XRP By the Numbers – 2018 Benchmarks

January is an interesting month for crypto historically.

Yes, the second week of January is usually the most painful week throughout the entire year for price levels.  23 24  Different analysts attribute this market behavior to different factors, but one thing is for certain; no matter which crypto you are holding, you are probably seeing red numbers.

However, the month of January also provides us with an opportunity to benchmark statistics and metrics associated with each of our crypto picks, and XRP is no different.  In early October, I wrote about some of the metrics and numbers associated with XRP and Ripple.  It was one of a number of pieces I wrote before the SWELL conference, as Brad_Q_Athe entire banking industry was gearing up to learn about Ripple technology.

I’ll cover a similar set of statistics and numbers in this post, with the goal of base-lining progress for XRP and Ripple.

XRP Performance

Where should we start?  It’s important for XRP investors and veterans to keep in mind that a lot of new researchers and investors are looking into XRP.  This means that they will be reviewing the basics as well as some of the advanced concepts.  For this group, it’s wise for our “by the numbers” benchmark to stop and review some of the numbers that set XRP apart from all crypto competitors.

The digital asset that Ripple created in 2012 continues to exceed the technical performance of its competitors in the most important categories for a crypto-currency.  These performance metrics can scale to match the speeds of centralized payment databases such as VISA or PayPal.

  • Settlement Speed (Full confirmation): 3.54 Seconds 1
  • Scalability: 1,500 TPS On-ledger / 70,000 + TPS Off-ledger 2

XRP Liquidity Statistics

In late 2017 and just recently in early January 2018, there has been an explosion in XRP popularity as new crypto investors discover the crypto-currency with unmatched performance metrics.  Because of this surge in demand, many new exchanges worldwide are now offering XRP as an offering beside the traditional choice of Bitcoin.

This demand is growing, and the daily volume and liquidity is now measured in the billions each day.

  • Number of Exchanges: 46 3
  • 30-Day Volume: $74.6 Billion (~ $2.5 billion per day) 4
  • Ranking by Market Capitalization: 3rd 5

XRP Ledger Fees and Costs

XRP was created specifically with global scalability in mind.

The XRP Ledger performs under maximum stress; it can support parabolic growth in the number of transactions.  To pay for the network and its speed and stability, the XRP digital asset provides several anti-spam functions in addition to its use as a bridge asset.

XRP contains code that will automatically adjust transaction fees during periods of high usage to discourage DDOS or transaction spamming.  It also contains a required reserve amount for establishing new wallets.

transaction-cost

  • Cost to activate a wallet (“reserve” amount): 20 XRP 6
  • Cost to add a trust line to a wallet: 5 XRP 6
  • Cost to open an order: 5 XRP 6
  • Minimum Cost Per Transactions: 0.00001 XRP (10 drops) 7
  • Latest Network Load-Adjusted Cost: 0.0008078 XRP (1,000 drops) 8

Bank Adoption Statistics

One of the topics that is hotly debated by XRP believers and naysayers is how much XRP demand will be driven by bank adoption and utility.  In the beginning, there were many skeptics within the crypto community, as no crypto-currency had yet been adopted for use by traditional financial companies and banks.regulations

However, times are changing, and with the cost savings that XRP provides, more and more banks and customers are considering adding xRapid to their Ripple tool set. (Ripple’s XRP offering is known as xRapid)

  • Number of Banking Customers: 100+ 9
  • Number of customers deploying Ripple technology commercially: 75+ 9
  • Number of (officially announced) customers using xRapid: 2 10 11

Bank Savings Estimates Using XRP

Ripple studies banks.

They’ve analyzed all of the cost components of processing international payments across borders.  They are familiar with the legacy technology, the international standards for data transmission, and the various techniques that correspondence banks use to move value across the globe on a daily basis.

Using this knowledge, they created a suite of software to achieve two things:

  • Lower the transaction cost to near-zero
  • Settle entire transaction in real-time

Ripple’s software is progressive in nature; they do not pressure banks to use a crypto-currency.  In fact, banks can achieve the first tier of cost savings without using XRP at all.  Here’s how the estimated cost savings work for banks using Ripple technology: 12 13

  • 33 % Cost Savings based on minimization of settlement delays, without using XRP
  • 42 % Cost Savings Using XRP assuming high volatility
  • 60 % Cost Savings Using XRP assuming low volatility

For the first tier, think “xCurrent,” Ripple’s ILP-based solution.  For the second and third tier of savings, banks will need to use “xRapid” which uses XRP for liquidity.

XRP Wallet Statistics

When we last took a snapshot of XRP wallets in October before the SWELL conference, there was approximately 500,000 funded wallets in existence.wallet_image

Ripple’s international banking conference, Central Bank Summit, and subsequent customer announcements have resulted in a dramatic surge of investor interest in XRP as a speculative investment.  Because of this, the number of funded wallets has grown now to over one million.

Keep in mind that for XRP, each wallet also acts as a spam prevention mechanism, in that it costs a certain amount of XRP just to activate a wallet on the ledger.  This is known as a “reserve” amount and it cannot be withdrawn by the user.  The concept is similar to a “minimum account balance” in banking.  This factor means that the intentionality of each wallet is clearly higher than that on other networks – the possibility of multiple wallets still exists, but the likelihood decreases if you require a user to pay for one.

Here are the latest numbers:

  • Number of XRP Wallets: 1,044,512 14
  • Percent of XRP Wallets holding more than 100,000 XRP: 1%  (i.e., you’ll need ~ 100K XRP to be in the XRP “1% club”) 15

Ripple (Company) Numbers

I’ve emphasized how different XRP is before.  Probably one of the biggest reasons that I invest in XRP is because I’m impressed with the team behind it.

In crypto, as new investors do their due diligence on investments before making a purchase, they will encounter many different coins and crypto projects with nothing but a whitepaper and one or two names.  Right now, blockchain technology is going through a similar phase of growth to the Internet in the late nineties, where almost any business with a “dot com” behind it was rewarded with spectacular investment dollars.

The situations came to a head in mid-2017, with the US SEC, China, and now even South Korea issuing warnings and restrictions on ICOs and crypto exchanges.  It’s become very apparent that many new projects have sprung up for the wrong reasons – to cash in on the easy money.

Ripple is different.

From the start, Ripple was (and continues to be) one of the Silicon Valley stars in blockchain technology.  It is a solid US-based business that was established in 2012, and it has some of the most widely-respected names as investors.  Ripple has methodically built its reputation based on hard work, listening to customers, and responding to the needs of the banking industry.

XRP’s use case is real, and is based on solving a real-world problem for international transfers of value.  Its goal is to streamline cross-border payments, and Ripple is one of the foremost companies in the world at addressing this problem.  Indeed, there is currently only one other organization that is widely known as an alternative to SWIFT; Ripple.

Here are some key numbers associated with Ripple:

  • Years in Operation: 5+ 16
  • Number of Employees: 150+ 17
  • Number of Engineers / Architects / Developers: 90+ 18
  • Number of Ripple Offices: 7 19
  • Number of Company Board Members: 8 20

Behind the Numbers

While numbers can provide a quick gut-check for many crypto investors, one of the biggest selling points for me and other XRP fans is the team behind Ripple, the small start-up that initially created XRP.  Ripple started out as a revolutionary idea from its inception, and evolved into the crypto network that will eventually take the place of Bitcoin.

Each time you look at a different aspect of XRP, think about the level of foresight necessary to plan for global scalability, while not relying on wasteful mining to validate transactions.  While all of Ripple’s code is open-source, it chose to patent its consensus protocol, because the team knew that they’d created something revolutionary.

It would be similar to Google patenting part of its search algorithm.

The company has the technology, but even more importantly, it has the team that created that technology.  Chris Larsen?  David Schwartz? These two will eventually be referred to in textbooks on crypto-currency and cryptography.  What about Stefan Thomas and Evan Schwartz?  The creators of ILP could probably lecture on the Interledger Protocol full-time.21 Brad Garlinghouse, Ripple’s no-nonsense CEO, is the famous author of the “Peanut Butter Manifesto.”22 The list goes on, and this team has been joined by other legends in the crypto and ForEx industry such as Nik Bougalis, Warren Paul Anderson and Miguel Vias.  New team members that are known as crypto celebrities are joining almost every week  –  the list is too long to print here.

My point is this; while statistics and numbers don’t lie, to truly understand the potential of XRP, you have to look beyond the current state of the network, no matter how impressive it is.  XRP is on its way to number one.  For those of us wise enough to understand, it provides an unassailable opportunity to own XRP – and thus secure our share of the most transformative technology since the Internet. ripple-symbol3

Resources:

  1. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/
  2. https://ripple.com/xrp/
  3. https://coinmarketcap.com/exchanges/volume/24-hour/all/ (All unique exchanges here plus Cointal)
  4. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/
  5. https://coinmarketcap.com/ (snapshot on 1-14-2018)
  6. https://support.gatehub.net/hc/en-us/articles/115003269345-What-is-XRP-reserve-
  7. https://ripple.com/build/transaction-cost/
  8. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/
  9. https://ripple.com/
  10. https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/news/cuallix-uses-ripple-cross-border-payments-u-s-mexico/
  11. http://fortune.com/2018/01/11/ripple-moneygram-xrp-cryptocurrency-bank-transfers/
  12. https://ripple.com/files/xrp_cost_model_paper.pdf
  13. https://www.pymnts.com/news/b2b-payments/2016/a-closer-look-at-ripples-money-saving-claims/
  14. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/accounts (Snapshot on 1-14-2018 @ 4:37 pm CST)
  15. https://twitter.com/TBCrypto/status/947894755714793478
  16. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(company)
  17. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(company)
  18. https://youtu.be/w4jq4frE5v4 (slide #4)
  19. https://ripple.com/company/
  20. https://ripple.com/company/board-of-directors/
  21. https://interledger.org/about.html
  22. http://www.businessinsider.com/what-i-got-wrong-in-the-peanut-butter-manifesto-2013-1
  23. https://www.tradingview.com/chart/BTCUSD/cg3dQNsg-Bitcoin-We-re-seeing-Cycles-Develop-Jan-12th-2018-LOW/
  24. https://thebitcoin.pub/t/bitcoin-to-crash-between-4th-and-15th-of-january-2018/14897
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Tokens – Trust on the XRP Ledger

The drumbeat of “payments” reverberates throughout the interviews and comments that Brad Garlinghouse has made about XRP.

I agree with him – XRP is the best at payments among the digital assets and crypto-currencies currently in existence.  The performance metrics of the XRP Ledger’s native asset XRP make it easy to forget what sets the XRP Ledger apart for many fans of crypto-currency; its ability for any user to extend trust to another.

If you’re new to XRP, you may not even know about this feature!  Even though it was considered an incredible innovation in its day, the ability for anybody on the XRP Ledger to extend trust doesn’t get the publicity that it deserves.

New XRP Fans: Yes, You Can Issue Your Own Token

Before we get to the fun part, let’s start at the beginning.

This is Ryan Fugger’s creation.  If anybody tells you different, challenge them.  He was the one with the original idea, and he made the decision to hand this idea off to Chris Larsen and David Schwartz at some point in 2012.

We first have to look at the concept of trust.  Right now, there are a large number of global exchanges where you can purchase or trade XRP.  In order to operate, the exchange will typically create their own credit on the XRP Ledger.  These credits are known as IOUs, because that’s exactly what they are; a promise to pay the holder a specific value, whether it’s another currency, asset, or even a service.

If you trade XRP for these IOUs, you are essentially “trusting” that the issuer of the IOU is going to redeem them for the specified currency.

