The biggest XRP news by any measurement in the last week was Coil going live (beta) with its blogging platform:
It was something that caught much of the community by surprise, because until the announcement, most of us thought that Coil was taking a page from Ripple's playbook, and focusing solely on the underlying pipeline and tools for web content monetization, not on building a cool end-user application.
But that's exactly what we got!
There are other notable blogging platforms that have enabled content monetization to some degree or another, but Coil affords creators maximum flexibility to integrate paywalls at any level they choose, or even none at all.
For my last blog, I ran an announcement that linked to a paywall-hidden article on Coil. My calculated publicity stunt, even though I warned people 'up front' that it was only for Coil subscribers, led to anger among some readers.
No worries: I won't do it again.
Why? Well, hiding the entire article behind a paywall is not the 'killer app' part of Coil. The unique and fantastic part of Coil's new blogging platform is that it showcases their back-end tools that allow content creators to make some specific content available only to Coil subscribers. In this way, authors can still provide value for their 'free' customers, and also provide premium content for Coil users.
The team behind Coil recommends following the "100+20 Rule" for content restriction, which states that authors should aim for 100% free content, and then add another 20% on top of that complete article that would be considered 'bonus content' only for Coil subscribers. In this fashion, it encourages Coil subscriptions, which benefits both the author and the XRP ecosystem, and yet also allows the core article to be shared freely and returned by search engine results more easily.
Utility-Driven Demand For XRP
We are currently at the very beginning stages of seeing Coil's content platform take off.
There are quite a few features and tools that are still being developed to really make it sing, so keep in mind that this is only the first iteration of the site, and it is already prompting mentions in industry media.
The fascinating part of Coil is that there are two things happening simultaneously, and now we can see with absolute clarity what Stefan Thomas's plans were with his sequencing of development:
- Focus on web standards
- Create monetization tools
- Create a subscription service (Coil)
- Allow any content creator to monetize their own website
- Publish scripts and tools to support these hobbyist site operators
- Develop a content (blogging) platform
This ordering of development was a power-packed approach for prompting mass adoption, and it's working like a charm.
Now, Coil has a "killer app" that serves as an income-generator and central pillar for the company as it seeks to take the next steps to build up the capabilities of its platform and tools:
This model of both development and business growth is a sound one to follow, because it sets it apart from many other silicon valley companies who don't even attempt to show a proper business model or profitable venture prior to attempting a public offering.
How Coil Uses XRP
As an XRP holder, you may be skeptical of this development, but you shouldn't be; on the back-end, Coil takes subscription fees - currently set at $5 per month - and converts it into XRP. It then takes this XRP and pays it out to Coil-enabled websites, and also authors on its own platform, as a reward for attracting views from Coil subscribers.
So the more in-demand your content, the more money in the form of zerps you will receive.
It's ultimately up to the recipient to take this XRP and convert it to fiat somewhere, normally at a centralized exchange where KYC and AML rules can then be enforced.
This cycle is a beautiful way to change the Internet itself, and to prompt the creation of many new hobbyist websites that are Coil-enabled. The bigger that this Coil-enabled ecosystem grows, and the more that valuable premium content is available to subscribers, then the more that XRP is purchased to fuel this 'demand engine.'
And as authors and content creators receive XRP as a reward, the more that they will then turn around and either save, invest, or trade this XRP with others, thereby enhancing liquidity in the market and growing the XRP user base.
Coil is Win-Win-Win
As an XRP holder, you don't have to use Coil if you don't want to, but I would strongly recommend that you consider a Coil subscription, as they are fairly inexpensive at the moment, and entitle you to loads of premium content, not just at the main Coil hosting site, but also at hundreds of independently-run sites across the web.
And why not tell your friends about the Coil blogging platform?
Like Medium, the topics are free-ranging and can include any subject under the sun. Readers don't even need a subscription to take a look; most content on the Coil platform is free to browse and share with anybody.
If you run your own website, consider making it Coil-enabled; there's nothing to lose from your standpoint - it's just additional revenue that you could be making, either on your site, or on your streaming content such as YouTube or Twitch.
