2018: XRP Ledger’s Year of Decentralization

The history of technological innovation has been a treasure trove for drama the likes of which movies are made.  From the unique techno-culture that pervades the Silicon theSocialNetworkValley and San Francisco area, to Hollywood movies like The Social Network about the origins of Facebook.  Yes, group conflict and technological innovation go hand-in-hand.  It creates new leaders and sometimes mints new billionaires along the way.  Despite this storied history, there is one connection that has never been made between people and technology – until Bitcoin:


Technology exists without regard for the personal political opinions or ambitions of any one individual or group.  Of course, all shades of political colors have used technology to their advantage in some respect or another; private email servers, Twitter accounts, websites, fake news, and other examples abound of political groups attempting to gain an advantage over one another.  But even so, history has been wise enough to draw a clear distinction between technology and politics.

In 2013, if you were a member in good standing of Bitcointalk – one of the first messaging / conversation boards specific to Bitcoin – you probably saw something that was noteworthy: It was an attempted co-opting of a technology – blockchain technology – by anarchists.  I remember reading some of their posts, which essentially demonized banks as the root cause of global turmoil, trouble, and economic downturns.  They saw Bitcoin not as an innovation to serve everybody; instead they saw it as an innovation to serve only their own political agenda – the circumventing of all financial and governmental authority.

Some of them were genuine.  I got the feeling as I read through posts that a few of the articles were written by sincerely idealistic young people that wanted to make a difference – perhaps a destructive one to the current financial system – but a difference nonetheless.  However, as time went on, I realized that the financial interests that own Bitcoin were simply using the crypto-anarchist mindset and agenda to rally support around their financial investment in the first decentralized currency.  At first I’m sure it was a convenience.  If any questions arose about who owned the ‘most’ Bitcoins, those powerful financial interests could simply trot out the usual crypto-anarchists slogans and avoid the tough questions.

In this fashion, they sidestepped the flammable issue of Bitcoin ownership centralization: 1


Hiding behind crypto-anarchist slogans also helped them avoid the tough conversation about centralization of a majority of mining pools in one country 2 3 and other uncomfortable topics. 4 5

Ripple and XRP

Ripple and XRP started out very small.  The team that created XRP began as most other startups – on a limited budget and with a small team of core individuals that had invested their own resources and time to pursue an idea.

If you want to learn more about the first beginnings of Ripple and XRP, I urge you to watch one or more of the videos that Ripple recently released.  I won’t highlight all seven of those fascinating highlights, but here is the first one if you’re curious:

The digital asset that Chris Larsen, David Schwartz and company created needed to be marketed to the existing crypto market at that time, and it was an almost-impossible uphill battle.  Those that had invested their money in Bitcoin were not welcoming to other alternative coins, but they seemed to tolerate them if they could make money by mining those coins.  If you’re new to crypto, you’ll learn that some cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin are what are known as proof-of-work, where the network security and prevention of double-spending is accomplished by many computers competing with each other to solve complex mathematical problems.

Some noted individuals in the crypto space had started to innovate, however, to the concern of the financial interests that had placed their bets already on the first decentralized currency – Bitcoin.  And they did not react positively to the innovation that XRP represented.

Here was a network whose protocol provided security and transaction validation without mining: And it wasn’t as troublesome as the ‘proof of stake’ systems that had been tested to that point.

But the worst thing of all in the eyes of the anarchists pervading the online forums?  Ripple indicated that they were willing to work with the existing financial infrastructure – and improve it.  They were willing to work with banks.  They were willing to work with governments.  They were willing to work with regulators, not circumvent them.

Cue the often-vitriolic attacks on XRP for the next two years on the crypto chat forums.

Point by point though, each criticism was refuted rationally by Ripple; most of these points can be found if you just Google for the information, but one criticism pervades to this day: The criticism that the XRP Ledger is centralized.

Note that this criticism tends to be stated as a Boolean value (yes or no) by XRP critics, 6 while other cryptography experts and academics opt for measuring decentralization on a continuum (i.e. how much is it centralized or decentralized), and along multiple vectors like centralization of exchanges and ownership.7 To get at the true nature of what is real and what is hyperbole, we have to start at the beginning: Bitcoin.


What makes Bitcoin the most important computing innovation of 2008 – and probably the entire decade?  It serves as a censorship-resistant, decentralized currency that exists without any central authority.  It is not issued by any government, and it doesn’t recognize borders.

Because of these characteristics, it served one use case more than any other when it was first created – as a currency for underground commerce on black markets.

Since these early roots, however, the world has identified hundreds of use cases where blockchain technology serves to advance the cause of mankind – like storing land titles on a blockchain,8 or letting artists get paid for each download of their music.9 All of it is predicated on a cooperative type of decentralization.  No one person or company or government gets to control whether an individual can access their unspent transaction outputs (the technical term for Bitcoins) or send them to another wallet on the blockchain.

In addition, decentralization of transactions and the history of those transactions serves other needs:decentralized

  • Data redundancy
  • No-counter-party, trust-less transactions
  • No central authority
  • Censorship resistance

It’s decentralization that provides these benefits.

And it’s decentralization that is the main criticism of XRP by the Bitcoin purists.  Is there any validity to their criticism – and how concerned should you be as a potential XRP investor?

How XRP Consensus Works

To qualify as a potential replacement to the proof-of-work consensus model, any new innovation must solve the double-spend problem.  The double-spend problem is how to digitally prevent one individual from sending the same payment more than once – a.k.a. prevent them from ‘double-spending’ the same amount.

Before Bitcoin, this was solved by having one central authority – a bank usually – determine if the person really had enough money left in their account.  If they didn’t, then they were restricted from sending any further payment.

However, Bitcoin introduced the concept of decentralization – having a group of distributed computers collectively decide if that individual had already spent the money.  It does this by agreeing on a history of all transactions to that point; from the very origin of the money to how each unit is spent throughout its history.  This history is called a blockchain.  The Bitcoin network agrees on each historical unit – a block – by solving complex computational problems.  The computer that ends up submitting a block successfully is also rewarded with Bitcoins; i.e., the concept of ‘mining’ for Bitcoins.

But XRP is different.  Instead of many computers competing with each other to solve computational problems, it puts the transaction to a vote.  If enough validators agree that the transaction is valid, then it is entered into the ledger history, and the unit of history – the ledger – is closed.  Some have likened the difference between the Bitcoin and XRP consensus models as competition vs cooperation, respectively.

Transaction Settlement

While Bitcoin relies on raw computing power to perform validation of its network, XRP relies on agreement of validators.  Once a ledger is created, it can never be undone; hence the concept of ‘final settlement’ in XRP that is missing in Bitcoin.  In Bitcoin, it is still possible for a transaction to be reversed in a subsequent block.  As more and more blocks occur, however, this likelihood significantly decreases to almost-zero.  Hence, the necessity to wait for six blocks before a transaction is really considered final in Bitcoin.  This can take up to an hour, while XRP settles in under four seconds. 10 11

Who Runs The Validators?

So then the next natural question for you should be “who are the validators?”

This is where XRP has been criticized in the past, and it’s why Ripple has declared 2018 the “year of decentralization” for XRP.

While anybody can run a validator on the XRP Ledger – it is a permissionless network – there are a group of validators that are known as trusted validators.  These trusted validators form the recommended unique node list, or UNL.  Presently, the servers on the recommended UNL belong to Ripple – the company.12 This doesn’t necessarily mean that the network is dependent on Ripple or its validators; each person or organization running a validator can change which other validators that it trusts by altering its own UNL.

For example, if the company ceased to operate tomorrow for some reason, these validators could easily form a new UNL of their own, forking into a new network – or carrying the XRPL forward without the company.  From the XRP Ledger FAQ: 13

“The Ripple network is opt-in. Each participant directly or indirectly chooses its UNL. Should Ripple stop operating or should Ripple act maliciously, participants could change their UNLs to continue using the network.”

Despite this fact, just having a recommended UNL – with a majority of the listed servers belonging to Ripple – has invited criticism.

This aspect of using a recommended UNL that points to Ripple validators impedes the perceived benefits of full decentralization.  In other words, investors – whether they be owners of XRP or banking customers – would probably prefer that most of the validators belong to XRP stakeholders that are considered as trustworthy as the company.

The Year of Decentralization

In a meetup in Seoul recently, Warren Paul Anderson, Ripple’s XRP Ledger Product Manager, talked about the XRP Ledger and the history of its creation – and the creation of cryptographic networks in general.  He made the following point:14waren_anderson

“You can chose two of three things when you create a blockchain technology: Scalability, Security, or Decentralization.”

His point was accurate and gets at the heart of the matter; while XRP’s performance metrics are God-like, the last piece of the puzzle is to achieve a high level of decentralization of the recommended UNL.  To do this, Ripple carefully charted a path that explicitly defines several important milestones.

Ripple’s Detailed Decentralization Plan

Starting in May of 2017, Ripple published their preliminary plan to pursue full decentralization of even the default UNL.15

At that time, the high-level goals and end-states were clear and divided into two components:

  1. Diversify validators on the XRP Ledger
  2. Add attested validators to the recommended Unique Node Lists (UNLs)

As the year progressed, Ripple focused on documenting tangible steps to lead to the desired outcome, and their detailed path towards full decentralization was born.  In October of 2017, they published more information about the decentralization plan.

The update was dramatic.

In less than five months, the XRP Ledger went from 25 total validators – with 5 trusted validators on the recommended UNL- to over 70 total validators.  However, to mitigate any security risk of changes to the recommended UNL, they made a change to host the cryptographically-signed validator list at a new external site.16

This is where we are now.

Future Steps

The goal of the decentralization effort is to have a high degree of diversity on the recommended UNL, and to have more than one recommended UNL.  To get there, several steps must be accomplished.  Here is what those steps entail:

  1. Update the site and the existing validators to use validator tokens instead of master validator secret keys.
    • This adds an additional layer of security to the existing validators. Ripple will periodically rotate the tokens.
  2. Add new third-party validators. For every two third-party validators, Ripple will remove a Ripple-controlled validator from the recommended list.
  3. Eventually, as the size of the network grows, Ripple will encourage others to run validator list sites similar to vl.ripple.com.

NOTE about #3: Cobalt will be implemented before proceeding with this step, as well as several other updates to the consensus algorithm that are designed to enhance fork safety.  Any changes resulting from implementing Cobalt will also enhance the ability to support multiple recommended UNL lists while minimizing any possibility of a fork. 17 18

The overall timeline of decentralization now looks somewhat like the following:


Ripple is making good on their published plans, and we are now approximately half-way through the process of achieving full decentralization of the XRP Ledger.

Desired End-State of XRP Decentralization

The XRP Ledger is the fastest, most scalable cryptographic network that has the necessary capabilities and features to serve global-scale commerce.  The benefits of decentralization are available to organizations immediately, as well as the opportunity to participate meaningfully in transaction validation.

The careful management of these decentralization steps by Ripple addresses any customer concern, and also answers the criticism pointed at XRP by some crypto purists.

While the technical details of a multi-phased decentralization plan do not fit nicely into a witty tweet, it reflects the logical approach to problem-solving that we’ve come to expect from Ripple; and as a former consultant, I can tell you that it’s that reputation that will motivate banks and other participants to become active members of Ripple’s decentralization vision. ripple-symbol3


  1. https://howmuch.net/articles/bitcoin-wealth-distribution
  2. https://blog.iqoption.com/en/three-countries-with-the-largest-number-of-bitcoin-miners/
  3. https://blockchain.info/pools
  4. https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption
  5. http://www.businessinsider.com/bitcoin-conference-stops-accepting-bitcoin-network-fees-congestion-2018-1
  6. http://www.truthcoin.info/blog/measuring-decentralization/
  7. https://news.earn.com/quantifying-decentralization-e39db233c28e
  8. https://qz.com/947064/sweden-is-turning-a-blockchain-powered-land-registry-into-a-reality/
  9. http://www.wired.co.uk/article/blockchain-disrupting-music-mycelia
  10. https://blockchain.info/charts/median-confirmation-time
  11. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/
  12. https://ripple.com/technical-faq-xrp-ledger/
  13. https://ripple.com/technical-faq-xrp-ledger/
  14. https://youtu.be/Hf5dRx4-lv8
  15. https://ripple.com/insights/how-we-are-further-decentralizing-the-ripple-consensus-ledger-rcl-to-bolster-robustness-for-enterprise-use/
  16. https://ripple.com/dev-blog/decentralization-strategy-update/
  17. https://ripple.com/insights/continued-decentralization-xrp-ledger-consensus-protocol/
  18. https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.07240

Global Payments Infrastructure Takeover in Progress

In these days of the crypto revolution, it’s difficult for some investors to discern between hyperbole by the championing organization, and actual market potential.

Each coin vies for an increasing market share of crypto investment money, and sometimes the organization responsible for constructing and executing adoption business plans may make profound statements that remind us of a used car salesman trying to offload a rusty sedan on an unsuspecting young buyer.  But what if you happen to run into the rarity – a situation where you discover a fantastic product that has no salesman at all?  What if the business refuses to engage in the ‘usual’ sales tactics for that industry, and just lets its product speak for itself?

Note that Ripple has an established reputation for remaining focused and pragmatic when it comes to blockchain technology.  When they encounter obstacles – whether business or otherwise, I’ve seen them analyze the situation carefully before deciding on a plan for overcoming the problem.  It’s impressive to watch.  In addition, they have consistently been low-key about challenging the industry leaders, despite the market deciding in late December of 2017 that it was time for XRP to make a run up the rankings.