The XRP Ledger is known as a “credit network” by university researchers, because it involves the issuing of credit for any security other than its native asset, XRP. 1 The XRP Ledger gives participants the ability to issue their own credit – for whatever reason, to represent any token of value that they want to issue.  The process is simple, and Ripple wanted to make it that way; within an XRP wallet, the user merely selects a few options and then they can “send” an IOU to a recipient wallet if that wallet trusts them. 2

Nuts & Bolts Example Using World Exchange Wallet

Here is an example of how this works using the World Exchange online XRP wallet: 3

Step 1: Choose an acronym for the XRP Ledger.  In my example, I chose “HDR.”

Hodor_Token

Step 2: Indicate how many tokens you wish to issue, and their price pegged to XRP.

token_price_quantity

Step 3: Issue the token.

submit_tokens_for_creation

Step 4:  Click “here” button to allow sending and receiving of your token.  You’ll receive the following confirmation message:

allow_sending_of_tokens

And that’s it!  You’ve successfully issued your own token.

The wallet I used for this demonstration is an online XRP wallet named “theworldexchange.net”  It was created by a user on XRPChat named @pftq.  (Note that I don’t vouch for others’ code, so please use this and other wallets at your own risk)

In addition to his online wallet, this user authored an insightful blog on the topic of issuing credit, and how it’s much easier to issue a token on the XRP Ledger than on a smart contracts platform.  Here is the link to that blog entry:  https://www.pftq.com/blabberbox/?page=The_True_Potential_of_Ripple_and_XRP

He’s right:  It’s easy and convenient.

Family and Friends

What if your older parents and / or grandparents don’t want to go through the KYC procedures on an exchange, but they still want to participate in buying and selling XRP?
You could do it for them, and then issue to their wallets specific IOUs in accordance with how much you owe them, thereby shielding them from onerous KYC procedures if they’re just going to have you trade for them.  When they have your IOUs in their account, it becomes an irrevocable, cryptographic proof of how much actual money you owe them.

credit

Small Players

Imagine that you run a social media site and wish to issue tokens for every 100 page views that a blog entry receives.  Using the tokens on XRP Ledger, the blog writer could get a share of the advertising revenue.  You’d issue them as necessary, and then whoever has them could send them to you for redemption.

Now imagine that you are the owner of a small coffee shop.  You issue “cookie tokens” for repeat customers after 10 purchases.  Each token could be exchanged at your store for a coffee treat, similar to a low-tech punch-card system.

Big Players

What if Amazon wishes to create redeemable gift certificates on the XRP Ledger? amazon_symbol

This would indeed be a sea-change in the retail industry.  Currently if you purchase an Amazon gift certificate, it’s tracked only in an internal ledger that Amazon controls.  Instead, these could be placed on the XRP Ledger as IOU tokens and traded like other assets.  Imagine trading an Amazon gift certificate for a gift certificate at Whole Foods?  If the gift certificates are issued on the XRP Ledger, it makes it entirely possible!

Really Big Players

What about other types of financial assets?  For those that are interested in the truly “big” numbers and possibilities, derivatives and other instruments are also trust-based and hence redeemable by issuing organizations.  This relationship lends itself to a tight integration with the XRP Ledger to track the securities’ ownership.

The market for derivatives is super-massive.  Trading in derivatives dwarfs all other markets in terms of dollar value, with some analysts estimating that it is more than 10 times the size of the total world GDP. 4  This would be a comparable trade volume to other very high-frequency use cases for the XRP Ledger.

Credit for the Credit Network

Whether it’s a token to show social trust, a formal IOU that represents a debt, or a digital asset that represents ownership of a complex financial instrument, the XRP Ledger is capable of supporting it with the ease and simplicity of sending a token of your choice to a recipient wallet.

Ripple has made a decentralized credit network easy to understand for anybody who can understand just what a handshake represents.

Sources:

  1. http://www.coindesk.com/ripple-medieval-banking-digital-twist/
  2. https://wiki.ripple.com/Payments#Direct_Ripple_IOU_Payment
  3. https://www.theworldexchange.net/
  4.  http://www.investopedia.com/ask/answers/052715/how-big-derivatives-market.asp

XRP Update

Hold. hold_the_line_XRP

There is nothing to be done about the red numbers, but XRP investors know better than to fear.  Did you buy at the top?  If so, you are not alone.  I know it’s painful to see red numbers, especially if you bought in during the exuberance of the latest all time high for XRP.  But it proves one thing; you believe in XRP’s value.

Never apologize for purchasing an investment that you believe is worthy of your hard-earned money.  Yes, there’s never a shortage of people that will tell you that you made a bad investment choice if you purchased at the all time high; they are mocking you because it makes them feel better about themselves temporarily.

If you purchased XRP – at any price – in the last week, you made an excellent choice.  It’s the same choice I’ve made for myself.  I personally believe that the last few days of price retracement is a result of three things:

  1. Traditional annual crypto downturn from January 5th through January 15th 21 22
  2. Profit-taking by day traders
  3. The Coinmarketcap price listing change (For an entire day, CMC showed a non-existent, double-digit loss instead of a change in data source)
  4. Panic selling from a small number of day traders based on #3

I’m a hodler.  (For newbies, that’s crypto-speak for somebody that holds their crypto investment rather than selling on a down-turn) I sat on my XRP stack and now wished I had more money to invest in XRP at the current prices.  While I understood that even rallies of gargantuan size will end, I was of the opinion that we might have had enough momentum to break the $5 barrier.

I guess I’ll have to wait a little while for that?

On Discord, I promised everybody that if XRP broke the $5 barrier, I would get a tattoo of the XRP symbol.  Note that I didn’t say where (on myself) or how big it would be, however.  With those caveats in place, I’m hoping to keep my promise before we reach the end of February.

FUD Attacks On Ripple and XRP

XRP fans normally steer clear of negativity where we can in crypto, but it’s almost impossible at times.  When twitter accounts with massive followings spread misinformation, we have choices as a community on how to respond.

As XRP continues to challenge Bitcoin for its dominance of the #1 spot, expect massive push-back from the financial interests behind Bitcoin and its proof-of-work cousins.  Why?  Because there are many wealthy individuals and groups that have made millions of dollars off of Bitcoin’s outdated tech.

Where is the FUD Coming From?

Multiple new crypto-currencies like XRP have proven that wasteful mining is unnecessary to secure a cryptographic network, and yet if you listen to some people on twitter, it’s as if they are blind to the fact that massive amounts of coal-generated electricity is currently being used to fuel miners in China.

Some – not all – of these financial interests are now attacking XRP and Ripple.

Most people, even most crypto-anarchists, do not believe that the “end justifies the means,” because it violates the very ideals that they value.  But those financial interests that are hiding behind crypto-anarchist slogans need to be brought out of the shadows of social media and exposed for what they are; opportunistic fear-mongers who didn’t see well enough ahead of time to invest in XRP.

Don’t believe me?

An author at bitcoin.com named Kai Sedgwick put his name on an article that attempts to make readers believe that XRP is the first step in the government seizing their money and crypto.  He used the term “freeze” multiple times to try and scare new investors away – or more precisely, to try and scare them into Bitcoin.

It wasn’t the first time that Kai has been called a liar in so many words using polite euphemisms.  More than one person has had to resort to posting independent responses to try and repair the damage that he’s done.  Here’s a recent example from less than two days ago on an entirely different piece: https://steemit.com/eosio/@thomasbcox/a-response-to-kai-sedgwick  So why does bitcoin.com continue to publish his hit pieces on competing coins?  Decide for yourself.

JoelKatz responded eloquently to each point, telling the absolute truth about the open-source code for Rippled: 1

freez_reaction

To see his full Quora response, the following link will open up a new window:  https://www.quora.com/What-are-Ripple-users-opinions-on-freeze-feature-of-Ripple/answer/David-Schwartz-9

Now that we’ve dealt with the FUD, let’s move on to some facts…

xRapid News

The big news for xRapid adoption was the announcement of two additional banks to the list of RippleNet users; Siam Bank (Thailand) and Axis Bank (India). 2 The announcements quote Asheesh Birla confirming that both of the banks are currently using xCurrent.

While xRapid wasn’t mentioned in the corrected version of the article from Businessinsider (the original version said xRapid), even xCurrent integration is welcome news, and it’s even more intriguing given that neither of these two banks constitute “household names” as some in the XRP community were expecting based on other rumors and communications from Ripple.  To many, this indicates that further announcements are in the works, but have been delayed for one reason or another such as NDAs (Non-disclosure agreements).

If these two banks end up using xRapid, that makes at least three separate currency-pair corridors.  It would mark the successful execution of the first part of Ripple’s XRP adoption strategy outlined by JoelKatz for readers on XRPChat earlier this year. 3

Rumor of TransferWise

After the announcement of “two household names” to the xRapid client list, the cryptoverse has been rampant with speculation about who the two companies or organizations could be.  In late 2017, Warren Paul Anderson tweeted this to the Twitter account that belonged to TransferWise: 4

transferwise_tweet_WarrenPaulAnderson.jpg

For those that don’t know it already, TransferWise uses an ingenious technique of exchanging value across borders by matching up buying and selling within each of the two countries.  This approach drove value for the company since its creation in 2011, and as recently as May 2017, it was indicated that TransferWise customers were sending over $1.3 billion per month. 11

While a chance interaction at the Singapore Fintech Festival was auspicious, TechCrunch recently covered additional developments for TransferWise.  On Tuesday of this week, TransferWise announced a revolutionary new product – a multi-currency bank account that can also have a debit card attached.

Here is a quote from the TechCrunch article: 13

As well as being bright green, the TransferWise card itself — or, rather, the money transfer company’s infrastructure — has an extra trick up its sleeve, something it calls “intelligent currency routing.”

Explains its chairman: “You can have money in 28 currencies in the TransferWise account, but if you don’t have money on the currency you are spending, then we will automatically exchange it in a way that is cheapest for you. So we will choose which of your existing balances will be cheapest to exchange into what you are spending.”

While TransferWise’s architecture is innovative, some in the XRP community noted that to support the functionality for 28 currencies, it’s possible that TransferWise might be using Ripple technology in the background.  So convinced were some, that they asked directly via Twitter.  Here’s the response they received: 12

TransferWiseTweet

Are they using Ripple in the background?  Unknown.  They might be leveraging improvements to their existing architecture, or they might be plugging into xCurrent’s ability to move money seamlessly from one currency to another.  Bottom line?  We don’t know for sure one way or the other, but the XRP community is looking for information as it presents itself.

XRP Purchases

Ripple’s monthly XRP escrow release happened on January 6th.  It was tracked by the XRP community via a Twitter robot that tweets out all large purchases of XRP along with other metadata about each transaction: 4

XRP_monthly_escrow_release

While the monthly release was no surprise, subsequent payments certainly raised eyebrows.  One of them was a very large payment of 200 million XRP: 5

XRP_monitor_large_payment

This purchase was not the only one – many large payments of XRP have been changing hands in the last few days; its apparent that many investors, exchanges, and possibly banks are purchasing this digital asset.  The added demand for liquidity for these institutions indicates an accelerating demand for XRP.

More Exchanges

Exchanges have been making purchases of XRP in order to service liquidity needed for trading the digital asset.  Almost all of the major exchanges have made substantial direct purchases of XRP in the past week alone, verified by the XRPL Monitor Twitter account.

In addition to these liquidity purchases, new exchanges have been adding XRP all over the world in an effort to capture a slice of this growing market.

What is DMM?

DMM is a very popular Japanese electronic commerce and internet company that handles online shopping and video on demand.  It’s a huge company in Japan and boasts 27 million subscribers.6 How big is that compared to Netflix?  It’s about one-fourth as big as Netflix.7 However, DMM.com Securities is the world’s second largest ForEx company by trading volume. 8

Think about that point.

