Value is locked up in today's world. When money is earned by an individual, they'll inevitably purchase things that they need - or want. What if a person buys a car that they need for transportation to work? That car now represents value in physical form.
In the past, this value would be locked away, and the car would merely depreciate over time. In fact, the only economic transaction that would take place in between those two points is a loss of that stored value. But we've seen a shift in economic innovation of late; the brighter minds in Silicon Valley and elsewhere have started to understand the hidden potential in the economy. What if anybody could make money by giving a ride to another person when they're not using the car for their own needs? Enter Uber & Lyft. The same principle has now been extended to houses and vacation homes via Airbnb, and also common household tools and furnishings through Omni.
This same principle of unlocking unused potential exists in the transfer of value.
Correspondence banks still handle much of the world's international payments, and they take days to complete, with no guarantee of the fees or time-frames involved. This 'in-transit' value represents unused potential for the global economy. Ripple's solutions stand ready to take this multi-day time frame and move it to real-time, at an undetectable cost. This development will most likely result in a massive infusion of capital and increase the number of worldwide cross-border transactions, thereby fueling the global economy.
Derivatives also facilitate the unlocking of new value that would otherwise not be available. It's estimated that the derivatives market - even using traditional forms of technology that exist today - are massive, comprising the largest category of asset on the planet:
With a standards-based smart contract platform like Codius, markets and contracts that were previously too small to make economic sense could be monetized and used by individuals, businesses, and governments, providing additional sources of income and revenue. Think micropayments. Think microcontracts. The ecosystem components that circle XRP stand ready to tap enormous stores of economic energy around the world.
Cory Johnson will be conducting a live 'Ask Me Anything' (AMA) session with Brad Garlinghouse on Wednesday, August 22nd at 3 pm PST.
This session follows on the heels of two AMA sessions conducted by David Schwartz, Ripple's Chief Technology Officer. For those interested, Ripple indicated that questions should be submitted via a reply to their official announcement tweet located here:
My own question:
"I count four officially listed xRapid partner exchanges that have been announced, including SBI VC, Bittrex, Bitso, & coinsph. Are other exchanges currently in the works - and can you comment on them?"
Regardless if my question or others are selected, I look forward to the AMA; Ripple consistently provides valuable opportunities for the public to interact with the XRP ecosystem's biggest company.
AMA Session with David Schwartz
The AMA Session hosted on thenextweb has completed; many XRP fans submitted their questions formally via the interface at thenextweb, and David Schwartz ended up answering approximately seventeen of the questions in written format. Here are a few that were answered:
Question (Crypto Eri): Hi David ~
Can you tell us in regards to the new Xrapid partners/users that were announced this last week, (Bittrex, Bitso and Coins.ph), how much of the XRP token is needed by each to provide the maximum benefit of liquidity for their transactions. Are these tokens kept on hand and reused or do they need to regularly acquire them? If the later is the case, are they purchased or does Ripple provide them? Thank you so much in advance.
Answer (David Schwartz): For xRapid to work, there has to be sufficient liquidity between XRP and the local fiat currency to permit fiat currency to be bought and sold as needed. A lot of this liquidity is already being provided organically by market makers. xRapid will just mean that instead of (probably) trading almost exclusively with speculators, market makers will increasing trade with market takers trying to source liquidity through XRP. If needed, Ripple would consider employing third party market makers to provide additional liquidity were existing market making insufficient.
Question (Dr. T): Will it ever be technically feasible to source liquidity from multiple pools (like two or more exchanges) and recombine them into a single atomic payment that's settled at a destination exchange?
I'm thinking along the lines of something similar to incremental filling of orders on XRP Ledger decentralized exchange that consumes offers from multiple sources. In the RippleNet case, it would mean constructing synthetic order books that have offers from XRP/Fiat pair from multiple exchanges.
I understand that this might not be possible with ILP but perhaps some other solution?
