XRP News Update: May 19th, 2019

Hodor

Hodor

I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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The cryptomarket is transforming itself, and traders are scrambling to find the latest news and information about the assets comprising their portfolio.

The XRP ecosystem has continued to log steady and impressive progress in the past few days, including announcements about xRapid, high-profile conference appearances by Ripple, and some various fascinating finds by XRP Community Members.

Ripple News

Xpring has been making nonstop headlines for months now, investing in multiple projects that have formed a well-defined circle around the monetization of entertainment, games, music, and general online content.   Some of these investments have to do with the tokenization of securities and the strengthening of the Interledger network.

And recently, two investments - XRPL Labs and Agoric, are squarely aimed at growing new capabilities in the larger XRP ecosystem of tools and services.

Suffice it to say that the sheer number of investments is starting to be difficult for even XRP fans to track, which is a good thing when it comes to the growth of real utility for XRP.

As part of Xpring, Ripple recently advertised an open position within the company for an "Xpring Community Advocate."   They provided a comprehensive bullet-point list that included the following points, which seemed like the primary focus when I read through it:  1

  • Create, support, and grow a community of developers who are excited about these technologies to ensure that the community is an open and welcoming one
  • Drive community engagement strategy, development and growth

In addition to these two key items, Ripple is clearly looking for a person who is well-versed in culling what it calls 'actionable information' from the community, and somebody who can analyze local and international trends and competitors.

It's a great sign that Ripple is taking the step of adding this role in their organization, as it means that some of these Xpring investments are most likely close to bearing fruit in one respect or another, and that the next step will be to publicize and drive adoption of these new innovative technologies.

Thanks to @WietseWind for the heads-up on this new Ripple position listing.   If you're interested in working for Ripple in this capacity or in another one, visit the following link to view more of Ripple's fifty-one open positions:

Link:   https://ripple.com/company/careers/all-jobs/

David Schwartz at Consensus

David Schwartz, Ripple's Chief Technology Officer, attended this year's Consensus conference along with Ryan Zagone, Ripple's Director of Regulatory Relations.

The conference organizers decided to record and release only specific stages at the conference, and unfortunately, the first presentation that David Schwartz provided was not on one of those stages;  however, video coverage of his talk soon appeared on social media, specifically a live-stream from one of the most popular YouTube crypto personalities, @CKJCryptonews:

The video was captured real-time, and the audio requires the viewer to turn up the sound quite a bit;  but the coverage was still watched live by over a thousand people, and since being released on his channel, was watched by an additional fifteen thousand people.

After the presentation, a large group of people followed David Schwartz into the hallway, where he was peppered with additional audience questions.

One question led to an informal nod to a new corridor, and was covered by @Dave_Jonez_02 (Twitter avatar) on Twitter:

Tweet from Dave Jones

The news about a corridor to Brazil was an exciting revelation, and seems like a logical progression for Ripple, given that some high-volume remittance corridors go back and forth between that country and Asia.   In addition, I viewed the part of the video where David Schwartz very carefully dances around a question about Polysign, and it was fascinating to hear, given Polysign's scope:  Institutional Custody.

In March of 2018, I covered how Polysign was ramping up its project staff in preparation for development.   Now, over a year later, it's intriguing to hear David Schwartz avoid the topic with such self-restraint.

My guess is that we might hear a project update from Polysign in the near future.

Another of my favorite quotes from David Schwartz's 'hallway discussion' on CKJ Crypto News's live-stream was this one at around the twenty-five minute mark:

"If we build really good micropayments, not only can we do micropayment applications, which is ...  the obvious thing; but we could literally take over the world of payments."

His official presentations are always incredible, but even more so is David Schwartz's extemporaneous commentary that is provided in open, honest ways in-between carefully-scripted communication.

David Schwartz's Closing Speech

In addition to his well-received presentation on Day Two of the conference, David Schwartz also gave a speech during the conference wrap-up, which he termed his "We're All In This Together" speech.