When XRP’s market cap passed Ethereum and started eating up Bitcoin’s share in late December and early January of this year, it reminded everybody that the future of the crypto market is around the corner.1

Now we’re seeing a freight train of progress for the adoption of every solution that Danny_Aranda_EuropeanMDRipple offers – xCurrent, xRapid, and xVia.  So when I saw that the UK Express had published an interview with Danny Aranda (Ripple’s European Managing Director) dramatically titled “Ripple cross-border takeover: Cryptocurrency Giant Plotting Worldwide Transaction Takeover,” I just nodded and said to myself, No kidding!  Somebody woke up and realized what was happening. 2

Takeover In Progress

Danny Aranda correctly noted the difference in size between the crypto markets and the current ForEx market.  While the press talks a good game in terms of blockchain technology’s potential for moving money worldwide, the reality is that the crypto market is not even close to catching up yet with traditional methods of value transfer.  Here is the visual difference between the daily volume of ForEx on traditional markets versus the amount of value that is transferred daily over various crypto networks (including the XRP Ledger): 3 4


In the article, Danny Aranda commented:

“So this is an order of magnitude smaller than our traditional markets that we have around in the present day.”

He also went on to discuss his positive outlook about Western Union, who announced on February 14th that they were trying out XRP as a bridge currency: 5

 “We would look at someone like Western Union as a potential customer or a potential partner who can use our infrastructures.”

The potential xRapid deal with Western Union is but one measure of XRP’s growing global reach – remember that MoneyGram is also piloting xRapid. 6

This recent phrasing of a ‘takeover’ by Ripple is spreading to other news outlets as well, with some noting a building trend within the banking and FI space.  In a recent article, the Stock Gazzette indicated: 7

“…it appears Ripple have an even grandeur plan in the pipeline. And the likelihood is that it will incorporate Western Union. Summarized, it simply boils down to one thing, and which many other cryptocurrencies are fighting to achieve: worldwide use if not complete takeover.”

It seems that now that it was discovered that not only MoneyGram but Western Union is piloting xRapid, the evidence has reached a level of irrefutability that even the most skeptical analysts are pausing and having to consider the strong possibility that Ripple is about to transition the entire global money transfer infrastructure using its technology – with a combination of its software packages.

Ripple News

In the past few days, the news hasn’t stopped for the largest fintech company in the world.  If anything, adoption and enthusiasm towards Ripple technology has now started to circle the globe and take over any serious discussion of banking technology’s future.

To willfully ignore Ripple technology would be a dangerously head-in-the-sand move for any bank or financial institution at this point.  The one organization that has deliberately avoided conversations about its nascent replacement is SWIFT, the legacy messaging organization that is desperately seeking to forestall its imminent loss of relevance.

Interview with Marjan Delatinne

On March 8th, Veronica Rinecker from Cointelegraph recently interviewed Marjan Delatinne, Ripple’s Global Head of Banking, about various topics, including some questions pertaining to RippleNet membership. 8

In the first introductory response, Marjan referenced her past with SWIFT:Delantine

“I was working for SWIFT in the past, and correspondent banking is a core business of SWIFT. There are a lot of pain points and problems – and I want to change it.”

Although this response was one of those safe responses that you sort of expect when you ask a person about their transition from one employer to another, it also indicated something a bit more subtle – and that is, sometimes you need an entirely new organization to affect change.  I’ve discussed SWIFT in the past, and also the enduring characteristics of an organization’s culture and track record, but it’s fascinating to have some of my comments be confirmed with tangible actions by prominent executives that have left SWIFT in the past like Marjan Delatinne.

Another question that was asked of Marjan was regarding how Ripple attracts new partners, and what are the key communication challenges.  Her response:

“It takes time to attract new partners, especially big organizations. They have more complex legacy systems and if they invest, they have to be sure that their investment is bringing a return. But we see a significant change in terms of the way the banks are talking to Ripple. The trust that now has been built around Ripple and the fact that a lot of big players are already in our network – for example, Bank of America – make our new partners more confident that Ripple is working.”

Not everybody realizes that Bank of America is a Ripple partner, and her mention of this partnership with the second-largest US Bank in the world was a subtle reminder.

Cory Johnson

If you haven’t read the biography of Ripple’s newest team member, Cory Johnson, you are missing out.

He has a long entrepreneurial history in journalism, helping to start and grow magazines such as SLAM and TheStreet, two very different but highly popular news sites.  In addition to his entrepreneurial and managerial resume, he is an experienced communicator on-camera, co-hosting programs on Bloomberg with Emily Chang. 9 He’s covered serious journalistic topics such as organized crime, and he is also a respected member of the organization of Investigative Reporters and Editors. 10

In addition to his media resume, he also is a noted financial analyst, having worked for Kingsford Capital Management and Cannell Capital LLC.

On March 9th, it was announced that he had made the decision to leave his current endeavors and become part of team Ripple. 11 Ripple conducted an interview and published it on its Insights post-board.

One of the questions they asked was regarding how Cory’s experience as both a reporter and a hedge fund manager translates to what he’ll do at Ripple.  Here was his answer:cory_johnson

“I believe in Ripple and I’m convinced that the technology is real and revolutionary. But I am also convinced that a lot of blockchain-related companies and crypto projects are exaggerated. This space is confusing and over-hyped.”

Spot on, right?  I think we’ve all reached a similar conclusion on our own after comparing XRP to other cryptographic networks that currently comprise the top three in the crypto market.

(Asia) Money 20/20 Conference in Singapore

Ripple is scheduled to attend the first Asia-specific Money 20/20 Conference in Singapore taking place March 13-15 this week.12 Yes, Brad Garlinghouse is slated as one of the speakers at the conference.

However, here’s something you may not know: Takashi Okita, head of Ripple & SBI’s Ripple-Asia team, is also slated as one of the speakers.  It doesn’t end there.  Ripple is also fielding a third speaker at this event:  Sagar Sarbhai, Ripple’s Head of Regulatory Relations for Asia-Pacific & the Middle East.

What is Money 20/20?  Here is how the organizers explain it: 13

“Money20/20 is where the Payments, FinTech and Financial Services ecosystem unites to create and explore the disruptive ways in which consumers and businesses manage, spend and borrow money. It’s the premier event where leaders – representing every sector of the industry – come to seize new business opportunities, build connections and learn about the latest disruptions.”

In case you’re curious, there is also a (USA) Money 20/20 Conference in the works as well, scheduled for October 21-24 at the Sands in Las Vegas. 14


Not too long ago, you might have seen some headlines that announced a high-profile investment by Ripple in Omni, an Internet sharing-application based business in California.  It was a substantial investment by Ripple, and it drew attention to the fact that cross-border payments, and perhaps micropayments, might be a good fit for some of these new Internet ‘sharing’ companies.omni_sharing

The latest news with Omni is that it recently hired a new Director of Business Operations – Ellia Chon.  Thomas Mcleod, the founder of Omni, had this to say: 15

“Ellia Chon, a finance and strategy expert formerly at Airbnb and Salesforce, has joined our team as Director of Business Operations.

Ellia’s leadership role at Omni will focus on two key areas: business strategy and financial rigor. She will be a crucial decision maker for Omni, developing frameworks around unit economics, market expansion, and pricing to drive growth and profitability.”

I see this as a natural fit for Omni, given Ellia’s background with AirBnB, another Internet sharing company.

Exchange News – Zebpay Finished Integrating XRP

The most recent exchange to add XRP to its list of traded currencies is Zebpay.  While I first reported on Zebpay’s decision to add XRP support in a blog on February 12th, it’s great news that it’s only taken a few weeks for the company to follow-through on its promise to give investors what they were asking for. 16

The size of Zebpay is impressive: the company’s official website boasts that it has three million users of its mobile trading application.  Also keep in mind that even though it doesn’t have a brick-and-mortar presence, it is considered an Indian exchange, and it supports direct XRP:INR pairings. 17

Ripple Collateral: Seven New Videos Explaining Ripple and XRP

In one fell swoop, Ripple released seven videos that they’d produced as part of a comprehensive video series on the history of Ripple, the XRP Ledger, and its vision and marketing strategy.  The move was a surprise, and to the delight of the XRP investment community, contained interviews with the titans of the organization, including Chris Larsen, Brad Garlinghouse, Asheesh Birla, Stefan Thomas and the XRP community’s fan favorite David Schwartz.

One of my favorite stories to emerge from the video series was Chris Larsen discussing how they had to acquire the rights to the Ripple website from a Grateful Dead fan in 2012:

“It came from a Grateful Dead super-fan; it’s related to the song “Ripple.”

It was one of the lighter moments in the educational series.  The videos serve to provide a compelling background for new researchers curious as to the origins of the company and the technology that underpins the digital asset XRP.

For those that would like to watch for themselves, here is a rough table of contents for the seven videos:

“Ripple and XRP – Part 1: How Ripple Got Started”


“Ripple and XRP – Part 2: The Internet of Value”


“Ripple and XRP – Part 3: Ripple’s Vision for XRP”


“Ripple and XRP – Part 4: Ripple’s Product Suite”


“Ripple and XRP – Part 5: XRP vs. Other Digital Assets”


“Ripple and XRP – Part 6: Is XRP Decentralized?”


“Ripple and XRP – Part 7: Consensus vs. Proof-of-Work”


How Soon Before The Takeover Is Complete?

For people like me, I see the obvious benefits of XRP when comparing it with virtually any of the other choices in crypto.  I’ve compared XRP to other digital assets in a methodical fashion in prior blogs, to bring new researchers up to speed on the basics.  It’s interesting to watch the eye-opening reactions to people that are new to crypto.  They squint, shake their heads, and then ask “what’s the catch?”

There is no catch. 

It’s really that good: This is why it quickly consumed a huge percentage of the entire crypto market in its December rally, and it’s also why banks and other financial institutions are adopting its usage as we speak.  It’s no longer hyperbole to talk about Ripple technology taking over the entire global banking and payments infrastructure; it’s just common sense for those of us that understand what the XRP Ledger means for global commerce. ripple-symbol3


  1. https://coinmarketcap.com/historical/20180107/
  2. https://www.express.co.uk/finance/city/929604/Ripple-price-news-XRP-coin-buy-cryptocurrency-USD-bitcoin-Danny-Aranda
  3. https://www.businessinsider.com.au/charts-heres-how-much-currency-is-traded-on-average-every-day-2016-9
  4. https://coinmarketcap.com/all/views/all/
  5. http://fortune.com/2018/02/14/ripple-xrp-western-union-money-transfers/
  6. http://fortune.com/2018/01/11/ripple-moneygram-xrp-cryptocurrency-bank-transfers/
  7. https://stocksgazette.com/2018/03/10/ripple-xrp-and-its-master-plan-beyond-2018/
  8. https://cointelegraph.com/news/ripples-new-global-head-of-banking-talks-about-ripplenet-psd2-and-the-future-of-payment
  9. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cory_Johnson
  10. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/08/ripple-hires-bloomberg-tvs-cory-johnson-as-chief-market-strategist.html
  11. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-welcomes-cory-johnson-chief-market-strategist/
  12. https://asia.money2020.com/speakers
  13. https://us.money2020.com/overview
  14. https://us.money2020.com/?utm_source=google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=money%2020%2020%20conference&utm_campaign=Brand
  15. https://blog.beomni.com/announcing-ellia-chon-as-director-of-business-operations-8ca9960a157b
  16. https://blog.zebpay.com/introducing-ripple-on-zebpay-8519ecdd25bf
  17. https://coinmarketcap.com/exchanges/volume/24-hour/

XRP Update: New Episodes for All Your Favorite TV Shows

Fighting over the remote control with relatives used to happen a lot more before streaming services increased in popularity.  Perhaps you’re too young to remember, but for many of us that are old enough to remember the  “pre-streaming” days, it was a battle for the remote control.  The guys usually opted for action dramas, and the women big_screen_tvwanted to watch the rom-coms.  Of course, this is a generalization, and probably just as dangerous a generalization as any other, but you get my meaning; there was usually one big television in the household – in the living room – and it was a scramble to get your preferred content displayed rather than what you didn’t want to watch.

I’ve got to say – the last three days, on top of the unending stream of good news for Ripple has me thinking of the news items in terms of the number of channels on a cable station.

My message is this; if you don’t like one news story, wait ten minutes; another one will be ready for you on Reddit, XRPChat, or Twitter.  Ripple 2.0 is here, and they are not slowing down to smell the flowers.  The takeover of the crypto markets is happening before our eyes.

The Slow Decline of Legacy Bitcoin

If you hold Bitcoin, don’t be angry at me for the title of this section – I’m just reporting what I’m seeing, and what I’m seeing doesn’t look good for legacy Bitcoin.  It’s almost as if the collective crypto market has woken up in 2018 and realized that “it’s time.”

Yes, memes have been made aplenty about how resistant Bitcoin is to all sorts of negative news, regulations, and other obstructions; it kept going, recovering from innumerable flash crashes, price declines, setbacks, and lately governance dramas that ended up creating competing networks for Bitcoin Cash and other off-brand Bitcoin networks.

It has survived all of those things, and in 2017 it looked like Bitcoin would easily break the $20,000 barrier on its way to a higher price point.  So what happened in 2018?

Bitcoin Futures

Is there resistance in the traditional finance markets that Bitcoin consistently has trouble overcoming?  Yes: Bitcoin futures on Wall Street.  It seems that now that institutional money has gotten into the mix, many traditional investors are betting against the original crypto network.

While I don’t understand fully all of the machinations behind this new derivatives market, it’s apparent what the effect on the price of Bitcoin has been as well as the cooling effect it’s had on the entire market.


It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the US Securities and Exchange Commission has now stepped up enforcement;  until recently, the SEC has focused on those digital assets and projects that mimic securities trading, such as ICOs.  Even those announcements and comments were met with skepticism and negativity within crypto, and the market took a step backward when the stories broke. sec_symbol

Continuing with that trend, on Wednesday March 7th, the SEC issued a statement indicating that crypto trading platforms should register with the agency as exchanges.

