Change is not effected by living and operating within the status quo. We don't change anything if we always 'stay between the lines' and not risk offending people.
And such is the case with any business that seeks to forge its own way using new technology, approaches, or business models that have never been tried before: There are no shortage of pundits and writers that will say 'it cannot be done,' because let's face it; it's safe to be cynical.
But it takes real courage to take a stand and say "I will be the first."
And we're seeing a large number of banks, remittance companies, small-and-medium-size businesses, and even sole proprietors decide that they are willing to risk their own reputation and financial future on the potential of XRP and its ecosystem participants of software and companies.
Euro Exim Bank looks at RippleNet, and where the large correspondence banks see a diminution of their ability to over-charge for transferring money, Euro Exim sees an opportunity to grow and capture a significant number of new clients based on their low cross-border payment fees.
Cinnamon, a new video streaming service, looks at Coil web monetization as an opportunity to establish an entirely new way of delivering video content over the Internet, and seeks to provide an alternative to such high-profile sites as YouTube or Vimeo. Cinnamon might be the equivalent of the "killer app" for Coil in its role as a challenger to these established sites.
And XRP is not backing down in the cryptomarket. Buoyed by utility-driven use cases and the speculation of those looking for true, fundamental value in crypto, XRP is attracting the bulk of the 'new investor' clientele for retail investment sites. This has been reported consistently from such exchanges as eToro, and is exemplified by increasing amounts of XRP holdings at Coinbase, which recently added XRP support.
For those looking to identify solid fundamental potential in the cryptomarket, XRP and its ecosystem participants have firmly and proudly taken on the mantle of 'challenger.' Now you've got to make a decision for yourself: Do you support their efforts, or is the status quo good enough?
General Crypto News
The Token Taxonomy Act is one of the most important pieces of legislation that was introduced in late 2018, and Congressman Warren Davidson has since provided assurances that he plans to revisit the bill, stating as much in collaboration with US Representative Darren Soto to CryptoEri (Twitter avatar):
The bill has widespread support of those in the both the XRP community, and in the broader crypto-assets space. It has several provisions for most of us to cheer for, including:
- Clarified regulation of cryptos
- Clear taxonomy of security versus crypto-assets
- Simplified tax treatment for trading crypto-assets
While the first two benefit XRP and also other crypto networks that have a 'functioning network' versus an ERC-20 token, the last one - simplified tax treatment - benefits all of us.
Recently, the National Law Review noted that the bill would have eliminated crypto-to-crypto trade taxation in the US retroactively, starting in January of 2017:
"Each of the amendments would be effective retroactively for sales or exchanges on or after January 1, 2017. This retroactive effective date could provide relief for traders and other sellers of qualifying crypto assets who have failed to report certain of their transactions to the Internal Revenue Service and possibly provide those traders and sellers who have reported their transactions with an opportunity to claim a refund for certain taxes paid."
This legislation is something that most of us in crypto should be able to agree would benefit all of us that are subject to US law. Another Twitter user, @Kasum_Capital, sent out a tweet asking users to consider contacting their own Congressperson, to help lobby for the bill - or at least the new version of it:
Even CZ (The 'crypto nickname' of Binance's CEO, Changpeng Zhao) sent out a tweet in support of the bill, with only two words: "Very important." 1
I agree, and I think it's one topic that everybody in the cryptomarket - no matter your specific or preferred digital asset - can come together and support.
Who To Follow: Congressman Warren Davidson
Legislators are elected to represent their districts, and many times, those in Congress can be myopic about which topics they champion due to this focus on their core constituency.
But real leaders will do something more; they will champion the causes of those that live in their district, but they will also cast their gaze wider, looking at global and national trends that could eventually find their way to their own locality.
Such is the case with new technology. Specifically for blockchain technology, it includes the issues affecting adoption of crypto-assets by individuals and businesses.
Congressman Warren Davidson is one of those leaders that has this wider perspective.
He represents the 8th District from Ohio, and he's been a part of multiple hearings on blockchain technology and its regulatory environment in the United States, and of course is most famous for being the primary author of the Token Taxonomy Act, which would bring clarity and greater regulatory certainty to the new financial products associated with crypto-assets. 2 3 4
This clarity is necessary to accomplish two different, and sometimes opposing objectives:
- Protect consumers and investors
- Foster innovation and growth, and provide regulatory guidance
He is one of the members of Congress that truly understands some of the more complex issues, and he deserves our support as he continues to champion regulatory clarity and guidance in the form of the Token Taxonomy Act, in whatever final form makes its way back into session.