The message was crowd-pleasing for digital asset stakeholders like Wirex:

Wirex Tweet

In addition, it's a positive message for mainstream businesses to hear from prominent members of the cryptomarket, as the early years of crypto were rife with infighting and tribalism.   David Schwartz is a visionary, and we would all be wise to listen to his message, no matter our personal take on banking or traditional finance.

My own natural reaction is to support interoperability, and at the same time support XRP as the first & best representative for digital assets.   While it's great for the entire industry to move forward with a sense of cooperation, we should be picky about which digital asset is our preferred ambassador to real-world business stakeholders.   I believe the correct ambassador is clearly XRP, not environmentally-destructive, insecure, and inefficient P.O.W.  technology.

Congratulations to David Schwartz on an amazing week in New York.   Hopefully we get to see more video coverage of his 'Day 3' content in addition to some of the informal video coverage that's already emerged for his 'Day 2' presentation.

High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System for Swiss National Bank

It wasn't just David Schwartz dropping hints about new potential xRapid corridors to South America.

Brad Garlinghouse attended the 9th High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System for the Swiss National Bank, where he talked to a large group of central bankers in a session titled 'Past, Present and Future of the International Monetary System':

The audience members quizzed him on several topics that dovetailed with usage of CBDCs, digital assets and specifically XRP, which he handled with casual confidence, explaining the concepts of liquidity sourcing.   At the end of one of his explanations, he mentioned both Brazil and Argentina:

"People are getting liquidity that exists in the marketplace;  in local regions, between ...  XRP and the Philippine Peso; between XRP and the Argentine Peso; between XRP and the Brazilian Real ..."

While I expected Ripple to make official announcements at SWELL this year, perhaps the pace of progress is allowing them to speed up their schedule of public discussion about these new corridors, even if they didn't mention specific clients or exchange partners involved.

It was an exciting (potential) hint for XRP fans as part of Ripple's high-profile conference participation last week.

Finablr

Over a year ago, I discussed a new RippleNet member named UAE Exchange.

UAE Exchange handles an enormous amount of remittance processing, and by their own estimate is the second-largest 'money transfer' organization in the world.   2

The bank has branches in fourteen countries worldwide, and it plays a dominant role in UAE banking, with 150 branches in that country.   The bank has over 9,000 international employees, and 'more than 15 million customers.'   3   4

UAE Exchange, in turn, is considered one of the 'brands' of Finablr, an international payments processing platform that covers seven different, distinct remittance organizations.  5   This connection is important, because one year after UAE Exchange did a presentation at the World Blockchain Forum in Dubai, Finablr made an announcement about a new cross-border payments service between the Middle East and Thailand.   The new service will include two of its remitter organizations: UAE Exchange, and another called Unimoni.

In that announcement, it was revealed that they would be partnering with Siam Commercial Bank, which also happens to be one of the pioneers of the Ripple multi-hop system of settlement, providing its own network's connections and ability to settle in various Asian countries to banks and other RippleNet partners external to Thailand.  6

The CEO of Finablr had this to say:

"The adoption of blockchain opens up considerable potential to streamline remittances and provide a friction-less, fast and secure payments experience."

This announcement is significant, because the corridor should be a very high-volume one for RippleNet, and further expands the already-gargantuan size of the RippleNet global banking network.

If you'd like to learn more about Finablr and its recent business developments and ties to RippleNet, @XrpCenter (Twitter avatar) has constructed a thread with multiple links to external sources of information.

Kava News

A Github entry discovered by XRP fans recently made its way onto Twitter.   It was information related to an 'XRP-Backed stablecoin' called USDX:

Kava USDX Tweet

According to the paper in Github, the stablecoin would be issued on a new blockchain:  7

"The USDX stablecoin system is implemented as a Cosmos Zone designed to peg in XRP, issue an XRP-collateralized token (called USDX) and dynamically maintain its price stability to USD with decentralized mechanisms."