While the SEC is the regulatory body for the United States, the statement implies that if an exchange wants to do business with US customers, that it must register.  This has some surprising impacts for exchanges worldwide.  In addition, just because some major current exchanges are based in the United States doesn’t make them immune from the SEC’s guidelines.  Unfortunately, GDAX and Gemini might fall into the category of noncompliance, according to one article by Bloomberg. 1

Here is part of the statement by the SEC:

“If a platform offers trading of digital assets that are securities and operates as an ‘exchange,’ as defined by the federal securities laws, then the platform must register with the SEC as a national securities exchange or be exempt from registration,”

The possible issue with this statement is that it depends on which coins that the exchange lists.  Which digital assets are considered securities by the SEC?  I have never seen any comprehensive list, and most likely exchanges that think they can get around registration by restricting their coin listing are playing a dangerous game.  I predict that all exchanges will fall under this umbrella in the eyes of the SEC.

Regardless of the outcome for exchanges, the overall crypto market doesn’t like uncertainty and has reacted as expected, dropping by double-digit numbers.

Liquidation of BTC by Mt Gox Trustee

It looks like as much as $400 million in BTC and BCC has been sold by the Mt Gox Bankruptcy Trustee, Nobuaki Kobayashi.  He provided a quote about why he timed the sale as Bitcoin was nearing the $20k range in prices: 17 18

“As a result of the consultation with the court, I considered it necessary and reasonable to sell a certain amount of BTC and BCC at this point and secure a certain amount of money for distribution resources, and thus, I sold the amount of BTC and BCC above. I made efforts to sell BTC and BCC at as high a price as possible in light of the market price of BTC and BCC at the timing of sale.”

The worst part about the sale of the bankruptcy proceeds?

It’s not done yet. 

Kobayashi is still in possession of approximately 166,344 Bitcoins, and he stated that he will consult with the court to determine details of a subsequent sale of BTC and BCC.

Possible Binance Hack

Yet another factor negatively impacting the price of Bitcoin in the last two days is news of a possible hack on the Binance exchange. 2

The official statement from Binance strangely indicated that some of the victims were users of its API keys, indicating that they were possibly using trading bots or some other platform that directly interacted with Binance: 3

“We are investigating reports of some users having issues with their funds. Our team is aware and investigating the issue as we speak.

As of this moment, the only confirmed victims have registered API keys (to use with trading bots or otherwise). There is no evidence of the Binance platform being compromised.

Please remain patient and we will provide an update as quickly as possible.

Edit: Withdrawals are temporarily disabled at this time.

Edit II: Reversal of suspicious trades is in progress. Hoping to have the exchange fully functional again soon.”

This news piled on top of the SEC announcement and the bankruptcy sale combined to create a triple-whammy effect on Bitcoin prices, dragging the entire market down with it.

XRP Needs to Decouple from Bitcoin

As much as I try to stay immune from the price behavior of my favorite crypto, I have to agree with those that observe that XRP’s fortunes have not completely detached from the fate of the oldest cryptocurrency.

Bitcoin’s price behavior is still connected to the behavior and pricing of the other cryptocurrencies in the market, despite what we’d like to believe.  Is XRP as closely tied to Bitcoin?  No.  The recent divergences of XRP from the overall market are now legend – all you have to do is look at the historical XRP price charts from mid-2017 until now and you will see many occasions where XRP train passengers have waved to the onlookers still on the platform as it rode away to new highs.

Despite these exceptions, the rule still seems to be that the overall market is negatively impacted when Bitcoin is negatively impacted.

XRP Will Be First to Diverge from Bitcoin

I’d be lying if I said I felt no sense of schadenfreude in knowing that XRP will be the first digital asset to disconnect its price performance from that of Bitcoin; it’s been a long road for Ripple and XRP, and the Ripple team has methodically kept their performance at the highest levels through thick and thin in the last five years, keeping focused on providing results for their banking customers.

I don’t know where the crypto market is heading in the next few days; but in my opinion if you own XRP you have minimized your risk as much as possible in the crypto market.  XRP’s use case is massive – it provides a bridge currency for cross-border payments, and recently it’s begun to delve into other markets as well.

Not too long ago, Brad Garlinghouse compared Ripple and cross-border payments to Brad_Garlinghouse_photo1Amazon and books from early in its evolution.  I think the comparison was spot-on: 4

“Amazon started as a bookseller. They built a model around selling books. And then they said we’re going to do electronics. I think the same thing applies here. If we’re going to have a chance at the 10-year vision, we’ve gotta make sure the 10-month vision takes hold first.”

Keep in mind that Brad Garlinghouse made this statement in April of 2015; This quote telegraphed his high-level plan to diversify at some point after Ripple was assured of capturing the payments market.

Details for Developers

For those that want to run a server node on the XRP Ledger, Ripple has updated their documentation to reflect recommended configuration settings like log level, historical data, and other information.  The title for this category of documentation has been given “Capacity Planning.”   On Tuesday, March 6th, Warren Paul Anderson sent out the following tweet about this topic:


The updated documentation is located at the Ripple Developer Center website under “rippled-setup”: 5



Some ground-breaking news was released by Ripple about a new payment application that was built by the Japanese Banking Consortium (JBC).  It revealed that a new application called MoneyTap will be released to allow customers to settle transactions in real-time 24 hours a day. 6

The first JBC members go live with the application in autumn of 2018; these members include SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank.

For me, the most startling aspect of this announcement was the fact that the application will be handling domestic payments, not cross-border payments!  While SBI has always been consistent in its message that Ripple technology can handle domestic payments just as naturally as cross-border payments, this is the first time we’ve actually seen an application targeting domestic payments.  Even the application built by Santander did not specifically target domestic payments (although there’s no limitation to using it for domestic payments as well).

Ripple’s article noted;

“Flexibility with domestic payments is limited in Japan: transactions must occur on weekdays and between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm or risk delays.”


Specific Features of MoneyTap

MoneyTap is a smartphone application, so most likely it will be available on Iphone and Android (assumed).  According to a CNET article: 7

“Money Tap can remit inter-user remittance 24 hours a day, 365 days in real time and can send money by reading the phone number and QR code in addition to the bank account number. The launch is scheduled for the summer or later, and ….  SBI Net Bank, Suruga Bank, Resona Bank will …. (go first). The remittance fee is said to be lower than the current price, but each row determines the actual usage fee.

For the remittance method, (the user) specifie(s) the remittance destination from the application (account number, telephone number, QR code reading) and input(s) the amount of money to be sent. Remittance is completed through biometric authentication such as fingerprint authentication.  In addition, at the beginning of use, (the banks involved) take steps to verify the identity equivalent to ordinary banking service, taking into consideration unauthorized use.”

MoneyTap Release – Business Organization

Within Ripple, it’s evident that Emi Yoshikawa – director of joint venture partnerships at Ripple –  is organizing the release of the application; she noted:

“The release of the MoneyTap mobile app shows Ripple’s continued commitment to provide its partners across Asia and the world with blockchain-powered solutions that dramatically improve the customer payments journey,”

XRP Investor News

In my last blog, I fell into the trap of trying to cover all of the news items that might potentially affect XRP price.  While I made a good faith effort in trying to cover it all, I realized too late that at this point Ripple and XRP have grown up.

No longer is it possible to cover all news items for a three-day period!

While on the one hand it’s good to see that Ripple 2.0 has grown into a large organization, on the other hand it’s tough to try and access all pertinent information that may have had an effect on Ripple’s progress, XRP adoption, or any combination of those two.  But it doesn’t stop me from trying!  In the last three days, we’ve seen further progress when it comes to exchanges, mainstream funds getting into the mix for crypto, and some intriguing business connections.

Let’s take a look first at investment funds starting to enter the crypto market on a larger scale:

Grayscale Investments

While Grayscale Investments published plans 8 to add XRP to their multi-crypto investment fund in early February, on Tuesday, March 6th, Grayscale announced that a new fund targeting only XRP had been added to their list of funds.9 This was an exciting development, as it gives investors a choice to put some of their money into a fund that focuses solely on what I consider to be the market leader in digital assets used for settlement.


If you don’t live in Asia, you probably don’t know what Grab is.grab_taxi

Grab is a simple concept; it’s a taxi-booking mobile application.  It has since evolved somewhat, and now includes GrabCar (private cars), GrabBike (motorcycle taxis), and others.  It also has an in-application messaging tool to communicate between users and drivers.

Grab is big – very big.  It boasts two million drivers, and its application has been downloaded 69 million times.

So why am I talking about Grab?  An XRPChat member noted that: 10

  • There exists an existing partnership between SBI Ripple Asia and Saison Card 11
  • Saison Card is forming a partnership with Grab 12

From CryptoNinjas:

“The new credit card consortium has already developed a new payments app powered by Ripple’s blockchain technology that enables real-time payments using a phone number or QR code.”

This description reminded me of the mobile payment application that the banking consortium is building.

SBI Acquires 40% of Coolbitx

XRP investors have long wanted a wallet issued by Ripple; for various business and legal reasons, Ripple exited the wallet-building space years ago, putting their legendary RippleTrade wallet on the shelf. 13

In the meantime, other entrants to the space published their own wallets, among them some of the most popular XRP access points in crypto; the most popular wallet in a recent poll was found to be a hardware wallet, indicating the public’s preference for air-gapped devices.  In a nod to end-users’ preferences, SBI recently acquired 40% of Coolbitx, a Taiwanese-based maker of hardware wallets. 14

Will this lead to a wallet designed for storing XRP?  Time will tell.

BitIT Marketplace Adds XRP

The latest organization to add XRP is not a traditional exchange, but its impact might extend beyond that of a traditional exchange.

BitIT is a marketplace headquartered in France that has a unique business model for purchasing crypto; it allows the user to purchase crypto directly in retail stores.  They can walk into a physical store and buy virtual currency with cash.  They also support purchases of XRP online through the company’s website. 15

One author indicated: 16

“Bitit surpasses the Coinbase ease-of-purchase functionality. Although Coinbase, an American exchange headquartered in San Francisco, has become famous for their capability of allowing cryptocurrency purchases by credit card, Coinbase users must purchase cryptocurrency from the exchange itself.

Bitit takes this ease of cryptocurrency acquisition further by allowing purchase at checkout of international retail stores, and also allowing gift-card purchase through cash voucher systems, as well as Visa and MasterCard cryptocurrency purchase online.”

Community Development Update:  Kyte On Its Way

The same developer responsible for creating the XRP Tip Bot is planning on releasing a new wallet called Kyte in the near future.  The functions available through Kyte are extensive, and the wallet is available in a desktop or mobile version.  It also has many offline tools as well.

@WietseWind (Twitter handle) is the developer responsible for developing the Kyte wallet.

He indicated that he is still working diligently on the wallet, and anticipates a release date soon, after he puts the final touches on the application.  He previously published a video of an innovation he’s including with the Kyte wallet – a tool for managing the connections to the XRP Ledger.  You can see the video here:  https://youtu.be/pOga5V4IjuU

He recently published the latest code which includes the rippled-ws-client:


@WietseWind provided the following comment:

“Kyte will be built by layering:

1. The new rippled-ws-client to connect to an individual rippled-server

2. The connection pool (going to update the existing beta to use the new rippled-ws-client instead of ripple-lib) to connect to multiple rippled servers and allow load balancing / failover / selection based on fasted / best fee …

And then Kyte, written in VueJS


#1 rippled-ws-client is probably nice for almost everyone wanting to develop ripple-ledger related stuff in nodejs / javascript and

#2 (the pool) for almost everyone wanting redundancy and combining fast rippled connections with full history connections, etc.”

You Don’t Have to Fight for the Remote Control

We’re not stuck in the pre-streaming era any more.  If there are many television shows that you really want to watch, and they’re being broadcast at the same time, there’s no need to fight over the remote control.  Use TIVO.  Use Netflix or Roku.

Just like television shows, the news for Ripple is being broadcast nonstop on all channels with a  wide variety of news stories and information.  Did I cover everything in the last three days?  Not even close.

But you’ll have to visit one of the many sources of valuable information about Ripple and XRP yourself to find out more; while you’re there, introduce yourself and make some contacts among the XRP community and get to know some of these other heroes in the space – I’m amazed at the level of talent lurking quietly on these forums.

Collectively, let’s focus on supporting XRP adoption by the same organizations Ripple is aiming for – banks and financial institutions – to capitalize on the largest use case for XRP; but let’s also remember to have fun along the way.  There’s a lot of channels on any given day – odds are good that you will find something that inspires you.ripple-symbol3


    1. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2018-03-07/bitcoin-dives-after-sec-says-crypto-platforms-must-be-registered?utm_content=crypto&utm_campaign=socialflow-organic&utm_source=twitter&utm_medium=social
    2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/cbovaird/2018/03/07/bitcoin-drops-below-10000-as-traders-suspect-binance-hack/#4377584a4c83
    3. https://www.reddit.com/r/BinanceExchange/comments/82pj5p/please_read_regarding_unauthorized_market_sells/
    4. https://ripple.com/insights/welcome-coo-brad-garlinghouse-to-ripple-labs/
    5. https://ripple.com/build/rippled-setup/#capacity-planning
    6. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-powered-mobile-app-provide-demand-domestic-payments-japan/
    7. https://japan.cnet.com/article/35115750/
    8. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/exclusive-grayscale-launches-new-digital-large-cap-fund-tied-bitcoin-ether-ripple-litecoin-160507615.html?soc_src=hl-viewer&soc_trk=tw&_fsig=TvtX85dEkL0DcBu6jTPfCA–
    9. https://www.coindesk.com/xrp-bch-ltc-eth-grayscale-adds-4-new-crypto-trusts/amp/?__twitter_impression=true
    10. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/20689-grabpay-saison-card-ripple-link-up/
    11. https://www.cryptoninjas.net/2017/12/27/sbi-ripple-asia-announces-xrp-integration-within-credit-card-consortium/
    12. http://corporate.saisoncard.co.jp/wr_html/news_data/avmqks000000ajkz-att/20180305Release.pdf
    13. https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/exchange/ripple-trade-closing-replaced-with-wallet-and-trading-portal-gatehub/
    14. https://cointelegraph.com/news/japans-finance-giant-sbi-buys-40-of-taiwanese-crypto-hardware-wallet-company
    15. https://venturebeat.com/2016/03/24/paris-based-bitit-launches-to-let-you-buy-bitcoins-from-100000-physical-stores-around-the-world/
    16. https://oracletimes.com/ripple-xrp-coinbase-rival-adds-xrp-by-credit-card-150000-stores-worldwide/
    17. https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/news/mt-gox-trustee-liquidates-massive-amount-btc-bch/
    18. https://www.ccn.com/mt-gox-trustee-sells-400-million-bitcoin-bitcoin-cash/


XRP Momentum Building: JoelKatz’s AMA and xRapid Adoption News

Consistency is a rare trait that is sought after in business and in almost any enterprise or endeavor where reaching a goal is imperative.  Consistency of results, of behavior, of performance.  Customers – whether they be banks, financial institutions, or individuals – are comforted by knowing that there’s an established track record behind an individual or business that forms a pattern.David_beckham

This holds true in sports; fans do not declare a fresh winner a champion of their sport until they’ve managed to repeat their performance many times.  Hence, we are captivated by those athletes that can win not just once, but many times.  If you’re a Sachin_Tendulkarsoccer fan, think of David Beckham, who played for Manchester United for eleven seasons with legendary success.  If you’re a cricket fan, think of Sachin Tendulkar, who has managed to capture multiple batting titles in cricket over twenty-five years.