On January 11th, DMM will flip the switch on crypto trading.  Here is a quote from CNN’s coverage:

“Upon its launch, DMM Bitcoin will only support seven hand-picked cryptocurrencies in bitcoin, Ethereum, NEM, Ripple, Litecoin, Ethereum Classic, and Bitcoin Cash”

Note that XRP will now have a potential 27 million new investors as a result of this additional listing, on top of the already-great news of SBI and the Huobi Group supporting XRP (1.65 million accounts for Huobi). 9

How much more volume will be added to the top crypto choices as a result of DMM’s listing?  A lot.  While South Korea has been able to drive crypto prices and volume for many months, its intriguing to now add Japan’s large-volume exchanges to this mix.

One Millionth XRP Wallet

One of the metrics that is used for comparison of crypto networks is the number of onemillionthwalletwallets.  I’ve reported on these numbers in previous posts, and the XRP community actively tracks the statistics associated with wallets and their balances.

2017 saw a tremendous number of new wallets created, but only on January 7th did we surpass the penultimate “one millionth wallet.” 14

This landmark will make 2018 an easy year to gauge progress as we move forward and XRP takes center stage – will this number double in 2018?  Triple?  Time will tell.

XRP Community Initiatives and Updates

For those that are new to XRP or to crypto in general, it’s good to augment your knowledge with a variety of sources, and one way to do that is to read articles and content on Reddit.  While the “linking to content” is a great feature, there’s also much to learn from some of the commentary that results after posting.  I’m speaking first-hand based on my own experience, and I’ll follow it up by pointing new users to one of the most well-read subreddits; r/Ripple.

r/Ripple Subreddit

One of the creators of the site and content is an individual that has done a lot for the XRP community by the avatar name “nvok.”  He recently organized much of the available content into an intuitive reference web page, which can be accessed here:

r/Ripple XRP Information Page

The WorldExchange

Some crypto fans and developers are known as “first adopters.”  They are the first to try out a new crypto network, integrate with it, build an API, or even an entire application from scratch.  One of these first adopter developers was an XRPChat member named “@pftq.”  He created an online wallet which he described as: 15

“…essentially a 1-page cold-wallet version of RippleTrade. Everything is client-side and nothing stored or processed by any servers other than the Ripple network.”

The website is impressive despite his humble description, and it contains all of the basic functionality expected from a wallet application.  I recently used it to create a new token on the XRP Ledger – the HDR token.

If you’d like to try it out, you can find the wallet along with links to YouTube instructional videos at:  https://www.theworldexchange.net/

Transledger

In addition to the company-sponsored Codius project, within XRPChat @jaesharp (an XRPChat avatar name) indicated he would take on a volunteer effort aimed at developing a community smart contract platform called Transledger.  @jaesharp is a former Ripple developer that has first-hand experience with the XRP Ledger, and the project is ambitious.

He indicted on July 16th that: 16

“(Transledger) won’t be much like Codius.”

He released more details on the technical architecture here and indicated that the Transledger greenpaper will be published sometime in the near future on the Transledger GitHub site. 17

The origins of his greenpaper can be traced back to his conceptual post on XRPChat on June 27, 2017. 18 while GitHub may not contain much yet, he indicated as recently as January 8th that he aims to release more details – and code – soon.

XRP Tip Bot

I’ve mentioned the XRP Tip Bot in previous blogs; it’s a unique social media application that allows users to tip Reddit posters.  The tipper simply gives the command “+1 /u/xrptipbot” on Reddit in any post, and the person they’re replying to is the lucky recipient of one XRP.

On Monday, January 8th, the developer and creator of the XRP Tip Bot indicated on Discord that he had:

  • Published the code behind the XRP Tip Bot on GitHub
  • Was working on an “open source XRP Wallet app written in VueJS.”

This is exciting, because the XRP Tip Bot was (and is) very well-received on Reddit.  Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m anxious to see what his team creates.

To learn more about the XRP Tip Bot, please refer to the following website:  https://www.xrptipbot.com/.  The code behind the XRP Tip Bot is located here:  https://github.com/WietseWind/xrptipbot

XRP Rocketing to Stardom

The recent glut of coverage of XRP worldwide has been enormously rewarding.  It’s rare that I don’t hear about XRP in the mainstream press now-a-days, and that’s to be expected given it’s prominence as the 2017 leader of crypto returns.  Sometimes it’s surprising to see the new personalities and famous faces that are now jumping on the XRP bandwagon.

One of them was an unlikely source for XRP publicity:  Richard Sherman.

Richard Sherman is a football player (the “American” football) in the United States.  He plays cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks in the National Football League (NFL).  He’s twenty-nine years old, and one of the highest-paid players in the NFL today.19 Oh, and he’s an early adopter of crypto!

In an article for BusinessInsider, he discussed the pitfalls of Bitcoin, highlighting some its more noteworthy shortcomings: Fees, transaction time, and industry skepticism.  By contrast, he also had this to say:  20Richard_Sherman

“If I did have to pick the three coins that I’m watching closely to kick off this year, I would rank them as follows…

  1. Ripple
  2. Ethereum
  3. Bitcoin Cash”

Like a subset of star athletes, Richard Sherman is regarded as highly intelligent.  Known as a scholar-athlete, he graduated as the salutatorian of his high school with a 4.2 GPA.  He graduated Stanford with a degree in communication.

Is it any wonder that a stand-out individual like him is picking XRP as his favorite crypto-currency?  I’d call that a public relations touchdown for Ripple. ripple-symbol3

Sources:

  1. https://www.quora.com/What-are-Ripple-users-opinions-on-freeze-feature-of-Ripple/answer/David-Schwartz-9?share=43efcdb0
  2. http://www.businessinsider.com/ripple-the-company-behind-cryptocurrency-xrp-is-betting-big-on-asia-2018-1
  3. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/5280-valuation-models-xrp-the-digital-currency-vs-ripple-the-company/#comment-50182
  4. https://twitter.com/XRPL_Monitor/status/949610745477632001
  5. https://twitter.com/XRPL_Monitor/status/949680303286751233
  6. https://www.ccn.com/one-japans-largest-entertainment-conglomerates-will-operate-cryptocurrency-exchange/
  7. https://www.usatoday.com/story/tech/news/2017/10/16/netflix-continues-earnings-roll-5-3-m-new-subscribers-stock-hits-record/768391001/
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DMM.com
  9. https://www.ccn.com/one-japans-largest-entertainment-conglomerates-will-operate-cryptocurrency-exchange/
  10. https://twitter.com/warpaul/status/930690179236552704
  11. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TransferWise
  12. https://twitter.com/TransferWise/status/950677823353769989
  13. https://techcrunch.com/2018/01/08/transferwise-card/
  14. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/accounts
  15. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/2036-new-ripple-clientwallet-the-world-exchange/
  16. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/7294-xrp-and-hyperledger-to-compete-with-ethereum-for-smart-contracts/?do=findComment&comment=70207
  17. https://github.com/transledger/greenpaper
  18. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/6827-transledger-project-incorruptible-distributed-smart-contract-executiontrustless-gateways-token-issuancemore-effectively-native-on-rcl-design-phase/
  19. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Sherman_(American_football)
  20. http://www.businessinsider.com/cryptocurrencies-nfl-superstar-richard-sherman-lays-out-issues-trading-2018-1
  21. https://www.tradingview.com/chart/BTCUSD/cg3dQNsg-Bitcoin-We-re-seeing-Cycles-Develop-Jan-12th-2018-LOW/
  22. https://thebitcoin.pub/t/bitcoin-to-crash-between-4th-and-15th-of-january-2018/14897

Ripple’s Predictions for 2018

We are missing something.

In all of the excitement of the holiday season and new year, I neglected to give adequate coverage of the predictions that Ripple is making for the coming year.

Yes, I’ve provided my insights and predictions over the last two weeks, and I’ve covered all sorts of recent news and events, along with XRP adoption news and strategies.  Each of these posts was done with a certain amount of research and interaction with the crypto community, but it’s important to stop and realize that Ripple has a well-spoken public relations department as well; in addition to this, some Ripple executives blog and do interviews separately from the company.

This realization – that I hadn’t yet read enough of the recent material from Ripple employees – came when I stumbled upon a blog post from Stefan Thomas on Coindesk.  It was an exclusive contribution to Coindesk, and he talked about ICOs, blockchain technology trends, and the potential impacts to XRP.  At that point, I thought it might be a good idea for me to pause and review some of Ripple’s perspective(s) on different topics that might impact 2018.

2018: The Year of Decentralization

In one of the XRP meetups in Seoul, Warren Paul Anderson was asked to comment about fees and other topics on the XRP Ledger.  He responded to all questions, and during that response he talked a little about the initial creation of the XRP Ledger: 1

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

He indicated that Ripple chose scalability and security, but that further decentralization of the validator nodes for XRP was in the works, and even went one step further, saying:

“By the end of 2018, Ripple will be fully decentralized; more decentralized than waren_andersonBitcoin…We’ve hired some of the best minds in the business….
2018… technical side for Ripple is 2018 is really the year for decentralization.”

Maybe you think this was a one-off statement by Warren Paul Anderson?  Nope.  The company-wide focus on decentralization was confirmed by other sources as well: 2

Decentralization

This statement is from the Chief Cryptographer at Ripple, so I am taking this comment from Warren Paul Anderson as fact at this point – decentralization will soon be a bragging point for XRP compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum – not exactly what some of the Tweeters in crypto would have everybody believe!

Stefan Thomas’s Predictions

Just so readers understand; Stefan Thomas is the Chief Technical Officer (CTO) at Ripple, and he also co-created ILP – the Interledger Protocol.  On December 26th, he wrote an article for Coindesk in which he provided five predictions for 2018.3  Because of his position, and the importance of his comments regarding Ripple’s overall technology strategy, we should take a look at what he said.

What are Stefan Thomas’s predictions?

  1. The death of the ICO token
  2. Financial Institutions will adopt digital assets
  3. Blockchains will start to interoperate
  4. The birth of hybrid blockchains
  5. Specialization or generalization – a contradiction

While the first one is nothing new for those that follow Ripple, it’s a bold move to say that 2018 will contain the “death of the ICO token.”  I don’t doubt that he could be right, but I think that ICOs will be around next year at this time, unfortunately.

Financial Institutions will Adopt Digital Assets

This is the part where I sat up and took note; he’s talking about traditional financial institutions getting into crypto, so I was wondering what his perspective on this topic reflects and how Ripple might position itself.  Here is one quote:

“If speculators entered the digital asset market in droves last year, 2018 will be the year that major institutional players like asset managers, pension funds and other financial institutions, such as payment providers, enter the space.

We’re already seeing increased over-the-counter (OTC) trading of digital assets, such as bitcoin on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE), causing liquidity across the market to deepen. It’s really a matter of when, not if, listings of additional cryptocurrency futures on OTC exchanges will take place. My bet? We’ll see the listings by next summer.”

Here are three predictions, all startling, and all indicating how Ripple sees the pieces on the chessboard.  First off, Ripple believes that traditional fund managers will be trying on crypto for size.  Pension funds are notoriously conservative, but if they dip their toes into crypto to sample its triple-digit or even quadruple-digit returns, we’re talking about a LOT of money.

How much money is involved in pension funds?

Worldwide, pension funds hold over $20 trillion in assets.4 Compare this to mutual funds, which account for roughly $40.4 trillion in assets.5 In the United States alone, mutual funds account for roughly $19 trillion.  Even small amounts of this combined market end up being extremely large numbers.  Let’s play out one scenario for 2018:

Let’s say one percent of these assets end up being invested in blockchain-based technology or crypto-currencies.  How much money would that translate to?

(20 trillion + 40 trillion) / 100 = .6 trillion, or $600 billion.

