Volume is picking up again; market caps are expanding once more. And now, the regulatory climate worldwide can be faced with greater certainty.
How large will the crypto market become? In my last blog, I mentioned the prediction made by the CEO of Pantera Capital - a large financial company that has made numerous investments in the blockchain space. He predicted that the market capitalization of cryptocurrency would plateau at around $40 trillion. 1
Remarking on the current state of the crypto market:
“Anything that’s a $400 billion asset will not be ignored for long,”His remarks were received with enthusiasm within crypto, but even here, sentiment remained skeptical. Could blockchain technology become a $40 trillion dollar market?
Where do we stand today? 451 billion. 4
Ripple News & TopicsFor Ripple, the public relations blitz continued, with Asheesh Birla doing
a livestream, and Ryan Zagone providing testimony to a UK Parliamentary hearing on blockchain.
The last four days is continuing evidence of how Ripple is challenging inertia through the media - and I predict we'll see even greater levels of public engagement from Ripple going forward.
Standard Chartered Expanding Using RippleNetOne of the corridors that Standard Chartered wanted to expand was the India-and-Singapore corridor. Many of the bank's corporate clients had supply chain payments that needed to be routed between the two countries. In November of 2017, the company went live with RippleNet to address that connection, and Standard Chartered's CEO, Bill Winters, had this to say: 5
"We are using blockchain technology to streamline cross-border payments as part of the first live, real-time payments corridor between Singapore and India that we initiated in 2017. We will expand this capability to five more pairs of countries in 2018."Watching how Standard Chartered is using RippleNet's expanding reach to its own advantage, one cannot help wonder which other banks are now scrambling to do the same.
Bank Dhofar Joins RippleNetOman is a small country on the South-Eastern part of the Saudi Arabian Peninsula. It is an oil-rich sultanate, and one of its highest-profile banks is BankDhofar. 6 7
Recently, BankDhofar made history by becoming the first Oman bank to join RippleNet, which expands the potential reach of XRP even further. While I'm assuming that the bank will start out like others in the space and use xCurrent (Ripple's ILP-based solution for joining together different ledgers), it is one more addition to a growing network of banks that are quickly adopting the technology that will replace SWIFT.
Codius - Intrigue and AnticipationFor those that don't already know, Codius is Ripple's smart contract platform. The old version of Codius functions, but development of its capabilities and features was stopped in favor of a pivot towards the Interledger Protocol, or ILP, in 2015.
All was quiet on that front until December of 2017, when Stefan Thomas posted the following via Quora: 8
A "new version of Codius built on Interledger" caused a surge of excitement through the XRP community, and recently a video was posted of a Ripple board member - Susan Athey - mentioning Codius. The video is from 2015, but indicates Ripple's vision for its smart contract platform:
"I worked on Ripple’s smart contract systemback in 2013–2015. Back then, our conclusion was that a viable smart contracts ecosystem requires a standard for payments first. Contracts need to be reviewed to be trusted and that’s expensive if you need a new contract for each type of asset, because every ledger has a different protocol/API. Thus, was born.
Now that Interledger exists, we are revisiting the idea of building smart contracts. We justfor a new version of Codius that is built on Interledger. You can expect to see more on this in 2018."
Susan explains it in a way that most investors can understand.
"It's going to allow more people to hedge more complicated situations."Derivatives markets are even bigger than ForEx; depending on the source, different experts put the size of the entire market somewhere between 542 trillion and 1,200 trillion.9 10 If Ripple is able to develop a smart contract platform that operates in concert with the Interledger Protocol, and it can connect all ledgers with an ILP plugin, then its capabilities may expand the derivatives market even further.
Zip Remit EndorsementThe original tweet from Zip Remit on March 1st was a strong endorsement of Ripple technology and specifically xRapid:
This communication itself was eye-opening for other companies in the remittance sector, and in a recent clarification (via Twitter DM), Zip Remit added that: 15
"No 'pilot' phase here. We are in with both feet after doing a lot of assessment throughout 2017."This means that a company has independently confirmed XRP's cost savings, and has made the decision to move forward with xRapid.