It's for these reasons that I'm recommending you give Warren Davidson a 'follow' and to consider taking active steps to support him in his legislative endeavors this year:
The National Bank of Kuwait was established in 1952, and has grown into one of the largest regional banks. It manages total assets of roughly $79 billion, and posted revenue of $3.2 billion in 2016. 5
In May of last year, I covered the news of NBK's new membership in RippleNet; and in December of last year, it was reported that NBK had created a new remittance service based on Ripple technology, called "Direct Remit."
Direct Remit allows their customers to process real-time cross-border transactions, available on a 24 X 7 basis. 6
On March 2nd, a new video of representatives from NBK giving a presentation about their bank's experience with RippleNet was released on YouTube by the East Chain Open Hub.
In the video, Mohammed AlKharafi from NBK provided some background behind NBK's efforts at real-time, cross-border settlement, as well as his bank's use of Direct Remit - built on Ripple technology - to allow its customers to send money worldwide: 7
In addition, Mohammed Akbar from NBK provided some background about NBK's use of blockchain technology, specifically highlighting how NBK pioneered the use of blockchain payments in their Kuwait-to-Jordan payments corridor. He emphasized:
"Blockchain has the potential to be a key enabler, in order to be able to provide a very transparent, secure way of doing these transactions.
What is in it for the consumer? For the consumer: He doesn't understand, basically, what blockchain probably is ... As I started my conversation with, for a consumer, we think it is basically the speed of the transaction; it is the cost that will be lower for him; and the transparency.
Today the customer is sending money: Overseas, he knows what (are) the applicable effects. He knows the fees he's going to pay; he's able to track the transaction. He's able to trace the transaction and see the status of the transaction on a real-time basis."
The benefits of blockchain technology that he described are unassailable when compared to the legacy infrastructure delivery model. Now, banks like NBK can send money across borders with the knowledge that the payments will settle in real-time, as opposed to being at the mercy of bank-specific hours of operation and batch processing.
Ultimately, it's the customers who benefit, with both lower fees and real-time delivery of value to family members and other stakeholders.
Dublin Tech Summit
The Dublin Tech Summit started three years ago, and is planning on two days of diverse technology coverage this year; its promotional video focused in on the technologies and trends that were resulting in the most engagement with potential attendees, and seemed designed to evoke the same feeling of a 'Ted Talk.'
The conference takes place from April 10-11 this year, and Ross D'Arcy, Ripple's Sales Director for Europe, is listed as one of the speakers: 8
The conference seems to have a wider, more generic technology scope than just 'blockchain,' and I couldn't help but wonder how large a part - or small - digital assets would play at the conference.
Hopefully the Dublin Tech Summit will release content on YouTube like many others after the event.
One of the most exciting developments to originate from Coil subscriptions is that of the Cinnamon video hosting service. The site is not live yet, but the plans for the service were officially announced in late February of this year:
Question (Leonidas): "What is Cinnamon? How will it work (in layman’s terms)?"
Answer (Róbert Tarabčák): "Cinnamon is a video-streaming service like YouTube or Netflix. It will pay content creators in real-time, for every second their videos are watched. Coil members with valid subscriptions can watch videos, share and comment. Anyone can become a content creator on Cinnamon."
Question (Leonidas): "Are you funded by Xpring? If not, how did you acquire support, and do you plan on obtaining funds from any other source in the future?"
Answer (Róbert Tarabčák): "Initially, we raised funding from Angel investors within the XRP Community. We play with the idea of Xpring backing us, but we don’t focus on that right now."
The Q&A had a few other surprises as well, and it was great to learn more about Cinnamon's CEO and team; I have no doubt that this site will provide powerful competition to YouTube, purely based on its business model.
Think about it this way: On YouTube, the user experience is atrocious. You have to endure sometimes more than one commercial just to watch content that a creator is attempting to monetize. In addition, video creators have long complained about not receiving their fair share of the revenue generated from their own videos; Cinnamon's goal is to change that.
- Clean up the user experience and brings the content to them without commercial interruption
- Remunerate the content creators with Coil subscription revenue
Yes, the Coil subscription costs a small amount per month, but it is far less than a Netflix monthly subscription, and has the potential of offering the same type of diversity of video content as competing sites like YouTube and Vimeo.
No doubt the idea for Cinnamon, if properly executed, is one of those 'stroke of genius' ideas that sometimes takes hold of the public's imagination.