When the topic is crypto, how many projects can boast of consistent results in all aspects of their operations: Adoption, business deals, ethics, community engagement?  Very few.  I’m not going to make the claim that Ripple is the only worthwhile project in crypto, but I’ve been studying and watching this space for a few years now, and among the various companies, nonprofit foundations, and other entities, Ripple has provided a model of how to do things right.

You can see this for yourself when you examine the new initial coin offerings appearing in the crypto market; many of them are now emulating Ripple, with a high-volume number of coins or tokens, along with retaining a significant share for the organization responsible for championing adoption.

One key difference is that Ripple planned and executed their strategy five years ago, when there was no precedent or role models; instead, they became the role models, leading from the front and forging their own path.  They’ve done it under tremendous pressure the whole time, with Ripple’s public-facing communications always under a spotlight.  In addition, from what I’ve seen, they act with principle-centered leadership, always with one hand on solid business ethics.

When I talk about Ripple in this capacity, some names immediately spring to mind: Chris Larsen, Stefan Thomas, Warren Paul Anderson, Asheesh Birla, and Nik Bougalis to name a few.  Of course Brad Garlinghouse is one of those individuals as well that serve as an example.  And of course the one person that seems most connected to the XRP investor community; David Schwartz.

Joel Katz’ AMA on Reddit

Ripple’s Chief Cryptographer (known on social media as ‘JoelKatz’) conducted an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on the Reddit platform on Tuesday, February 27th.  The response from the XRP investor community was massive: Including his responses and other contributions, there were 551 comments on that thread.  It was impossible for David Schwartz to address every question, but he prioritized and covered a good number of questions, leaving us with some interesting observations. 1

I’m not going to repeat every question and answer, but there are a few noteworthy points that deserve consideration.  Because of this possibility, I will zero in on the answers that were most eye-opening for myself.

First off, this is the new JoelKatz.  Even though he holds the XRP community in very high regard and has shown a tendency to go off-roading on some subjects where analysts subsequently dissect even his smallest points (I am guilty of this), his answers in the AMA were very deliberate.  Here’s an example:

Question (_mars75) : “Can you share any information on xPool?”

Answer: “No news on xPool at this time.”

This is an example where, previously, I think the more relaxed JoelKatz would have done some speculating or given some sort of hint about progress, next steps, or implementation details.  Instead, his silence on this topic echoed like a pipe organ in a church with vaulted ceilings.  From this deafening silence, I can discern that xPool is indeed an integral part of Ripple’s plans in 2018: You see where I’m going here.

Question(Hodor7777): “XRP is arguably the fastest consensus algorithm in the space right now. While 1,500 TPS is blazingly fast compared to other crypto networks, are there any plans to, at some point in the future, retool it to go even higher?”

Answer:  “We’ve added escrow and payment channels for off chain scalability. One of the fundamental trade-offs with decentralized, open networks is that on ledger transactions JoelKatzfundamentally impose costs on others. I’m not sure it’s strategically wise to increase the on ledger transaction throughput too much. Already, the vast majority of transactions on the ledger are likely close to zero value — probably around 1% of the transactions have 99% of the utility.

That said, yes, there is still a lot of work on improving the XRP Ledger’s on chain scalability. Ethan MacBrough’s work on the consensus mechanism itself is aimed at the fundamental sources of these scalability limitations.”

In addition to the answer he provided to my question, David Schwartz also linked  to an article about consensus centering around a voting network, and how the scalability limitations can be addressed. 2 Note that this article is far from an unrelated research paper; the author has also written a review of the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol.  My guess is that some of his findings and recommendations might eventually find their way into an new version of Rippled.

Question(DutchBeetle):  “Hi David, Stefan mentioned (in the interview at Google) that XRP is ‘not static’ and open for improvement.. Could you elaborate on the possibilities?”

Answer: “Ripple has a team of talented developers working on improving the scalability and reliability of the XRP Ledger. We’re also constantly evaluating the ledger’s feature set and looking for ways to make the ledger more powerful. We’ve also seen increased community participation in this open source development effort.

We recently added payment channels and escrow to facilitate off-ledger scalability through protocols like ILP. The check feature will provide greater flexibility in receiving funds.

Because the XRP Ledger has a defined way to introduce features, build a consensus around them, and activate them in a non-disruptive way, it can evolve to incorporate new technologies faster than other systems can.

We’re always open to new ideas.”

This is as close to bragging about Ripple’s code governance leadership for the XRP Ledger as I’ve seen.  And it’s accurate – the code governance model, while democratically relying on voting, is efficient at introducing new changes into the code to address any opportunities or threats.

As a book-end to this answer, another prominent member of the XRP community – Karma Coverage – linked to the official process documentation, as well as the most recent amendments:

On March 15th, two new amendments will be introduced into the code for processing check information.  This is an exciting development, and it’s worth noting that David Schwartz was excited by these updates.  In addition, if you look at the new proposed amendments, there are six new categories of functionality that Ripple plans on adding:


One of them references crypto-conditions, which I speculate might tie into updates to Codius.

If you’re interested in viewing some of the other questions that were posed to David Schwartz, along with his feedback, please take a read for yourself.  All in all, it’s a convenient central location for many common contemporary questions and answers regarding Rippled and other topics; David Schwartz made the point that any day of the week somebody can pose new questions to him via social media such as Twitter.

Ripple Partner News & xRapid Updates

The past week has seen some impressive updates for Ripple technology adoption, and for those of us XRP investors, it was even better due to the fact that several news items pertained specifically to xRapid adoption, the Ripple solution package that necessitates the use of XRP – the native digital asset of the XRP Ledger.

Let’s start out with progress along the business plan for testing the xCurrent package with South Korean banks.


In addition to the thirty-seven banks and financial institutions that are completing a trial of xCurrent organized by SBI, a South Korean bank – Woori Bank – also participated in the tests along with the second-largest bank in South Korea, Shinhan Bank.  One of the goals of the trial was to test remittances. 3

A representative from Woori provided the following feedback:

“Several banks, such as two or three megabanks and Internet professional banks, are pushing to introduce the practice.”

This quote, and specifically the wording of “pushing” indicated that there is a measurable level of demand for implementing Ripple technology and specifically the configuration that was used for the trials.

This public feedback is encouraging, as it comes after Ripple worked to standardize its xCurrent offering for the Japanese Banking Consortium (JBC) in December of last year. 4


Progress for xCurrent is always exciting, especially given the fact that David Schwartz recently commented in his AMA that it is relatively easy for an organization to upgrade to xRapid if they’ve already implemented xCurrent: 5

“Technically, it’s very easy. These pieces are designed to work together.”

Even so, it’s always directly exciting to hear of new pilots and trials of xRapid, the Ripple solution that necessitates liquidity provided by XRP.

Fleetcor and Cambridge Global Payments

On March 1st, Ripple formally announced a new client: Cambridge Global Payments. 6


Cambridge Global Payments started out as a precious metals dealer and FX broker back in 1992 and has evolved over time into a leading provider of B2B payments (business to business). 7  They are a global company with many offices in the UK, Australia, Spain, the US & Canada. 8 According to their public-facing information, they offer payment settlement in over 140 different currencies, and currently service 13,000 clients around the world and handle $20 billion in international transactions annually. 9

No matter how you slice it, Cambridge Global Payments is a huge win for Ripple.  The extensive reach of their customer base, along with the number of currencies they support when performing settlement, make Ripple technology a perfect fit for their business model.

On top of that, the package that they’re trying is xRapid, which signals their intention to use XRP as a liquidity solution for at least some of the corridors represented by the 140+ currencies that they process during settlement.

The connection to Fleetcor is worth noting: Cambridge Global Payments is a subsidiary of Fleetcor, which, among other things, serves the oil and gas industry10 and their international payment processing needs.  Fleetcor as the larger organization boasts approximately 500,000 business clients.11 That’s a very big number when it comes to B2B payments.

Petrodollars flow from one company to the next using Fleetcor’s services, and its subsidiary Cambridge Global Payments.  This money has the effect of heavily impacting entire nation-states’ economies; we are starting to see the promised global reach and impact of real-time payments being processed using Ripple technology.  The value that is processed by Fleetcor and its subsidiaries is massive, and now because of their ability to process payments in real-time, the velocity of money essentially has been increased not just for the companies that are receiving these payments in real-time, but also for the countries in which these companies reside.

Zip Remit

On February 21st, we learned that Zip Remit was using xVia, the Ripple solution that utilizes an API for enabling organizations to make B2B payments to each other.  We also learned that Zip Remit planned to create a working relationship with LianLian (xCurrent customer). 12

At the time of this announcement, there was no mention that Zip Remit would be using xRapid or XRP.

Then, a week and a half later, Zip Remit issued the following statement via Twitter on March 1st: 13


The tweet was fairly specific in saying “Using XRP.”  It seems that in some cases, XRP adoption is happening a lot faster than even XRP fans anticipated.

Central Banks

Ripple is aiming to serve central banks.

After they hosted the Central Bank Summit in New York City last year, they also re-organized internally, devoting significant resources to supporting and marketing their solutions to central banks.  What had begun as a pilot with the Bank of England has now borne fruit, and it’s apparent that Ripple sees a direct fit with its xCurrent solution, which is heavily based on the Interledger Protocol (ILP).

Thus far, at least two central banks have been formally announced as Ripple customers:  The Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the Bank of England (BOE). 14

Why am I bringing up central banks?  Because the G20 Summit is looming in March.  The published schedule indicates that central bank deputies will be meeting in Buenos Aires March 17th and 18th.  This will be followed by a meeting of the worlds’ Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors on March 19th and 20th. 15 It will be interesting to learn if blockchain technology – and Ripple technology specifically – is a hot topic at these central bank meetings.

Odd Tweet From Mastercard News

On March 1st, multiple XRPChat members noticed a tweet that appeared and then was removed.  The Twitter account was @MastercardNews, which appears to be an official Master Card twitter account. 16   Here is the captured screenshot that one of the XRP fans took: 17


The tweet, and the link within the captured image, lead nowhere, and the tweet itself has been since deleted by its author.  The question is now “Was it intentional?”  Individuals are now speculating that it might have been a poorly-timed tweet mistakenly sent out too early by somebody from Mastercard.   If true, then this announcement would be yet another major win for Ripple.  The tweet made no mention of any specific software suite or solution package from Ripple, but was very exciting just based on the high-profile nature of the client.

Note:  These types of discoveries are always looked upon with skepticism in crypto, because of the unfortunate fact that it is very easy to Photoshop an image.  The XRP community did some analysis of the image and has concluded that even though we don’t know for sure if it is a forgery, it’s best that nobody makes an investment decision based on this information.  Inaccurate good news is sometimes more harmful than helpful, so we urge investors to be cautious in this circumstance.


Each week, we hear of new exchanges that are adding support for XRP to their list of supported crypto-currencies.  This last week was no different; the latest application to support XRP trading was a platform known as Devere.

Devere Group Limited is a company that launched an app that supports crypto trading.18 The company has a variety of financial services products including pension planning and ForEx offerings.  Their crypto trading application supports five cryptocurrencies – including XRP as of February 26th. 19

Ripple & Regulation

The past week saw an interesting communication from Ryan Zagone (Director of Regulatory Relations at Ripple) that I followed to its source; a document that describes Ripple’s clear position on regulation of virtual currencies.  The document is undated, but I can tell you that I’ve never seen it before.

First, let’s start with what clued me in that Ripple had progressed to a more well-defined perspective on the direction it would like to see regulation head: A tweet by Ryan Zagone. 20


The link in his tweet then leads to a brief statement recorded and published by Reinhard Cate: 21 22

“Ripple applauds Mexico’s efforts to drive regulatory clarity for fintech and digital assets. The fintech bill creates a pivotal opportunity to create rules that ensure safety and soundness, while enabling a new generation of financial services…

…Digital assets have great potential to lower payment costs and increase financial inclusion, especially when leveraged as FX tools by banks. We urge regulators to consider emerging enterprise use cases of digital assets as the bill is signed into law and the regulations take shape.”

Below the statement was a link to a document that I’d never seen before that describes Ripple’s official position on regulation, and it’s a one pager.  Ripple kept it short and straight-forward – they provide three very concrete and simple-to-understand recommendations that seem to have Ben Lawsky’s fingerprints: 23 24

  1. Recognize that Bans or “One Size Fits All” Approaches Can Stifle Innovation
  2. Virtual Currency Use Case: Address Risk Through a Licensing Framework
  3. Liquidity Tool Use Case: Provide Guidance for Banks to Leverage Digital Assets

The second recommendation is likely to result in eruptions from the Bitcoin purists – get ready for inflammatory feedback from the crypto-anarchists that still pervade some online forums.