UK Parliament Blockchain HearingAt a UK Parliament hearing on blockchain technology, Ryan Zagone, Ripple’s Director of Regulatory Relations, took the spotlight. Overall, the vast majority of the questions and discussions were positive, except for one lone standout, fellow panelist Martin Walker, the Director for Evidence-Based Management. 11
Criticisms from Martin WalkerWe are so used to encountering obstacles and inertia when it comes to adoption of true innovation, that it’s difficult to pause and consider if some criticisms are actually warranted or not. In this case, it was a strange mixed bag with Martin Walker’s comments, which makes things especially difficult to piece out. While Martin Walker did take some shots at Ripple, the majority of his comments were about blockchain technology and his perspective that it is a ‘fad’ (his words).
"All that it takes to make a credible idea into a fad is people just switch off their brains and stop thinking. Over 20 years in and around the banking industry — blockchain is a fad, but I have seen many fads in my career."Ironically, from this statement, I’d say the only person that has switched off their brain is Martin Walker.
Why? Because blockchain technology is not a fad. I wonder how many like-minded bankers and financial ‘experts’ initially dismissed the Internet as a ‘fad’? No, blockchain is not a fad, and it is not going away. The innovation of a trust-less, decentralized, no-counter-party digital asset has the potential to transform global finance in ways that the world has never seen before. The same is true for an immutable, distributed ledger. Missing this basic common ground, I don’t know how much progress can be made to change his opinion.
It was obvious from his statements that whoever planned the panel’s constituents wanted a counterpoint to the otherwise promising innovations described by Ryan Zagone and other panel members.
Ryan Zagone Holds His GroundOne committee member asked Ryan Zagone how Ripple was making use of blockchain technology. His response:
“We focus on cross-border payments where to date privacy was a painful process. Cross-border payment would take two days, you wouldn’t be able to track the payment and you wouldn’t know the fees upfront. So, it wasn’t until two days you’d find out how much was taken out as a fee.
“You could literally mail a box of cash and have better tracking and certainty than you would sending it through a bank. We recognized a key pain point in cross border payments that was limiting consumer’s use if they were sending it back home and it was also becoming a key limit to economic growth.”
In addition to this, he pointed out that because of the complexities and uncertainty around cross-border payments, some businesses have actually made the decision to focus on domestic growth rather than expand internationally. From my perspective, it’s unseen economic impacts like this that will propel world leaders (and the UK) to make a change using Ripple’s software.
Those like Martin Walker who are satisfied with the status quo do not understand the potential for increasing global commerce or for preventing another global financial crisis.
XRP & Community NewsXRP, like other cryptocurrencies, can be used, traded, owned, and developed upon by anybody. This includes community-sponsored applications and websites, independent exchanges, and public & private businesses.
FastTech Accepts XRP as PaymentAlthough I've never used the site myself, an XRP fan discovered that a popular online electronics retailer - FastTech - accepts XRP as settlement. 12
While it's "one more retailer," this is an example of how crypto - and XRP - is making inroads into retail adoption.
Why is this worth noting? While retail settlement is on the decline for Bitcoin due to its high fees and slow confirmation times, XRP is fast and settles in under four seconds.
GMO Exchange in UKA Japanese crypto exchange is planning on entering the UK market with a new trading app for mobile devices. GMO is a very large Japanese conglomerate, and has enormous clout when it comes to the foreign exchange market.
In addition, it is pursuing the crypto market through its subsidiary, GMO Coin. It has a new app called Pipster. 13 This app will allow users to trade in GMO-supported crypto choices - one of which is XRP. 14
The release date? June 2018.
Nik Bougalis Starts a BlogThis topic has to go under "XRP" because Nik announced in his first blog entry that, even though he is continuing to work for Ripple, he is also planning on starting a new business soon. He didn't provide many details in the first blog, but dropped enough hints to generate some excitement. I can't wait to see what sort of new venture he's involved with:
"I am incredibly excited about the future of this venture. We have an amazing team and a great idea. Executing will mean more hard work and less free time for us, but I think that the product we will deliver will be worth it.
