As one more quarter reaches its end it is always interesting to take a step back and look at recent developments, spot any trends that may have occurred and try to understand the strategies behind those developments. This report will take you through a flashback of the last three months (April, May and June 2019). We will take a sneak peek into everything that happened in those three months in relation to XRP and Ripple. If you need to dig deeper, links are provided for every news item. An analysis of the quarter along with a brief comparison to the previous quarter will follow. This report does not constitute financial advice. It is merely my own interpretation of current events.
April 1, 2019:
• SCB partners with Thailand’s PPT Exploration and Production Public Company Limited (PTTEP) to employ Ripple’s blockchain technology solution.
• The Luxembourg Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (LPEA) classifies XRP a payment token, like Bitcoin.
April 2, 2019
• Bitrue exchange adds XRP/USDC pair.
• Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) Quartz enables banks/payments systems to connect to newer DLT based payment infrastructures (like RippleNet) for processing of Cross border FX remittance transactions.
April 3, 2019:
• Santander announces the expansion of its Ripple powered solution One Pay FX to non-customers with its standalone app "Pago FX".
• XAGO,a Money Transfer Operator based in South Africa, uses the XRP Ledger as a distributed exchange, where users can exchange XRP for ZAR.
April 4, 2019:
• Japanese Imports company Tegiwa, has announced on facebook that they now accept crypto for payments via Coingate. XRP, LTC, BTC and ETH mentioned.
April 5, 2019:
April 9, 2019:
• Velic exchange goes live with 6 XRP pairs, 3 of which are XRP based.
April 10, 2019:
• Xpring invests in Robot Ventures.
• UQUID supports XRP for mobile and viber top-ups and bill payments.
• Zipmex exchange adds SGD (Singapore dollar) and IDR (Indonesian rupiah) pairs for XRP, BTC, ETH, EOS and LTC.
April 11, 2019:
April 15, 2019:
• Bitrue exchange adds LBA/XRP pair.
April 16, 2019:
• eToroX goes live with 7 XRP stablecoin pairs included: CHFX, GBPX, CADX, EURX, USDEX, AUDX and JPYX.
April 17, 2019:
• BelcoBTM, a company providing cryptocurrency vending services to customers in the USA and has launched multiple locations in New Jersey, has announced the addition of XRP.
• Xpring invests in Bolt Labs, a company focused on anonymous payment channels, instant, cheap and private payments for everyday purchases.
April 24, 2019:
April 25, 2019:
• The Representative Director, President and CEO of SBI Holdings, Inc. Yoshitaka Kitao joins Ripple’s Board of Directors.
• Salamandex integrates XRP. Merchants using its platform can now accept XRP.
• Bitrue partners with Wietse's XRPtipbot to make it easier for users to deposit other cryptos to the XRP TipBot.
April 29, 2019:
April 30, 2019:
• Ria Money Transfer, a subsidiary of Euronet, joins Ripplenet.
May 1, 2019:
May 2, 2019:
• Mbanq, a global provider of cloud banking technology, adds Ripple support.
May 4, 2019:
• Banesco Panama conducts a test (with Peruvian bank Intergroup) and joins Ripplenet.
May 6, 2019:
• Birake, an exchange based in Bucharest, lists XRP with a BTC pair.
• NOWPayments, a cryptocurrency payment processing platform, has announced the addition of XRP on its platform. XRP can now be used as a payin and payout option on NOWpayments.
May 8, 2019:
• XRP added on MXC exchange with USDT pair.
May 10, 2019:
• XRP supported on Bidali payment gateway and gift service.
May 13, 2019:
• Xpring invests in Agoric, a blockchain startup working to develop a blockchain-agnostic programming language specifically for smart contracts.
May 16, 2019:
May 17, 2019:
• Bitkeep wallet announces the addition of XRP on its aggregate exchange with BTC and USDT pairs.
• FXCM, a provider of online foreign exchange (FX) trading, CFD trading and related services, adds XRP/USD to cryptocurrency offering.
• Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple's CEO, speaks at the Swiss National Bank conference on “Past, Present and Future of the International Monetary System” in front of Christine Lagarde (Managing Director and Chairman of the International Monetary Fund), Agustín Carstens (General manager of the Bank of International Settlements) and many Central Bankers.
• Bitrue adds CSC/XRP trading.
May 22, 2019:
May 24, 2019:
• Colodax, a broker-to-peer Indian cryptocurrency exchange, goes live with XRP/INR (Indian rupee) trading included.
May 27, 2019:
• XRP now available on imove, an online wallet for individuals and small businesses specializing in global payments.