Do I agree with this recommendation?  Yes and No.

I agree with the part of the recommendation that seeks to protect consumers.  I don’t want to see financial harm come to anybody that invests in a fraudulent ICO or crypto network.  That being said, the second recommendation will only work if the regulations are global in scale, because we all know that borders mean nothing when it comes to most digital assets.  To pretend otherwise will position its believers on the wrong side of history when it comes to cryptocurrency – borderless digital assets are not going away, and a nation-specific framework for licensing will necessarily fall short.

To be fair, Ripple recognizes this conundrum, and stated within the paper

“We urge global coordination as the technology is global in scope.”

Despite this nod to crypto’s global scope, however, it makes no mention of how to go about coordinating with other countries or nations to effect global change or standardization of regulation.  I’m left with the opinion “If Ripple, the most forward-thinking company in fintech, can’t figure out how a license would work globally, then I’m left to conclude that it won’t.”

In addition, the paper doesn’t reference any global blockchain technology group such as Coin Center, whose members have been trying to do just that – effect standardization of regulation on a global scale.  To be fair, however, it’s just a brief position paper; perhaps Ripple has a much more in-depth recommendation in mind to coordinate with the organizations that are trying to establish global standardization of digital asset regulation.

Mass Media

It’s been an active week when it comes to mass media and public relations for Ripple.

Marcus Treacher

The first media interaction of note this week was an interview with Marcus Treacher by Blockchain Insider.  Blockchain Insider is a popular regular podcast that covers a variety of topics in the course of an hour, and in their latest edition, they chose to interview Marcus Treacher (SVP of Customer Success at Ripple). 25 26

The interviewers grilled Marcus Treacher on a number of topics, including the differentiation between Ripple, XRP, and its various software solutions.  Not only did he hold his own during the interview, Marcus Treacher expertly fielded questions that reflected some common misconceptions about Ripple and XRP, and then tied it together with Ripple’s business goals and plans.

For those that want to get right to the interview, it begins at approximately the 36-minute mark of the recording: https://audio.fireside.fm/podcasts/audio/1/15282c4c-43ab-46da-88a8-c58178b868b6/episodes/7/725ce3bd-71e2-46d1-8085-1413ca79705a/725ce3bd-71e2-46d1-8085-1413ca79705a.mp3

Warren Paul Anderson

Ripple also conducted a YouTube-based employee spotlight on Warren Paul Anderson, their Product Manager for the XRP Ledger and xRapid: 27


It was an interesting tribute to their plain-spoken product manager of one of their most high-profile software products.  A Harvard graduate, Warren Paul Anderson strikes me as a down-to-earth person that is both an ambitious, technical-oriented leader and a common-sense individual as well.  He started out mining Bitcoin, and then made his way eventually to Ethereum and then to the XRP Ledger. 28 warren_Paul_Anderson

“So key priorities for 2018 for the XRP Ledger, what we call the big hairy audacious goal is to make the XRP Ledger more decentralized than Bitcoin or Ethereum.”

He also went on to describe how this works from a trusted nodes standpoint, and then discussed the concept of sharding ledger history.  It was inspiring to hear – once again – Ripple’s commitment to address decentralization; not only in an effort to match the decentralization levels of other popular proof-of-work systems, but to exceed them.

Brad Garlinghouse

Rounding out the list is an interview yet to be done.  Brad Garlinghouse is scheduled to participate on a CNBC show titled “Fast Money” that is going to focus on crypto topics. 29 The time slot for the interview – or panel discussion – is Tuesday, March 6th at 5 pm EST.

Community News

It’s been a busy week not just for Ripple, but also for the XRP community.  Community-sponsored development has continued this week, and it looks like more and more individuals are joining the chorus of developers building applications based on the functionality of the XRP Ledger.

Michael Arrington’s Subpoena

For most of us that own XRP, Michael Arrington is a widely-recognized name.  The TechCrunch Founder runs a hedge fund and made a highly-publicized decision in 2017 to denominate his entire fund in XRP, which dramatically communicated his confidence in it as an investment and digital asset.  It signaled to the market that he was not going to wait for others to point out the right direction in crypto – he is obviously confident that he’s discovered it for himself.

The SEC has subpoenaed him – as well as every other crypto fund. 30 He had this to say:

“We received a subpoena. Every (crypto) fund I’ve talked to has received one …

…That’s fine. They just have to figure out what they want.  They need to set up rules so we can all follow them, and the market is begging them for that.”

 Shadow Ban on XRP Supporters’ Twitter Accounts

If you have a twitter account, then most likely you’ve seen the recent references to a “shadow ban” on some accounts that has taken place.  A shadow ban is a way that Twitter enforces what it considers to be violations of its rules of conduct.  It monitors its member accounts and attempts to identify those accounts that are considered spam accounts or imposter accounts.  Whatever the reason behind it, many accounts have been swept up in this recent wave of enforcement. 31

While it’s probably just coincidental, many accounts that were “shadow banned” recently have been avid XRP supporters.


The individuals who own the shadow-banned accounts are not sure why or how their accounts were identified as trouble accounts by Twitter, but frustratingly, there is no clear way of appealing the shadow ban.

Stay tuned on this topic – if the shadow ban is not removed, we might have to resort to a petition, as many of those shadow-banned are needed on a daily basis to help educate other tweeters about Ripple and XRP.

Secure Block Chains Escrow Promotion

Secure Block Chains, the company that created the application Reservoir Lite, has started a Twitter-based promotion to motivate usage of their escrow tool.  The promotion will award the winner the sum of 100 XRP.  To win, you have to be the individual that escrows more than 500 XRP for the longest duration. 32

Deprecated XRP Wallet

Unfortunately in the crypto markets, not every business venture is permanent, and some businesses change focus or shift unexpectedly.  One of these that affects us as XRP owners is the closure of the Rippex Gateway, which was a Brazilian crypto exchange and XRP gateway.

If you’re interested in learning more about their shutdown, or the timeline for the shutdown of services, please refer here:  http://blog.rippex.net/br/2018/02/gateway-closure/

Another casualty, unfortunately, was the convenient centralized download location for one of the most popular PC-based XRP wallets – the Rippex wallet.  The Rippex website had previously contained compiled versions of the Rippex wallets, but now it points users to the Github repository where they are expected to compile the code if they want to create an executable.

Technically, this means that the wallet is still available, but it is unsupported.

Here is the link to the previous Rippex page that used to host the wallet downloads:  https://rippex.net/carteira-ripple.php#/

And here is the location of the repository where the code is housed:  https://github.com/rippex/ripple-client-desktop/

Existing XRP Hardware Wallet

Based on the popularity of the Ledger Nano, I expect that more individuals and companies will be getting into the mix when it comes to hardware wallets.  Somebody recently linked me to a hardware wallet called the CoolWallet. 33

The parent company, CoolBitX, has received investment money from SBI.  This is the same company that owns roughly 11% of Ripple.  I’m not sure if there’s any connection, but it’s a noteworthy point. 34

CoolWallet supports a variety of cryptocurrencies, including XRP.


Future XRP Wallet

A Twitter account recently announced that they were going to head up the creation of a new XRP wallet.  The technology platform for development is known as “React Native” and the organizer is asking for help from any XRP community members that know or have used this development environment or set of tools: 35


Commemorative Coins for XRPxrp_coin

If you missed out on the original coin promotion that was organized by @Mercury (XRPChat moderator and community leader) last year, you still have an opportunity to purchase tangible metal coins with the XRP logo emblazoned on them.


XRP Adoption in Full Swing

Ripple’s consistency and their methodical work is finally paying off.

In one week, there have been more announcements about XRP adoption and business deals than most other crypto networks and initial coin offerings have in one year.  It should be quite clear to all onlookers that XRP and Ripple shouldn’t really be compared to ‘experiments’ of crypto.  I won’t name specific digital assets, but if you follow crypto markets like I do, you know the ones I’m talking about.

Other crypto networks are certainly impressive and contain many innovations, however in many cases those digital assets and their teams remind me of children playing as adults.

It’s quaint and nostalgic, but let’s face it – it’s not reality.  If you’re looking to invest in a digital asset with a massive use case, there is one obvious choice among the bunch, and it’s not difficult to discern.  Ripple is calmly working towards their goal and is diligently executing on their business plan.  The future of payments is not just a slogan – it’s a real innovation that is now set to transform the world and increase the velocity of money for everybody who is a stakeholder in their national economy. ripple-symbol3


  1. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/80ppfl/i_am_david_schwartz_chief_cryptographer_at_ripple/?limit=500
  2. https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.07240
  3. https://cointelegraph.com/news/south-korean-bank-plans-commercial-ripple-remittances-by-2019
  4. https://ripple.com/insights/japan-bank-consortium-moves-become-production-ready/
  5. https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/80ppfl/i_am_david_schwartz_chief_cryptographer_at_ripple/duxaav2/
  6. https://ripple.com/insights/cambridge-use-xrp-faster-global-payments/
  7. http://www.cambridgefx.com/about-us/
  8. http://www.cambridgefx.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/Contact-Us-datasheet-draft-26-02-2018.pdf
  9. https://ripple.com/insights/cambridge-use-xrp-faster-global-payments/
  10. http://www.fleetcor.com/our_business-mop.htm
  11. http://www.fleetcor.com/
  12. https://www.coindesk.com/ripple-adds-5-new-clients-across-4-countries/
  13. https://twitter.com/zipremit/status/969350651426811907
  14. http://www.sohu.com/a/220864864_257855
  15. https://www.g20.org/en/calendar
  16. https://twitter.com/MastercardNews?lang=en
  17. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/20462-there-are-things-you-need-to-understand/?do=findComment&comment=280175
  18. https://www.devere-group.com/news/deVere-launch-crypto-app.aspx
  19. https://www.finextra.com/pressarticle/72767/devere-adds-support-for-ripple-and-dash/retail
  20. https://twitter.com/RyanZagone/status/969626570053832705
  21. https://ripple.com/ripple_press/ripple-applauds-mexicos-lower-house-of-congress-for-passing-fintech-rules/
  22. https://www.reuters.com/article/us-mexico-fintech/mexico-financial-technology-law-passes-final-hurdle-in-congress-idUSKCN1GD6KX
  23. https://ripple.com/company/board-of-directors/
  24. https://cdn.ripple.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/03/Enterprise-Use-Cases-and-Policy.-Ripple-Viewpoint-Feb-2018.pdf
  25. https://twitter.com/marcus_treacher/status/969316810045755392
  26. http://bi.11fs.com/36
  27. https://twitter.com/Ripple/status/969664229320962048
  28. https://youtu.be/K9hKaKQ0xo8
  29. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/20486-brad-garlinghouse-presidentcoo-of-coinbase-on-cnbc-3618-5pm-est/
  30. https://www.cnbc.com/2018/03/02/sec-subpoenas-techcrunch-founders-cryptofund-amid-broader-investigation-into-digital-coins.html
  31. https://twitter.com/kieranmlkelly/status/969395441837264897
  32. https://twitter.com/SecureBC/status/969402041163534337
  33. https://twitter.com/coolwallet/status/969426527413661699
  34. https://coolwallet.io/blog/
  35. https://twitter.com/baltazar223/status/968194497539723264

The Rise of Fundamental Investing in Crypto: What it Means for XRP

Are investors herd animals?

If that’s true, are you one to follow the herd, or are you one to be a contrarian investor?  A contrarian investor is known for making investment decisions that sometimes run counter to the prevailing wisdom and thinking.  Contrarian investing may have received a boost in popularity due to movies like “The Big Short” where a small group of christian_bale_the_big_shortindividuals correctly predicted the downfall of the mortgage derivatives market in 2008.

This movie correctly depicted the difficulty of publicly making statements to investors that was definitely not the prevailing sentiment at the time.  For those of us that dabble in the crypto market, this sort of interaction is quite a bit more common than in traditional investing.  You don’t have to go far in online to find many different viewpoints about the topic of the day in crypto.

Setting aside the active discussions that happen on various topics, however, when we look at the money flows and the investment choices made by individual traders on a day-to-day basis, we see a preponderance of herd behavior and price increases and declines.  When I think of the type of contrarian investor depicted in the movie “The Big Short” I think of investors that have carefully analyzed crypto choices and made a decision on where to invest their money based on hard evidence and traditional business principles.

What is Fundamental Analysis?

To truly understand the difference between technical analysis and fundamental analysis, we should consider its more popular cousin; technical analysis.

Technical Analysis

Most of us involved in purchasing, holding, or selling a cryptocurrency are familiar with technical analysis.  We’ve seen examples of those wizards among us that can somehow look at a historical price chart and be able to divine future price behavior from just a few key data points. 1

I’ve looked at some artificial intelligence inspired algorithms that supposedly accurately predict price behavior hours in advance based on minute-by-minute trends.  If you are curious about these AI-driven bots that offer predictions, you can register and check it out for yourself at one of the popular web sites or services.  My personal favorite AI predictor is called Neurobot and it will give you predictions about almost any digital asset – including XRP – if you register with the site. 2


Technical analysis dwells on historical data that revolves around chronological recording of market price of an asset; it could be a stock price, a commodity, or in our case, a digital asset for sale on an exchange.  This type of analysis looks at patterns with the goal of determining future price behavior.  When an individual performs technical analysis of a stock or any other asset, they are looking for trends and trading behavior that might point to a future price point.  In some cases, the time frame of a technical analyst is days, but in other cases it could be hours or minutes.  The principles and patterns tend to be the same, but intangible properties can also be mixed into the variables that are correlated with price movements.

In some cases, out-of-the-box observations may add key variables to any statistical equation that seeks to demonstrate correlations.  For example, the weather, or day of the week, or even time during the day could all be correlated to certain price behaviors.