Accordingly, the company would need to use Interledger, since the token would be backed by XRP, which is the native currency on the XRP Ledger.

Kava quickly toned down the speculative comments that began to appear on social media, and issued this Twitter response:

Kava Tweets regarding USDX

The XRP fan reaction was positive, especially since it would directly involve the usage of XRP to back the currency;  the paper was only recently written, however, so I'm guessing there are some work-intensive steps between now and whenever their first version of the product is released for testing and then production use.

Regardless, it's an exciting development, and opens up some fascinating possibilities for additional options for those wanting to use a form of XRP-collaterlized USD to settle payments.

Thanks to @GermanCryptoInv (Twitter avatar) for the link to the USDX Github reposoitory.

XRP News

Developers on the XRP Ledger naturally might want to try their hand at running an XRP validator;  there are multiple reasons for this, including the ability to configure your own online application or site to point to your own server rather than publicly-available ones that may be subject to high usage.

In addition, many developers enjoy the challenge of 'learning by doing,' and sometimes running a validator personally helps in that respect.

The motivations may vary, but if you fall into one of those categories, a well-written guide was published by @RabbitKickClub (Twitter Avatar), who is also a member of the default XRP Unique Node List:

Rabbits Tweet about validator installation guide

The guide is specifically geared for people that are familiar with the tools mentioned, including the CENTOS operating system, and general server security, especially if that individual is planning on running a 'validating' node.   Note that it's not necessary to run a validating node, as developers and others can still use a non-validating node to do things like send and receive transactions.

It's a great and straight-forward guide, but it also assumes the reader is technically proficient enough to use the tools mentioned;  it's not for business users.   When I contacted @RabbitKickClub to find out their motivation for writing and publishing the guide, they had this to say:

"When I wrote the guide, there really weren't many other resources available, as the Ripple Developer Portal (the 'XRP Ledger Dev Portal') wasn't available in its current form.

The guide developed out of my desire to run a secure cluster of rippled nodes, including a validator.  I hoped to contribute to growing the XRP ecosystem, so I decided to make my research and learning public."

The guide is a great addition to the growing number of third-party documentation, examples, and guides that have been published by members of the XRP Community.

These sorts of high-quality contributions pave the way for future developers and technical researchers to more easily access the features and capabilities of the XRP Ledger.

Uphold

Uphold wants your business.

They are a large-volume ForEx and crypto exchange based in the UK that have supported XRP for some time now.   In 2018, Uphold made several notable updates to its platform, including integrating full support for XRP fiat pairings with the US Dollar, the Euro, and the Swiss Franc, among a larger list of its 30+ supported currencies:

Uphold Currency Support

Since then, they've been competing for the business of the quickly-growing ranks of XRP owners, and on May 17th, the exchange reminded potential customers of some of the special services they offer, along with an announcement that they'd completely eliminated withdrawal fees for XRP:

Uphold Tweet about no withdrawal fee

One thing I've noticed about Uphold and a small number of other XRP-centric exchanges, is that the customers are quite loyal and expressive, providing their own appreciation for the platform over twitter and other social media.   Most crypto exchanges don't command this sort of customer loyalty, so it's something that I mentally noted in perusing some of the comments on their announcement tweet.

Having a major exchange 'up the ante' and eliminate withdrawal fees is great for XRP owners, and will no doubt force other exchanges to try and either lower their own withdrawal fees or even match Uphold's withdrawal fee elimination.

Cobalt

Many XRP fans want to know about Cobalt, the much-anticipated upgrade to the XRP ledger that was first written about in early 2018.  8

The improved characteristics of the XRP Ledger resulting from Cobalt are speculative at the moment, but previous discussions have indicated the following:

  • Greater Decentralization
  • Faster Ledger Close Times
  • Enhanced Throughput (Transactions Per Second)

The Cobalt changes would, in theory, support multiple recommended Unique Node Lists instead of just the one that is the default list downloaded with the XRP validator software at present.  9   While Ripple is already a minority operator in every capacity on the XRP Ledger, having multiple recommended UNLs would enhance the level of decentralization even further.

