The Internet of Value (IoV) is speeding up, with tools and applications built on the fastest payment network, using the fastest digital asset in the world.
Here is a compact run-down of the major news impacting XRP and its ecosystem of technology stakeholders and organizations:
General Crypto News
In March of this year, the SEC announced that its newly-founded 'Strategic Hub for Innovation and Financial Technology (FinHub),' was planning on holding the second public forum focusing on 'Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) and Digital Assets.'
The forum is scheduled for Friday, May 31st, starting at 9:30 a.m. (EST), and will include four panels, all recorded and subsequently released on the FinHub page of the SEC for later viewing. Here are the scheduled sessions: 1
- Opening Remarks by Valerie Szczepanik, Head, FinHub
- Panel 1: Capital Formation Considerations
- Panel 2: Trading and Markets Considerations
- Panel 3: Investment Management Considerations
- Panel 4: Distributed Ledger Technology Innovations: Industry Trends and Specific Use Cases for Financial Markets
While Ripple is not directly involved in any of the panel discussions, R3's Todd McDonald is participating in the fourth panel that focuses on DLT. Tod McDonald is R3's Head of Product and Marketing. 2
It's great that the SEC is taking further steps to interface with the public, but it's almost painfully obvious what's needed at this point is a concrete opinion by the commission on the nature of XRP's status.
Yes, some analysts have stated that the SEC will probably not weigh in on that topic until the associated court cases run their course, but it's one of those questions that may be significantly holding up adoption of an innovative technology that could usher in a massive economic win via real-time settlement across borders.
A good analogy would be if regulatory certainty for Internet companies had to wait for a legal case against an ISP to resolve before other companies would be brave enough to create their own websites. It sounds absurd in retrospect, but that's essentially the current state of no-counter-party cryptocurrency in the U.S.
We need a combination of new legislation and strong regulatory guidance to clear the path for widespread adoption of digital assets.
It was a fascinating tweet from Dan Morgan, Ripple's Head of Regulatory Relations in Europe, sent on May 23rd last week:
So what is FinSac? The abbreviation stands for the World Bank's 'Financial Sector Advisory Center.'
FinSac was created as part of the Vienna Initiative, formed as a reaction to the 2008 worldwide banking crisis. It began operations in 2011, and is financed by a trust fund from the Austrian Government. 3 4
The organization focuses on three 'thematic pillars' as they're termed on its own website:
- Financial Stability (Prevention)
- Financial Stability (Reaction)
Those are my own interpretations of what I understand, and they may be mistaken to some extent; I'd defer to experts in banking or regulation to correct my abbreviated descriptions of those pillars.
FinSac also provides advisory and analytical services, including 'organization of technical workshops, conferences, and seminars,' which is most likely the context of Dan Morgan's visit. It's great to see Ripple engaging with regulators and thought-leadership organizations like the World Bank's FinSac Group.
European Blockchain Convention
The European Blockchain Convention is a set of two blockchain technology and networking conferences during each year; the 'Nordic Edition' that takes place in Copenhagen, Denmark and an 'Iberian Edition' that takes place in Barcelona, Spain. 5
The 'Nordic Edition' was recently held in Copenhagen, and Marjan Delatinne, Ripple's Global Head of Banking, participated in a panel titled 'Blockchain 2024: Five Years From Now:'
The panel included the following participants:
- Yan Yang, Head of ICT Investment, China, and Blockchain
- Joshua Ashley Klayman, Founder, Klayman LLC
- Lasse Jonasson, Director, Copenhagen Institute for Futures Studies
- Teresa Alacros, CEO and Founder, W Startup Community
- Marjan Delatinne, Global Head of Banking, Ripple
Marjan Delatinne's participation in this conference follows closely on her facilitation of a panel during the recent Canadian conference, "Payments Canada:"
Ripple executives have been heightening their engagement with the payments and blockchain technology industry internationally, parallel to Ripple's expansion of their network and staffing levels. This laser focus is one of the company's trademarks, and it makes sense that so many conference organizers are eager to have leaders like Marjan Delatinne help steer some of the challenging topics.
The hiring of Breanne Madigan prompted headlines across both mainstream and crypto news media in the past week, and no wonder; the Goldman Sachs veteran has reportedly handled over a trillion dollars' worth of assets for clients of her former employer.
Like many others in mainstream finance, she recently left traditional money management for a new career in the cryptomarket, taking a calculated professional risk; now, after a brief stint helping Blockchain.com grow their institutional market, she's accepted an offer from Ripple to lead their 'Global Institutional Markets Team,' no doubt to work her same magic. 6
Ripple has been doing a lot of hiring of late, and this move speaks volumes, following Ripple's increase in institutional sales in recent quarters.