I’m not ready to share anymore right now, but I will as soon as we are ready."
This announcement in itself was worth the read, but Nik also shared some of his personal history with David Schwartz and Ripple, which was fascinating reading. I won't spoil it for you - if you want to know the details, you'll have to read for yourself.
Community Night Ticket CompetitionDuring "Blockchain Week" in New York City, Ripple is hosting a community night that will feature Snoop Dog. The number of tickets is limited, but Ripple set aside ~ twenty tickets for XRP community members. To distribute the tickets fairly, Claire Arthurs Kart, Ripple's Head of Community, organized a competition to give them away: One was a trivia competition, and the other was a meme competition.
The winners of the trivia contest - and the associated tickets - were:
The winners of the meme competition were "yet to be determined" at the time of this writing.
Congratulations to everybody that participated and especially those that now get to attend the community night in New York City - looking forward to the stories from your experience.
Community RemindersFor those that want to purchase XRP swag, there are two well-known community-sponsored merchandise sellers:
The Digital Ledger is run by a team of community members that includes
- Tom Berg (of #nopants fame)
- Andre Ventura (of Dre Ventures YouTube fame)
- Michael Bidegain (Of Bidecoin and XRP Street Team fame)
Cryptomerchandise is run by Alex Cobb, who runs a popular YouTube Channel.
XRPChat Coin PromotionIn one of my recent blogs, I discussed a coin promotion that was being organized by @mercury (XRPChat avatar). To make the process democratic, he opened up voting on six potential designs. The voting closed on Saturday, April 28th, with the winning design was submitted by @xrphunter:
To order the coin once it is available, you'll need to actively follow the thread where the promotion is being organized. Here is the link: https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/22658-vote-for-the-next-xrp-ripple-themed-silver-medallions/
Answer: It Will be Big - Very BigHow big will the crypto market be?
Some pundits subscribe to a 'win-lose' type of mentality where they believe that for their preferred digital asset to rise, others must fall. I do not believe in this limited thinking.
I believe that innovations like ILP make the pie bigger for everybody. And I also believe that entirely new asset classes (derivatives and others) will be created with the new version of Codius.
What about other analysts - amateur or professional?
One is a YouTuber named "Suzy" from "Esoteric Trading Solutions." Her latest broadcast methodically points out the overwhelming evidence that institutional money is now primed to enter the crypto market. While I spoke about the advent of retail investing in my blogs from 2017, and pointed out some promising data from that time period that hinted at institutional investment by hedge funds, she lists the unassailable facts that now indicate 2018 is the year of entry into the crypto markets by these large financial entities.
Her comment during this broadcast:
"The biggest one that works - and we know it works - is Ripple (XRP). So Ripple (XRP) will do extremely well. Ripple (XRP) will be the cryptocurrency of choice, I'm telling you."While she falls into the habit of calling XRP "Ripple" (this was my own bad habit for many years), you get the picture. Suzy has been an equity and funds trader, and she is an insider to the industry. While my own analysis might be insightful at times, it is definitely not an expert opinion like hers. I am a technology architect, while her background is large-dollar-value finance.
I highly recommend that you view the entire YouTube video, but if you are short on time, here is a remarkable statistic (10:22 in the video):
These numbers portend an incredible wave of investment that is just starting; it is only May and we've already seen the equivalent of a years' worth of funds created to target cryptocurrency.
If you're on the fence about continuing to own or invest in crypto, I strongly suggest you verify some of these numbers and do your own research. I'm confident that you will arrive at the same conclusion that I did long ago; it may be a path with obstacles and inertia, but XRP will overcome the doubters and lead to higher levels of global commerce - and add amazing value to your own portfolio in the meantime.
- https://coinmarketcap.com/ at ~ 11 a.m. CST on 5-3-2018