You are a leader. Yes, you.
You are looking for insights, information, or some perspective on the current state of the crypto market, and are wondering where the entire industry is heading. You've seen two things happen in 2018 thus far that are completely incongruous with each other: we've reached the highest heights in early January of this year, topping out just shy of a $1 trillion dollar market cap, and now you're seeing all of crypto - not just the volume leader - fall to a market capitalization that puts it in range of a Holiday gift from Jeff Bezos.
We all know and understand that we - the collective 'we' now - are undervalued.
Crypto-assets should be worth a market capitalization measured in the trillions. Even with the latest downturn over Thanksgiving 2018 - which will probably be remembered historically as one of the lowest points in crypto market psychology - think about what you haven't seen.
You haven't seen any revision of the total estimated plateau of crypto-assets by any of the analysts that initially called for a multi-trillion-dollar market capitalization. You haven't found anybody that has altered their prediction of an XRP takeover of crypto. You haven't heard Brad Garlinghouse reverse his statement that at least one bank will use XRP by the end of 2018. None of those things have happened.
My advice to you, if you've managed to weather and sustain yourself against the buffeting winds and waves thus far, is to stay strong. And I don't give any advice that I am not taking myself. My zerps remain locked away, because I am merely waiting and watching now; and if I have some spare cash or an opportunity, I'm buying more.
Those in the XRP camp specifically have watched as XRP has climbed the rankings. We'd rather it happened during sunny days of green numbers on the charts, but sometimes change happens during times of conflict, unfortunately, and XRP's recent climb is no exception. It has gained substantial market share in the past few weeks, and as the rest of 2018 unfolds, do not be surprised as more of the crypto market decides that, with the advent of a new year, it's time to place the environmentally-destructive tech behind Bitcoin and its proof-of-work cousins behind us, in the crypto museum where they belong.
General Crypto News
You may have heard about Bakkt recently in some of the crypto news outlets.
Bakkt is a new enterprise owned and operated by Intercontinental Exchange, otherwise known as "ICE" for short. Before understanding why Bakkt is taken so seriously, you have to understand a little bit about ICE.
It is a trading platform that emphasizes efficient settlement of trades, and the company has been on a quest for market expansion, acquiring numerous other entities whose business it is to provide data and services to major worldwide financial exchanges. Their customer list is extensive, and includes the NYSE, futures exchanges, OTC markets for energy, and central clearinghouses for financial instruments. 1
Bakkt, the company's new project, will be: 2
"...an integrated platform that enables consumers and institutions to buy, sell, store and spend digital assets on a seamless global network."
The press release went on to mention some interesting names in association with the project, including Starbucks:
"...The new company is working with a marquee group of organizations including BCG, Microsoft, Starbucks, and others..."
The initial information indicated that Bakkt would be focusing only on Bitcoin out-of-the-gate, so it's a disappointing debut; but if their history is any indication of future results, we can expect to see them expand their offerings to include high-demand cryptocurrencies like XRP.
The other unknown part of Bakkt is its role in considering itself a custody solution for other institutions.
Banks, remittance processors, and others may be looking for custody solutions as they move to use XRP at scale; while they can dynamically acquire XRP as they use it in such tools as xRapid, the use case that focuses on complete replacement of nostro accounts may find widespread use for those companies that wish to purchase a 'stack' of XRP up front prior to its use.
I expect that Bakkt will, as a basic service, offer custody of cryptocurrency for those corporate institutions that wish to utilize them for crypto safe-keeping.
Their official Twitter account indicated that the launch of Bakkt was now planned for January 24th, 2019:
Some crypto fans indicated that this new date is a departure from their more aggressive previous plans, and voiced their disappointment.
I think it's acceptable if financial movers-and-shakers adopt a more circumspect approach like Bakkt, and consider all of the ramifications of their marketing decisions and financial moves; in addition, I'd like to see them support XRP out of the gate instead of Bitcoin, and made my opinion known on their thread. I was not the only one.
In response to the tweet Bakkt sent on November 23rd, @XRPTrump (Twitter avatar) created an ad-hoc poll to gauge user interest:
The poll results ended up making headlines, putting Bakkt in a tough spot; either recognize that they may have made a miss-step with their primary listing of only Bitcoin, or consider the possibility of adding additional crypto-assets like XRP soon after launching.