If that amount were spread out according to the current market share of all crypto-currencies, it would mean roughly a doubling in price for all cryptos across the board, because the total market capitalization of the entire crypto industry is currently at 800 billion at the time of this writing.6

Do you think the various funds will stop at 1% in 2018, or do you think some of them will opt for greater percentages of their portfolio?  If greater, then you must anticipate an even bigger impact to the crypto markets.  What that looks like and how it plays out is subject to speculation, but you can be sure that finance on that scale will necessarily involve new reporting standards for funds and government oversight.

Blockchains Will Start to Interoperate

The main point here is that Stefan Thomas is talking about Ripple and its competition.  The interesting quote?  A comparison with Ethereum’s Raiden.

“Raiden, the ethereum interoperability solution for ERC-20 tokens, launched its stefanThomastoken in September, while the Interledger Protocol (ILP) was used to connect seven ledgers including bitcoin, ethereum and XRP in June. My money is (unsurprisingly) on Interledger.

If all networks were to become ILP-enabled, it ultimately wouldn’t matter if you held bitcoin, ether, litecoin or XRP. ILP would allow you to make payments to a merchant that only accepts bitcoin, for example, using XRP — all in just a matter of seconds.”

ILP-enablement is one feature that banks will cherish, IMO, and Stefan Thomas does an exceptional job of pointing out in the last paragraph just what is possible for crypto end-users using the international standard that Ripple championed with the W3C.

If you’re new to crypto, and don’t know the history of the Interledger Protocol, or Ripple’s role in helping to create and champion international standards for payments, you should do some research on the topic.  For more information, you should start with the official source at Interledger: 7 https://interledger.org/about.html

The Birth of Hybrid Blockchains

This prediction is more subtle, but has a potential to be a game-changing prediction if Stefan Thomas is correct.  First, what is a “hybrid blockchain?”:

“Until now we’ve seen a proliferation of both public blockchains like bitcoin and private blockchains like Hyperledger Fabric. Going forward, I think we’ll start to see the rise of hybrid blockchains, which combine the best of both worlds.

A hybrid blockchain runs on the open internet and is accessible to anyone like a public blockchain, but it uses a smaller set of validators and is more targeted towards a specific use case like a private blockchain.”

So how does this affect corporations or other large organizations that want to implement their own blockchain?  Here’s what he follows-up with:

“Deploying an ethereum contract or creating an ERC-20 token will be replaced by launching your own mini-blockchain, which can be tuned to the exact needs of a given project.

Need more decentralization? Less? More powerful functionality? Should it be upgraded frequently or remain very stable? One size doesn’t fit all, but next year you’ll finally be able to choose.”

I’m seeing a pattern to his predictions, and it’s not good for Ethereum. I’m guessing that Ripple is planning on competing in smart contracts in a big way in 2018.  And why not?  They’ve got the customer base ready to “switch on” any solution that would allow them to smoothly capitalize with a technology that their own programmers are familiar with – JavaScript.  In addition, they can settle those smart contracts all using software from the same company – Ripple.

A mention of BigchainDB – Intriguing!

At the end of this prediction, Stefan Thomas mentions a very specific offering in the hybrid blockchain space: BigchainDB.  I’ve already done some preliminary research on BigChain, and keep in mind that they were a part of Ripple’s W3C group as well – a past connection that just might prove a herald of a future collaboration.8

Specialization or Generalization – a Contradiction?

Stefan Thomas also called for the use of digital assets such as XRP that already command a large chunk of liquidity, rather than the use of specialized tokens that will merely have to be traded by their owners for a more liquid crypto-currency.

I agree with Stefan Thomas on this point.  We’ve already seen the use of XRP in social media tipping applications – this is just the “tip” of the iceberg in my opinion.  Here is Stefan Thomas’s quote near the end of the article:

“Over the course of this article, I’ve argued that general-purpose tokens will replace special-purpose tokens and I’ve also said that special-purpose blockchains will replace general-purpose blockchains.

This might seem like a contradiction at first, but as blockchains become more interoperable, blockchains and tokens will simply be less coupled together.”

These predictions have some wide-ranging implications for 2018, and to get a feel for how this plays out in the media and in the retail investment space, it’s probably a correct approach to overlay his predictions with a timeline and then chart other developments in the blockchain space along the same path.  This will give us an interesting picture of one high-probability scenario for XRP and its market in 2018.

Brad Garlinghouse’s Predictions & Observations

One of Brad’s first interviews of 2018 was on the “Bad Crypto Podcast” on January 3rd, 2018. 9 The interviewers peppered him with a multitude of questions, including several that touched on some points that will eventually impact 2018 for XRP.

Potpurri

During the beginning of the interview, Brad said he believes that the blockchain industry has the potential of being on the same scale as the first Internet revolution. (12:19 – 12:37)

“It’s not that often in your career that you get to work on something that could bradGarlinghouse_use_casesfundamentally – to use a Steve Jobs’ comment – ‘put your dent in the universe.’

If Ripple is successful at what we’re doing, that’s really about what we’re doing; we’re enabling an Internet of value: Enabling value to move the way that information moves today.  It’s a big deal – it would fundamentally change the way that commerce works.”

At one point in the podcast, the interviewer asked about Brad Garlinghouse’s reaction to Roger Ver’s tweet: 10

roger_ver_tweet

Brad’s reaction? (16:40 – 16:57)

“Roger has obviously had a huge contribution on a macro level, but I think examples like this are actually destructive to the progress we’re trying to make.  And when I say ‘we’ I’m not talking about Ripple; I’m talking about ‘we, the blockchain community’ – or ‘we in the crypto community’.  Governments aren’t going to go away.  Regulations aren’t going to go away.  They’re there for a reason.”

Brad Garlinghouse emphasized that the long-term value of a digital asset will ultimately be based on the utility that it provides.  If it’s not solving a problem, then he questions the value of that digital asset.  He then described the fact that XRP:

  • Improve Efficiency
  • Reduce Cost
  • Reduce Friction

Micropayments

Yes, he mentions micropayments (18:51), and the fact that there are:

“use cases we haven’t even broached yet”

This was a validation for me, since I’ve been impatiently waiting to hear about Ripple targeting some of these additional use cases.  It also merges with Stefan Thomas’s comments as well, so it indicates that the goal to target micropayment is certainly a company-wide and consistent strategy.

The only question is ‘when?’ in 2018?

While the community has wasted no time in creating applications for social media that utilize XRP, micropayments at a global scale would be a great addition to the overall liquidity of the network.

Improvements to On-Chain Speeds?

In one segment of the interview, he indicated that Ripple was not satisfied with 1,500 transactions per second.  Even though payment channels can handle over 70,000 TPS and can scale to even further heights, this statement by Brad Garlinghouse makes me wonder if Ripple might pursue some sort of protocol upgrade in 2018 to supercharge its speeds even more. 11

Continuation of the XRP Markets Report

It was a breath of fresh air to hear Brad Garlinghouse remind the interviewer of the quarterly XRP Markets Report, as I believe that this level – and possibly additional levels – of accountability for XRP supply management will be needed to satiate the crypto markets’ demand for information.  I foresee Ripple using the XRP Markets Report as a standard way of announcing progress and partnerships; they will need to standardize their approach for these announcements as 2018 marches forward.

The next XRP Markets Report is due out shortly in January, if the cadence of prior reports is followed. 12

Ripple Used for Retail?

At one point, an interviewer asked Brad if he sees Ripple being used for retail use cases for vendors.  He indicated that consumers in the crypto space now would like to use whatever token they own to do transactions, and could Ripple be used to help streamline this process.

“Of course I think about use cases that go beyond the institutional ‘stuff’ that Ripple the company is doing.”

It was at this point that Brad Garlinghouse pointed to Michael Arrington’s Hedge Fund and the development of community-driven applications. 13

Nostro is Big – Very Big

He reminded everybody just how big Nostro accounts are around the world, with a reminder that organizations worldwide have upwards of $27 trillion in capital locked up in ‘pre-funded’ accounts.  The idea here is that for some corridors (a portion of that 27 trillion) XRP could be used to replace these holdings. 14

Replacement of Nostro account holdings is one of the use cases for XRP, and it’s potentially massive in its own right, above and beyond the utility-driven demand of using XRP as a bridge currency.

Will Banks Create Their Own Coins?

No.  The problem with a bank-issued coin is that it’s by definition a counter-party asset that requires one organization to trust the ability of the issuing organization to redeem the token.

The idea of “bankcoin” has been discussed at length by Brad Garlinghouse, not just in this interview, but also in a separate blog in LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/case-against-bankcoin-brad-garlinghouse/

While the interview wasn’t specifically about 2018, the interviewer asked Brad about many of the hot topics where rumors have been circulating: the “household names” that will be part of xRapid, and the possible Coinbase listing. 15 16 Brad was careful to skirt both of these points, however, so he’s keeping his cards close to his chest.

Team Ripple’s Predictions for 2018

The Ripple team constructed their own blog entry and I’ve got to say – I love their new writing style.17 It’s more edgy and competitive with others in the crypto space; I love it! Aside from their new combative writing style, however, they reiterate many of the points that Stefan Thomas provided in his blog entry from the end of 2017, and offer stern warnings about how governments might go after ICOs in increasingly aggressive ways:

“It wouldn’t surprise us if we see a proliferation of lawsuits, fines, and even jail time for some. We expect this will drive significant volatility in the crypto space, but only in the short term.”

Team Ripple is also emphasizing the production-ready nature of Ripple technology when compared with almost all of the other code produced by other crypto networks; and they’ve shown an appetite for comparisons to Ethereum:

“Those that are nothing more than an experiment will scramble to find them. CryptoKitties is just one example of what we’ll see more and more over the next few months — half-baked attempts to find a use case for coins that never had a purpose to begin with.”

This is the fourth example in a week where I’ve seen Ripple calling out Ethereum.  What this indicates to me is that Ripple is adding to Codius in a very major way, with plans to upgrade its capabilities and take over smart contracts.  As an early investor with limited data, you have to read between the lines to see a corporate strategy developing.

The Ripple team mentioned that “interoperability” will be a critical differentiating factor between what the market needs, and which digital asset can supply it.  This is great news, since interoperability is one of Ripple’s strong points, and they’ve made all the right moves to supply organizations with this trait.

Unsurprising Prediction: 1 trillion market cap will be exceeded before January 1, 2019.   Yes, they threw this in at the end, but I’m not impressed.  In fact, I’d say that their prediction of 40% growth in the market capitalization of crypto is actually quite conservative.  I expect it to hit around 3-5 trillion by the end of 2018.18 19

Ripple’s Outlook for 2018

With different sources and comments, we can predict a few things about Ripple’s path through 2018.

  • Further Decentralization of XRP Ledger Validators
  • Emphasis on Inter-operable Solutions
  • Standardization of xRapid and Industry Adoption
  • Marketing of XRP in Specialized Token & Consumer Markets
  • Possible Performance Upgrades to XRP Ledger
  • Announcements of New xRapid Partners Throughout 2018

If you look at this list, it’s possible to chart out some probable scenarios for what specific points in 2018 might look like.  These points as communicated by Ripple are exactly what needed to be said at this point in time, and I believe that these statements are somewhat conservative.

SBI’s Impact

One thing that Ripple’s statements do not consider is the massive impact that SBI might have on crypto, and on XRP.  I’ve blogged about how SBI’s plans might have a massive parallel impact on XRP adoption in Asia – both by retail investors and by banks who are planning on using XRP for liquidity.

