The recent XRP rally has been enjoyable to watch; it's the rally we all knew should happen, but none of us knew exactly when the market would see fit to correct XRP's fire sale prices in early April. 2018's first quarter has finally relented to a more positive outlook for quarter two: The first quarter of 2018 is a quarter that most crypto traders would like to forget.
Despite the hint of what's to come - unbridled excitement for a relatively unregulated financial market where ordinary investors can walk away with double-digit returns over a matter of days - the first quarter was a time period that also contained one of the biggest overall crypto downturns.
But crypto is unlike any other market in history; it created its own industry, and is by definition resistant to censorship or government efforts to curtail its ownership. The downturn was temporary, as most crypto veterans knew it would be, and has now given way to increasing global demand. Whether you're from Asia, a developing country in Africa, or from historic parts of Europe or South America, buying crypto is a good bet; the crypto networks are not going away anytime soon and will most likely still be around long after we're gone.
While the crypto networks themselves don't possess intelligence, they are almost akin to a living creature. Their decentralized, distributed nature allows them to endure even through various international economic crises, giving them a certain degree of immortality.
Knowledge about these international cryptocurrencies is spreading, and many investors are now opting to put their spare change into a crypto account rather than a traditional bank account. Bank accounts may be a convenient place to store extra money, but let's be honest - if you have a choice between a bank account with near-zero interest or even negative interest due to fees and charges, and a crypto account, which would you choose? I choose the future; I choose crypto. And within that wide realm, I choose the one crypto that is the most trusted, most feature-rich & fastest digital asset; XRP.
Exchange NewsCoinmarketcap now lists sixty-eight unique exchanges that support buying and selling of XRP. 1 This list doesn't include Cointal, SBI Virtual Currencies, Uphold, or any data from over-the-counter trading. But the increasing number of exchanges indicates that the reach of XRP's liquidity and currency pairings is growing every day, stretching to the far corners of the world that will benefit from the XRP Ledger's low transaction costs.
Anycoin DirectOne of the new exchanges to add support for XRP is also not connected to Coinmarketcap rankings and data collection; Anycoin Direct. 2
Anycoin Direct will process direct sales and direct purchases of cryptocurrency in the same way that Coinbase does - it automatically dips into connected markets to purchase or sell the indicated currency. Like Coinbase, it's not considered a traditional exchange because it processes direct purchases and sales as a service; however, it's one more entry point for retail investors to enter the market.
Ripple In The NewsThe news about Ripple's technology adoption continues each day, and if the crypto market itself is quiet, there is always something new happening with XRP adoption. The world doesn't slow down when it comes to Ripple and XRP - like the digital asset itself, things are speeding up.
Blockchain Capital Parallel FundRemember Brad Garlinghouse's comment from the Money2020 conference in Singapore when discussing how a new startup, Omni, has agreed to introduce XRP within its service? 3
"You should expect that you'll see more of those."That comment was made in mid-March, and less than a month later on April 11th, Ripple announced that they were investing $25 million in a fund whose mission includes funding new startups in the blockchain space. The name of the company behind the fund is "Blockchain Capital," and the specific fund's name is Blockchain Capital Parallel IV (LP).
Ripple's goal for the investment? 4
"...the investment in Blockchain Capital’s fund provides an opportunity to support and develop additional use cases beyond payments."Patrick Griffin, Senior Vice President of Strategic Growth at Ripple, added to this:
“Blockchain Capital is the premiere fund for any project looking to get off the ground in the blockchain space. They have a proven track record for finding and funding the projects that matter. This is the first fund that we’ve contributed to, and it won’t be the last. We plan to be major players in shaping the future generation of blockchain or crypto companies.”It's a signal that Ripple is looking to accelerate adoption of XRP for various use cases in addition to its core use case - payments. This is an exciting development, and hopefully we'll see some innovative use cases for XRP as a result of this investment.
Ripple Joins HyperledgerThe Hyperledger project is a Linux project that provides a centralized location for individuals, businesses, and other organizations to collaborate on blockchain technology and solutions. If you are browsing the site, it may seem daunting to determine exactly what it is, but essentially it's vague by definition.
