A consistent outcome happens to those pursuing a challenging personal training regimen;  it's called the "plateau effect."  1  After the initial strength increase and early weight loss, a person may find themselves stepping on the scale and seeing the same number, regardless of the personal sacrifice made by pouring less sugar or cream in their coffee, or having one less muffin for breakfast.  

This effect is more psychological than anything else, however, as it's been proven that the body, like any organism, takes time to adjust to new circumstances.   And once that adjustment is made, the athlete or dieter can continue to benefit from tangible progress.

It's an apt metaphor for the crypto market at present.  

As utility-based cryptocurrencies like XRP begin to intersect with market conditions and industry recognition as legitimate solutions to liquidity problems, the status quo within the crypto markets begins to shift and recognize that the overall ecosystem has changed.   Perhaps at first you will see divergence in price behavior - not all at once, but occasionally.   We've just seen examples of this in the past week as the market seemed to temporarily decouple XRP and Bitcoin price behavior for days at a time.

The organism in this case is the crypto market, and the regimen in this metaphor is a new diet high in nutritious, use-case-based digital assets starting with XRP.   Will the crypto market change overnight?   No.   Like any exercise and diet regimen, change takes time;  but the end result will definitely be worth the effort.  

Our goal is a new global economy driven by decentralized cross-border payment processing, and the ability to send value at the speed of light.

General Crypto News

A recent survey found that Bitcoin is being used by retailers less and less, declining from a high in September of last year to an all-time low in May of this year.  2   The survey included some of the top merchant processors for Bitcoin, and the trend was stark:

Bitcoin Retail Use Survey

The article cited numerous reasons why Bitcoin faces declining use, including its high fees.   The bad news for Bitcoin continued with an article from Wired magazine that described a growing concern over the proof-of-work cryptocurrency's energy usage.  

Bitcoin Energy Guzzlers

Wired magazine has a reputation as a hold-out in the ongoing decline of the fourth estate;  it often features investigative news articles by reporters that are unafraid to challenge conventional thinking in many areas.  Now one of those authors has turned his attention to the rampant energy consumption involved in 'Bitcoin mining.'  3

Stephen Armstrong, the article's author, described how multiple Bitcoin mining operations are now seeking locations close to hydroelectric power, in an effort to leverage inexpensive energy.  

The drain on worldwide power supplies to fuel proof-of-work cryptocurrency mining is so profound that governments around the world are imposing restrictions on it, and even banning the sale of electricity to the mining companies in some cases:

"In spring, the People’s Bank of China started shutting off power to large server farms mining bitcoin while, in June, the regional government in the Canadian province of Québec blocked all new requests for hydroelectric power from cryptocurrency-mining operations.  In Iceland, the finance minister has warned that cryptocurrency mining – which uses more power than the nation’s entire residential demand – could severely damage its economy."

The article, in the context of the current crisis with global warming, underscores the need for the world to fully educate itself that the 'first cryptocurrency' is not their only choice.   While early investors in Bitcoin - and those that derive income from mining - would like the public to think that 'proof-of-work' validation is the only way to use decentralization to validate transactions, that is simply not the case.  

Since the early days of cryptocurrency, other more modern options have become available that do not necessitate mining to secure a network.   While Ethereum is aiming to change its network to proof-of-stake, it is still reliant on mining operations as well.   XRP stands in stark relief next to these wasteful systems and delivers unparalleled, scalable performance:  

XRP Performance

The article hinted at the inevitable change in market direction with its closing statement:

"There are a lot of alternative frameworks that provide for the same level of functionality for less energy.  There are lots of central banks around the world looking at working with cryptocurrency – this electricity tussle should help them decide what will work and what won’t work."

Ripple News

Ripple released a new video that demonstrates how SBI Remit works.  

The video, posted on August 3rd, exemplifies how xCurrent, Ripple's ILP-based tool for payment messaging, can completely replace the aging correspondence banking network rails and facilitate real-time settlement of remittances.  

The video focused on one specific example;  how Thai workers in Japan can use it to send money home to relatives at a fraction of the current cost, and also do it immediately;  the old system(s) typically involved exorbitant fees and took up to a week to complete.   In contrast, if a worker has an existing account in Siam Commercial bank in Thailand, and uses SBI Remit in Japan, it can complete "within minutes."

