Unless you've been living under a rock as an XRP holder, you know the names of some of the prominent development icons that are a part of the extended ecosystem.
Everybody knows - or should know - that Wietse Wind is the developer for the XRP Tip Bot. The same goes for Ripple's famous Chief Technology Officer, David Schwartz, who was Ripple's Chief Cryptographer for five years, having developed many key parts of the XRP consensus mechanism.
Both individuals are convenient examples: The list continues for pages, and includes a wide variety of high-profile professionals that have logged development time either directly on XRP, or on other peripheral software components that utilize the core functions and APIs. Included in the mix are small companies and innovators that have chosen to build their products and solutions on RippleNet, ILP or the XRP Ledger.
This development talent is highly prized and sought after by the individual cryptographic networks, and no wonder; the surest way to boost liquidity and demand for a digital asset is by creating valuable applications that use it in some way. XRP's champion organizations are very cognizant of this fact, and have taken meaningful steps to attract hobbyists, entrepreneurs, and small businesses to develop ideas that enhance either direct use of XRP or extend its network.
The most obvious example of this is the Xpring Initiative, where Ripple has created a funding mechanism for XRP ecosystem participants to access funding once they've demonstrated their value to the network, along with their capabilities.
In addition, Ripple has recruited their own in-house team of developers to improve, maintain, and innovate on the existing XRP Ledger code, adding new functions and capabilities over time, and enhancing ease-of-maintenance and improving security.
To support widespread community development, Ripple also re-vamped their developer center in 2018, providing an intuitive user interface for creative coders to reference. They've also supported developer outreach initiatives, such as the recent (free) ILP Summit that just occurred in San Francisco.
And on top of all of the formal documentation and efforts by Ripple, there exists a growing network of ecosystem developers with their own individual Github repositories that make use of code that others can freely use. This includes the XRPL Labs team member repositories and the new repositories from Coil and its team members.
Success is a Risk?
It's counter-intuitive to think of success as a risk, but I've seen it firsthand in consulting; the super-developer, lauded for his incredible creativity, skill, and dedication, is rewarded with a - you guessed it - promotion!
When this happens, it usually works out for the best in the long term, because these individuals tend to be good at other categories of management and running a business. However, it also means that they're not doing what they used to do; developing.
Think about some of the leaders I've mentioned in previous blogs - and in this one. Some of these individuals have since moved on from their original, pivotal roles, and have chosen to take on higher organizational functions.
This is great for XRP's long-term health, but what this means is that we - the collective we - have to recruit more of these exceptional individuals.
You've probably seen some of these new 'exceptionals' sporadically online, including the new members of Coil, Kava Labs, Ripple, XRP Labs, Bithomp, and many others that I don't have time to mention here; the point is ... they are here, and they should be recognized for their accomplishments. I can think of two-dozen third-party websites that I've seen in the last twelve months developed by a wide variety of different individuals and entrepreneurs; and this excludes Ripple clients.
Get The Party Started
Development - and its demand for talented individuals that know how to interact with XRP and Interledger - is starting to make itself known. A growing number of businesses are looking to hire individuals with blockchain experience, and for those developers that wish to remain independent, many opportunities to create new applications exist for the people that have the vision to see them.
Wietse Wind has created an XRP Community Fund to provide bounties for coders that wish to help construct payment connectors, and has established a message board to review ideas for the community fund.
It would be great to see others post bounties as well - large and small - to attract more developers to our ecosystem and help build the ingredients for an active collection of businesses that use XRP in some way.
We need creative coders to chose XRP; and we need them to build anything that our - or their - imagination can conceive. As a community, the more that we can share ideas, approaches, and open-source code publicly with each other, the better.
This will attract - and motivate - the high octane that our ecosystem needs: Developers
Who To Follow: The XRP Community Blog
There have been a number of incredible bloggers that have contributed fantastic content to the mind-share of XRP and its ecosystem. In addition to this general category of content, there are a group of writers that have come together to contribute and moderate the XRP Community Blog.
This is a convenience for readers; each of these bloggers have already established themselves and their writing talent on individual sites or on social media, and many are exceptionally creative or analytical by turns. Some have even been published on mainstream news sites.