The Person Matters

Despite its principles being grounded firmly in mathematics, the outcomes of any technical analysis seem to differ greatly depending on who is performing the analysis.  While some analysts will provide observations, others will provide intuitive guidance with very specific price points for support and resistance.  It’s this later category of individual that intrigues me – I’ve noticed that some individuals are able to take the existing tool-set available for technical analysis and create a holistic picture of a situation that will ring true for hours at a time.  Everybody knows somebody that can do this – whether in a forum or personally.

My own favorite technical analyst for XRP happens to be a Twitter XRP Fan named Harry; he seems to have an unassailable knack for identifying when XRP is going to jump in price.  I’m not sure what charts or techniques he uses, but if you look at his history of predictions, they are truly uncannily accurate.  To follow him on twitter:  @HaraldoXRP.   One thing that Harry noticed: Up until recently, the price of XRP has been closely linked to Bitcoin.  However, he noticed that XRP transitioned to a ‘market leader’ role in the last couple rallies: 3


This observation is curious, as the entire market is waiting for the moment when legacy Bitcoin finally gives way from a market share perspective to its more capable and modern crypto brethren like the XRP Ledger.  If XRP is leading the market, it may indicate that the sentiment of investors is starting to shift.

Fundamental Analysis is Different

While technical analysis looks at price behavior and data points, fundamental analysis looks at the tangible, measurable aspects of the business underlying the asset.  Fundamental analysis matters incrementally more if there is an organization that is underpinning the value of the asset being traded.  For example, if you’re dealing with commodities, it wouldn’t make much sense to look at specific companies, unless you felt that there is one or more that might be able to impact the market in a larger sense.  But not so for stocks or assets issued from a company.

For those assets issued or created by a company (or championed by one in the case of XRP and Ripple), it’s important to look beyond the current and recent price history of the asset itself and look instead to the short-and-long term plans of the company.

Flavors of Fundamental Analysis

Traditional fundamental analysis looks at the financial indicators of a business as measured in formal financial statements. 4

Accountants use ratios, balance sheet summations, and overall business measurements to conduct a fundamental analysis of a company when associated with an audit.  Likewise, these numbers are also used by financial analysts that are looking at a company’s books for the purpose of determining whether the business is worthy of investment.

What are these fundamental numbers?

Traditionally, when a business has an accountant prepare financial statements, they prepare a balance sheet and an income statement.  Another financial report is known as the “Statement of Owners Equity.”  These three individual financial statements can apply to almost any organization that tracks finances. 5 6

If you look at a company’s balance sheet, it will list off the assets and liabilities of the company, and categorize and summarize these numbers.  The end-users of financial statements can be any stakeholder of the company, but if we’re focusing in on fundamental analysis, then we will look at the specific pieces that a financial analyst examines. 7

A business with strong fundamentals indicates that the business is not only a going concern, but is probably working with a viable business framework or structure, and is poised for success.

Fundamental analysis can be used or applied to support any number of different investing goals or approaches:

  • Buy and hold: The idea is to latch onto a good business that allows the asset to grow with the business.  Fundamental analysis is used to find “good” companies.
  • Value investing: The idea is to identify under-valued companies.
  • Contrarian investing: Herd behavior of the market is ignored and the investor just looks at the facts.

Looking at these categories, which one are you?  How did you hear about XRP?  Was it from a friend, or did you conduct research on your own before making an investment decision?

I started out as a combination of being a ‘buy and hold’ type of investor, and then when challenged by Bitcoin maximalists and crypto-anarchists, I became a ‘contrarian’ investor.  No matter the label, fundamental analysis helps eliminate the emotion from investing and look at the facts of the market and the asset.

Technical Analysis Currently Rules Crypto

I will not make the argument that the market has evolved beyond its beginning far enough to reward the most innovative crypto networks with the majority of investment money.  In fact, I consider Bitcoin’s continued positioning at the #1 spot on the coin listings to be an anomaly that will be rectified at some point in 2018.

Despite what I’d like to see, there is currently a majority of momentum behind technical analysis that is hard to ignore; the behavior of crypto investing much more strongly resembles herd behavior than a rational choosing of investment options by well-informed individuals.

Is Herd Behavior Unavoidable in Crypto?

No matter how much any of us rails against the dominance of technical analysis the current prevailing herd behavior of crypto investing, it may not make much of a herd_behaviordifference because of the inherent technical complexity associated with the topic.

Even when it came to the Internet, there was a minimum bar of understanding for most people to reach before they were even comfortable using the Internet.

Likewise, if we look at crypto, is it reasonable to expect that “Uncle Joe” will be able to understand why the smart contract capability of Codius is superior to that in Ethereum?  No, it’s not.  In fact, Uncle Joe will most likely just base his understanding on “Nephew Walter” who actually understands and follows these topics on online forums such as Reddit.

You see where I’m going with this.

If the entire topic of blockchain technology is too complex for ordinary people to grasp, then the fallback for most of us is that same herd behavior that I’m disparaging; it’s the tendency for people to ask their neighbors about something if they don’t understand it themselves.  Or worse yet, they just fly completely blind, and don’t understand the difference between truth and lies when they see something on Twitter or YouTube.

Hence we still see herd behavior prevailing in the crypto market.

How can we change this?  SBI recently published a list of businesses that they plan on starting – and all of them are related to blockchain technology and businesses.  In addition, one of the businesses’ purpose is to provide ratings of cryptocurrencies and digital assets. 8 There is a strong demand for this type of service from financial companies – to provide investment guidance on complex technical topics like digital assets.

What Is Fundamental Analysis For Digital Assets?

To truly understand the asset that you’re purchasing, it’s important to conduct your own financial analysis.  Often in online forums, I use the term DYOR.  It’s an acronym that stands for Do Your Own Research.  I say it to remind readers that I’m just a random investor like they are, and that the only difference is that I do my own fundamental analysis of cryptocurrency choices prior to purchasing any material amount for an investment.  While I trust my own skills, I am not a trained financial analyst and I’m definitely not a specialist in cryptography.

So what do I look at when I consider  a cryptocurrency  for an investment?

Fundamental Factors to Consider

One of the first factors to consider when evaluating whether a crypto investment is worthy of your hard-earned money is the sponsoring organization.  Is it a nonprofit foundation, like many of the organizations that are formed to champion adoption?  Or is it a business whose sole purpose is to promote the adoption of its underlying digital asset?  These factors make a difference, so it’s important to include it as part of your evaluation criteria.

Other factors to consider have to do with the technology and the digital asset itself.  For further research, I advise individuals to evaluate performance criteria for the cryptocurrency that they’re investigating.

Performance Criteria

Performance criteria has to do with how the digital asset responds under stress.  For example, how many transactions per second can the digital asset process?  How fast can it settle just one transaction under optimum conditions?  These metrics target the performance criteria that real businesses will need if they plan on actually using the digital asset in a production setting.

An important performance criteria to consider when it comes to digital assets is scalability.  If the network is not used heavily, then it will most likely respond with speed to any sample transaction; but what about when the number of transactions increase to a level that is like what one would expect in a production application?


Can the crypto network handle more than a few transactions per second?  It’s an important question to ask, and it’s evident from the current top choices in crypto that it’s not a question that’s asked nearly enough:


This graphic targets the ‘on-chain’ speed of XRP compared to some other popular crypto choices.  From it, you can deduce which network is most prepared to quickly support global levels of transactions and which networks would most likely encounter significant issues in processing.

Proponents of these other, lesser networks will most likely point you to a concept that quotes ‘off-chain’ speeds and allows other applications to keep a channel open to each crypto network while off-chain transactions are processed at extremely high speeds.  This concept utilizes the concept of summarizing the effect of multiple transactions and then communicating just one summary transaction to the actual crypto network.

The benefit to off-chain transactions is the speed; the downside to off-chain transactions is the inherent centralization of the overlaid software, along with the fact that individual transactions are now stored off-ledger – they are stored (hopefully) by whatever third party is utilizing those off-chain transactions.  So the benefits of decentralization and recording a transaction on an immutable ledger are both lost, but what is gained is the ability to scale to even higher levels of transaction processing.

XRP’s off-chain processing function is known as Payment Channels and they allow any organization to scale quickly up to 50,000 transactions per second (TPS). 9  The number quoted – 50,000 TPS – is actually an arbitrary number, as there is no artificial upper limit to how many transactions per second can be processed – a Payment Channel is horizontally scalable, which means as more computing power is added, the number of transactions it can process per second increases. 10

Settlement Speed

Have you sent Bitcoin to an exchange?

If the answer is yes, then you know first-hand how slow the transaction can take.  It’s not just a matter of sending Bitcoin from one wallet to another; you have to entice a Bitcoin miner into processing your transaction via the network fees. 11 Bitcoin has very high network fees, and they have made processing small transactions infeasible in almost every capacity.  Because of this, Bitcoin’s use case is now restricted to mainly a ‘store of value’ which is what you’ll hear a lot of Bitcoin maximalists focusing on, now that even their own conference won’t accept Bitcoin as payment due to the extremely high fees. 12

Even if it were not for the fees, however, those of us that have used Bitcoin due to lack of other choices have encountered long wait times as well.  Let’s say you set your fee high enough where it quickly gets the attention of a Bitcoin miner.  The next stage is to wait for the minimum number of confirmations (usually six) before the exchange or wallet gives you credit for owning those Bitcoins.  Each block usually takes around ten minutes, so for most Bitcoin transfers, you’ll be waiting an hour before your account or wallet is credited. 13

Why six confirmations?  Because in a blockchain, you never really achieve 100% certainty that your transaction went through.  Even if it’s included in six blocks, it could still technically be reversed; however, being confirmed by six consecutive blocks reduces the likelihood of this happening to a very low number.

Contrast this with the Ripple Protocol.  Each ‘block’ is considered a ‘ledger close’ and it only takes one block to confirm a transaction with 100% certainty. 14

This means that with XRP, each transaction is confirmed in less than four seconds, contrasted to over an hour for Bitcoin transactions. 15 16 And with XRP, you arrive at 100% settlement confidence after each block.  The resulting difference in settlement times looks something like this:


The above graphic provides a stark visual depiction of how much XRP’s performance metrics are currently dominating the crypto market.  Speed and scalability have long been a strong central characteristic of the XRP Ledger.

Other Factors for Fundamental Analysis

In addition to scalability and settlement speed, are there other fundamental criteria that you should be researching for each cryptographic network?

Yes.  Other factors that are equally if not more important are business factors such as:

  • How big is the development team?
  • How big is the sponsoring organization?
  • Where in the world is the sponsoring organization located?
  • What are the business plans of the sponsoring organization?
  • What is the biggest use case for the digital asset?
  • How much are the transaction fees on the network?
  • Is it a permissionless network?
  • Was the digital asset created to solve a problem, or is it in search of a problem?
  • How stable is the network? Has it had any downtime?
  • How decentralized is the network?
  • How many units are outstanding for the digital asset?
  • How secure is the network – what is the quality of their cryptography / code?
  • How much daily volume is on the crypto network?
  • Is the organization that created the digital asset trust-worthy?
  • How much competition exists for the asset?

This list is my own potpourri of different aspects of a cryptocurrency or digital asset; when you conduct your own research, it’s important to create a list of factors that make a difference to you personally.  Perhaps you’re more concerned about the development team.  In that case, it should be a heavily-weighted factor in your own personal analysis.

The takeaway here is simple:  You need to create your own personalized list of fundamental factors, even if it’s just a list in your head.

What Does This Mean For XRP?

Fundamental analysis is starting to make inroads into the crypto universe.  We’ve seen ratings agencies eyeing our space, salivating at the thought of new investors wanting advice about crypto choices.  While these ratings services may eventually catch up to the amount of rigor that individuals can apply to investment choices, I do not have high expectations.

Do Not Depend Solely on Ratings Agencies

While official ratings from ratings agencies may be one data point for you to look at, from what I’ve seen, you should approach these services with a healthy dose of skepticism.  In addition to gaps in knowledge regarding crypto topics, there may be other factors at work as well – such as the concept known as ‘pay-to-play’.   This is a disreputable part of the crypto universe at present – the preponderance of conflicts of interest.

I don’t have any specific examples, but if an ICO ratings service accepts money from the same ICOs that they’re rating, then you should discount their opinions on that topic – it’s important to seek out independent opinions on your research topics.  You should verify all sources, and also look at alternative opinions and research.

XRP Shines Under Fundamental Analysis

Fundamental analysis is useful for identifying when an asset or potential investment is undervalued by the larger market.  If the larger market – like the crypto market – is currently ruled by investment flows resembling herd behavior, then just wait; eventually the market corrects itself in dramatic fashion when the facts start to make themselves known.  We’ve seen this on multiple occasions with XRP, where the crypto market suddenly wakes up and realizes that the promised potential of digital assets is close to being realized by one of their own – XRP.

The Shift towards Fundamental Analysis Will Benefit XRP

XRP’s performance metrics dwarf those of other existing, top-level choices in cryptocurrency.  These competing digital assets do not stand up to the scrutiny of fundamental analysis.

Yes, there are other crypto networks and digital assets.   But can any of them boast a company as large as Ripple as their primary sponsoring organization?  None that I’m aware of.  Do any of them come close to XRP’s scalability?  No.  How about settlement speed?  No.  Essentially, XRP shines like the sun under the microscope of fundamental analysis.

Marketing vs. Reality

On Tuesday, Neeraj Agrawal from Coincenter tweeted the following about ICOs:


It’s a funny meme in the making, and it serves to illustrate a point: ICOs and other coin offerings are now very adept at creating all the trappings of a legitimate enterprise… except for the business results.  The irony to me is that it takes great skill and effort to so eloquently fool all the analysis capabilities of some of the current crypto market participants – the current demographic is very heavily weighted towards the young IT professional, and this is the very demographic group that should know and understand how easy it is to set up a legitimate-looking website with all of the trappings.

If these same scammers put that much energy into a legitimate enterprise, they could probably make much more money legally.  They must do it because the return on their investment is enough to reward them for this criminal behavior.