Don’t be lulled into thinking that it’s only “Ripple” that impacts XRP’s massive upside – it’s also a massive corporation based in Japan who has taken an 11 percent stake in Ripple, and has formed a joint partnership with Ripple called “SBI Ripple Asia,” whose primary purpose is to champion XRP & Ripple technology with banks and other FIs throughout Japan and Asia.20 What should you know about SBI?  They’ve bet big on XRP, and they plan on opening eight new crypto businesses in 2018. 21

To truly grasp how big Ripple’s alliance with SBI might be for XRP, XRP investors should read up on SBI’s financial presentations, or review interviews and tweets regarding XRP and Ripple by their CEO, Yoshitaka Kitao: 22

Tweet_Yoshitaka_Kitao

That comment from the CEO of SBI Holdings is quite illuminating, and reveals his very personal motivation to make sure that XRP is the premier digital asset used by banks and financial institutions.

Negative Impacts from XRP Appreciation and Price Movement?

The plans that Ripple has for XRP adoption and usage can be inferred somewhat from the predictions that they’ve made and observations about the crypto market.  However, could XRP appreciation and recognition by the market (and the world) speed things up to an uncomfortable pace for Ripple?  Absolutely.  Here are two curve balls that might be thrown at Ripple:

  • Unplanned Publicity from XRP Price
  • Increasingly critical coverage of XRP and Ripple as they take the limelight

As XRP starts to challenge Bitcoin’s dominance, expect it to come at a price for Ripple.  Mainstream press will want to talk to individuals connected to Ripple’s founding that may be facing a listing on the “world’s richest entrepreneurs” edition of some online magazines.  In addition to unwanted personal attention, mainstream press will also be highlighting criticisms of Ripple and XRP as it starts to be recognized at an increasing level.

This means that Ripple should organize itself to respond to social media.  Quickly.

In the XRP Investor community, we’ve already noticed an influx of crypto-related tweets and other social media posts critical of XRP.  While some in the crypto social media were content to ignore XRP, its latest challenge to Bitcoin has prompted some with a big financial stake in Bitcoin to take shots at XRP and Ripple.  My guess is that some percentage of these latest online posts are “one-time” occurrences as people start to grow accustomed to the thought of XRP replacing Bitcoin on most exchanges for the default fiat-crypto value pairings.

I expect the market to adjust, but not before many volleys have been fired at Ripple and XRP.  Ripple should anticipate such an occurrence and be prepared to respond with promptness and assertiveness.  So far, they’ve been doing a great job, but the number of these interactions may quickly outpace their bandwidth!

Ripple Is Doing the Hard Work

Unlike other crypto-currencies, XRP investors can rest easy knowing that Ripple is doing the hard work to speed adoption and grow its market share in 2018.  There’s many points along the way that XRP holders have to look forward to, from multiple xRapid partnership announcements, to SBI’s execution of its business plans.  Will XRP demand explode with xRapid adoption?  Community members are currently analyzing several possibilities about how utility-driven demand could supercharge the valuation of XRP.

Do you agree with Ripple’s analysis of the crypto market, and their focus for 2018?  I’ve made my opinion clear; not only do I think that Ripple’s evaluation of the market is precise and accurate, I believe that XRP appreciation is going to stun traditional and crypto markets for years to come.  ripple-symbol3

Sources:

  1. https://youtu.be/Hf5dRx4-lv8
  2. https://twitter.com/JoelKatz/status/947211511184875521
  3. https://www.coindesk.com/death-ico-4-2018-predictions/
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pension_fund
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mutual_fund
  6. https://coinmarketcap.com/
  7. https://interledger.org/
  8. https://www.w3.org/community/interledger/participants
  9. http://badcryptopodcast.com/2018/01/03/brad-garlinghouse-of-ripple-67/
  10. https://twitter.com/rogerkver/status/943635857126445056
  11. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/ripple-claims-transaction-thoroughput-now/
  12. https://ripple.com/xrp/q3-2017-xrp-markets-report/
  13. http://fortune.com/2017/11/28/arrington-xrp/
  14. https://www.reddit.com/r/Ripple/comments/6ix4n0/xrp_is_going_after_a_market_of_27_trillion/
  15. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/12984-does-joeldavid-next-friday-announcements-mean-15th-or-22nd-possibly-chapsboe-date/
  16. https://twitter.com/EmillionBTC/status/940780268503187456
  17. https://ripple.com/insights/2018-predictions/
  18. https://www.coindesk.com/standpoint-founder-bitcoin-asset-class-will-grow-2-trillion-market/
  19. https://finance.yahoo.com/news/rbc-cryptocurrency-market-one-day-worth-10-trillion-172113529.html
  20. http://www.sbigroup.co.jp/english/investors/disclosure/presentation/pdf/171130presentations.pdf
  21. https://news.bitcoin.com/japans-sbi-crypto-businesses-mining/
  22. https://twitter.com/yoshitaka_kitao/status/940785785925709829

Buy XRP & Sleep Well At Night

I’m sure you’ve seen it yourself already, if you’ve entered crypto:

The frazzled trader. stressed_trader

This person is iconic – a crypto trader that moves his money on a whim, hoping to catch a quick ride upwards from recent news, social media updates, or other rumors.  They are not serene individuals, and it’s apparent that the stress of following a market that never closes has taken its toll.

And I’m talking about individuals that do this full-time: What about the ordinary stock investor that has a regular 9-5 job?  Are they supposed to set aside their regular career just to follow crypto movements?

No.  To manage the stress of being “in crypto” while also pursuing their normal career, new investors will need to choose investments that allow them to continue with their normal life without being distracted by the temporary gyrations within the crypto industry.  I was one of those individuals in 2013.

Even though I gave Bitcoin trading a try, the volatility involved was too much to bear, and I made a decision to purchase a crypto-currency that clearly had the best future possibility; XRP.   This allowed me to “buy it and forget it” and focus on my larger career as a freelance consultant.

And it worked!  Yes, I admit that I found myself checking the price of XRP frequently, but I didn’t get unduly upset or stressed.  I knew what I had purchased, and I knew that banks and financial institution were going to take only one of the crypto-currencies seriously; the one backed by a large, reputable, Silicon Valley company.

Crypto Market Re-Ordering Itself

XRP fans are calling it “The Zerpening.” 1

What is a “zerp?”  It’s the nickname that XRP fans use for the digital asset.  Because readers and speakers struggle to pronounce a soft “x”, XRP is known colloquially on the forums as a “zerp.”

When fans lengthen out the phrase to “Zerpenning,” they’re referring to irrationality zerpeningof the market starting to be corrected.  New investors quickly discover the best choice after performing rational comparisons and looking at real-world use and adoption of technology.  One crypto-currency is currently the de-facto standard for scalable production applications:  XRP.

For multiple years, XRP and Ripple struggled against entrenched Bitcoin financial interests, and methodically built their own reputation with banking and financial customers, helping them to streamline cross-border payments.  The crypto market begrudgingly recognized the traction that XRP was making with traditional business, and in 2017 finally accepted the fact that XRP was the clear front-runner in the race for actual production usage of crypto-currency in global transactions:2

2017_Biggest_crypto_returns

I’ll get to the incredible performance metrics of XRP in a bit, but for now, just know that the entire market seems to be re-ordering the choices, and it appears that XRP is methodically being promoted up the list on Coinmarketcap.  Based on the direction that the market is taking – rewarding those crypto-currencies with real, actual innovative approaches – here’s what the eventual list might look like in the near future:

  1. XRP
  2. Ethereum
  3. Bitcoin Cash
  4. Bitcoin

While some might argue about the ordering of this list, it’s clear to me that XRP will ascend to #1 at some point in early 2018.  From what I’ve seen, the market is rewarding XRP for the sound reasons that XRP investors have discovered for themselves.  It has the best chance of widespread adoption as a scalable global currency, unlike the other choices.

The market is now correcting four years of irrationality, and is finally getting around to rewarding true innovation.  Continuing down the list: Ethereum has achieved enough traction to remain at #2 until competition from Codius and other smart contract platforms begins to erode its market share.  Bitcoin Cash will take Bitcoin’s place as the “true bitcoin;” the legacy Bitcoin has priced itself out of the competition, as fees that can range between $30 and $50 per transaction.

I’m basing this new ordering off of the momentum in the market in the past two weeks; it is an intuitive exercise intended to present one future possibility.

XRP’s Performance Metrics Dwarf POW Systems

In 2013, I remember reading the Satoshi whitepaper, and then learning about how transactions are validated using a competitive process called “mining.”  I also remember shaking my head at that and immediately questioning if that was the “best we could do” when it comes time to validate decentralized transactions and prevent double-spending.  When I continued looking at other crypto technology, I discovered POS (Proof of Stake) coins like Peercoin, and eventually encountered XRP.

That was over four years ago.

And yet we still see some narrow-minded groups clinging to the wasteful mining process, each for various reasons.  In some cases, original developers that might have a huge personal stake in POW technology continue to try and discredit XRP.

As a crypto investor, you’d be wise not to believe them; we can do better.  We don’t need to use massive coal-generated electricity3 to secure a cryptographic network; other protocols such as Ripple are available to achieve consensus at speeds that will truly support the scalability required of a global payment processing back-end, and yet still reap the rewards of decentralization.

Speed

Bitcoin and Ethereum are not well-suited for real-time commerce.  To achieve six blocks (confirmations), Bitcoin will need approximately one or more hours.4 And even Ethereum requires upwards of 2-3 minutes to achieve its minimum number of confirmations.5 6 This speed is not fast enough for real-time payments.

As a crypto trader, you might have already run into the unbelievably-slow processing time of a Bitcoin transaction, as you move it from one exchange to another.

XRP is not like this, and many crypto day traders now use XRP as their “banking” coin.  The transactions are so inexpensive that they’re barely noticeable – 10 drops is the minimum network fee, and each “drop” is defined as one-millionth of one XRP.  That’s a very small fraction of one cent.  Also, XRP settles in under four seconds7

sppeedUntitled

This means that as soon as you press the “send” button on your XRP wallet, the XRP should already show up in your account by the time you tab over to where your exchange is and refresh the web page.

That’s the speed crypto day traders need to achieve fast reaction times, and it’s the kind of speed that will support global commerce for Ripple.

Scalability

Scalability is a topic that is critically important for a payments system that must support transactions on a global scale.  If you’re new to crypto, there are two separate categories of scalability: on-chain and off-chain.

  • On-chain refers to transactions directly on the crypto ledger, whether it be Bitcoin’s network, Ethereum, or the XRP Ledger.
  • Off-chain or “off-ledger” refers to transactions that occur outside the ledger, that are then summarized as one transaction and communicated to the native ledger at a later time.

First let’s review the “on-chain” scalability comparison between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP:

scalable

As you can see from the chart, XRP clocks in at 1,500 transactions per second (TPS), far surpassing Ethereum’s 15 TPS, or Bitcoin’s pre-Segwit 6 TPS.  Note that after Segwit, Bitcoin was able to process 16 TPS & would have jumped to 32 after Segwit 2X.8

While all three crypto-currencies boast phenomenal off-chain speeds, keep in mind that most of these solutions are horizontally scaled – i.e., as more computing power is added, the transactions per second tends to increase in direct proportion.

XRP’s off-chain speed has been clocked in initial tests at over 70,000 TPS, which far exceeds even centralized databases such as Visa.9

While some point to these off-chain speeds as evidence that Bitcoin or Ethereum is capable of handling global transaction levels, the native network speed continues to remain important, serving as an ultimate back-stop for throughput of each system; so far, neither can approach the speed of the XRP Ledger.

Functionality

Apologists for Bitcoin will say that Bitcoin’s main use case is now to be considered a “store of value.”  This is a radical departure of its early days, when proponents were pitching Bitcoin as a replacement for fiat currency.   Now, however, it’s readily apparent bitcoin_symbolthat Bitcoin is the “model T” of cryptos, and while it was first, it certainly was not the best.