Ledger close time is the XRP equivalent to 'block time' in proof-of-work systems, with the difference that settlement on the XRP Ledger is considered deterministic after only one ledger close.   Cobalt would potentially reduce the current 3-4 second ledger close time to only one second.  10   To arrive at this number, we assume a half-second close time for the XRP Consensus algorithm.

The topic of enhanced throughput is less clear, but in one tweet, Ethan MacBrough, the computer scientist that authored the paper, indicated that TPS may be a 'very high number' or even be scalable upwards 'arbitrarily.'   11

Since these topics were originally discussed over social media, the schedule of the Cobalt upgrade has been kept closely under wraps, and then, after his stint at Consensus, David Schwartz mentioned that Cobalt is:   12

"...  still mostly theoretical and designed but not implemented."

He went on to explain the risk-reward for a Cobalt upgrade, but stopped short of saying it wouldn't be done;  he seemed to indicate that the benefits of the upgrade would be worth the trouble of implementation in his last tweet on the topic, referencing improved network resiliency.

As an XRP stakeholder, I appreciate the circumspect and careful approach to code proposals that he's taking, and even though Cobalt would provide vast improvements, it would also require a significant change to a live crypto network, which is no small task from an implementation standpoint.

BlueHelix

BlueHelix is based in Singapore, and is one of many new, ICO-funded exchanges.  13   Like many other exchanges, it has its own token that is used to reward early investors and fund its operations.   14

On May 15th, the exchange added support for XRP, implementing a pairing with USDT:

BlueHelix Tweet

The exchange only recently went live in December of 2018, and it's a smart move for their team to add XRP to their list of markets.   I'm always fascinated by some of these new ICO-related exchanges, generally, as their value proposition seems to be so similar among them;  I predict that eventually the cryptomarket will see a consolidation of many of these exchanges over time, but some will inevitably rise to the top as they successfully compete.

Bitkeep

Bitkeep is a Singapore-based wallet and exchange application that allows users to manage their own crypto assets and engage with various crypto services and applications such as lending, decentralized games, and participation in exchange profits via their platform token.

On May 17th, the exchange announced that they'd added two parings for XRP:

Bitkeep Tweet

Note: Thanks to Leonidas Hadjiloizou for the news about Bitkeep.   It's great to see XRP added to two Singapore-based exchanges in just a few days.

Stay Tuned ...  To XRP!

The pace of progress in building sources of real utility for XRP is accelerating, with dozens of businesses and individual projects due to release significant applications and tools in the remainder of 2019, parallel to other important crypto trading developments.

Read about the latest news here at the XRP Community Blog, or on the Coil platform!

xrp symbol Sources and Credits:

Cover Art: Thank you to AbsolutVision

  1. https://ripple.com/company/careers/all-jobs/#xpring-community-advocate
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=186&v=w1pZtPb7j1Y (1:45 mark)
  3. https://www.uaeexchange.com/about-us
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UAE_Exchange
  5. https://www.finablr.com/
  6. https://www.thenational.ae/business/technology/finablr-s-uae-exchange-and-ripple-begin-blockchain-payments-service-1.824004
  7. https://github.com/Kava-Labs/usdx/blob/master/validators/validator_economics.md
  8. https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.07240
  9. https://ripple.com/insights/continued-decentralization-xrp-ledger-consensus-protocol/
  10. https://twitter.com/emacbrough/status/978525468835176448
  11. https://twitter.com/emacbrough/status/977915203399462912
  12. https://twitter.com/JoelKatz/status/1129473071234990080
  13. https://icodrops.com/bhex/
  14. https://www.bhex.com/BHex_1.0_en.pdf

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Hodor

Hodor

I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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