Overall, we are a small, volunteer group, but we are committed to doing our best to bring you valuable content and insight multiple times per week.
It's for this reason that I suggest following the XRP Community Blog and its ecosystem of writers:
To Subscribe (free): Subscribe Link
One of the ultimate moments on 'makeover' reality television shows is the 'big reveal' at the end, when the final product of the home renovation (or personal makeover) is shown to viewers.
The new location and focus of Ripple's development blog may not possess the same amount of drama, but it will definitely be a change for those readers that have perused the old entries, and its goal seems to be to provide a more consistent interface between development and technology leaders at Ripple, and that of the general public.
In the span of just one week, Ripple has published six blog entries, addressing a combination of topics; this includes articles about ILP and specific amendments proposed for the XRP Validator software.
For those keeping up-to-date on XRP, or who are developing on the XRP Ledger or its ecosystem components like ILP, I highly recommend that you bookmark this blog as one of your go-to resources: Ripple Development Blog
Xendpay is a global payment processor with offices in the UK, France, and Spain. To date, the company has transferred over $5 billion dollar's worth of payments abroad, and on April 3rd, the company tweeted about how it's offering a "no transfer fees" option for customers wishing to send money to the Philippines:
Although the company indicated they are solely using xCurrent to send money, another tweet indicated that they were open to the possibility of using xRapid at some point for cross-border settlement. 1
This story is fascinating.
Tata Consultancy Services, or TCS for short, is a massive consulting arm of Tata, an Indian-based conglomerate and software maker.
One of their premier banking software products is known as "TCS BaNCS," which, according to their own website, 2
"services more than 25% of the global population, with two of the largest core banking installations running on TCS BaNCS, processing more than one billion (1BN) accounts."
That's an amazing statistic about the reach of their banking solution. This is significant, because an XRP fan recently discovered that TCS's Quartz Blockchain Solutions component - which is a high-profile piece of their solution - utilizes a connection to RippleNet to process DLT-type cross-border payments. The document lists the benefits of using DLT: 3
- Near Real time settlement of Remittance instructions
- Significantly lower charges - elimination of FX conversion/agent charges through disintermediation
- Instantaneous tracking of transaction status
- Elimination of reconciliation overheads; Accounting entries can be performed directly in the Core systems, based on status updates
- DLT based payment infrastructure / ecosystems can reduce liquidity needs for banks/ Financial Institutions, in managing Cross Border remittances - a huge benefit for the treasury department
- Audit Trail for a complete history of transactions
This is a phenomenal development for TCS BaNCS clients, as they seem to be able to use the software to access RippleNet through TCS's software; it's unknown if each institution using the software also must complete other steps, or if it is as simple as being a client that uses the Quartz solution as part of their TCS BaNCS implementation.
Regardless of the details, this particular integration to RippleNet may prove to be a big win for Ripple.
Mint Digital Innovation Summit
The Mint Digital Innovation Summit is a conference that took place on March 15th, 2019. 4
The conference's content is geared for C-level corporate executives, and according to its website, strives to be:
"...a place where technology meets business....
... The broad themes of this first edition comprises digital life, cutting edge technologies–machine learning, deep learning, computer vision and a suite of other artificial intelligence technologies–virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, smart cities and connected health."
The conference took place in Bengaluru, India, and featured a keynote presentation by Navin Gupta, Ripple's Managing Director for South Asia & MENA: 5
Navin Gupta has an engaging style of presentation, and it certainly had the feel of content that was geared to educate and introduce key decision-makers to the ways in which RippleNet can process payments. He also covered how the XRP Ledger can assist payment processors in sourcing liquidity:
"This is a solution which is not offered in India; but it's offered in lots of other countries; which essentially uses liquidity on-demand - uses XRP on-demand - to make a transaction possible.
Which essentially means, if you're a customer in the ... UAE, and you're earning in dirhams, and you're sending money to India; actually, your dirhams get, first converted in US Dollars; US Dollars get converted into Indian Rupees; and then you get your money.
And, in that (process), a fee rate loss, you have an exchange rate loss, and you have a timing loss. That means it takes two days for the money to settle ...