From my standpoint, her hiring seems to indicate that institutional adoption of XRP for purposes beyond mere speculation may be increasing; it will be intriguing to hear more from both her and Ripple as we move further into 2019.
Frente Corretora is a currency brokerage exchange established in 2017 by Carlos Brown, Ricardo Baraçal, and Daniela Marchiori. The business is located in São Paulo, Brazil, and operates its exchange with the liquidity from roughly 150 'autonomous exchange correspondents' that utilize its software. 7
On May 21st, the exchange formally debuted its new cross-border payments platform, called "Simple." The company's blog indicated that the new platform was developed 'in partnership with Ripple,' but didn't indicate precisely which Ripple solution it's using. For now, it's enough to assume they are another new customer in the RippleNet network of global banks.
From my standpoint, the most amazing thing about this new application from Frente Corretora was the amount of time that was required to integrate the solution into their business; the article stated that it took 'a little more than six months,' which is phenomenally fast for a production software integration.
It was another positive announcement that indicates continued steady progress in the expansion of the RippleNet network.
Money Tap, of course, is SBI Ripple Asia's product that has been created in collaboration with multiple banks in Japan. The app promises to modernize domestic payments in that country, and is the result of an alliance between SBI Holdings and Ripple.
The app, which is able to make real-time payments from (currently) two of the banks in the Japanese Banking Consortium (JBC), has been in production since October of 2018. While the app currently supports direct integration with customers of Suminobu SBI Net Bank and Suruga Bank, the site indicates that 'Banks that support Money Tap will increase over time,' and provides a link for customers to sign up at the two initial banks.
The tweet linked to an official announcement from SBI, which stated: 8
"We are pleased to announce that we have launched a demonstration test of 'Money Tap Affiliated Store Settlement Service' where payments can be made in real stores using (Money Tap)."
The official statement went on to note that users can use their mobile phone number or a QR code to make a payment; the development team's goal was to make the application as easy to use as possible in a retail or online setting.
MoneyTap uses Ripple's xCurrent software.
The Interledger Summit was a two-day, weekend conference sponsored by Ripple that took place from April 5th through April 6th of this year in San Francisco.
The event was open to the public, and was marketed and aimed at the developer community that may be interested in learning more about the new technology.
Directly after the event, images and tweets began appearing on social media from the conference, highlighting some of the more dramatic presentations by high-profile icons like Stefan Thomas and others. And recently, one week ago, the official videos from the event were formally released by the Interledger YouTube Channel.
The seven videos seem to go (roughly) in order, beginning with the kickoff presentation by Ethan Beard, Ripple's SVP of Xpring Investments. Then came presentations from Evan Schwartz, co-author of Interledger, and other ILP stakeholders such as Strata Labs, which described themselves as 'the AWS (Amazon Web Services) of Interledger:'
The great thing about Strata Labs is that their service makes integrating with ILP easier, because they abstract the low-level implementation details about ILP, and allow developers to focus on building their application(s). This is a great development for the ILP ecosystem, and I expect that Strata Labs is well-positioned for future growth after I listened to their presentation.
Strata Labs talked about working with WietseWind and Cinnamon on their ILP implementations, and indicated that they've processed up to 3,000 packets per second, which would, extrapolated, put their own small company above VISA's number of daily payments. They also indicated that they've processed 5.9 billion packets thus far through Interledger.
Other compelling videos in the series:
- Coil and Web Monetization (Ben Sharafian, Coil)
- Puma Browser Demo (Yuriy Dybskiy & Sergei Dybskiy, Puma Browser)
- Demo of CryptoCowboy's Trading Algorithm (Michael Brown, CryptoCowboy)
- Switch API : Building a Cryptocurrency Wallet using ILP (Kevin Davis & Ruaridh O'Donnell, Kava Labs)
One of the surprises for me was the fact that Kava Labs had already unveiled Switch over a month prior to their formal announcement. Kava's demonstration - and explanation - of Switch is one of the videos that Interledger released. Kava's presentation also explained why atomic swaps were not an effective scaling solution for digital assets, a conclusion hinted at in Stefan Thomas's AMA announcement (scheduled for today at 9:30 a.m. PST)
The video series is a way for developers to remotely participate, even if they missed the original opportunity to attend in person in San Francisco.