The video is a compelling piece of evidence about how Ripple's solutions are quickly catching on worldwide to provide a new customer experience, not just for the specific demographic group mentioned in the video, but for any worker that wants to send money back home to their family or relatives.  

Sync 2018 Decode Innovation Conference

Sync is a yearly conference that joins technology companies and stakeholders from China with those in the United States;  this year's conference is being held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California, just outside of San Francisco.   The conference is slated for August 5th.   Organized by PingWest, a Chinese media company, the conference's goal is to provide an opportunity for:  4

"...dynamic discussion and exchange of knowledge, insights, and opportunities on the things that will matter most in technology and innovation."

Representatives from blockchain technology companies and other leaders in high-tech and finance from both sides of the Pacific will be there, along with Emi Yoshikawa, Ripple's Senior Director of Joint Venture Partnerships:

XRP Performance

Ripple Drop - Episode 3

Reinhard Cate released episode three of the Ripple Drop, which is a series of videos Ripple is releasing on the first and third Mondays of each month, with the goal of introducing various team members, internal goings-on, and different concepts around what Ripple is doing in the course of changing how money moves around the globe:

This episode featured updates about SWELL, a preview of Ripple's New York Office, and an introduction of Ripple's 2018 summer intern class.

Austin Cowden, Ripple's Manager of Global Events, gave a brief introduction about how SWELL, Ripple's annual conference, will include Bill Clinton, the 42nd President of the United States, as a keynote speaker.   Austin Cowden also revealed that the theme for this year's SWELL Conference is "Be Connected," which is a nod to Ripple's growing RippleNet network of banks and other financial services organizations.

The video included content from Hana Kelley, Ripple's Visual Design Lead.  She gave a mention to an art piece that was gifted to Chris Larsen, and discussed the overall design for the New York Office.

Spoiler Alert:   Reinhard introduces Ripple's 2018 interns, and you might recognize one of them if you pay close attention.

XRP News

It seems that each day, one or two new worldwide exchanges is adding XRP to their list of supported currencies.   The latest in this list is a Nigerian exchange named Quidax:

Quidax Exchange Listing

All beginnings take time.   While Quidax only recently opened for business, do not discount the power of this exchange's willingness to be the first to specialize in servicing customers from Nigeria.  

Note:  Quidax's business headquarters is located in Malta, like many other international crypto market exchanges.  5

MBA Exchange

In a recent blog, I included details of a new exchange named Bitrue.   Bitrue is a Singapore-based exchange that had recently integrated XRP as its primary currency 'base pairing.'   Now, just days later, we're learning that another Singapore-based exchanged named MBAex is now supporting XRP trading:  6   7

MBAEX Message

XRP may not be a 'base currency' as such on the MBA Exchange, but it supports a variety of XRP pairings, as shown.   Out of curiosity, I checked the Coinmarketcap listing for volume, and it appears that XRP immediately took the first spot in trading on the exchange - by a wide margin:  8

MBAEX Volume

Like many other new exchanges in diverse regions of the globe, MBAex will need time to grow its volume organically;  but if XRP's quick start out of the gate is any indication, both MBAex and Bitrue might become prominent exchanges in the Singapore market for the XRP ecosystem.   Time will tell.  

Coinjar Launches Fund

An Australian-based exchange named Coinjar recently launched a new fund that includes an option to invest in a specific group of cryptocurrencies that will include purchases of XRP, along with Ethereum and Litecoin.  9

The fund is specifically targeted only to high-income investors.   Only investors with a certified net worth of $2.5 million (AUD) or more will be allowed to invest in the fund.   The fees are not insignificant;  they run at 1.8 percent for the mixed asset fund that includes XRP.   Even despite these limitations and fees, the fund is one more noteworthy addition to the space already occupied by other funds targeting crypto.  

Bitcoin SuperStore Now Supports XRP

The Bitcoin Superstore, despite its Bitcoin-centric name, is an online cryptocurrency payment processor for consumers.   On August 5th, they announced that they would be expanding their services to include support of XRP, making the announcement on both Reddit and Twitter:  10   11

Bitcoin Superstore

It's an interesting site whose method of operation I've never seen before;  it requires the user to copy & paste a URL from their online retailer as part of the process, and then the Bitcoin Superstore adds their own fee (2%) to the order. 12

The addition of XRP support met with enthusiasm after the announcement:  It's one more way that XRP owners can utilize their 'zerps' for making purchases online.