... in this case, let's assume you are 'in dirham;' Dirham will get converted into XRP; XRP will get paid out, for example, in the Philippine peso, or in Mexican pesos, instantly ... and the whole transaction gets done in 20 seconds.
The transaction fee is a fraction of what we will pay today. And that's the magic of using a blockchain technology - or using a digital asset to make a remittance possible."
It was a dramatic example of how xRapid can - and is - assisting payment settlement across borders in real-time. I recommend the rest of the presentation as well; Navin Gupta uses analogies that elaborate on some of the familiar concepts that Ripple has used in prior communications, and he does it in a memorable way that resonates with business leaders.
Note: Thanks to Bank XRP for the video excerpt.
RationalFX is an example of a company that first decided to try out Ripple's cross-border payments technology in the form of xVia, and then ended up integrating it into its payment flows in a major way. We first heard about their use of xVia on April 26th last year, with a formal announcement from Ripple. 6
And now the company re-affirmed its partnership with Ripple in a series of recent tweets:
The tweet emphasized its ability to transmit money to Malaysia; it's a UK-based business that operates "anywhere in the EU." 7
RippleNet has grown to enormous size in the last two years, and this recent tweet from RationalFX is one example of the communications we can expect to see more of in the coming months, I predict.
The Interledger Summit kicked off on Friday, April 5th In San Francisco, with various meetings and presentations communicated via Twitter. The invitation on Eventbrite describes the event this way: 8
"The two-day hackathon style event will include demos from Interledger companies, discussions around new integrations and an opportunity to test new tools developed by the community."
The same invitation also indicated the 'target audience' for the event:
"WHO CAN ATTEND
- Developers at Interledger Companies
- Developers that are members of Interledger Forum
- New developers to the Interledger network"
The cost of the conference was 'free,' so I'm guessing that a lot of developers took advantage of the opportunity to learn about ILP and get up to speed on some of the basics. From the looks of the pictures already shared over social media , it appears that attendance has been high:
One of the attendees, SecureBlockChains, had this to say about their experience at the conference:
"Interoperability is the future and that’s clear ...
... Coil and Kava are working hard to ensure the process is simple and can easily be reproduced so that an SDK of sorts can be created that developers in other communities can use to bootstrap into the network.
We believe that in the future, most money will flow through ILP. Many of us believe the token economy will become a bit more generic, people will be less tribal when they can fluidly move their value between different mediums to gain features or access another use case.
There is a huge market for businesses to operate as Interledger Service Providers and for a similar reason we need internet service providers today.
This is NOT something we’re going to be waiting YEARS to see unfold. The protocol is functional and money is moving across the network every day.
Coil has processed close to 6 billion payments over ILP since inception."
On April 7th, the company shared the following screenshot from one presentation at the conference by Stefan Thomas, the CEO of Coil:
SecureBlockChains described some of their own reasons for attending, indicating that they were planning on updating their Harbor wallet with ILP-enabled functionality at some point in the near future.
My expectation is that this ILP Summit will be one of many that Ripple sponsors as it continues to build out RippleNet along with the entire ecosystem of ILP-enabled components that enhance its reach for global liquidity and payment processing.
ILP is a win-win for those that own XRP, as the innovation is currency-agnostic, and connects the XRP Ledger up to a myriad of other external value networks, thereby expanding XRP's limits outward.
Congratulations to Ripple on their first ILP Summit!
Stefan Thomas presented at the Interledger Summit in San Francisco on April 6th, detailing the progress with Coil, and discussing its use of Interledger for processing micropayments:
Hopefully we'll see some video of his session released as part of the Interledger Summit content at some point in the near future.
The Puma browser is a privacy-focused browser available on iOS devices.
The browser is still described as "in beta," and was developed by a small team, including Yuriy Dybskiy and Sergiy Dybskiy. Yuriy Dybskiy sent out a tweet with the following announcement on April 5th:
The news revealed another major step for Coil; their web monetization solution has the potential to be the most interoperable of the alternatives, and could quickly capture a huge share of the growing market for content monetization. Tangible progress like this keeps the momentum going, and shows how they are approaching the industry in a methodical fashion, positioning the necessary building blocks for growth.