Many innovations to crypto have been added to the collective knowledge base of crypto, and unfortunately, Bitcoin has not benefited much from these innovations – it is still very slow, cannot scale, and its transaction fees are far too high for even medium and some large-sized transactions.  Some companies like Blockstream – and creators of the Lightning network – have attempted to create work-arounds that scale, but it’s apparent that the use case for Bitcoin even as a store of value is starting to diminish in popularity.

Contrast this with XRP.  XRP hasn’t gone through any “forks” and has managed to upgrade the code behind the XRP Ledger many times; the XRP network is currently running version 80 of the software.10

Bridge Asset

XRP’s primary use case is as a bridge asset for transforming from one fiat currency to another.  When XRP was created, Ripple studied bank usage of Nostro accounts.  They discovered that usage of a common bridge currency like XRP had the potential of saving banks a significant amount of payment processing cost. 11 12

These cost savings have been documented by Ripple; if banks use Ripple’s ILP solution xCurrent, they are projected to save up to 33%.  However, if banks choose to use XRP as a bridge currency, the level of savings is increased to between 42 and 60%: 13 14

XRP_Cost_Savings

The size of the international cross-border market is estimated to be in the quadrillions.15 The only competition thus far for Ripple in this space is SWIFT, a legacy messaging solution that can take days to transfer value from one country to another.

Tokens

Any XRP user may create and issue a token to another person.16 This is a key functional part of a credit network – the ability for one individual on the network to issue trust to another; the ideas is that a redeemable asset is now represented on the network, issued by an organization for business purposes.

It could be a token issued by a company for an asset, or it could be a basket of other currencies issued by a central bank.  Some say that airline miles might be a good use of newly-minted tokens.  There’s no limit to what a user-issued token on the XRP Ledger can represent.

ILP-Enabled

The XRP Ledger is ILP-enabled.  This means that it can communicate with any other ledger that is also ILP-enabled, such as other crypto-currencies (Ethereum is also ILPILP-enabled) or bank ledgers. 17

This ability to communicate with other networks provides additional liquidity to the XRP Ledger, as its extended to connect to other networks and their value.  Codius, Ripple’s smart contract platform, is ILP-enabled and can settle on the XRP Ledger.

Codius

I’ve talked about Codius before, and recently Stefan Thomas indicated that Ripple has plans for building out Codius further in 2018, now that the Interledger Protocol has codiusmatured as an international standard.18

Codius doesn’t require developers to learn a new language – they can use JavaScript. Ethereum requires developers to only use a specific language known as Solidity.  After Stefan’s announcement a few days ago, I’ve already read about community-sponsored development of at least one Codius project.

Payment Channels

Payment Channels is the XRP Ledger’s off-ledger solution that allows payment speeds to scale even beyond 1,500 TPS.19 Using the Payment Channel function, the XRP Ledger can process transactions at over 70,000 TPS, and is horizontally-scalable to even higher speeds.20

This off-ledger speed exceeds the metrics of even centralized payment processing networks such as VISA.

Escrow

The XRP Ledger can process simple contracts using crypto-conditions without having to interact with a smart contracts platform.  These crypto-conditions essentially place additional requirements on a transaction in order to complete processing; one of these conditions can be the processing date of the transaction.  If a transaction has a crypto condition to only send a payment on a specific date, or if other criteria are met first, it is known as an escrow payment. 21

The most high-profile use of this function has been Ripple’s use of the escrow function to lock away 55 billion XRP for XRP supply predictability, and to encourage the trading of XRP in the crypto market without fear of a market flood of supply. 22

In addition to its use by banks and financial institutions to lock away XRP under certain conditions, it can be used by individuals as well.  Thus far, one private company has created an end-user focused solution called Reservoir to allow end-users to experiment with this function.  Expect to see more end-user apps like this as retail investors opt to lock away XRP for specific purposes or as time-triggered gifts to others.

XRP is the Only Top Crypto Choice Backed by a US-based Company

One of the first things I look at when reviewing a crypto-currency (or an ICO) is what country serves as their base of operations.  Does the company or non-profit organization exist in a country that will be notoriously difficult to work with, in case something unexpected happens?   Or does that organization exist in a country where accountability to government oversight is the norm?  This might seem like an insignificant issue, but keep in mind that owners of the crypto-currency might benefit from greater accountability if something unexpected happens.

Ripple is based in San Francisco, California, and is subject to US law; law that has a history of setting a high bar for government and regulation compliance.

Leadership Team

Ripple has solid, proven leadership, many of whom have been with it since its inception, helping to guide its growth and adoption.23 These are superstars.  If you don’t know who Brad Garlinghouse is, you should do some googling.  He used to work for Yahoo, and was the author of the now-world-famous “Peanut Butter Manifesto.” 24

Brad Garlinghouse is a leader that believes in efficient and laser focus for an organization.  His main criticism of Yahoo’s strategy – at the time that the wrote the Peanut Butter Manifesto – was that it was spreading its resources too thinly.   It’s good to have a CEO leading Ripple who will not stray from the core vision for XRP: To be the best digital asset for payments.

I won’t go through the entire list of executives at Ripple, but suffice it to say that this group is a “who’s who” of cross-border value transfer.25

ripple_leadership_teamUntitled

And their board members?  Ripple’s Board is composed of well-connected, influential trend-setters in financial technology, starting with its former CEO Chris Larsen.  Recent additions to the board included Ben Lawsky and Zoe Cruz: 26

Ripple-boardUntitled

With it’s recent increase in market capitalization, there are many speculating that RippleRon_Will might be considering purchases of other companies within fintech.  If so, then Ripple’s recent hiring of Ron Will as the Chief Financial Officer (CFO) is a perfect fit – he’s helped multiple companies go through the acquisition process and could end up being a critical team member as Ripple goes through the growing pains of massive and accelerated growth in 2018. 27

XRP-centered Business Alliances & Plans

As an XRP owner, I’ve seen the volatility of the crypto market.  There were many days in summer and fall when I had to endure watching how the crypto market seemed almost oblivious to the business plans of Ripple and SBI as they started to develop.

Only recently in late 2017 did it become crystal clear that SBI was going “all in” on both crypto and XRP. 28  SBI indicated recently that they plan on starting eight new crypto businesses, and they regard XRP as the new leader in crypto.  Here is a recent tweet from the CEO of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao: 29

Tweet_Yoshitaka_Kitao

Note that SBI has been consistently emphasizing XRP’s role in directly reducing banks’ costs, and the largest consortium of banks that use Ripple technology are in Japan.

Subsequent to Cuallix’s announcement about using xRapid, Ripple indicated that it had completed standardization of its offerings as they will be implemented in all the banks that comprise the Japanese Banking Consortium (JBC).  This announcement continues to generate massive excitement within the XRP investor community. 30

xRapid Adoption

Ripple has many tools at their disposal to promote and speed xRapid adoption, and the use of XRP.  They’ve allied with Crypto Facilities31 to help banks manage volatility risk.  They’ve established the RippleNet Accelerator Program32 to reward businesses that are the first to sign up for using Ripple technology to process commercial payments using RippleNet.

And most recently, David Schwartz indicated that Ripple would soon announce the names of two businesses that might use xRapid; he indicated that the businesses were “household names” to most people.33 This has, and continues to, generate much speculation about the next xRapid partner announcements.

The XRP Community on Social Media

When you invest in XRP, one of the benefits is knowing that the largest fintech company in the world is working diligently for XRP real-world use and adoption by banks and financial institutions.  In addition, it’s good to evaluate how the XRP community compares to other crypto choices.

The XRP community doesn’t stand for misinformation.

Some members of fintech social media have recently been spreading misrepresentations about XRP as it reclaimed its spot at #2 on the Coinmarketcap listings.  The XRP community quickly responded, engaging with these posters and addressing each with facts and explanations.  As a result of this new round of misinformation, Adrian Hope-Bailie, Standards Officer for Ripple, had this to say: 34

adrian_hopeBailie

Luckily for Ripple, there are a lot of XRP investors that are willing to speak up and help correct other members of the crypto community when we hear something that doesn’t sound right.

Wallet Statistics & Purchase Rumors

The crypto market’s massive demand for XRP can be seen in an increasing number of fully-funded XRP wallets on the network: 35

wallets_1

In addition to the overall wallet count, the XRP community prepares statistics that analyze the distribution of wallets, their overall counts, and their sizes (measured by XRP).  To start off 2018 on the right note, one of the XRP community leaders – @TBCrypto on Twitter – collated some XRP wallet statistics. 36

The first matrix shows the count of wallets that have a specific number of XRP within them.  As you can see, there are a number of wallets with large amounts but the vast majority of wallets hold XRP in amounts ranging from the minimum wallet activation to 50,000 XRP.  As time marches forward, we’ve noticed that the number of wallets with large amounts of XRP has steadily decreased:

wallet_stats_1

The next matrix shows the answer to the interesting question: “How much XRP would I own if I was to be considered in the top 1% of holders?”  The answer is approximately 100,000 XRP:

wallet_stats_2

In addition to wallet statistics, a small group of XRP community members also actively tracks all large payments made on the XRP Ledger.  During this tracking of transactions, various people noticed large payments … much too large to represent payments to private investors, the community is surmising.

Nobody that I’ve spoken to knows for sure, but these payment(s) might indicate the first wave of institutional purchases by banks or other large organizations.  While there is no other contextual information about these payments, the community has been actively speculating on what they mean.  Here is one payment – for 700 million XRP – that was discussed: 37 38

Large_payment_700million

Large purchases by banks and other financial institutions is a very positive sign, since all large purchases such as this are subject to resale restrictions; that means that the purchasing organization would necessarily be extremely confident in the continued price appreciation of XRP.

Sleep Well, Fellow XRP Hodlers

If you are reading this in January of 2018, take comfort in knowing that you are “still early.”  While we’ve seen the beginnings of retail investors entering crypto, the industry is not easy for non-technically savvy people to enter.  How big is the current and future crypto investing demand?  Some exchanges have exceeded their own capacity for new members, and in December a number of them had to restrict people from establishing new accounts.

What are the new crypto investors choosing?

They are choosing the crypto with the biggest use case and the most promising future.  XRP took the lead in 2017, and its momentum is spiraling upward at an increasing rate.  How much will xRapid supercharge XRP demand?  2018 will reveal this answer, and will also show how effective SBI’s vertical integration plan for crypto will work in Asia.