Here's the most important thing to keep in mind as an XRP holder: The Coil content platform is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to XRP micropayments and content monetization. Ripple has invested in many companies and products in addition to Coil, and all of them point to a massive new industry that is now being born to fix the early limitations of the world-wide Web.
Get ready for a whole new Internet as Coil fuels increasing levels of creativity and premium, no-advertisement content.
Ripple announced a significant switch in their board representation on April 25th, 2019, when Chris Larsen announced that the President and CEO of SBI Holdings, Inc. Yoshitaka Kitao, would be replacing Takashi Okita, the head of SBI Ripple Asia, on the board:
The move to include the CEO of SBI on the board rather than the joint company president leaves the distinct impression that Ripple and SBI are planning to expand their coverage and footprint in Asia.
Money Tap, the flagship product of Ripple and SBI's collaborative effort, has been met with success and adoption across almost all of the Japanese banking consortium members, with a significant proportion already using it for production transactions in Japan.
If I had to guess, I'd say that Ripple is aiming for a new xRapid partnership between Ripple and SBI VC as SBI nears its target date for real-time trading on its new crypto exchange. This would open up additional corridors for xRapid, and allow for expanded coverage of Ripple's liquidity-sourcing solution throughout Asia.
Securitize is a company that has a history of attempting to make crypto-related fund-raising easier for new entrepreneurs that are thirsty to get into the space. Originally created to assist ICOs with compliant launches in early 2018, the company conducted a fund-raising round last November, with Ripple getting into the action through their Xpring initiative.
On April 9th, the company announced their new product offering, called "Securitize Ready," which aims to assist organizations with designing and issuing their own (security) tokens. 1
Securitize's official press release stated:
“Securitize’s DS Protocol maintains compliance during secondary trading and enables automated features such as share buy-backs, dividends, voting, and more.”
This clearly indicates that their goal is to take traditional securities - stocks, essentially - and move them onto a blockchain solution for maximum transparency and trust-less ownership proofs. This will, if done correctly, eliminate the need for reconciled, centralized databases of share ownership, and allow regulators greater insight into "who owns what," and how the shares have changed hands.
Essentially, it's a win for investors, regulators, and the companies that have to track and reconcile share ownership.
My own prediction is that this is 'Version One' of a massive overhaul in how traditional stock exchanges will end up accounting for share ownership and security issuance. It may also potentially lower the costs associated with IPOs in the long run, providing greater ease-of-access for companies wishing to take that step. I'm very excited by the future potential of Securitize, and it's great to see that Ripple had the foresight to recognize the potential for this market; I hope their investment yields a major return.
Saudi British Bank (SABB)
We first heard about a possible tie between Ripple and the Saudi British Bank (SABB) in January of this year. The connection was not confirmed at the time, but was based on a comment from an executive at the bank itself; and recently, Navin Gupta sent out the following tweet:
The payment corridor pioneered by SABB is from Saudi Arabia to India, which serves a high-volume remittance channel between the two countries.
The tweet indicated that the payments are now changing to real-time thanks to Ripple technology, but it doesn't specify which solutions are being used; most are speculating that xCurrent is the tool, and that xRapid is not in the mix for the moment.
Regardless, it's great to see this additional high-volume corridor confirmed in a public manner directly from a Ripple executive.
Banesco Panama is a Venezuelan bank with over three hundred branches and an extensive network of offices and locations throughout Latin America. It's a public company with almost eight thousand employees worldwide. 2
On Friday, May 3rd, the company's official Twitter account announced that it had carried out its first test of an international payment with Ripple technology:
Leonidas Hadjiloizou found another quote provided by Rodrigo González Panice, Executive Vice President of innovation, transformation and experience of Banesco on LinkedIn:
"This is just the beginning of a plan of actions, where leveraged in technology we seek to provide exceptional experiences, based on speed, accessibility and low costs, as key elements.
Soon we will be announcing the availability of this innovative service in the Panamanian market."
The number of banks and large remittance processors joining RippleNet seems to be accelerating, with multiple announcements in the last week; it's great to see Ripple's technology continuing its unavoidable takeover of international payments, and keep in mind that any of the member banks in RippleNet can now potentially activate xRapid for sourcing liquidity in specific corridors.
As RippleNet grows, so does the potential reach of xRapid, Ripple's liquidity-sourcing solution that uses XRP.