For now, those that are interested in participating - either by consuming or creating - can sign up for Cinnamon's email notifications, which will keep them updated on any scheduled beta releases: https://www.cinnamon.video/
The Netherlands-based XRP Meetup has been re-scheduled to April 20th:
If you're interested in having an opportunity to meet representatives from XRPL Labs or other fellow XRP enthusiasts, please RSVP: Wietse Wind has created a Google RSVP form to fill out so that the event can be planned with greater accuracy:
Thanks to Wietse Wind for organizing this opportunity for European XRP fans - or at least the ones in the Netherlands - to meet and discuss all topics 'XRP' over a friendly beer.
Do you like XRP swag? Some of those in the XRP Community have a serious hobby, and have seemed to make it a goal to collect a wide variety of t-shirts, mugs, coins, stickers, art-work, key-rings, and even customized license plates.
This phenomenon is fantastic for using them as 'ice-breakers' to talk about crypto in general, or of course about XRP in specific if the other person is already well-versed in topics about blockchain tech.
One of the stores that offers some custom pieces is that run by @DigitalNomadInv (Twitter avatar). He recently indicated that the has a new set of jerseys available with fresh designs:
His shop has a variety of other designs, t-shirts and clothing if you're looking to expand your selection; this set of designs definitely has that 'sports jersey' theme and feel, and provides a unique flavor of looking at 'supporting your favorite crypto team.'
He indicated that the new design is limited edition, and that those interested should direct-order by sending him an email or a 'DM' (direct message) on Twitter. For other designs, you can take a look at his site here: https://www.teepublic.com/user/digitalnomadinvestor/
BlockFi is a platform for collateral-backed loans. It allows individuals to receive fiat-denominated loans if they place their crypto holdings on deposit with the company; the platform began offering crypto-backed credit to consumers in 2018, and on March 4th, the CEO of BlockFi, Zak Prince, indicated that his platform would be supporting XRP: 9
"We plan to add it in April or May."
The BlockFi platform is the latest in a series of businesses that now offer crypto-backed loans to consumers and others; with these services, investors can more easily access their capital without having to trade out of crypto at disadvantageous price points.
My take? These services are good for the market, and for overall, long-term growth; having an option to 'obtain cash' without actually 'cashing out' is a great addition to the overall crypto ecosystem.
BlockQuake is a new exchange scheduled to launch in the second quarter of 2019.
The exchange has so far been funded by private investors, and has engaged in a series of high-profile promotional interviews and announcements, providing some dramatic quotes about its own expectations for the exchange. Here's one from the CEO, Antonio Brasse:
The "Leonidas" that Antonio Brasse is referring to is @LeoHadjiloizou (Twitter handle), who has broken more than his fair share of stories about XRP's growing liquidity reach and business adoption.
BlockQuake has published a road-map for its new platform on its main website, and it lists an "International Private Token Sale" as part of its planned financing, scheduled just prior to its exchange launch:
The team from BlockQuake also met with Ripple, fueling speculation that there may be further developments in the works. Ripple has so far partnered with three exchanges to deliver its xRapid solution for sourcing liquidity in cross-border transactions.
In addition to the meeting with Ripple, BlockQuake contributed to the enthusiasm by indicating that they were planning on debuting their exchange - with XRP as a base currency - with seven fiat pairings:
The XRP Community is always happy to learn about more exchanges using XRP as a base currency: XRP is the crypto-asset with the fastest settlement time - under four seconds - and also the most scalable, boasting a 1,500 transaction-per-second, on-chain throughput. It makes sense that traders would want to use it to move value into - and out of - exchanges quickly in response to market conditions.
The BlockQuake team will soon face its biggest challenge: the formal launch of the exchange in one more month. Exchange volumes for new entrants tend to build over time with effective marketing and advertising campaigns, as well as with other industry partnerships. In the meantime, it will be interesting to see if the team reveals any further specific information about its talks with Ripple or other details about its platform.
Support The Challengers
If you want to see change in the cryptomarket, support XRP.
XRP has the best shot of any of the cryptocurrencies at moving the entire market forward into the future: With adoption by banks; with adoption by remittance processors; with adoption by those looking to use micropayments; by those looking to monetize content for creatives on the Internet; and for those looking for a crypto-asset to store their value for whatever reason life brings.
Change is not effected by supporting the status quo; change is made by each of us choosing to support new technology and the fearless challengers that have risen up to champion these innovations.
Choose to support XRP and all of the individuals and businesses that are working to see that digital assets will change the world.
Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to Johanna Buguet