As an XRP owner, you can rest assured that there is a massive US-based company behind your investment, along with multiple business plans centered around adoption of the digital asset that you’ve purchased.  Ripple has the best team, the biggest use case, and most importantly, the most innovative crypto-currency. xrp

Sources:

    1. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/15056-the-zerpening-may-happen-sooner-rather-than-later/
    2. https://twitter.com/legacyandcrypto/status/948287814323638275
    3. https://digiconomist.net/bitcoin-energy-consumption
    4. http://bitcointicker.co/networkstats/ (6 blocks for final settlement)
    5. https://ethereum.stackexchange.com/questions/319/what-number-of-confirmations-is-considered-secure-in-ethereum
    6. https://etherscan.io/chart/blocktime (12 blocks X 14 second average block time on Jan 2, 2018)
    7. https://ripple.com/xrp/
    8. https://twitter.com/justmoon/status/928709281905491968
    9. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/ripple-claims-transaction-thoroughput-now/
    10. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/topology
    11. https://ripple.com/files/xrp_cost_model_paper.pdf
    12. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-and-xrp-can-cut-banks-global-settlement-costs-up-to-60-percent/
    13. https://ripple.com/files/xrp_cost_model_paper.pdf
    14. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-and-xrp-can-cut-banks-global-settlement-costs-up-to-60-percent/
    15. https://www.fincen.gov/sites/default/files/shared/Appendix_D.pdf
    16. https://wiki.ripple.com/Payments#Direct_Ripple_IOU_Payment
    17. https://www.coindesk.com/interoperability-boost-ripple-sends-blockchain-transaction-across-7-different-ledgers/
    18. https://www.quora.com/What-are-smart-contracts-and-how-does-Ripple-use-them/answer/Stefan-Thomas-1?srid=5Ojt6
    19. https://ripple.com/build/payment-channels-tutorial/
    20. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/ripple-claims-transaction-thoroughput-now/
    21. https://ripple.com/dev-blog/explanation-ripples-xrp-escrow/
    22. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-escrows-55-billion-xrp-for-supply-predictability/
    23. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(payment_protocol)
    24. http://www.businessinsider.com/peanut-butter-manifesto-still-holds-true-for-yahoo-2016-2
    25. https://ripple.com/company/leadership/
    26. https://ripple.com/company/board-of-directors/
    27. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-welcomes-new-chief-financial-officer-ron-will/
    28. https://news.bitcoin.com/japans-sbi-crypto-businesses-mining/
    29. https://twitter.com/yoshitaka_kitao/status/940785785925709829
    30. https://ripple.com/insights/japan-bank-consortium-moves-become-production-ready/
    31. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-partners-with-crypto-facilities-for-xrp-derivatives/
    32. https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-rolls-300m-ripplenet-accelerator-program-grow-volume-xrp-utility/
    33. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/12984-does-joeldavid-next-friday-announcements-mean-15th-or-22nd-possibly-chapsboe-date/
    34. https://twitter.com/ahopebailie/status/947892405327618050
    35. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/accounts
    36. https://twitter.com/TBCrypto/status/947894755714793478
    37. https://twitter.com/cryptfx/status/948148238799986688
    38. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/transactions/E5E8F79230BBB33C449A5669D7CB547F8C424F58EFD4AC9B0917CD84076DDAB8

 

XRP’s Trajectory for 2018

Up.

In one word, that is the trajectory of XRP.  We know that XRP will continue to grow in xrp_price_12292017value due to the fact that banks and xRapid users have only recently started to adopt XRP; we know that xRapid will lead to a massive institutional demand for XRP.1 2  We know that Codius will most likely be the de-facto smart contract application for business.3  We know that SBI will be one of the (or perhaps just “the”) biggest players in crypto, with their plans for vertical integration.4 We know that XRP is now the darling of the crypto world due to the fact that it can handle real-time transactions.5 We know that the volume of XRP is enough for most (all?) of the fiat value pairings.6

Beyond these key points, what are the major landmarks on our map of 2018 for driving XRP appreciation?

I took a vacation before the SWELL conference.  It seemed like a good idea for me to hike in the wilds and take in nature as the entire crypto and banking world came together in October to hear from Ripple.  It provided some perspective, and I managed to visit around five or six parks in Minnesota, Canada & Michigan before I retreated back to fall_colors_2017.jpgcivilization.  In each of those parks, a map clearly pointed out the major landmarks and paths to get from one location to another.

Do we have something like a park map for XRP and the year 2018?  What does it look like?  There should be a chalet at the trail-head where Ripple and its team are located, perhaps with a souvenir shop where I can buy autographed pictures of the crypto stars that comprise the team.

Our Park Map Begins With xRapid

Don’t get hung up on xRapid announcements – they will be announced eventually, despite our preference as XRP investors to know everything immediately.  It’s amazing to watch my own and others’ hunger for information on Discord, XRPChat and other forums, but let’s be real; we know Ripple is the best at what it does, and we just want them to do the right thing when it comes to XRP.  If that means delaying an announcement or two, then we are all (collectively) okay with that; we’re just focused on XRP adoption, price appreciation, and market reaction.

What we know is fairly straightforward: Cuallix gets the publicity from being the “first” to activate xRapid and use it to transfer value to and from Mexico.7  Cuallix was and continues to be an important first step, and various stakeholders have been tracking its usage.  In addition, we’ve all heard the statement by JoelKatz (Ripple Chief Cryptographer David Schwartz) about “two household names” for the next wave of xRapid customer announcements.8

Why xRapid?

If you’re new to XRP, it’s probably wise that I stop and explain why xRapid is the solution of Ripple’s that we’re most interested in, despite the fact that they have truly remarkable technology for two other solutions.

  • xCurrent:  This is Ripple’s ILP-based payment & messaging solution.  It can connect any ledger to any other ledger that supports the Interledger Protocol – an international payment standard. 9
  • xRapid: This is Ripple’s XRP liquidity solution.  It uses XRP as a bridge currency to transform one currency into any other.  It integrates with the same exchanges that are used to trade XRP all over the world. 10
  • xVia: This is an API-driven payments interface for corporate payments.11

NOTE: The above descriptions are purely my own understanding of the dividing lines between the three offerings, and does not reflect Ripple’s official description.  To learn more about how Ripple describes each of these, please navigate here:  https://ripple.com/solutions/

xRapid is the solution that XRP investors tend to be focused on because of the obvious reason – while the other two solutions can work with XRP, they do not require it.  The only one of the three solutions that specifically requires XRP is the second one – xRapid.

xRapid allows central banks, international banks, financial institutions, corporations, and other organizations to replace their Nostro account holdings with XRP.12 That’s an oversimplification, but suffice it to say that using XRP is financially advantageous; it helps banks reduce their payment processing costs by 60% or more, and allows them to conduct real-time settlement of cross-border value transfer instead of relying on the current SWIFT payment rails that take multiple days.

XRP_Cost_Savings

Ripple indicated that the xRapid pipeline is starting to fill up; the “household names” of the next two xRapid partnerships are still incoming, and the market anticipation is thick.

As xRapid continues to make inroads into the banking and finance sector, there are already some who are predicting a massive wave of institutional demand for XRP to move value throughout the world.  This demand for XRP to replace fiat account holdings in Nostro accounts has been studied and predicted, and as 2018 starts to confirm some of these academic predictions, don’t be surprised to see a substantial amount of XRP appreciation be attributed to this use case-drive demand.

The Finer Points of xRapid

XRP investors are curious about the xRapid solution – all parts of it.xRapid

How will banks and other institutions implement xRapid?13 Is it easy for them?  Can they just choose specific value-pairs for xRapid, and continue to use their traditional Nostro accounts for other corridors?14 Do users of xRapid have to integrate with specific exchanges, or can they pool exchanges to get a larger “XRP Pool” of liquidity?15 Can banks borrow the XRP, or do they have to own it?16 Is it easy for banks and other financial institutions to hedge against XRP volatility like it is the US Dollar?17 18

These are the specific points that are debated endlessly in online forums.  You’ve got to hand it to Ripple here; they are forging their own path through a jungle thick with the vines of uncertainty, and are carving their own path carefully.  You can sense their thoughtfulness with how deliberate the information is on their official website – it’s enough to explain the basics and yet leave some of the implementation details in flux.

My hope is that we’ll see more information published about different tiers or methods of implementation of each solution; I would love to see even small businesses be able to use some of their solutions such as xVia.

Codius

What a name!  For me, it brings to mind the integration of AI with smart contracts and the XRP Ledger.  Who knows?  Perhaps someday we’ll see something like that.  For now, it’s the name of XRP’s smart contract platform.codius

Codius enables peer-to-peer hosting, decentralized applications (DApps), and of course smart contracts.

Developers Can Use JavaScript

Unlike Ethereum, Codius doesn’t require developers to learn a new scripting language like Solidity.  Instead, the most popular scripting language of the internet can be used; JavaScript.19 This may not see like a major point, but it is.  Ethereum was one of the first technologies that enabled DApps, but it required developers to learn and develop using a whole new scripting language – Solidity.  This is not the case with Codius, thankfully.

2018 Timeline for Codius

As 2018 rolls forward, expect to see many applications build using Codius, and expect to see many banking and financial institution use it for smart contracts.  While XRP and xRapid will grab the imagination of the general public and the banking industry, Codius has the ability to supercharge interest from the developer community.

When developers start to put out applications on the Codius platform, expect to see some interesting developments – it is ILP-enabled, and can communicate with any other ledger that supports ILP.20 Right away, I’m imagining things like a decentralized trade platform, or perhaps other financial tools to speed global commerce.

When do we expect Codius to make a major impact?

Stefan Thomas recently announced Ripple’s focus on smart contracts and the continued development of Codius and its capabilities.21 This is especially intriguing, given the fact that Ripple can easily and quickly promote new code to build out the value for smart contracts.  Even though Codius can be used as-is, we’ll be eagerly awaiting each new capability and feature that Ripple adds to the list.

Here is my expectation & prediction for Codius (no sources – my own guess):

  • Jan-March 2018:  New features added by Ripple
  • Jan-March 2018:  New Codius applications by 3rd parties
  • April-June 2018:  New Smart contracts for banks
  • April-June 2018:  Smart contracts for other businesses used widely
  • July-September 2018: High-use applications built on Codius

If we see progress somewhere along this timeline, I think it will be aggressive but possible.  I anticipate that Ripple might accelerate even this timeline if it deems that the demand for smart contracts is intense.  Codius is available now, but I think Ripple will continue to build out its functionality during 2018.

Payment Channels

Yes, the XRP Ledger can handle 1,500 Transactions Per Second (TPS).22 Yes, this dwarfs Bitcoin.  But what’s more astonishing is that part of the XRP Ledger code is for something called “payment channels.”  This is a method where a transaction is summarized and then communicated to the XRP ledger, and in the meantime, the originator of the transaction can process as many transactions as it would like before that summation.23 It’s a method that is generally known as “off-ledger” processing.payment_channels

This off-ledger processing can easily bring the XRP Ledger far above the speed of traditional centralized databases for payment processors such as VISA.  In initial tests of Payment Channels, the XRP Ledger was able to hit speeds of over 70,000 TPS.24 That is blazing speed.

It gets better; payment channels are scalable horizontally.  That’s technology-speak for “as you add more processing power, you get a direct increase in the speed of processing.”  So basically, if you’re a business and you have to process millions of transactions per day, you can easily use payment channels to interact with the XRP Ledger – all at speeds that settle in four seconds or less.25

By the way – the payment channel is opened and closed for a flat processing fee, which means that the already-undetectable low transaction fee for XRP transactions is divided even further, with all of the payment channel transactions able to share the cost.  This means that the incredibly-low 10 drop cost per transaction can be spread across any number of transactions, thereby lowering the per-transaction cost even further.26

Did Somebody say Micropayments?

Why am I so excited by XRP Payment Channels for 2018?  Because the ability to process micropayments opens the door to potentially a whole new industry.

If you know the history of micropayments, then you know that they are typically a problem for current payment processors.  I’ve written about how XRP transactions enables micropayments, due to the fact that, either on-ledger or off-ledger, the transaction fee for XRP is incredibly small.  It actually now opens up transactions that used to be infeasible to process.micropayments

How big are micropayments?

Typically, micropayments are viewed as any transaction that is approximately $10 dollars or less.  The upper limit is somewhat arbitrary, and you’ll get different amounts depending on your source.  But the important point is that the transactions can be very small – even less than a dollar.27

For example, some online advertisers have been wishing to attempt pay-per-view or other options online, but there was no payment service ideally suited to process these transactions at scale.

Until XRP.

Now, with payment channels – or even native transactions on the ledger – these transactions now become feasible. What is the minimum transaction fee currently for XRP?  10 drops.  (10 millionths of one XRP)

Specialty Tokens

Here we have one of the surprises of late 2018.  I’ll get to “why” I consider it a surprise in a moment; for now, let’s define what I’m talking about.