The creators of the project sought to make it asset-agnostic; it doesn't try to proscribe a specific digital asset or cryptocurrency within a blockchain, but it does contain some template information and guidance for new blockchains and crypto networks. From their website:
"Hyperledger is an open source collaborative effort created to advance cross-industry blockchain technologies. It is a global collaboration, hosted by The Linux Foundation, including leaders in finance, banking, IoT, supply chain, manufacturing and technology."Periodically, the Hyperledger project issues a press release that details new information and news about new member organizations. On March 28th , it announced that Ripple was officially joining the effort. 5
In terms of the specifics of the membership, Stefan Thomas offered the following: 6
“Through our partnership with Hyperledger, developers worldwide will be able to access Interledger Protocol (ILP) in Java for enterprise use ... The Hyperledger Quilt project connects Hyperledger blockchains with other ILP-capable payment systems such as XRP Ledger, Ethereum, Bitcoin (Lightning), Litecoin, Mojaloop and RippleNet, helping us to deliver on our vision for an Internet of Value – where money moves as information does today.”The move is yet another example of Ripple methodically building its network out and connecting with more and more networks to enhance its reach and liquidity.
ConferencesAn increasing number of fintech, blockchain, and banking conferences are happening worldwide as the blockchain revolution slowly winds its way across entire industries, and specifically financial technology. Ripple has been raising its profile among these industry gatherings, and is taking a much more active role than in prior years. Whether it's about fielding keynote speakers like Stefan Thomas at Slush Tokyo, or a multi-stop Asia tour by David Schwartz, Ripple is getting the message out. 7
Blockchain Africa Conference 2018: March 8-9The first Blockchain Africa Conference was held in 2015, and has since become an annual event featuring a variety of speakers that are noted authorities in the emerging blockchain technology field. Although I missed this conference listing the first time around, it's definitely worth it for XRP fans to take a look at the content; Stefan Thomas was the keynote speaker at this conference. 8
Stefan Thomas is bringing a consistent message to the crypto market; instead of divisive competition between different crypto networks, the industry should turn its attention to allowing the consumer to decide their preferred digital asset, and for the applications to focus on interoperability.
The interoperability drumbeat is one industry-leading perspective that sets Ripple apart from its competitors. Ripple is unafraid to open up the crypto space and enable competition in a free and level way, using open standards such as Interledger.
Transact: April 17 - 19One of the foremost conferences on payments generally, and about connecting businesses and startups to the technology and vendors that can help bring new products to market, is Transact. This year's conference is in Las Vegas. 9
On Thursday, April 19th Emi Yoshikawa, Ripple's Director of Joint Venture Partnerships, is scheduled to speak alongside other industry representatives about strategic opportunities in blockchain technology. 10
FDIC Forum: Use of Technology in the Business of BankingOne of the cornerstones of banking in the United States is the Federal Depository Insurance Corporation, or FDIC. The FDIC was created as both a corporation and a government agency after the Great Depression in the United States. In short, the FDIC insures deposits at banks.
On Monday, May 7th, the FDIC is holding a conference for US banks, with the following agenda: 11
This is a positive step for Ripple, since their market share is composed of mainly Asian banks at present (Japanese Banking Consortium). Ryan Zagone, Director of Regulatory Relations at Ripple, will be one of five panelists alongside representatives from The Clearing House, Ernst & Young, Discover, and Fiserv. The topic is "Emerging Technologies in Banking: Transforming Banking Operations." 12
TXF Trade and TreasuryThe 2018 TXF Trade and Treasury Conference is happening in Amsterdam on Wednesday, May 16th. This is a conference that is aimed squarely at corporate treasurers, and the software and technology that surround their business use cases.
TechCrunch in San Francisco in SeptemberTechCrunch's popular Disrupt conference takes place in 2018 from September 5th through the 7th. It's meant to join together technology startups, established tech companies, developers, and even hackers. This year, Brad Garlinghouse will join TechCrunch's founder - Michael Arrington - on stage for a high-profile discussion about cryptocurrency. 15
Ripple and TechCrunch are both promoting the event well in advance. Attendees are still able to purchase tickets at the time of this writing.
Blockchain Summit Latam 2018: May 8-9Blockchain Summit Latam (BSL) is a conference that was launched with the focus of gathering, informing and encouraging blockchain technology and evaluating the impact that this will have at a public and private level in the world.
It centers on the connection between developers and promoters of blockchain innovation with a Latin American focus, with both regulators and industry leaders; Eric Van Miltenburg, Ripple's Senior Vice President of Business Operations, will be speaking at the conference. 20
Consensus 2018: May 14-16Coindesk sponsors the Consensus series of conferences and presentations. The next one is scheduled for May 14-16 in New York City. While not fielding any speakers to this conference, Ripple is listed as one of the sponsors, and is also going to send Claire Arthurs Kart along with other team members: 16
Ripple Head of CommunityOn April 5th, it was announced that Claire Arthurs Kart was appointed as Ripple's Head of Community:
She signaled her new position on Twitter, and the response was fast & positive. The XRP Army sent her a myriad of responses and welcomes.