Ria Money Transfer is a massive remittance processor - the second largest in the world, according to recent statistics. 3
On May 2nd, the company announced that they'd partnered with Ripple to process cross-border payments, paving the way for a massive increase in the potential payment volume flowing through RippleNet, which is looking to take over where SWIFT left off, with modern blockchain technology that can offer benefits like real-time payment processing and settlement.
The parent company, Euronet Worldwide, discussed the business arrangement in various channels, including in their quarterly earnings call. During that meeting, Michael J. Brown, the Euronet Worldwide, Inc. Chairman, President & CEO, had this to say about the agreement: 4
"We signed an agreement with Ripple that gives Ripple access to Ria's global, physical and digital footprints, while also allowing Ria's customers to connect and transact with the Ripple(Net) network, which includes more than 200 financial institutions worldwide."
The statement emphasized the mutually-beneficial nature of the deal, whereby both parties gain from a substantially-extended reach of volume and liquidity.
Marcus Treacher, Ripple's SVP of Customer Success, commented about the development:
"This partnership will enable Ripple to expand the reach and solutions for our partners and the overall banking ecosystem. Ria is one of the top money transfer players in the industry, with the second largest network in the world and is known for its world-class service.
By joining RippleNet, Ria not only enhances our value chain for our partners but will continue to improve remittance times and costs for both their customer and enterprise clients."
The deal is fantastic news for Ripple, Ria, and also XRP holders, potentially, if Ria ever decides to settle a portion of its remittance processing using XRP for specific corridors. The key thing as an XRP holder to note is the massive size of Ria's remittance business; winning the world's second-largest remittance processor as a customer is an important development for all stakeholders involved.
Note: Thanks to @ANT159694954 for noting the mention of the deal in Euronet's Quarterly Earnings call.
New Developer Tools
"We've launched some new items on the dev site hopefully providing great value to those who want to receive transactions in the XRP Ledger. (More on that still in the queue.)"
The additions include some interactive code that allows developers to send various transactions to testnet addresses, and supports testing of things such as partial payments and TrustSet transactions. Other changes include content for helping developers process transaction results from the XRP Ledger, easing the way for additional community development.
The hint that there is more to come was welcome news; the community-sponsored development and code examples available on Github has grown substantially, and it's also great to have a comprehensive and centralized instructional resource like the XRP Ledger Developer Portal, and its new "Dev Tools" section.
Marjan Delatinne Confirms Ten Customers Using XRP
Combing through footage from the Paris Blockchain Week Summit, an XRP Community member, @BankXRP (Twitter avatar) discovered that Marjan Delatinne, Ripple's Global Head of Banking, had confirmed that ten institutions were using XRP via the xRapid solution:
While we knew that xRapid volume was now showing up on the partner exchanges, no formal update was provided in Ripple's Q1 XRP Markets Report, so this confirmation was exciting for XRP fans to hear.
xRapid volume is steadily growing, and with the new version of xCurrent making xRapid integration easier, this number might grow substantially in the near future.
Ripple Drop Episode 12
Reinhard Cate published the twelfth episode of The Ripple Drop, a biweekly video-based update on the happenings with Ripple's business progress and its internal activities and projects:
He shot this episode from Dubai, which is where Ripple decided to locate their latest "Ripple Regionals" event, a series of invitation-only conferences that Ripple has been organizing at each of the major geographic centers of commerce that they aim to cover with the RippleNet network.
According to Reinhard Cate, the MENA Ripple Regionals conference included over one hundred Ripple customers, which probably puts the conference near the top in terms of its attendee list, since the entire number of RippleNet customers is somewhere north of two hundred.
He started by obtaining Amy Hirth's take on the event, and she indicated that one of the goals is to steadily build momentum as Ripple's SWELL conference approaches in early November of this year.
Reinhard Cate then included an excerpt from an interview with Salem Al Sarraf, the Chief Transformation Officer from Al Ahli Bank of Kuwait (ABK):
Comment (Reinhard Cate): "One of the coolest things about Ripple technology is the ability for customers and partners to build from it; and at Ripple Regionals here in Dubai, some of our customers are doing exactly that."