Secure Block Chains Launches Contest

Graphic artists may want to check out a new contest on XRP Chat.   Secure Block Chains, the company that built the Harbor XRP Wallet and the Reservoir Lite application, is organizing a contest - with prize money:  13   14

"Secure Block Chains is happy to bring another 1000XRP give away to the XRP Community.  This time we are asking the community to help us design the new Secure Block Chains logo and the new app icons for both the desktop and mobile versions of Harbor.  Throughout the month of August you can submit your designs to us for consideration.  You may submit as many design variations as you would like.  Below you will find specific design requirements for each project.  

500XRP will be given to the designer of the logo selected to replace the existing Secure Block Chains logo.  

500XRP will be given to the designer of the logo that is selected to be the new Harbor logo."

It's exciting to see the second contest with significant prize money hosted on XRP Chat within weeks of the previous one:  For more information, graphic artists should contact Secure Block Chains or Daniel Carroll directly on XRP Chat.

Malta Prime Minister Mentions XRP

In my coverage of Ripple's Quarter 2 XRP Report, I noted that it described a greater diversification of the XRP markets around the world, and that global XRP liquidity was no longer dominated by South Korea;  while this may have been a footnote for Ripple and for the XRP Community, it didn't slip past the prime minister of Malta - the country that had ascended to the number one spot in XRP trading:

Joseph Muscat Tweet

It's a high-profile mention from the prime minister of one of the leading crypto-friendly countries in the world;  and I think that Malta will continue to play a large role in the crypto markets for many years based on their support of companies that are innovating with blockchain technology.  

XRP is High-Protein Food for the Crypto Market

Brad Garlinghouse knew that use case-driven digital assets would eventually upend the cryptomarket;  when it came time to structure a liquidity-sourcing solution within the various Ripple software solutions, the choice was obvious.  

The use cases for XRP are legion and growing.   While originally visualized as an international bridge asset for transferring value across borders, XRP can also support micropayments, using Payment Channels.   And this is no add-on layer of software like Lightning - it's a native capability of the XRP Ledger.   Because of this carefully-planned feature, all the use cases for micropayments now apply to XRP.  In regards to smart contracts, Codius is configured out-of-the-box to integrate seamlessly with XRP.  

Coil is now proposing the Web Monetization standard for browsers, with the potential to reconfigure users' browsing experience and content access, giving them the power to avoid invasive advertising as the price of entry for so-called 'free' Internet applications.   Even before that point, expect to see decentralized applications run on Codius servers that will eventually upend Ethereum's first mover advantage.  

The crypto market is now recognizing that change has arrived - and it sorely needs it.   XRP and its ecosystem components will deliver on the promise of blockchain technology.  

Sources and Credits:
Cover Art: Thank you to Ian Stauffer

  1. https://www.webmd.com/diet/obesity/features/10-ways-to-move-beyond-a-weight-loss-plateau#1
  2. https://ambcrypto.com/bitcoin-btcs-merchant-use-has-dropped-by-85-says-chainalysis-study/
  3. https://www.wired.co.uk/article/bitcoin-mining-energy-consumption-new-york
  4. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/sync-2018-silicon-valley-decode-innovation-conference-tickets-47934334886
  5. https://twitter.com/QuidaxHQ
  6. https://www.mbaex.com/about/index.html?id=82
  7. https://www.mbaex.com/service/article.html?id=133
  8. https://coinmarketcap.com/exchanges/volume/24-hour/
  9. https://www.ccn.com/bitcoin-exchange-coinjar-launches-australias-first-cryptocurrency-index-fund/
  10. https://www.reddit.com/r/Ripple/comments/94somz/we_are_excited_to_announce_our_acceptance_of_xrp/
  11. https://twitter.com/BitcoinSuperst1/status/1026051466207916033
  12. https://bitcoinsuperstore.us/how-it-works/
  13. https://www.secureblockchains.com/promotion/
  14. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/25942-earn-1000-xrp-by-designing-sbcs-new-logos/