May 30, 2019:
• CatalX, a new Canadian digital asset trading platform (and a Bittrex partner), goes live. XRP added with CAD (Canadian dollar), BTC, ETH and USDT pairs.
• Yahoo! Japan backed cryptocurrency exchange TaoTao goes live. XRP supported.
May 31, 2019:
• Bitexbook, an exchange launched by StreamCapital Group Ltd, a Forex company based in St. Vincent and Grenadines, adds XRP with pairs to the Russian ruble (RUB), United States dollar (USD), BTC, ETH, USDT and the BitFlip debt token (XRPBF).
June 2, 2019:
• Leapfrog, a full stack technology services company that specializes in SaaS products, Web and Mobile Applications, and AI, announces the formation of a strategic partnership with Ripple.
June 3, 2019:
• Ripple takes an active role in reporting on volume and sales of XRP: "Sales of XRP in Q2 will be substantively lower (as a % of reported volume) than in the previous Q, with our stated target of 20bps, likely dropping to less than 10bp".
June 4, 2019:
• EliteX, a digital asset exchange integrated into the Lisk ecosystem, lists XRP with BTC, ETH, USDT and LSK pairs.
June 5, 2019:
• Ripple opens an office in Switzerland.
June 6, 2019:
• Vontobel Investment Banking, a globally operating financial expert with Swiss roots, that specializes in wealth management, active asset management and investment solutions, announces the launch of a Ripple (XRP) certificate for investors.
June 10, 2019:
• Beaxy, an all-In-One Cryptocurrency exchange goes live, includes XRP with a BTC pair.
June 11, 2019:
• Ripple launches operations in Brazil.
June 12, 2019:
• Ripple listed as a payment method at GoLance, an online workforce platform that connects employers with freelancers based all over the globe.
• XRParcade introduces the "Tipper". An app that allows website owners to attract traffic to their website or a specific page they wish to promote and visitors to earn XRP by visiting websites or completing tasks.
June 13, 2019:
June 14, 2019:
• Bitrue adds XTZ/XRP trading.
June 17, 2019:
• OceanEx, an AI powered digital asset trading platform within the VeChainThor Ecosystem, lists XRP with USDT and VET pairs.
• Ripple and Moneygram announce strategic partnership. Ripple becomes MoneyGram’s key partner for cross-border payment and foreign exchange settlement using digital assets.
• Banesco Panamá and Scotiabank Chile running proofs of concept (POC) with Ripple. Banesco to use Ripplenet for blockchain-based transfers only between banks in the group (covering the Dominican Republic, Panama, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Spain and Venezuela) initially.
• Coinone Transfer, a blockchain based overseas remittance company, announced that it will collaborate with SBI Ripple Asia to facilitate blockchain based remittance in S.Korea.
June 18, 2019:
• XRP listed on Bgogo exchange with BTC and USDT pairs.
June 23, 2019:
• Sendfriend, a newly formed Xpring backed money transfer company that is utilizing XRP and xRapid goes live in New Jersey.
June 25, 2019:
• Exchainpay, a cryptocurrency exchange based in India, lists XRP with INR (Indian rupee), BTC, ETH and TUSD pairs.
June 26, 2019:
• 300M-user meme site Imgur raises $20M from Coil to pay creators.
Analysis - Comparison to Q1 2019:
News items: 70 (109 last quarter)
Average: 0.77 per day (1.21 last quarter)
• April: 28
• May: 22
• June: 20
• Exchanges: 32
• Ripple partnership: 5
• Ripple news: 5
• Tech company integrating Ripple: 3
• Tech company facilitating XRP payments: 4
• Money transfer: 5
• Ripple powered app: 1
• Merchant accepting XRP: 3
• Monetization: 1
• Xpring related: 5
• XRPtipbot: 2
• XRP index: 1
• Forex: 1
• Crypto ATM: 1
• Legal: 1
- Exchanges added XRP as base currency: 2 (eToroX, Velic)
- New fiat listings: 11 (last quarter 37)
• 2: USD, INR, ZAR
• 1: SGD, IDR, CAD, JPY, RUB
- Total new crypto to crypto pairs: 53 (last quarter 75)
- Total XRP pairs (crypto and fiat): 1043 (last quarter 972). Increase of 7.3% (18% last quarter).
After the frenzy of new XRP listings in Q4 2018, the rate seems to have cooled down in 2019.
It only makes sense that as the amount of exchanges offering XRP trading and XRP markets increases, the rate of increase will slow down.