Response (Salem Al Sarraf): "We embedded payments through our channels; which (includes) mobile banking, our Internet banking, and our branches."
Salem Al Sarraf then demonstrated by using an iPhone, which was a dramatic way to show how, in addition to the apps we've already heard about, such as Money Tap, SBI Remit, and Santander OnePay, other apps are springing up in various locations that are 'built on Ripple.'
He then recorded a short interview with Dilip Rao, Ripple's Global Head of Infrastructure Innovation, where he asked him to explain why Ripple is engaging with lots of central banks around the world. His response indicated that Ripple views these institutions as important regulators of global markets, and as such, has been prompting them to 'get their feet wet' with blockchain technology and crypto-assets.
In previous Ripple Drop episodes, Reinhard Cate has eventually released additional portions of content that afford a deeper dive into some of the topics. My hope is that he follows suit with this one and ends up releasing some extra footage. I'd love to hear more about all three of the topics he briefly touched on in this latest two-minute update.
The new subreddit will be a source for those interested in Coil content monetization to share their ideas, sites, and insights into how they've integrated their content and customized it for Coil users. It will also serve as a forum for general discussions about Coil.
After Coil published its first tools for content monetization, WietseWind created a "Coil Checker" for site owners to test their Coil integrations. When a site uses his checker and successfully tests their Coil integration, it is automatically added to the list on that page, which has, by virtue of the list, served as a central repository of "Coil-enabled" sites.
And now Vengefulseven has also created a central list, but this one is manual, and allows individual site owners to request that he add them to a "Coil Monetized Sites: Master List" pinned thread at the top of the home page for the subreddit. Thus far, Vengefulseven's list contains twelve sites (as of May 6th), compared to eighty-nine sites listed on WietseWind's Coil Checker. Perhaps one list should be used instead of two lists; however, it's unclear if a successful "check" on WiesteWind's site constitutes a new site or not, as it could reflect a developer simply testing some code.
Vengefulseven is also an author on the XRP Community Blog site, and provided his perspective on how he and a few others decided to champion a new subreddit:
"We’re starting small. Right now, a sub-reddit (r/CoilCommunity) is dedicated to connecting these Coil enabled content creators to Coil subscribers. I’ll be honest, I was expecting the majority of content to be all about how great XRP and Ripple are. (Nothing inherently wrong with that!)
To my surprise, I’ve seen a diverse range of content. We have a blog about an American living in Japan, a podcast dedicated to hilarious Dungeons and Dragons sessions, a blog about car restoration, and a YouTube channel about motorcycles in Japan. The diversity of content on the first few submissions alone has truly surprised me.
If Coil is a tool, then the Coil Community is the movement.
Make no mistake, this is a movement. We can change how content creators are paid for their work. They will no longer be required to shove advertisements down our throats to scrape together a few dollars. Coil subscribers will be able to see the content they want to see and contribute to the creators they think deserve their time. We’re creating a world where the user is in control. For those of you who have wondered how they can support the XRP ecosystem without coding or technical knowledge, this is the answer.
Join the Coil movement."
The subreddit currently has 163 subscribers, and is steadily growing.
I predict that the number of posts will continue to grow, especially as developers share their own techniques and experiences for customizing site content for Coil subscribers. This new business model for content monetization has the potential to impact content delivery across the web, and it's just begun. If you haven't visited the Coil Community Subreddit, I strongly suggest you peruse it for yourself and subscribe like I did.
A popular YouTube channel that discusses XRP news is the Brad Kimes Channel, which began streaming videos approximately five months ago during November of 2018. And on April 25th, Bob Way did an interview on the channel and discussed all things XRP and Ripple:
The session was attended live by over four hundred people, and as of May 6th the recording had been viewed over six thousand times.
The interview contained some fascinating tidbits that I didn't previously know, such as the fact that the DEX was originally Arthur Britto's idea (8:00). Bob also dove into the concept of a credit network, and tied what Ryan Fugger had created - Ripplepay - with the idea of "Rippling," which is still a native feature of the XRP Ledger today:
"By calling it the XRP Ledger, we're sort of focusing on only one narrow slice that it can do and we're leaving out all the interesting stuff."