I believe it will be the latter, but it will be interesting to see what happens when their newly-publicized launch date draws near.
Knomad is the "Global Knowledge Partnership on Migration and Development," which aims to be a "global hub of knowledge and policy expertise on migration and development issues." 5 It's an organization that works closely with the United Nations, and is funded by the World Bank.
On Thursday, November 29th, the organization is hosting a talk about "Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) for Payments Infrastructure Innovation" in Washington DC. 6
Dilip Rao, Ripple's Global Head of Infrastructure Innovation, recently indicated that he would be speaking at the meeting:
The event is described by Knomad as follows:
"The seminar will discuss how DLT is upending the way money is moved across borders today. The speaker will present the qualities of DLT that solve for fundamental pain points such as cost, speed, and transparency."
The only speaker mentioned is Dilip Rao, so this is an opportunity for him to highlight, generally, the strengths of the underlying technology used by Ripple, and focus on how their solutions aim to bring real-time settlement to global business. It should be a great session hosted by the World Bank; the facilitator is listed as Harish Natarajan, the 'Lead Financial Sector Specialist, Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice, at the World Bank.'
Sessions like these serve to demonstrate that the World Bank, the IMF, and other international organizations are very interested in how global financial systems are developing, and how they can be modernized to deliver on the promise of instantaneous transfer of value across borders. Ripple is the perfect company to turn to for a fantastic 'insider's perspective,' and hopefully they'll see fit to release some video content afterwards. Dilip, like so many executives from Ripple, is an amazing and intuitive communicator.
Tokenization of Securities
Some Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) purport to provide an opportunity for the holders to participate in the profits of an enterprise upon its successful operation. This is very similar to offering stock in a company, and so the SEC has brought several actions against these individual ICO operators for selling unregistered securities.
Some critics believe that this approach - enforcement rather than guidance - has stifled innovation, especially in the United States, with regards to initial coin offerings and the technology projects that are funded by them. To address this gap, a new platform is under construction that will facilitate conformance to SEC guidelines, while also allowing securitized token sales to continue.
Ripple, along with several other unlikely allies such as Coinbase, are all investing in a platform called Securitize, that aims to securely offer tokenized securities for trade, in compliance with the US SEC regulations governing tokens that fail the Howey test, the United States' legal precedent for defining securities:
Securitize's CEO, Carlos Domingo, has stated that he is not limiting the platform to 'just ICOs:' 7
“The opportunity is not just to work with blockchain companies. These are first movers, but the big opportunity is in digitizing private and public shares.”
Ripple, for its part, may be anticipating more ICOs being conducted on the XRP Ledger, which has seen a number of them since 2017. While not hosting ICOs as frequently as the Ethereum blockchain, the XRP Ledger contains native functions to allow custom creation of tokens - whether they are counter-party assets by exchanges or banks, or representative of securities during an ICO.
Whatever the reason for the Xpring investment, it's an interesting move for Ripple, and may herald a new product focus at some point in the future, or perhaps it's solely a smart investment that will yield substantial future returns.
It seems that the creation of epic videos is not owned by any one XRP community member! A recent tweet by LaszloLeonardo (Twitter handle) served to illustrate this point dramatically on November 24th:
The video focused on the XRP Tip Bot, and included video clips of specific functions inside it from a user perspective, with some commentary in the form of closed captioning set to dramatic piano music.
I think it's a great contribution to our collection of videos and demonstrates the level of talent that is now joining our ranks as the XRP community seeks to raise XRP's profile even higher.
In addition to an epic video promoting the XRP Tip Bot, another fan released a great video that emphasized how easy it is for customers to use the XRParrot application for direct Euro purchases of XRP:
It was a one-minute video set to upbeat music and colorful graphics, which built to a very positive conclusion; it was yet another striking video from XRPArmy.
If you know somebody that might be interested in utilizing the XRParrot application for direct Euro-to-XRP purchases, sharing this video might be a good idea.
XRP Ledger Decentralization Update
The XRP Ledger just became more decentralized over the past few weeks. On November 27th, Tiffany Hayden sent out the following tweet highlighting the overall changes:
The overall numbers can be verified by anybody at a third party site that actively checks the default UNL, as well as the overall validator registry. Once such site is known as "Mini Validator List:"
The most recent validators added to the default UNL include five new organizations: 10
XRPChat is a popular social media site that focuses on all things XRP, and is commonly referenced by me and others that research and write about XRP. The two universities are a great addition to the list; the other two are business stakeholders that also have an interest in the XRP network stability and health.