For developers that want to dig deeper, the Interledger Forum is available for interacting with most of the ILP champions that were also a part of the ILP Summit: https://forum.interledger.org/
One of the most supportive new exchanges in helping champion XRP is the Bitrue Exchange, which began its operations in mid-2018.
From the start, the CEO, Curis Wang, has consistently recognized the overwhelming force of XRP fans, and immediately took steps to make XRP one of his exchange's base currencies. In addition, he's added promotions and deals along the way, including a very popular program whereby Bitrue provides interest payments for those that choose to store their XRP balances on the exchange.
On May 25th, Bitrue sponsored an XRP meetup in Amsterdam, where between 40-50 XRP fans showed up, listening to presentations from both Curis Wang, and Wietse Wind, the CEO of XRPL Labs, an Xpring business. 9
One fan, BlueNET Crypto (YouTube avatar), managed to capture two videos of the event, and later posted both on YouTube. The first one was a recording of Wietse Wind's presentation and preview of the design of XRPL Labs' Xign platform, and the second one was the presentation by Curis Wang about Bitrue's exchange, services, and his own cryptomarket insights.
During the conference, XRPL Labs revealed more details about their product offerings, giving XRP fans their first look at Xign, a banking application that will operate as a central way for users to manage their XRP:
Xign acts to operate as a shield between dozens (hundreds?) of applications and businesses that wish to ask for payment from people in XRP. The user, if they have the Xign app on their mobile device, would get a payment request and then either approve it or dis-approve it:
The platform will allow users to separate out their XRP between a 'savings' account and a 'hot wallet' account for small, day-to-day purchases. This mimics a bank's separation of savings and checking accounts.
Wietse Wind indicated that several key steps lie between now and seeing Xign released, however. He is pursuing licensing in Europe, among other tasks, and is making steady progress. He indicated that the team's focus is not on a specific release date, but on putting out the highest-quality product possible. With that caveat, he did mention that the team thinks 'version one' will be available by the end of 2019.
Xign's ability to expose APIs for other developers to request payment is a key feature and driver of growth for Xign, and it's another stroke of genius by Wietse Wind; this feature will allow external applications to completely focus on developing amazing applications, games, and other paid content, and to just simply request payment via a standard API.
This approach shields both the owner of XRP and the developer of applications that require XRP for payment.
I foresee Xign being used a lot in the future, possibly in coordination with platforms by others such as FortePlatform, Omni, or Raised in Space. They could potentially just access Xign for payment as users wished to purchase products. Of course, I'm getting ahead of myself somewhat, because Xign would need to address compliance in a number of additional countries before ubiquitous international adoption.
Regardless of any short-term regulatory challenges for the XRPL Labs application, the potential with Xign is enormous, and may end up being a central tool for future development.
Fans also had the opportunity to listen to a presentation from Curis Wang that tied together his insights on the fledgling cryptomarket with his vision for Bitrue and some of the future directions his company will be taking. He also talked about the new Bitrue Token:
It was a great presentation by Curis Wang, and helped promote Bitrue, which now boasts an unbelievable 48 XRP pairings, the highest number of supported, real-time XRP pairings for any exchange on the market today.
The fact that so many people attended the meetup, just one month after the prior Netherlands-based meetup, is a barometer of the bubbling enthusiasm for the XRP ecosystem of exchanges and businesses that are rising to the surface as the cryptomarket moves further into 2019. It was fantastic to see the progress for both Bitrue and Xign as a part of this latest XRP get-together.
Thanks to BlueNET Crypto for sharing his video of the event!
Taotao is a Japanese exchange that is partially owned by a Yahoo subsidiary. On March 25th of this year, the exchange indicated that they planned on supporting an XRP pairing at their launch, in addition to margin trading. 10
On May 27th, a follow-up by jp.cointelegraph.com indicated that the exchange was planning on beginning their trading of XRP, along with the option of margin trading. 11
Their application includes the option of a prepaid card which can be funded directly from the wallet. The wallet itself supports exchange from one currency to another, along with bank transfers. On May 27th, imove's official Twitter account announced that the platform would now be supporting XRP.
Note: I do not personally endorse any wallet.
Interledger For The Win
The progress each week is allowing us to see the Internet of Value forming directly in front of us. One of my favorite news items this week was perusing the videos from the ILP Summit and the Xign presentation by XRPL Labs, and realizing just how advanced the technology is behind Interledger.
It's 'prime time,' and now developers have the tools to start building fantastic end-user applications that use XRP ... combined with the unlimited scaling and throughput of the Interledger Protocol!Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to Bank Phrom