One of the things I love about Bob's discussions - no matter who the facilitator happens to be - is his use of analogies that serve to illuminate some of the more complex topics. At one point, he illustrated how Ripple technology could make "C.O.D. payments" ultra-efficient by using real-time settlement at the time that goods are received. Then he connected the idea to how the decrease in the resource price (payment transaction cost) might lead to a case of Jevon's paradox, where more of that resource (transactions in this case) are desired.
While these concepts may be quite heady, they are absolutely based in economic principles that have shown to be accurate in many circumstances; hearing them applied to some of the ways in which technologies like ILP and XRP can speed up payments makes for a fascinating listen.
Occasionally, the subjects covered were ones that I'd not heard Bob talk about previously, such as the practical problems that Ripple has to overcome when opening up new corridors on xRapid:
"A lot of the misunderstandings or misconceptions I hear people talking about is 'I hear this bank is coming on and it's going to just spike the price in this particular market, right?' And so we talked about that a little bit. The lowest cost path finding. And I've seen people do analysis on how they think it works.
But really the Ripple system takes all of the market liquidity into account before Alice sends the payment, right?
... it will tell me, as Alice, before I do that, what the cost is ... So, what Ripple as a company has to do is when they know they're going to open up a new corridor, they have to find somebody to post that liquidity into the markets ..."
The concept of order book depth is familiar to seasoned traders, but sometimes new crypto investors are surprised to learn the difference between the 'last market spot rate' and the 'realized price' for large transactions. Bob Way brought this topic into focus using a concrete nuts-and-bolts example, which helps illustrate why more liquidity is always preferable when it comes to both speculative traders and Ripple's xRapid solution.
If you are interested in hearing and learning more about xRapid, this video is one that you should put on your playlist; Bob methodically addresses a lot of misconceptions about how xRapid adoption will work, and provides his substantial insight on how the network will grow and by which means.
Bob's Educational Initiatives
The two-hour interview with Brad Kimes was just one recent part of a comprehensive investment of time by Bob Way to help transfer his own knowledge to interested stakeholders in the community.
The XRP Chat platform has supported the creation of private and public 'clubs' for more than a year, and even though Bob started his "Bob's Book Club" only a number of months ago, it has already claimed the second-most-popular spot on the forum, with nine hundred members as of May 6th.
The club contains over fifty distinct topics, with threads that have logged thousands of views in as little as one month.
Bob Way's efforts to impart his insights to interested stakeholders is having a substantial impact, and I really appreciate his willingness to support those in the XRP Community that host their own channels and YouTube content; it helps to grow the overall ecosystem and also bring attention to new content providers that may be investing a material amount of their own time to help grow XRP.
I highly recommend following Bob's videos, tweets, and book club threads; I know I've learned a lot from hearing him discuss specifics about Ripple's solutions and products, and how a lot of the concepts behind the innovations can work together.
XRP Decentralization Update
All throughout 2018, we watched as the XRP Ledger embarked on a journey towards complete decentralization, away from its usage of a Ripple-dominated 'default UNL' list.
While there is still a 'default UNL' that is part of the XRP Validator software that is downloaded by developers, it now contains only seven validators that are run by Ripple, out of a total of twenty-nine. This equates to a proportion of 24% share of the (default UNL) network validation:
This latest update is further evidence that the XRP Ledger is continuing along the path toward greater and greater levels of decentralization as predicted in an article written by David Schwartz, Ripple's Chief Technology Officer: 6
"Users on the XRP Ledger select a Unique Node List (UNL), a list of validators trusted by that user to order transactions. Users can select the specific validators for their own UNL or they can rely on recommended UNLs that have been compiled by other parties. The network has a number of recommended UNLs, including one list Ripple recommends, and users can choose whichever one they prefer or create their own ...
... to increase the resiliency and diversity of the network, more than half of the validators on Ripple’s recommended UNL are operated by people or groups external to the company, and Ripple continues to add even more independent validators to the list. This further demonstrates that Ripple’s validators do not wield meaningful power over the XRP Ledger.
In conclusion, the XRP Ledger is in many ways a more transactional, functional and decentralized ledger than either Bitcoin or Ethereum, which will only increase over time."
The new validator added to the default UNL List belongs to Peer Island, which runs a website where stakeholders in the XRP Ledger can view the composition of validators on the network, as well as investigate the details behind each one, including those belonging to other default UNL members.