Unfortunately, we see occasion after occasion of individual crypto investors throwing their hard-earned XRP or dollars at these ICO sites.

The key takeaway here is to not trust the public-facing collateral for these ICOs and coins.  You need to dig into the topics, and talk to as many different people on as many different platforms as you can.  Don’t depend on just one social media platform to give you the whole perspective; survey people on Twitter, Reddit, Quora, and Discord.  Don’t stop there.  Look at Wikipedia.  Look at Facebook.  Instagram.  Look at all available sources including news articles.  Then take the time to evaluate all of the pertinent details about your investment choices.

Fundamental Analysis Will Lead You Home

I’m an XRP investor.  I’m also a strong believer in Ripple’s short-and-long-term business plans. I also own XRP.

Given all of that information provided as part of my usual full disclosure to readers, you should be asking yourself the question “Why is this author encouraging me to perform fundamental analysis?  How does it benefit him?”  And that’s a good question to ask.

I am advising readers do their own research and conduct their own fundamental analysis for one simple reason:  I know where this path will lead you. ripple-symbol3


  1. http://www.investinganswers.com/financial-dictionary/technical-analysis/technical-analysis-1108
  2. https://neurobot.trading/
  3. https://twitter.com/HaraldoXRP/status/966979620900831232
  4. https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/fundamentals.asp
  5. https://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/050615/what-items-balance-sheet-are-most-important-fundamental-analysis.asp
  6. https://www.thebalance.com/tools-of-fundamental-analysis-3140772
  7. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_analysis
  8. https://news.bitcoin.com/japans-sbi-crypto-businesses-mining/
  9. https://ripple.com/build/payment-channels-tutorial/
  10. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/8086-scalability-will-reveal-xrp-as-the-premier-international-digital-asset/?do=findComment&comment=77058
  11. https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin-transactionfees.html
  12. https://slate.com/technology/2018/01/the-most-important-blockchain-conference-of-the-year-wont-take-bitcoin-for-last-minute-sales.html
  13. https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin-confirmationtime.html
  14. https://ripple.com/files/ripple_consensus_whitepaper.pdf
  15. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/
  16. https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin-confirmationtime.html

XRP Community Corner

Have you ever been to a block party?block_party

I’ve been to many over the course of multiple summers, and it’s remarkable to see friends and neighbors come together to celebrate and have fun, and to meet the entire family together.  In the course of our day-to-day lives, we really don’t know much about each other or even know who everybody is; occasions where the community gathers are opportunities to interact and remedy that unfamiliarity.

Likewise in the virtual world, we are part of communities that are just as real, despite the fact that they are artificial constructs of the Internet and various software applications that allow us to interact in specific ways.  Twitter is not like Reddit.  And Reddit is not like XRPChat.  Each of these networks and software applications may narrow the interactions that we experience, but altogether they comprise a community of like-minded individuals, no matter if your preferred tool is Discord, Quora, or Slack.

While contributing to each of these forums, I encounter news of applications and tools that are being created by individuals or groups.

Because Ripple (the company) is not directly responsible for some of these items, I loosely categorize them under the heading of “community initiatives” even in the case of one individual contributing a new application or tool.  It’s worth taking a minute to note some of these recent developments and take stock of how much effort it takes to create some of these additions to the XRP ecosystem.


I separate out applications from the other two frequently-contributed categories of “wallets” and “exchanges”.  In this category are some very impactful contributions by one developer in particular:  @WietseWind (Twitter handle).

XRP Tip Bot

The XRP Tip Bot is a multi-platform tip application.  It works for three major social media platforms: Discord, Reddit, and Twitter.  The syntax is intuitive: The user just responds to content that they like and then references the tip bot.  Here is how that works in Reddit:

Find a post that you like.  Reply to that post.  In the reply, make sure to type:  +1 /u/xrptipbot.   Or on Twitter or Discord:  +1 @xrptipbot. 

The concept of the tip bot is simple: There is a website devoted to showing balances for specific people, and those people that receive tips can register and withdraw their tips if they’d like.

The tip bot is very intuitive – no registration is necessary; the application uses the standard authentication available through Reddit, Discord, or Twitter.  The user merely agrees to log into those individual applications and voila!  Their account is set up and ready to go.  All they need is a positive balance of XRP and they can begin tipping.

A user can add to their XRP balance manually if they’d like to start tipping right away – it’s up to the user.

To manually add to your XRP balance so that you can begin tipping, or to read more about the syntax of how to tip on your favorite social media application, got to the website for the XRP Tip Bot: https://www.xrptipbot.com/

Rippled Docker Container

I don’t have a great dev-ops background, but I know enough about Docker to appreciate how it simplifies deployments for complex web-based applications.  The concept is intuitive, and targets platform independence, which is a concept that has been driving a lot of innovations in technology as humanity progresses further into the post-Internet age.  The idea behind Docker is that if you can run the Docker software, no matter your environment or operating system, then you can deploy a docker-ized version of the software that you’re interested in using.

Platform independence provided by Docker means that I could easily purchase a computer with the minimum capabilities, and then focus on deploying the Docker-ized version of Rippled that @WietseWind created.

On top of that, he recently updated the Docker implementation to deploy Rippled 0.90.0, which is the latest version of Rippled.  If you’re interested in learning more about how simple it is to deploy a Docker project, you can view some tutorials here: https://www.docker.com/

To access the Dockerized version of Rippled to run on your own server, please review the notes and associated documentation available straight from @WietseWind:



Some popular XRP wallets have been created in the past five years, and other new entrants have seen their debut as well.  I recently took a poll on XRP Chat about which wallets users prefer.  XRPChat provides the ability to create a poll to gauge the community’s support for various ideas, news stories, and other developments.  I created one as an update to the poll I took last October about favorite wallets.

Wallet Poll Results

The question I asked on XRPChat was: 1

“Which XRP Wallet do you use to access your XRP? (If you use more than one, list the one you use most frequently)”

The results:


The winner, by a large margin, was the Ledger Wallet (Nano).  The surprising second place finisher was “an exchange wallet”, and then the third and fourth-place finishers were Rippex and Toast Wallet, respectively.  Not many people said they use one of the other types.

These results provide a snapshot of current adoption of specific wallets, and indicate that there is room for competition.  And that’s good news, because I know of at least two wallets that are going to be published soon – both of which I’ll mention here.

Harbor Wallet

Perhaps you’re familiar with “Reservoir Lite,” which made the escrow function of the XRP Ledger available to the public for a fee.  The same company that created Reservoir Lite created the Harbor Wallet.  It boasts two things that the company considers to be significant departures from some other popular wallets: It contains the escrow functionality, and it also points to servers hosted by the company (Secure Block Chains).

This last part is something that the company believes will give it a leg up on other wallets that simply point their application to Ripple’s public servers; they believe that during periods of heavy usage, these public servers are inundated and respond too slowly.  To address this, Secure Block Chains has chosen to host and run their own Ripple server.

Here is the company’s official public statement about the Harbor wallet (edited from a Twitter direct message by @SecureBC):

“There’s was a new “desktop XRP wallet” released over the weekend and it’s called Harbor. Like most other desktop wallets, you can store XRP and manage everyday XRP transactions with it. It also allows you to connect with the most popular crypto exchanges like Bitstamp and trade XRP for other coins without leaving the wallet. You aren’t even required to have an account on the exchange to trade their tokens, account setup is only required if you choose to cash out for fiat using the exchange site. The trading fee in the wallet cuts trading fees in half or more compared to setting up an account on most online exchanges and placing the same trade on their site. The new XRP wallet was created by SBC, the guys who developed the “XRP Escrow service Reservoir Lite”. Of course, the same functionality is integrated into Harbor wallet. Users can pick an expiration date and send their XRP to escrow which essentially is locking it in an impenetrable vault directly on the XRP Ledger.

Aside from some interesting features, The thing that seems to set this wallet apart from the rest of the desktop XRP wallets is (the) creation of a series of private Rippled servers just for processing the transactions of customers, instead of using Ripple’s public development node. How much of an improvement is it? During periods of time where there is very little market volatility, the wallet is notability faster than others. During times of heavy trading, Harbor wallet suffers no speed degradation.

Ripple has stated that their development servers aren’t designed for use in production software. Wallets that depend on the development server to process transactions can at times be agonizingly slow or completely non-functional, especially in times of heavy trading volume. If you have been looking for a new XRP Wallet choice, download Harbor and give it a try. If you already have an XRP Wallet with a secret key, you can import your wallet into Harbor in seconds. Or you can create a new one right within the app. The Wallet is simple, fast, and easy to use.”

In addition to this company statement, Secure Block Chains provided the following images to show from their wallet:





Remember the developer that created the XRP Tip Bot.. and the Ripple Docker container?  Yeah… he’s developed something more; a wallet with some impressive capabilities, including a feature that will support a redundant connection to the Ripple network just in case there are high-volume usage situations for the default server.

He published a video of how this capability works on YouTube as a preview for those interested: https://youtu.be/pOga5V4IjuU

He’s planning on publishing this code open-source to support others that might want to use this technique or approach.  It’s not complete yet, but stay tuned for another wallet joining the XRP ecosystem.

Everybody was FUD Fighting

Unfortunately, the concept of “FUD fighting” is now a standard part of existing in the crypto landscape.  When new ICOs are formed in 2018, I predict that you will see some category of the business plan deal specifically with social media, and actually call attention to line item(s) to budget time and resources for maintaining and correcting information. bruce_lee

FUD stands for “fear, uncertainty, and doubt,” and when it’s used in relation to crypto, it usually indicates an invalid source for that emotion.  It’s a negative emotion that can cause investors to sell their investment.  Each of the digital assets that are currently in the crypto market space must address these misconceptions as a normal part of operations; to pretend that FUD will not occur is to fail to plan.

When it comes to XRP, there are a group of volunteers that have been addressing misconceptions about Ripple technology, Ripple business plans, and XRP.

On Twitter, these individuals are quite consistent and famous for correcting misconceptions.  An incomplete list of these Twitter heroes:

  • @XRPTrump
  • @haydentiff
  • @JoelKatz
  • @nbougalis
  • @BankXRP
  • @cryptfx
  • @xrptips
  • @RabbitKickClub
  • @Reverend_Ripple
  • @HaraldoXRP
  • @TBCrypto
  • @TplusZero
  • @kieranmlkelly
  • @rjr13579
  • @_mars75

These individuals have shown a willingness to correct misinformation about XRP and Ripple, and are consistent in their message across social media.  But Twitter is not the only battle ground when it comes to FUD about XRP and Ripple; there are many on Reddit and XRPChat, as well as Discord, Facebook, and other platforms that are also showing leadership.

Fighting FUD is not an activity that is “one battle and done.”  Instead, it’s a constant war that will not end as long as there are people in crypto with a win-lose mentality about investment resources.  Each crypto choice is trying to capture investment money, and for the most part, most of us do it the legitimate way – by discussing the merits of our investment – XRP – and the company that’s championing its adoption: Ripple.

But there exists in the crypto space a certain type of individual that instead views things more negatively and tries to defame specific choices in an effort to capture more investment for their own preferred coin.  Am I guilty of this?  One could make the argument, but there is a key difference between when I talk about Bitcoin and Ethereum, and other FUD:  There is a difference between sticking to the facts and using poetic license (a.k.a. telling lies).

I stick to the facts, and will make every effort to correct any misrepresentation.

Not everybody does, however, and for those occasions it’s nice to see members of the XRP Army willing to take up the banner.  When I see this type of activity, I try to recognize it and call it out; and thanks to the XRP Tip Bot, now I can actually tip others.  Even if you’re not into tipping, just be aware that a ‘thank you’ can mean the world to individuals on social media that are expending their own energy to help defend Ripple or XRP.

New Social Media Contributors

It’s always rewarding to see XRP fans try their hand at impacting social media in their own way, whether it’s through twitter, blogging, or even creating videos on YouTube.  Recently there have been several additions to the social media presence of the XRP community.

New Blogger: Big Buckor

He’s well-known on XRPChat and on Twitter as “@bigbuckor”  (Twitter handle) and he recently put out a well-received blog about how XRP and xCurrent compliment each other.  To learn more about his blog, or to take a read yourself, refer to his blog here:  https://bigbuckor.wordpress.com/2018/02/21/why-xrp-needs-xcurrent/

New YouTuber: Crypto Club

While Crypto Club is an existing YouTuber, the fact that he chose to cover XRP after learning about Bankera’s official statement about using XRP is an interesting twist.  As 2018 moves forward, many former skeptics – or even traders that used to be completely agnostic – are beginning to be stronger and stronger XRP fans.

It’s no surprise given the nonstop stream of good news regarding Ripple software adoption.

To take a look at Crypto Club’s video, or subscribe to his channel, please refer to the following link:  https://youtu.be/XAKH5J-tYsI

Ripple News

The good news for Ripple hasn’t taken a break.  First among the news items is Bankera’s public statement regarding its willingness to use XRP.  Bankera was a popular ICO in 2017, and it plans to become a bank “for the blockchain era.”  One of its first steps was to acquire a bank, and that goal was recently accomplished according to their announcement that they’ve purchased Pacific Private Bank Limited. 2

The first step that Bankera is planning on doing is to join its new bank’s back end with the Ripple network by becoming a RippleNet member bank.3

While we’re becoming accustomed to hearing about a new bank every couple days joining RippleNet, this latest addition is worth noting as it qualifies as an “innovator” bank that is forging its way into the new territory of blockchain finance.  No doubt this bank – Bankera – will become a favorite bank of its early investors, as well as a popular bank for many in crypto.  If Bankera ends up using xRapid, count me in as a customer!

In my strong opinion, XRP Investors need to make it clear to banks that we will support organizations that support XRP (and hence use xRapid).