Answer (David Schwartz): Congratulations on asking the most technical question today! I believe it is actually possible to do this with ILP, however I don't know if anyone will ever go to the trouble of building the infrastructure necessary to do it. The philosophy of most of those working on ILP is that it makes more sense to "stream" payments in multiple directions, see which direction is giving you the best rate, and increase the payments you stream in that direction. This is cheap, fast, efficient, and simple to implement, however, it doesn't guarantee that you will be able to make the entire payment. The hope is that we can design systems that fix that problem at higher levels and keep the money flow layers as simple as possible -- kind of the opposite of lightning's approach.
Question (Justin Small): Can you give us a update on xRapid and how it's progressing, do we have a planned live date yet? How do you see Convergence working with xRapid, xVia and xCurrent?
Answer (David Schwartz): Our goal is to have xRapid out of beta by the end of the year. We're really excited about the recent pilot results showing 40% to 70% savings compared to what financial institutions normally pay expensive foreign exchange providers.
Question (ecent): Is there a reason that the range is so large re: savings? Does it just depend on scale of tests and structure of tests or something else?
Answer (David Schwartz): It has to do with a lot of factors. A big one is just how efficient the alternatives are. The less efficient the alternatives, the greater the savings with xRapid. Some companies have spent absurd amounts of money optimizing their current liquidity sourcing. They won't see as big a savings with xRapid as a smaller company that hasn't invested so heavily in optimizing their current liquidity sourcing. In a way, xRapid helps level the playing field and might even make it possible for new competitors to enter the market without a huge disadvantage relative to the existing players who have invested more.
There are many more which captured my attention; to see the entire list of questions, along with those that David Schwartz answered, you can view the entire AMA content here: AMA Questions and Answers
Cargills Bank is a bank headquartered in Sri Lanka (Ceylon). 6 The addition of Cargills Bank to RippleNet went unnoticed by many in the XRP Community; perhaps it's because, in keeping with their policy, Ripple didn't formally announce it as a new customer. But that didn't stop Cargills Bank from communicating this significant update to their software stack:
This new international addition to RippleNet is more significant than people realize, because it adds a new corridor that didn't exist previously; that of the Sri Lankan Rupee (LKR). 7 Now other banks on RippleNet can, theoretically, connect to Cargills Bank for settlement. In addition, at the point where banks are more comfortable using digital assets for transitioning one fiat currency to another, xRapid could provide an efficient corridor for this national currency to grow its liquidity through Cargills Bank.
This particular announcement by an individual bank, along with Ripple's continued discreet non-mentioning of new banking partners, makes me wonder which other international markets RippleNet now covers.
Distributed 2018 was a conference in San Francisco that focused on decentralized businesses that specifically focused on both Eastern and Western blockchain initiatives that are global in scope. 8 Emi Yoshikawa, Ripple's Senior Director of Joint Venture Partnerships, attended, and participated in a panel discussion titled "Enterprise Adoption in Asia:"
The panel was facilitated by Bianca Chen from Thomson Reuters. The first question posed to the panel participants was "how strong do you think the blockchain industry is in Asia, and why?" Emi Yoshikawa gave a sharp introduction to how SWIFT was originally targeted towards high value, low volume payments by corporates when it started, and then pointed out how that landscape has now changed dramatically, with much of the cross-border payment growth falling into the category of "low value, high-volume" payments:
"Asia is really the center for remittances in the world. For example, China, India, the Philippines: Those are the top three countries for remittance....
...current infrastructure cannot meet this change in demand. That's where blockchain comes in, and we can better address this changing need. So I think there is a kind of fit for this technology in the market. "
she also expounded on the fact that Asian banks do not dominate the current correspondence banking network the way that Western banks do, and that these same Eastern banks are more apt to view blockchain technology as a way to bypass some of the barriers to entry for traditional correspondence banking. She continued later in the discussion to talk about how Ripple had researched bank payment processing, and how those findings influenced the way that it organized its solutions. This video is a great primer for those new to Ripple solutions.
