xrp-at-launch/
  9. https://twitter.com/BitrueOfficial/status/1078587937535606786
  10. https://twitter.com/QuidaxHQ/status/1033040087653789696
  11. https://www.americanbanker.com/list/pfm-ai-and-more-startups-compete-for-barclays-funding
  12. https://twitter.com/XRPTrump/status/1024725744885235713
  13. https://twitter.com/fxflash/status/1054211632652374016
  14. https://twitter.com/InstaReMit/status/1075739739632717829
  15. https://dailyhodl.com/2018/11/11/confirmed-ripple-partner-transfergo-exploring-xrp-powered-xrapid-for-cross-border-payments/
  16. https://twitter.com/zipremit/status/966115577688416256
  17. http://fortune.com/2018/01/24/ripple-cryptocurrency-bitcoin-xrp-idt/
  18. https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/74072/currencies-direct-completes-successful-pilot-of-xrp-for-fx-payments
  19. https://ripple.com/insights/cambridge-use-xrp-faster-global-payments/
  20. https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20180510005148/en/Ripple-Reports-Positive-Results-xRapid-Pilots
  21. http://fortune.com/2018/01/11/ripple-moneygram-xrp-cryptocurrency-bank-transfers/
  22. http://fortune.com/2018/02/14/ripple-xrp-western-union-money-transfers/
  23. https://twitter.com/internetarchive
  24. https://xrpcommunity.blog/setting-sail-quarter-2-xrp-markets-report-and-bitrue/
  25. http://icoscale.io/ico/crypto-circle-exchange/
  26. https://ripplecoinnews.com/ccx-exchange-to-list-xrp-with-canadian-dollar
  27. https://xrphodor.wordpress.com/2018/01/15/xrp-by-the-numbers-2018-benchmarks/#fourteen

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Hodor

Hodor

I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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