AMA with JoelKatz (David Schwartz)

One of the most popular individuals from Ripple on social media is JoelKatz.  Ripple’s Chief Cryptographer has been a consistent presence on social media for XRP investors, and he’s usually ready to clarify any misunderstandings about the XRP Ledger or Ripple technology in general, as well as comment about cryptography-related news.

Naturally, the XRP fan base is excited that he’s decided to conduct an AMA (Ask Me Anything) for February 27th (next Tuesday).

For those that want to follow along, or even field your own questions and participate, here is the information I have so far on the AMA – stay tuned for further details about when the Reddit post will be available to submit questions: 4


“Two Days to Two Seconds”

If you missed the article, you should really slow down and take a look.  This article heralds the beginning of Ripple’s takeover of banking, and the end of SWIFT.

The article with this headline discusses the experience of SEB – the Swedish bank that was an early adopter of Ripple technology, and whose representatives participated in panel discussion(s) at SWELL in 2017.  In the article, the head of “Transaction Services” at SEB, Paula da Silva, talked about how normal transaction times between the US and Sweden were reduced from multiple days’ settlement to two seconds using Ripple technology.

While they haven’t yet implemented xRapid, the bank had this to say about the incredible speed that Ripple provides: 5 6

“It’s between one and two days (but) with Ripple, it takes two seconds”

The article will most likely prove to be instrumental in other banks quickly signing up to use Ripple technology to replace their aging SWIFT infrastructure; banks’ reluctance will slowly be overcome by testimony from other banks like what we’ve seen here.

Importance of Community

In the United States, individual accomplishments are highly prized and valued.  In fact, a big part of our culture in the West centers on the concept of a “hero” who is willing to put the needs of the group ahead of their own goals or concerns.  It’s prevalent in sports, and in business as well.  Who doesn’t recognize household names like Michael Jordan or mvpElon Musk?

But here’s a secret: an active community can conquer all.  While one individual may be able to provide some outstanding contributions – I’m thinking of the likes of JoelKatz when I say this – the community can accomplish incredible things as well, usually with less effort than what would be required of an individual.

When it comes to XRP adoption, we are over a million strong in the XRP Army,7 and if each one of us champions the technology and educates others, it will catch on at a geometric rate until the entire globe runs on Ripple technology.  You don’t have to be as knowledgeable as a cryptography expert to make a difference: Pick your favorite social media and contribute one response per day to educating others.

We all have our gifts; I hope you choose to use yours to build a bigger and stronger community of XRP fans and supporters. ripple-symbol3


  1. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/18628-which-xrp-wallet-do-you-use/
  2. https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/bankeras-co-founders-have-announced-they-have-fully-acquired-the-pacific-private-bank-limited-300600197.html
  3. http://stocksmasters.com/bankera-acquires-pacific-private-bank-ltd-well-way-deliver-blockchain-era-banking/
  4. https://twitter.com/JoelKatz/status/966816441134546944
  5. https://content.invisioncic.com/r263943/monthly_2018_02/2018-0979797949-53.jpg.e3cbe7dffa5089e3ce7c79f208d511af.jpg
  6. http://www.thecorporatetreasurer.com/article/two-days-to-two-seconds-how-seb-slashed-payment-times-by-ditching-swift-for-ripp/442850
  7. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/accounts

XRP: Perfect Fit for Remittance Companies

Ripple is targeting remittance companies.

The scale of Ripple’s market share of the traditional remittance operators might actually be a majority.  Most of the major names are either working directly with Ripple on implementing xRapid, or they are in the trial stage of technology adoption. globe

This is remarkable because Ripple is positioning itself as a neutral third party that handles the plumbing of payments, instead of the company that wants to “add one more payment app” to what is already becoming a crowded space.  And it’s working; company after company is being announced each week, and these are big names alongside the smaller disruptors.  In looking at this trend, you might be asking yourself “why are remittance companies going first?”

The answer has multiple parts, but generally they can be distilled into a summary statement:  because the competition won’t wait.

How Big is the Remittance Market?

Before we truly dig into our findings, we need to define terms first.  When commentators and bloggers throw out the term “remittance,” what exactly are they referring to? 1

“A remittance is a transfer of money by a foreign worker to an individual in his or her home country.”

The remittance market is dominated by a collection of major players.  While different sources ascribe different levels of market share to various companies, most of the sources I’ve found universally reference a series of four major companies: 2 3 4

  • Western Union
  • MoneyGram
  • Ria Money Transfer
  • UAE Exchange

These companies collectively make up what is known as the traditional money transfer companies.  In addition to these traditional sources of remittance processing across borders, two other sources handle remittance activity as well:

  • Banks (generally)
  • New Disruptors (Xoom, TransferWise, IDT, Mercury FX, Flash FX, LianLian, Cuallix)

The size of the remittance market reflects its global scale and also the growing trend of labor internationalization.  In other words, as more and more people are working overseas, more of them are sending money back home to family and friends.

The World Bank tracks remittances by country and year, and the latest numbers indicate that approximately $600 billion was transferred as part of the remittance market in 2017. 5

Why are Remittance Companies Interested in XRP?

One of the biggest selling points for usage of XRP is its ability to dramatically lower the cost of cross-border transfers.

XRP does this by replacing fiat currency as a bridge currency while transitioning value from one fiat currency to another.  Large organizations like money transfer companies and banks can replace their costly Nostro account holdings with a software suite that dynamically sources liquidity via exchanges where foreign currency – and digital assets – are bought and sold.

Based on this, we know that XRP has a powerful value proposition for reducing costs; but from what we’ve seen of banks’ inaction, why are the traditional remittance companies coming on board first?  To understand the answer to this question, you have to back up and take a look at the entire remittance market, along with how the market share has evolved.

To facilitate an analysis, we can stratify the market participants into three general categories:

  1. Banks
  2. Traditional Remittance Providers
  3. Disruptors

Each one of these categories of providers has strengths and weaknesses: 6


While regulatory concerns may have caused a temporary delay of XRP adoption by banks, remittance companies are showing no hesitation to using XRP for cost-cutting.  This is reflected on the pressure that they are feeling from what I labeled the “disruptors”, and what the online magazine “FXCompared” is calling “challengers.”  The disruptors / challengers are utilizing new business models and technology to completely circumvent traditional payment channels.

Remittance Disruptors

Let’s zero in on one; TransferWise.   TransferWise doesn’t depend on traditional banking to move money, and so it completely leap-frogs the archaic SWIFT system and opts for an entirely new model:  Transfer money across borders by not transferring money across borders.

TransferWise is one of the disruptors that relies on a system that is, from my standpoint, a digital version of the Hawala system, where money actually never leaves the country, but credits are given to accounts in the foreign country to signify the transfer of value.  It’s a unique approach that takes an existing business concept (crediting accounts in two separate countries without transferring money) and digitizes it, making it available to the masses.

This enables TransferWise to offer low fees, but it is essentially going around the current system of cross-border value transfer by completely bypassing the correspondence banking system.

Traditional Money Transfer Companies Can Compete… if they use Ripple

It may seem like an uphill struggle to keep pace with the new disruptors – or “challengers” as some have labeled the new remittance start-ups.  But it’s not impossible, and the traditional remittance operators have substantial advantages, including their existing network of operators, market reach, and name recognition and trust.

To level the playing field, these traditional remittance operators are taking dramatic action and implementing xRapid; currently they are at the first stage while xRapid progresses through its “beta” phase of implementation. 7

This approach will enable the traditional money transmitter companies to compete on a cost basis, and innovate with new capabilities based on Ripple technology.  Even at this early stage, we’re seeing new applications such as Santander’s P2P payment application.8 Yes, Santander is an example of a bank, but it demonstrates what’s possible for the remittance companies that are implementing Ripple technology; they can develop their own end-user applications to compete with the likes of Xoom, Alipay, and Venmo.

How Many Remittance Companies Are Using Ripple?

Of the top remittance companies, quite a few are implementing Ripple technology.  The following graphic depicts some of Ripple’s recent wins, and highlights the major players in remittance that are implementing either xCurrent (Ripple’s ILP-based solution), or xRapid (Ripple’s tool for settling using XRP liquidity):


MoneyGram, Western Union, and the UAE Exchange are all confirmed Ripple customers.  This comprises almost 100% of all the top traditional money transfer companies implementing Ripple technology – and that includes xRapid.

This is a level of market adoption that other new startups can only dream about; in Ripple’s case, the technology and cost savings are so compelling that the move to leverage the software is a foregone conclusion for these traditional remittance processors.

Contribution to Utility-based Demand for XRP

For fellow XRP owners like myself, the next question after analyzing the incredible market coverage for Ripple and XRP within the remittance space is “what effect on XRP demand is likely to be a result of these payment volumes?”

The answer to that is not crystal clear, although we know enough to draw the conclusion that it will have a positive effect on the price of XRP.

What do we know about these companies’ plans to use xRapid?  We know that both MoneyGram and Western Union are conducting trials of xRapid – the Ripple solution that utilizes XRP for settlement liquidity and for shifting value from one fiat currency to another.11 12 In addition to these two traditional remittance operators, innovators such as IDT, Mercury FX, and Cuallix may also give xRapid a try.

Others such as UAE Exchange, Santander, and LianLian are confirmed to be RippleNet members utilizing a stack of Ripple technology such as those components underpinning xCurrent.

Based on this understanding, to do a short-term analysis of expected utility-based demand from xRapid, we’d need to focus on the schedule of when the production implementation of xRapid will take place with these larger players such as MoneyGram & Western Union.  However, it’s important to consider new entrants to the space, as these innovators may quickly gain market share based on lower costs and by focusing on specific niche corridors (e.g., Cuallix targeting US-Mexico remittance).

Are There Any Remittance Companies Not Using Ripple Technology?

Except for the rare exception like PayPal, most of the largest remittance companies are using Ripple technology in one form or another.  This statement alone is awe-inspiring, but even more so is the fact that their competitors and allies alike are also using Ripple technology on the back-end.  Whether it’s xCurrent or xRapid, the tools that Ripple provides to process and settle payments in real-time are already transforming worldwide commerce.

The disruptor companies and new market entrants are also utilizing Ripple in most cases, although there is occasionally an outlier whose entire business approach is different (TransferWise, e.g.).

However, this is the exception; even the small innovators are examining Ripple to leverage the near-zero cost of processing transactions.  Of course, customers don’t have insight into the costs associated with these remittance companies; instead, they will be focused on the fact that their name-brand money transmitters can now settle a transaction in real-time instead of days or hours.

Proving Ground for Cost Savings

One of the most common questions about XRP has to do with its core use cases – it’s use as a bridge asset to transfer value from one fiat currency to another.  New XRP buyers sometimes ask why banks would use XRP.  And for that question, the answer very straight-forward: XRP can save banks the most amount of money.

Using xCurrent will allow banks and other financial institutions save up to 33% of their current payment processing costs; but flipping the switch on xRapid (XRP use) will allow those same organizations to save between 42 and 60% of their current payment processing costs: 9 10


For XRP investors, the prospect of increasing amounts of volume originating from businesses and organizations that have implemented xRapid is an exciting possibility.  At some point in the current year, the demand from utility-based transactions will start to make itself known; but even more exciting than this eventuality for XRP investors is the groundwork that’s being laid for establishing real-world case studies for XRP’s cost savings.

In some cases, banks have indicated that their concern over regulatory questions about using a digital asset was a sticking point.  In other cases, it’s evident that banks may be opting to drag their feet and concede the remittance market to third parties.

Whatever the reason, once Ripple can point to multiple examples of XRP’s cost savings, it will light the way for more conservative customers like banks – and perhaps central banks – to jump on board and activate xRapid for sourcing settlement liquidity.

Adopters will Thrive using Ripple & XRP

My prediction is this: When the smoke clears, the cost savings from using XRP as a bridge asset will be fully confirmed, and the upper cost savings estimate – 60% – will prove to be too conservative.  My guess is that Ripple uses conservative numbers for this upper boundary, and that organizations will realize very quickly the advantages to using Ripple’s digital asset.

As a result of this, we will see a scramble happen in the industry, and in banking.

Even though many businesses presently make public statements about using blockchain technology in the hopes that Wall Street investors will reward their (public) support of this new technology, in some cases the industry has seen more lip service than real change.  Blockchain technology is more subtle and difficult to properly fit into a technology stack; in some cases, digital assets have been created not to solve a problem, but instead to create a new value network.

Not so with XRP; its use case is massive, and its performance capabilities as well as its scalability make it the perfect candidate to support global levels of transactions and business.

For remittance companies, it’s obvious that there is a race in the market to be the first one to access Ripple’s promised cost savings.  Who will be the first company to realize the massive cost savings?  Will they immediately pass these savings along to the consumer in an attempt to increase their market share?  Or will they simply become ever more profitable due to increased margins?

Time will reveal all, of course; but in the meantime, I and my fellow XRP owners will continue to champion our favorite tried-by-fire digital asset. ripple-symbol3


    1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remittance
    2. http://www.businessinsider.com/these-are-the-five-best-remittance-companies-in-the-world-2016-7
    3. http://www.tearsheet.co/changing-payments/5-top-remittance-companies
    4. https://www.investopedia.com/articles/personal-finance/020415/find-top-money-transfer-services.asp
    5. http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/migrationremittancesdiasporaissues/brief/migration-remittances-data
    6. https://www.fxcompared.com/intelligence/money-transfer-report-2016-part-1
    7. https://twitter.com/ashgoblue/status/964218195241353216
    8. https://www.santander.com/csgs/Satellite/CFWCSancomQP01/en_GB/pdf/Earnings_Presentation_ENGLISH_4T17.pdf#page=44 https://twitter.com/xrptips/status/958763192556994560
    9. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-and-xrp-can-cut-banks-global-settlement-costs-up-to-60-percent/
    10. https://ripple.com/files/xrp_cost_model_paper.pdf
    11. http://fortune.com/2018/01/11/ripple-moneygram-xrp-cryptocurrency-bank-transfers/
    12. http://fortune.com/2018/02/14/ripple-xrp-western-union-money-transfers/