The Ripple Drop - Episode 4
The Ripple Drop is a video series by Ripple that is released every first and third Monday of each month. In this episode, Cory Johnson provides a quick perspective on the Quarter 2 XRP Markets report, followed by two interviews, one with Marcos Fernandez, Ripple's Senior Manager for xRapid Infrastructure Partnerships, and one with Welly Sculley, Ripple's Director of Business Development:
My favorite Q&A from the interview with Marcos Fernandez:
Reinhard Cate: "So what's your hope with both these deployments within these countries, with xRapid?"
Marcos Fernandez: "The goal is to lay out this technology with some of our early partners, and to scale that, so we can see meaningful difference. I think a lot of people confuse that we're just trying to help financial institutions, and help them save money, when, at the end of the day, these technologies will be adopted by the consumers; the people who are trying to send money back to their families.
It won't happen overnight, but it will take time. And as we scale, we'll start seeing those cost savings and that speed and transparency translated back to that consumer experience."
My favorite Q&A from the interview with Welly Sculley:
Reinhard Cate: "What kind of changes have you seen in the last year, in particular, for RippleNet, and specifically for its customers?"
Welly Sculley: "I think the biggest change is that we've seen an increasing proportion of non-bank payments companies joining the network. I think that's super cool given that a lot of these non-banks are coming into the market to provide very specialized payment services, to compete with banks who are really having a problem to catch up."
The interviews in this edition of The Ripple Drop lasted longer than in previous episodes, and provided an opportunity for Reinhard to plumb to a deeper level on some of these topics. While still concise, this latest edition was definitely packed with information and viewpoints from Ripple leaders that XRP holders will want to review for themselves.
@BankXRP (Twitter handle) recently published a recording that was originally posted by dzone, a website focused on web interoperability topics as well as security. On August 20th, their 'Blockwatch' segment featured a discussion between Chris Ward and Stefan Thomas, Coil's CEO. The interview is audio-only:
In the interview, Chris quizzes Stefan about a number of topics, including information about Coil, xCurrent, xRapid, and ILP & Codius.
I like the illuminating analogies that Stefan Thomas uses. At one point, he drew a comparison between Interledger nodes and Internet routers:
"Interledger... when you .... implement the main component, it's what's called a connector... the connector is essentially, what on the Internet would be a router. So it's something that takes packets of money and then forwards them."
He continued to emphasize that Interledger can settle using any currency. The topic then turned towards Coil.
"We want to, essentially, build a product to solve how content and applications are monetized on the web....
If you're a website today and you want to monetize, you'll probably use... ads, or maybe you'll have people subscribe, or maybe you'll have people support you through Patreon, or a service like that. The issue with most of those is they're not really great for small content creators and small websites, and so it's led to a lot of centralization.... At this point, Google and Facebook make up something like 50% of the global ad revenue...
Where web monetization could come in, is that it solves an age-old problem with the web, which is, we have just a one-on-one interaction: I request your website and you send it to me; but there's no way for me to pay you for that website. In the original web standards documents, there's actually an error code that is reserved for 'payment required.' It's the error code 402."
The conversation went very deep into the topic of web standards at that point. It was a fascinating discussion, and Stefan Thomas connected the topic to Coil's efforts at development of a Web Monetization standard that would fully automate micropayments. And yes, he gets into some of the specific ideas that go further than some of the high-level descriptions provided in the past.
Web developers and content creators should enjoy this recording.
He was imploring Changpeng Zhao, the CEO of Binance, the number one exchange by volume, to use XRP as a base pairing. 9 A base pairing is where most of the cryptocurrencies offered by an exchange can be directly traded for another (base paired) digital asset.