Claire quickly got to work, took a poll to gauge where community engagement should focus, and then indicated that she would eventually make certain that new Ripple swag would be available at some point in the near future:
Ripple is clearly increasing its social media presence with Claire's hire, and it will be great to have another company representative that can engage with the community and bring Ripple's message to the general public in a fun and engaging manner. I look forward to seeing more community involvement from Ripple under Claire's leadership.
SWIFT and Ripple? Not According to Marcus TreacherRecently, speculation in the crypto market space has erupted over a possibility that SWIFT could end up approaching Ripple to incorporate its technology and replace SWIFT's messaging system. While that would be a beneficial move for those stakeholders that still rely on the old legacy messaging system, Marcus Treacher, Ripple's Head of Global Accounts, and former SWIFT executive, had this to say: 17 18
"The Ripple and SWIFT models are so different that we would not need to partner. SWIFT's system is not designed to process high volume, low value payments - a market that also is underserved."
XRP CommunityThe XRP Community doesn't seem to sleep. 2017 held many examples of increasing community involvement in XRP Ledger development, as well as general promotion activities for XRP. In the past week, momentum has continued, as new ideas and ventures took shape.
Telegram XRP TipsTelegram is an app that has gained a lot of popularity recently. It's a secure messaging platform that uses encryption and other features to maintain users' privacy. It's been quickly gaining a wide user base, and you may have noticed the Telegram icon becoming a standard feature at the bottom of many web pages and articles.
An XRP fan recently created a new application that allows Telegram users to send XRP to each other: 19
The addition of Telegram means that XRP fans can now tip XRP to other users on a variety of social media applications, including Reddit, Twitter, Discord, and Telegram. Note that to tip XRP on Reddit, Twitter and Discord, another application is used - the XRP Tip Bot, which can be found here: https://www.xrptipbot.com/
New Coin Promotion Starting on XRP ChatThe coin promotions on XRP Chat have continued to garner attention across the crypto space; nothing seems to bring out crypto fans like their parallel interest in numismatics!
The latest promotion has just started on XRP Chat, and the excitement is palpable. When the community conducted their prior coin promotion, it was sold out quickly, leaving many fans to petition @Mercury (the XRP Chat moderator who ran the first one) to have another coin promotion. @Mercury obliged, and started organizing ideas for the design of the coins.
The possible designs, and your ability to vote on them, can be found only on the XRP Chat forum: https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/22658-vote-for-the-next-xrp-ripple-themed-silver-medallions/ And for those that want a sneak preview of the designs:
So far, only a little over a hundred forum members have voted, so the chosen design is still very much up in the air at this point. The poll for the selected coin design will end on April 28th. To order one or more of the coins, you'll have to stay tuned to updates on XRP Chat.
XRP Is Here To StayRallies, dips, downturns, crashes, and price spikes all characterize the crypto market in which we find ourselves. It's a volatile mix, and fortunes can be made and lost within days. If you're a trader and you're down, hitching a ride on a surging cryptocurrency can forgive many sins. It's a risky business, however, and that's why I always remind people to do their homework, and decide carefully and methodically what they're trying to achieve. Keep in mind what you're reading: While I always make a point of reminding readers that I am not a professional investor or trader, and that I am clearly biased because of my predominantly XRP crypto holdings, other writers are not always so forthright - be careful to check all information that you may see on Twitter or other social media.
My take? For the long-term investor, it's clear that XRP is the star choice.
Let's face it - most investors in the West are now starting to turn their attention to the crypto market, despite the caution that their financial planner may advise. The ordinary retail investor is now looking to a variety of choices for the portion of their portfolio that they consider to be "high risk - high return," and crypto is quickly becoming the most popular choice in that category.
Even so, some investors are now seeing past the initial marketing that each digital asset provides to the public, and looking for other factors to base their decision on; long-term prospects, the size of the use case, and the performance metrics of the underlying crypto network. All of these are consistently funneling potential investors to one very obvious choice among the listings on Coinmarketcap: XRP.
It is the most scalable. It boasts the fastest settlement time. It has the largest fintech company in the world championing its adoption. It has the largest development team and the most funding of any crypto. These are all indisputable facts, and it's these metrics that are unarguably going to propel XRP to a leadership position for the second year in a row.