The last ten days have been monumental for XRP.

Ripple's SWELL Conference

It started on Monday, August 21st with Ripple dramatically introducing 1 their new annual conference to compliment SWIFT's SIBOS conference in Toronto.  This news was earth-shaking in the banking industry, with waves of press coverage giving due to the founding of what could become the international conference for fintech. SWELL_Ripple

I've written a blog about just how significant the SWELL conference is under separate cover; to learn more about SWELL, read my blog entry or else pop up Ripple's official coverage.

Ripple's China Expansion

The SWELL Conference news last week was quickly followed by a well-received status update on Ripple's China expansion on August 28th. 2

Ripple's intensity in growing their Pacific rim banking network is impressive to watch.  I'm in awe of their team and what it's accomplished - starting with a Japanese banking consortium that covers banks controlling over 80% of all banking assets in that country. 3 Ripple's strong business alliance with SBI is - in retrospect - one more example of how well they are able to foresee the correct strategy for entering some of the most challenging markets.

Then, quickly on the heels of these massive accomplishments in Japan, we learned that Chris Larsen had been appointed to the Technology Advisory Board 4 of HSBC, by far the largest bank in Hong Kong.  It was a logical stepping stone for Ripple made by Chris Larsen, whose talent for growing fintech startups is now legendary.

Chris Larsen Chris Larsen

When I heard news about this appointment, I grew excited by the prospect that this might signal the next moves by Ripple; I was not disappointed, as Emi Yoshikawa, Ripple’s director of the Chinese joint venture partnership, communicated 5 on August 10th that they are hiring the team members that will form the core presence in China for Ripple.

Meeting with China's Central Bank

Openly communicating with XRP investors, Ripple sent a simple tweet on Monday, August 28th announcing that they were meeting with China's central bank, industry, and academic leaders to discuss the latest blockchain trends.

Ripple Central Bank Tweet

While this tweet provided a muted update about a discussion, it served to demonstrate to XRP investors that Ripple was serious about entering the Chinese market, and that  concrete steps were being planned and taken by the company to proceed in this direction.

New Wallets

When XRP exploded in popularity earlier in 2017, the community constantly saw new users asking about wallets and how to get their XRP, and then how to store it safely via hot and cold wallets.

While these options were plentiful, delays that some people encountered with exchanges sometimes obstructed the natural progression of investor enthusiasm that would have otherwise ensued.

Ripple recognized this issue early on, and engaged BitGo in creating a highly secure, multi-sign wallet for their financial and banking customers, and then also to develop a consumer-oriented version, which is still in progress.  BitGo completed the XRP wallet for enterprise customers on August 3rd, 2017, and released it for general use. 6

Other community wallets were then introduced that made it easy for new investors to store and use for trading purposes.   toast_wallet_imageUntitled The most widely-publicized new wallet was the "Toast" wallet that was recently approved on August 14th for listing in the Apple app store. 7

In general, XRPChat is the place to go to review recommendations for cold wallets, hot wallets, desktop wallets, and IOS and Android wallets.  There's different choices for almost any situation.

Click here to review instructions for how to set up a cold wallet.

Click here to review a listing of hot wallets along with a lot of other great community collateral.

Cointal: Distributed Multi-Coin Exchange Built on the XRP Ledger

It started with a Reddit post on June 7th, 2017 announcing an escrow-based distributed coin exchange built on the XRP Ledger. 8  Several follow-ups later and we now know that the Cointal exchange is a reality, and has been formally announced on social media. 9 cointal

I'm personally excited about this new concept of a distributed marketplace, and hope that the user experience of first adopters will be positive.

Codius: Smart Contracts In XRP's Future

In 2014 and 2015, Ripple developed a smart contract platform named Codius.  It was (and is) an open-source project that aims to integrate with XRP Ledger capabilities to serve very similar use cases as those targeted by Tezos and Ethereum.  A working prototype of Codius was released by Ripple in 2014. 10

On June 11th, 2015 however, Ripple made a tough decision to re-order their sequence of projects to place the Interledger Protocol above smart contracts.  As a result, Stefan Thomas announced that all active work on the Codius project had been stopped by Ripple in favor of developing "standardized APIs" (i.e., the Interledger Protocol). 11 12

Fast forward to August 23rd, 2017

In a recent Twitter post, an XRP enthusiast (Tiffany Hayden) asked Stefan Thomas whether Ripple's original Codius project could be rebooted now that ILP is being used and is nearing code maturation.  He indicated that Ripple may have plans depending on when they put the finishing touches on ILP updates. 13

Transledger: An XRP Community Smart Contract Platform

In addition to the company-sponsored Codius project, within XRPChat @jaesharp (an XRPChat Avatar name) indicated he would take on a volunteer effort aimed at developing a community smart contract platform called Transledger.  @jaesharp is a former Ripple developer that has first-hand experience with the XRP Ledger, and the project is ambitious.