Welcome Peer Island, and congratulations!
Bithomp Naming Service
One of my favorite XRP wallets of all time is no longer supported.
The RippleTrade wallet was originally released and supported by Ripple, but it was shelved when the company decided to divest that part of its business and focus solely on payment technology. Since then, other businesses have stepped into the space and provided these services, and many entrants are impressive in their own right.
One of the original functions contained by the RippleTrade wallet, however, was a way for XRP owners to claim 'nicknames' for their own wallets. I remember this, because when the new feature was announced by Ripple, it caused some excitement, and a rush of end-users claiming nicknames on the XRP Ledger.
Now, years later, Bithomp is bringing that feature back with their naming service API; and even prior to that, they are allowing end-users to utilize the Bithomp site to name their own wallets for a small fee of 10 zerps:
The service is a valuable addition to the XRP ecosystem, and it allows stakeholders to quickly search for others in the XRP Community on the XRP Ledger with just a nickname if necessary. It's not a replacement for a precise address (the number that begins with a lower-case "r"), but oftentimes these small conveniences end up paying big dividends in saved time.
Just make sure you know who registered the nickname you're searching for, as all it takes is ten zerps to reserve any name!
The following two exchanges added XRP to their list of supported cryptos:
BitoEx is a large Taiwan-based crypto exchange founded in 2015. According to their own corporate information, they handle up to "80% of the market" in Taiwan, with 250,000 members, and are aiming to expand to other countries such as India, Singapore, and Malaysia in the near future. 7
On April 28th, the exchange announced that they'd be supporting XRP:
There are two points that are worth noting about this new exchange:
- It supports a direct fiat pairing for XRP against the New Taiwan Dollar (TWD)
- The exchange is available in 3,000 convenience stores in Taiwan
We've seen some convenient additions to the larger crypto ecosystem in various countries, including the appearance of crypto ATMs where people can exchange their fiat for crypto. And in France, we've seen companies enter tobacco shops and convenience stores as well; and now in Taiwan, XRP will be available in 3,000 convenience stores, trade-able against their national currency.
It's a great addition to the ever-growing list of exchanges that support XRP worldwide.
Six thousand miles away, a crypto exchange based in Bucharest, Romania also decided to list XRP with its supported pairings. Birake listed XRP as a choice among ten cryptos in their "Week 3 Poll" in their exchange-run Discord group, so I'm assuming that XRP ended up with enough interest to prompt the exchange to add it to their markets. 8
The exchange is not currently listed on Coinmarketcap, but that could be due to a number of factors; regardless, it's great to see another European exchange add XRP support, and although the addition appears to be quite limited in nature - a basic XRP-to-BTC market - perhaps the exchange will add a fiat pairing between XRP and the Romanian Leu at some point in the future.
This is one of the unique characteristics of Romania; even though they're part of the European Union, they have not switched to using the Euro. 9
The exchange has also published their long-term plan to interconnect their order books with other exchange platforms eventually, to deepen liquidity and enhance a collective of exchanges. It's an idea I've heard from some other platforms as well, so it will be interesting to see how this idea develops and whether individual exchanges can agree on standardized, low-latency APIs to make such a system work efficiently.
Coil Has Arrived
Yes, Coil is a monetization technology company, but now it is something very exciting and different, and is now beginning to take off like a plane rolling down the runway with enough updraft where the wheels have now started to leave the earth.
If you are reading this now, you are witness to history in the making.
The old Internet is dying. Not with a bang, but with a whimper, softly fading into the night; an unpleasant memory of privacy-destroying, advertising-based content that had the effect of enabling monopolies which ruthlessly took your personal information and sold it to the highest bidder.
A new age is upon us; that of a content-monetized Internet.
Already, we see what it could look like; a delightful cacophony of authors and everyday artists and other creatives sharing their work for enough money to make it worthwhile.
Coil is not just a 'new application' that may prompt a profitable and one-time initial public offering; it's a concept and a set of open-source tools that could ignite a nuclear fusion of creativity. The power of our imagination, rewarded monetarily the way that the original creators of the Internet first envisioned, has now been unleashed.
Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to Samuel Fyfe
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