Congratulations to the PUMA team - and the Coil team - on this significant collaboration result.
The security of the XRP Ledger is a topic that is important to each of us that owns XRP.
In a recent entry on the Ripple Developer Blog, Nik Bougalis described the steps that the C++ team at Ripple has taken to maintain the XRP validator code in conformance with industry best practices for both code quality and security.
He talked about security audits, the Ripple Bug Bounty program, and some of the techniques and strategies that the team is taking to remain vigilant against unknown threats.
In the section about security audits, he talked about how Ripple worked with Guido Vranken, a noteworthy security analyst, to review XRP over the course of several months. As a result of those findings by Guido Vranken, the team at Ripple ended up improving the code base to more robustly handle certain types of malicious attack; in addition, the combined team upgraded Ripple's approach to continuous integration and delivery.
As an end-point to the team-up, Guido Vranken recently sent out the following tweet:
A periodic third-party audit of XRP code is important from a security standpoint, and from a general quality assurance standpoint as well, and it sounds like this latest effort was a success.
In his blog, Nik Bougalis also stated the following, summarizing his view of how important external reviews are:
"Despite all the improvements made, we know that there’s more that we could be doing.
We look forward to working together with the community of XRP Ledger developers and hope that we can exchange ideas that will help to improve the quality of the codebase and advance our shared goal of building a system that allows value to move both securely and quickly, helping to bring about the Internet of Value."
It's this type of humble vigilance that's crucial to protecting a cryptographic network that serves as the backbone for many global payment applications.
Quilt of XRP Personalities
Leave it to CrypToe Man.
The latest in a series of eye-catching advertising campaigns made its way across Twitter recently; it was a visual "quilt" of the Twitter profile images from various XRP Crypto-Twitter accounts, each shrunk and included within an overall file:
Of course, it's almost impossible to not look through the images and see if you recognize some of the accounts; I recognized many of them, and even found myself among the images (lower left for those that don't want to strain their eyes too much).
If you weren't included in the first quilt, not to worry; he indicated that he has plans to do another one in the near future.
It was the latest in a series of high-profile advertising campaigns, including a recent one where the CrypToe man spoofed a hilarious text message conversation between Ripple corporate executives discussing his wares.
The CrypToe Man's shop is located here: Cryptoe Man Shop
Two Blogs: Tiffany Hayden and Thomas Silkjær
Both Tiffany Hayden and Thomas Silkjær have penned two new blogs recently, and I recommend each of them, as they both have to do with secure custody management by those that "handle their own" XRP.
Tiffany Hayden authored a blog describing the importance of secret key management, and how to access and learn about your secret key in wallets like the Edge wallet:
And Thomas Silkjær wrote about how he'd tracked over 2 million XRP that had been pilfered by scammers in various schemes over social media, with the help of some of the victims of the operations. His blog was published via Forbes:
Congrats to both authors on outstanding pieces - I recommend both!
Octane in XRP's Fuel: Developers
There are many things that contribute to a decentralized network's success.
I've expounded on many of these topics over the previous months, and we've seen the steady growth of XRP's market share even during 2018; it's obvious that analysts and new investors to the space are able to identify the overwhelming advantages of XRP when compared to the competition.
In addition to liquidity, code governance, performance metrics, and ecosystem participants, another key metric that is often overlooked is the importance of developer support.
Developers - no matter if they work for large corporations, small businesses, or themselves - struggle with finding help in building out their creations.
In some cases, it might be as straightforward as seeking a wrapper for communicating with the XRP Ledger. In other cases, they might want to run an Interledger connector or generate their own payment pointer. Perhaps they wish to construct an intuitive user interface that communicates with XRP's native decentralized exchange, or construct their own version of an XRP wallet.
Whatever the case may be, we need to reach out to them with a welcoming electronic hug and let them know they're valued, and that we can point them to the help they need. This includes the formal documentation available on the XRP Developer Portal, and it may also include a collection of other third-party repositories on Github or Gitlab.
And if you happen to be a developer yourself wishing to build using XRP in some way; welcome! 🤗
Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to chuttersnap
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