He indicted on July 16th 14 that:

"(Transledger) won't be much like Codius."
He released more details on the technical architecture here and indicated that the Transledger greenpaper will be published sometime in the near future on the Transledger GitHub site. 15 The origins of his greenpaper can be traced back to his conceptual post on XRPChat on June 27, 2017. 16

Beyond Updates: Further Resources and Forums for New XRP Investors

If you're a new XRP owner, join the club! the trade volume of XRP was over one billion dollars per day 17 during the SWELL conference announcements last week, and many alt coin traders and investors have been doing research and liking what they find.

For those that are new to XRP and want to learn more by asking the kind of probing questions that go beyond marketing material, the next step should be to seek out various forums that meet their needs.

I'm a long-term XRP investor, and I truly believe in the company and in XRP; however, I know very well that the XRP community is also comprised of short-term traders and even alt-coin day traders, so the resources for research will necessarily have a different focus.

Here's my breakdown:

XRP Day traders: Stick to Discord and Twitter.  You're going to be frustrated otherwise.  Here is a good English-speaking XRP Discord group:  Discord Invitation  Please note that Discord operates via time-expiring invitations only, so you may have to request a new one if this one expires.  If this invitation has expired, please navigate to XRPChat and send me a personal message; I can connect you with the owner of that Discord for an invitation.  Other than Discord, paying attention to a Twitter feed will sometimes yield high-velocity information that you might be able to use.

A useful twitter feed for day traders is something of an art, but if you're new to XRP, I can tell you that my basic recommendation is to follow the official company tweets:  This is the twitter account that announced the countdown to the SWELL conference that resulted in a surge of XRP volume.

XRP Swing Traders: Combination of Twitter, Discord, Reddit and XRPChat.

Reddit has a lot of up-to-date information for swing traders that are looking for trend analysis and sharing of links to outside articles.  It's interface is geared towards the sharing of external information and the conversations that directly follow, which may provide insights that short-term traders can use to their advantage.  Although there is more than one Reddit group that discusses XRP topics, the one with the most users is this one: r/Ripple

With thousands of XRP and Ripple fans, this Reddit's viewership is massive, and information sharing is done on the industrial scales that Reddit's platform offers.  I've encountered the situation more than once where somebody has posted something on this forum that I'd heard about nowhere else.  This specific Reddit forum seems to be frequented by Ripple employees who contribute content and post replies as well - a lot of my bookmarked items can be sourced here.

I can't say enough good things about XRPChat.  When I first started Bitcoin trading back in 2013, I began on (what still is) the largest Bitcoin forum, Bitcointalk.  While Bitcointalk serves to efficiently route and moderate conversations in a standardized manner, it doesn't allow for many nice additions like custom avatars (at least not for "newbies"), clubs, emotive reactions, or an intuitive feed and side navigation.  XRPChat has all those missing items and more, and is ideally suited to the member who likes to do research and converse with others in a methodical fashion.  I highly recommend it for any trader that needs to understand the value of XRP's use cases.

XRP Long Term Investors: XRPChat and Ripple Collateral.  XRPChat is ideal for in-depth research and discussions.  You'll find a treasure trove of resources on XRPChat that are usually very well-sourced.  They will lead you to yet more information for deep comparative analysis.

In addition to the reading material itself, there are a few academics that frequent XRPChat.  The writer of the whitepaper on Pathshuffle is an example - he's a graduate student that stops by every once in a while to discuss his findings on credit-mixing and other heady topics. 18

All Ripple employees tend to be leaders in their field, and current (and former) Ripple employees frequent XRPChat to discuss projects and industry trends.  The conversations are well-moderated. Sometimes long term investors are provided opportunities to pose questions to Ripple employees via conversations on the forum that will help them make investment decisions.

In addition to XRPChat, long-term investors should do well to heavily research existing Ripple collateral to learn about XRP, the XRP Ledger, and ILP.  This material is very well-sourced, and can lead long-term investors to valuable insights and information.

Future Updates

The next two months leading up to the SWELL conference promises to provide more advancements and additions to the community.  The XRP ecosystem is expanding so fast that it's almost impossible for fans to stay up-to-date on all of the developments - that's what forums (and blogs) are for - to help us share knowledge with each other!