It will be interesting to see however if Ripple announces any new xRapid exchanges. The last announcement came almost a year ago, in August 2018, naming Bittrex, Bitso and coins.ph as xRapid partners, along with Bitstamp. Since then, many exchanges have declared their interest ( Bitrue, Binance, Gobaba, Quidax, eToro, Uphold, Coinfield, SBIVC and Artis Turba) but nothing official has been announced. As xRapid volume starts to kick in, more exchanges will be interested in partnering up with Ripple or even making XRP a base currency in order to attract the XRP community to their platform, a strategy that has worked wonders for Bitrue.
After reaching the milestone of 1000 nodes on December 5th 2018, the amount of nodes has remained stable for the past 6 months.
The network has continued its decentralization with only 23% of the UNL being operated by Ripple (27% last quarter).
At the same time, there are 10 countries running UNL validators, with the majority however (65%) operating from the US.
The XRP circulating supply has increased from 41,706,564,590 on March 17th to 42,566,596,173 on June 16th. That is an increase of 2.06%, slightly smaller to the increase during the previous quarter (2.24%). During the same three month period (March 17th - June 16th) the total XRP supply was reduced by 79,485 XRP, about 11% higher than the previous three month period (71,388). The amount of XRP being burnt seems to be increasing by 10% per quarter.
The total volume of XRP traded according to Coinmarketcap for this quarter (up until June 25th) was 147,634,334,991, compared to 53,575,397,154 during Q4 2018. This is a pretty significant increase of almost 300%.
Of course, these numbers by CMC can not be trusted since a lot of this volume is fake, an issue addressed by Ripple. Ripple has announced that during this quarter it would be reducing the % of XRP sales by more than half, from 20 basis points to less than 10. Of course, with the XRP volume being almost triple compared to the previous quarter, Ripple's XRP sales could even be higher to the previous quarter but with a much smaller effect.
During this quarter, we have seen 5 new Ripple partners emerge:
Ria Money Transfer
Frente Corretora de Câmbio
With Ripple signing 2-3 contracts per week, we can estimate that in 30 weeks during 2019 so far, Ripple must have signed approximately 75 contracts. Yet we only know of a small fraction of these partners due to NDAs.
We do know that the KNOWN Ripple ecosystem is becoming extremely large with Banks, Money transfer companies, tech companies and universities (University Research Blockchain Initiative) being the most common participants.
Another fascinating fact is that 47% of the top 75 banks in the world (by total assets) have tested or signed production contracts with Ripple.
However, with no regulatory clarity, banks are not clear to use XRP. That is where money transfer companies come in. Ripple has partnered with many money transfer companies, but during this quarter it has announced partnerships with Ria Money Transfer and Moneygram. With Moneygram, Ripple has formed a strategic partnership by investing in the company and making sure that the second largest money transfer company in the world will use XRP.
Xpring has continued to invest in companies and specifically in Robot Ventures, Bolt Labs and Agoric. Moreover, Coil seems to be making waves by partnering with Puma browser and investing in Imgur.
Another important development was that Ripple has launched operations and set-up offices in two more countries: Switzerland and Brazil. Through Switzerland, Ripple will serve European countries that have been moving more quickly with regulation on crypto assets. Brazil will be the hub for Latin America, that will help Ripple build the ecosystem in the region. A region with increased money transfer activity and expensive rates.
Past Ripple and XRP goals that have been achieved seem to justify the gradual "slowing down" in those specific aspects. XRP has been listed in a vast number of exchanges and it is available in most countries and fiat currencies. The UNL decentralization has never been better and both Xpring and Coil have been investing in companies and growing the XRP ecosystem with new usecases.
Ripple continues to work to achieve regulatory clarity both for XRP and the crypto space in general. It has recently hired Michelle Bond, a former Senior Counsel at the SEC, with 4 years as the Head of Global Regulatory Affairs and Public Policy at Bloomberg, as the Global Head of Governmental Relations at Ripple.
Ripple has been making strategic moves while waiting for the necessary clarity to come. By creating offices in Switzerland and Brazil it can now grow the Ripple ecosystem in those regions and attract more clients.
The amount of tech companies offering Ripplenet integration to banks and other institutions is also increasing. Companies like TCS (TATA Consultancy Services), Mbanq, Leapfrog and EvonSys are now helping companies join Ripplenet.
Last but not least, Ripple's strategic partnership with Moneygram, the second largest money transfer company in the world, will focus on xRapid. This move is expected to create more liquidity for XRP, reduce Moneygram's expenses, improve its rates and bring more customers. Most importantly, it will be the biggest and most realistic "test" for XRP and if successful, the best advertisment money can buy.