The overall composition of the so-called 'default UNL' - the list of trusted validators that is automatically included with a fresh download of the XRP Validator software - now includes only seven validators run directly by Ripple.
AnyPay is a cash register application. It is used by online or even brick-and-mortar merchants.
If you are a brick-and-mortar merchant - let's say a craft beer company - you can download the application to your mobile device and accept payment. The application will display choices for which cryptocurrency the vendor can accept as they proceed through the check-out function. It generates a QR code for the customer to scan; the customer then approves payment:
The team at AnyPay claims that their application is used worldwide by hundreds of merchants, including in Ghana, Africa, and in Venezuela, South America. 8 The company doesn't require that businesses register, but some subset of their customers have informed the company about their use of the app, and those names are listed here if you're curious: Names of Some AnyPay Vendors. 9
My own take on their application is very positive - their step-by-step instructions for how to integrate the AnyPay application with a wallet was easy to understand, and I can foresee many merchants wishing to integrate this payment option into their check-out process. It will definitely result in more foot traffic - I know I'd give a brick-and-mortar business more visits if I knew that they supported XRP. Hopefully when we check back, we'll find that AnyPay's reach has extended even further across the globe.
XRP Community API
A developer has created a tool containing functions that are 'callable' by others in the community to access and retrieve real-time market data from the main exchanges. The developer is calling the site the "XRP Community API", and it appears to contain generic APIs that will allow developers to access real-time data from the XRP Ledger.
The purpose of the XRP Community API is described directly on its landing page:
"Each market has its own specific trading features and we want to provide a uniform version of this data. The goal of this public data source is to be integrated with the different applications according to their needs.
The data returned by the API is updated automatically every 30 seconds, so the information returned will always be that offered by the marketplace just seconds apart.
The current version of the API returns a limited number of data but in the target version, many other information will be available."
While the FAQ site indicates that the page is still 'under construction', the other areas, such as the one describing the Rest API, seem to be functioning.
A developer named @xRpTo_O (Twitter avatar) decided to build an application based on that API site, and he's referring to it as a "Converter Widget" for IOS applications. He sent out a tweet with a video of his creation in action on November 24th:
Kudos to @xRpTo_O; hopefully he'll share his code with others in an effort to add to the community code base and make development of more community applications that much easier!
XRP Starter Pack
The number of XRP fan sites that are springing up lately has been impressive; the latest one is a great introductory site for those curious about XRP and its ecosystem participants - along with some of the hot-button issues around XRP that have been covered in the media in 2018. The name of the site is XRP Starter Pack.
It divides up site content into:
- The Basics
- More In-depth
- XRP Ecosystem
Each of these three major choices then navigates to site content that logically drills down into a set of three focal points, and I think this approach is great for quickly communicating and summarizing some of the most difficult-to-understand concepts for first-time researchers. Its site creator, xrp_1985 (Reddit avatar), has currently opted for a quiet go-live at present; he indicated that the main audience for the site may include those that need to review some of the basics of XRP's ecosystem and underlying technology.
XRP Starter Pack's strength lies in its referencing some of the best content about XRP available, including that of the XRP Community Blog, and general information about XRP Ecosystem participants.
For those looking to add a good website to their list of 'links to share' for new users, this is one site to bookmark.
XRP's Foundation is Built on Utility
The cryptomarket is altering course, and, even though its size is measured in the billions, it is re-shuffling itself to provide momentum to a new leader within its ranks.
That new leader has a use case that is best-positioned for widespread global adoption; in banking, remittance processing, corporate cross-border value transfer, retail payments, and the new and burgeoning industry of micropayments.
Crypto enthusiasts are acknowledging the importance of using modern consensus-based cryptographic networks that do not harm the environment. XRP's cost per transaction is almost-undetectable - by individuals or from an energy standpoint. These are considerations that go beyond the superb performance metrics and features of its network; they strike at the very heart of what it means to be a virtual unit of value.
The planet needs a better currency; one that can scale to meet global needs, and one that has the answers to how crypto-assets can be used to quickly and efficiently move value across borders. And the cryptomarket, as has been made crystal clear by the past few weeks, needs a new leader. It's time.
It's time for XRP.
Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to Tom Strecker