When trading in centralized exchanges first began, Bitcoin was the obvious choice. It was more of a hobbyist's market, and Bitcoin was the most well-known cryptocurrency. However, as more exchanges came online, and the number of transactions and exchanges started to grow, Bitcoin's lack of scalabilty, along with its hour-long settlement time, began to take its toll. In addition, while moving Bitcoin onto and off of exchanges, traders noticed that they were absorbing very high fees that made crypto trading ultimately unprofitable.
Because of this reason, exchanges are starting to use XRP for their preferred 'base' asset.
It's fast - it settles in under 4 seconds - and it can support 1,500 transactions per second, which is far more than Bitcoin's 6 TPS or Ethereum's 15 TPS.
XRP The Base
C3_Nik kept up his efforts 10, and on August 17th, at a conference unveiling an LCX-Binance partnership, one XRP fan managed to ask Changpeng Zhao about the possibility of using XRP as a base pairing. 11
While the response from Changpeng Zhao was noncommittal, and even prompted an interesting tangential comment about stablecoins, it demonstrates that one community member can certainly start a movement and add significant momentum. Thanks @laukurki and @C3_Nik for taking this hashtag and making it real; let's see if Binance and others will see the value - and logic - in supporting XRP's real-time transfers into and out of their exchanges.
Blockchain Board Of Derivatives
Blockchain Board Of Derivatives (BBOD) 12 is an Ethereum-based futures platform that was funded by an ICO that closed in November of 2017. The ICO was based in Gibraltar. 13 The benefits to the ICO token holders are indicated as including discounts on trading fees. 14
BBOD supports futures contracts of XRP against other Ether futures contracts. 15 It's not a comprehensive derivatives platform for that reason, but it's technically an addition to the XRP ecosystem, and provides one avenue for those that are looking to try their hand at derivatives.
It is a new addition to the overall derivatives and cryptocurrency market, so I was not able to locate much in the way of reviews from users; I always welcome new trading alternatives for XRP, but use at your own risk.
XRP Media Data Visualizations
XRP Media is a multimedia website that contains curated XRP content, XRP-related articles, links to various YouTubers, and also a community calendar that I described in my last blog. XRP Media also publishes some interesting 'data visualizations.' Each one is a dynamic representation of the network; one displays the global distribution of validating nodes, along with colors that represent the versions of Rippled each one is operating:
A different visualization shows peer-to-peer connections on the network, and excludes the ones that have their validator configured with [peer-private] for security or other reasons:
The data visualizations provide yet another cross-section of network metadata that helps viewers understand different aspects of XRP validation. These are more than just entertaining graphics; I hope that XRP Media eventually releases further data visualizations that may help new XRP researchers understand additional characteristics of the network.
Leonidas' Remittance Graphics
An XRP Community member recently analyzed the major remittance corridors based on World Bank statistics, and then conducted a secondary analysis: He examined each of the major cryptocurrency exchanges in existence within those corridors, along with some of the major Ripple clients that have already become a part of RippleNet:
The graphics visually bring to light the major money movements to and from the biggest worldwide remittance corridors. If you're thinking of sharing a graphical depiction of possible xRapid corridors, this is one Twitter thread you should keep in mind.
Unlocking the World's Economic Potential
Each week that passes is building momentum for the XRP ecosystem of tools and solutions that have proven their worth in real-world business applications. SWIFT is being replaced bank-by-bank with xCurrent's ILP-based approach to cross-border value transfer. XRP, even ahead of its use in xRapid, is already being recognized for its potential by the crypto markets. And Stefan Thomas is so confident in Codius that his team is consistently making updates to its code base and taking its ecosystem to the next level before the Web Monetization standard is approved.
Massive reserves of value and potential economic energy will be unlocked by XRP, Codius, and the standards each is built on. Ripple's solutions have been crafted and perfected for banks and financial institutions to integrate these products seamlessly and in a low-risk fashion; innovation adoption takes time, and now we are at the leading edge of an industry transformation that may change the world for the better - for all of us.
Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to Francisco Gomes