In a recent Quorra session, Stefan Thomas from Ripple indicated that Ripple may target a market that is currently being targeted by small alt-coin startups: Specialty Tokens.28

These are crypto-currencies that are constructed for one niche purpose – whatever that may be.  Some are quite original and creative, with crypto-currencies targeting use cases for monetization of personal computer disk space, processing power, or other spare resources.   On a personal note, I love these applications.  Giving people the ability to make money based on their accumulated resources is an outstanding innovation, and I think it’s a noble use of high-tech.

It wasn’t much, but here’s what Stefan Thomas indicated: Stefan_Thomas

“…on the Interledger front we are moving on from working on the protocol and are starting to look at early use cases. We’ll be challenging a lot of use cases for distributed protocols that are currently using custom tokens with much simpler solutions that use ILP/XRP instead. (Think custom communications protocols that are for one purpose only being disrupted by the Internet.)”

So why am I surprised by this quote?  Because typically Ripple has been laser-focused on payments.  Period.  I know it’s not exciting, but payments is the “big boy” of the use cases, and it equates to quadrillions of dollars of value worldwide.  And Brad Garlinghouse, the “Peanut Butter Manifesto” writer, is the CEO of Ripple

For those that don’t understand, I’ll paint you a picture: Brad Garlinghouse once wrote an internal memo while at Yahoo, describing his dissatisfaction with how Yahoo was spreading its resources to thinly, like peanut butter spread too thinly. 29 Brad Garlinghouse is an incredibly-persuasive writer if you’ve never read his blogs or this memo; I recommend reading some of his material to understand why he was picked to head up Ripple.

My point is this: For a man who emphasized the importance of company-wide focus and wise use of resources, he’s not going to go after anything that isn’t “Ripple-sized.”

So what are these specialty-token use cases that Stefan Thomas was referring to?  Is it still just in the planning stages within Ripple, or are they actively pursuing one or more of these smaller markets just to prove out that XRP can successfully be used as a resource to meet the transaction needs of any purpose?

Let’s face it – if you are using an application that will give you credit for your unused computing resources – whatever they may be – would you rather be paid in XRP, or in a coin that you will then have to sell to get your hands on XRP?  It’s this convenience that will drive XRP’s success in the specialty token arena.

Central Bank Applications

It’s not talked about.  That’s how big it would be – one of the biggest news items ever in crypto; a central bank using one of the existing crypto-currencies.

Even in online forums, when people talk about the market impact of a central bank, it’s always ‘in theory’ or prefaced with some other caveat to indicate incredulity.  Why?  Because central banks are typically the source for not only fiat money for individual nations, but also because central banks can be very active monetary tools that influence entire global economies.regulations

The power to print money and distribute it as legal tender is closely tied with the ability of nations’ central banks to loan money at rates that will impact the economy; lower interest rates tend to stimulate growth, while higher interest rates tend to put the brakes on a too-quickly growing economy.  Central banks are run by notoriously conservative people, and Ripple hand-picked one of the most famous central bankers – Ben Bernanke – to be the keynote speaker at the first SWELL conference. 30

As a writer, it’s my job to explore certain possibilities, and I’ve never fully explored this one – the possibility of a central bank actually using the XRP Ledger.

Some will read these sentences and scoff, but I maintain that it’s not out of the question; especially for smaller developing nations.  Why not own a material amount of XRP?  Nations have historically sought to hold any currency used in international commerce in an effort to influence and stabilize markets.  China, for example, has on occasion held as much as $3 trillion in USD.31

Is it so unrealistic to foresee a time when nations’ central banks will purchase some amount of crypto-currency for the same reason?

I think that time is quickly approaching, and I predict that some nations that are truly insightful will begin purchases of crypto-currency in 2018.  I predict that one of the first crypto-currencies that they will purchase will be XRP.

Community-Sponsored Development

One of the reasons that crypto investors invest in XRP is because it’s the only one of the top choices with a massive company behind it.  While other crypto-currencies may have a non-profit organization that operates a website or attempts to provide a structure for promoting the adoption of the coin, they are normally neutral parties to the larger crypto market.

Typically, these non-profit organizations are not very influential, as we’ve seen with Bitcoin or Ethereum.  Code governance is a constant problem, and we’ve seen what happens with poor code governance; forks.32 It’s happened with both Bitcoin and Ethereum.

However, community-sponsored development is not out of the question, and there are many examples of small, one-off applications that seem to gain traction unexpectedly along the way, with thousands of fans or users.  For XRP, there are plenty of reservoir_symbolopportunities for developers to add applications that could be immensely popular in the coming year.  Will Reservoir take off in popularity?  What about the XRP Tip Bot on Reddit?

You never know.  The next hit application could be just an idea in the head of somebody reading this sentence right now!

Expect to be Surprised in 2018

The crypto market is currently re-organizing itself to recognize the crypto-currency of the next generation; XRP.

For XRP fans and developers, we knew it would happen, but we just didn’t know when.  We’re here, and we are hungry for XRP to take crypto to the next level.  The XRP Accelerator Program promises to drive adoption of not only Ripple technology, but the adoption of XRP as well.  Crypto-currency and digital assets have an enormous potential to transform the world in positive ways.  Think the Mojaloop application that Ripple developed with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.  Think peer-to-peer lending, which was a favorite topic of Chris Larsen. 33 34

joelkatz_peer_to_peer_lending

This is Ripple – transforming not just banking, but also working to bring financial inclusion to the unbanked.

For XRP fans and investors, 2018 could be a pivotal year when XRP takes its place on the throne of crypto; how much will xRapid adoption power the digital asset’s appreciation?  We don’t know yet, but if the end of 2017 is any indication, there is no artificial upper limit.  The value of XRP will be the value that the market ascribes.  Based on the value that Ripple, SBI, and the XRP Community plans to add in 2018, I predict that the price of XRP will surprise even the most battle-hardened crypto-currency traders. ripple-symbol3

Sources:

  1. https://ripple.com/solutions/source-liquidity/
  2. https://www.cryptoninjas.net/2017/10/13/ripple-rolls-300m-ripplenet-accelerator-program-grow-xrp/
  3. https://www.quora.com/What-are-smart-contracts-and-how-does-Ripple-use-them/answer/Stefan-Thomas-1?srid=5Ojt6
  4. https://news.bitcoin.com/japans-sbi-crypto-businesses-mining/
  5. https://ripple.com/xrp/
  6. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/xrp-markets
  7. https://www.financemagnates.com/cryptocurrency/news/cuallix-uses-ripple-cross-border-payments-u-s-mexico/
  8. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/12984-does-joeldavid-next-friday-announcements-mean-15th-or-22nd-possibly-chapsboe-date/
  9. https://ripple.com/solutions/process-payments/
  10. https://ripple.com/solutions/source-liquidity/
  11. https://ripple.com/solutions/send-payments/
  12. https://ripple.com/files/xrp_cost_model_paper.pdf
  13. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/12645-xrapid-how-does-it-work-for-payment-providers/
  14. https://ripple.com/files/ripple_liquidity_one_pager.pdf
  15. https://trademarks.justia.com/875/41/xpool-87541375.html
  16. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/10983-xrp-lending/
  17. https://www.ccn.com/ripples-xrp-futures-gets-listed-derivatives-exchange/
  18. https://coincodex.com/article/1104/cme-bitcoin-futures-contracts-set-to-launch-on-december-18/
  19. https://codius.org/
  20. https://medium.com/@interledger/interledger-kicks-off-ilp-workshops-in-sf-singapore-and-tokyo-are-next-da5a64b309f5
  21. https://www.quora.com/What-are-smart-contracts-and-how-does-Ripple-use-them/answer/Stefan-Thomas-1?srid=5Ojt6
  22. https://ripple.com/xrp/
  23. https://ripple.com/build/payment-channels-tutorial/
  24. https://www.cryptocoinsnews.com/ripple-claims-transaction-thoroughput-now/
  25. https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/8149-ethereum-raiden-1m-txs/?do=findComment&comment=78016
  26. https://ripple.com/build/payment-channels-tutorial/#10-anyone-can-close-the-expired-channel
  27. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Micropayment
  28. https://www.quora.com/What-is-the-future-for-Ripple/answer/Stefan-Thomas-1?srid=5Ojt6
  29. http://www.businessinsider.com/what-i-got-wrong-in-the-peanut-butter-manifesto-2013-1
  30. https://swell.ripple.com/
  31. https://qz.com/904718/china-now-has-less-than-3-trillion-in-foreign-reserves-as-it-spends-dollars-to-defend-the-value-of-its-currency-the-yuan/
  32. https://www.forbes.com/sites/laurashin/2017/10/23/will-this-battle-for-the-soul-of-bitcoin-destroy-it/#96441fc3d3c0
  33. https://twitter.com/JoelKatz/status/900778008851525632
  34. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Larsen

What Can You Do To Support XRP?

For those new to crypto-currency, this may seem like a very odd question.

If you were a traditional investor in stocks, for example, would anybody purchase Google Google_imagestock and then ask “What can I do to support Google?”  Most likely, if we’ve purchased Google stock, we’re already doing all that an investor can do to support an investment.

But the crypto market is unlike any other; it is akin to a “closed system.”  Once fiat has been converted to crypto – whatever crypto – it is more likely to be traded for yet another, different crypto-currency, rather than simply be cashed out to fiat value once again.  And while the volume of the top cryptos exceeds some top public companies, it quickly drops off after (roughly) position five in the coinmarketcap listings.1  This means that each crypto-currency must try and market itself to investors to capture as much of the limited daily volume as possible.

In addition to this expected type of marketing, different powerful financial interests will also try and compete for their own coin.

This core nature of the current, relatively small crypto market has led to some unfortunate behavior – including the spreading of misinformation about competing coins.  While some of the misinformation can be chalked up to unintentional newness of the topic, in other cases it is apparent that there is something else at work.  It really doesn’t matter what the core motivation is; whether its miners trying to negatively impact the perception of any non-proof-of-work consensus protocol (like XRP), or entrenched financial interests that may have accumulated a vast number of Bitcoins, the industry is faced with an uphill battle of public perception to modernize its technology.

XRP supporters are adept at educating others.

We’ve been stalwart supporters of Ripple’s innovative and transformative technology since its origin five years ago.  But it’s been more of a challenge than it needed to be along the way, while we battled with this “win-lose” attitude of some of our fellow coin tribes.  If you’re new to crypto, or more specifically XRP, you can easily learn from our experience and help the community raise XRP’s profile.

Make Your Opinion Known

It’s more than just water-cooler talk about the “hot crypto.”  To educate others, we must water_cooler_talkdive into the details of the use case, and be able to explain just how XRP’s use case drives its value.  We also should be able to explain how XRP’s transaction settlement happens in under four seconds,2 unlike Bitcoin, which can take over an hour.3 Some investors are loath to participate in this process, and I can understand their perspective; it’s not the usual practice for investors to actually be able to affect the market.

But we can affect the crypto market.

If you have any doubt, consider the number of social media platforms, forums, chats, and groups that have sprung up online to fill the void.  People are hungry for unbiased news about crypto-currency, and they want to invest.  As an XRP investor, you have the ability to sway their thinking and contribute to the positive perception of Ripple and XRP.

How is this done?  If you want to make an impact, you have to be courageous enough to express yourself.  I am new to social media.  I was a laggard to Facebook, and I only recently (summer of 2017) started up a twitter and Reddit account.  The sole reason I did so was to participate in discussions about XRP and Ripple.

Social media is a powerful weapon for the XRP Army to get their message across.  Let’s take a look at our communications arsenal:

Reddit

Reddit is a behemoth.  Founded in 2005, this news and reading site provides a platform redditfor readers to share links, articles, personal thoughts, and the ability to rate content.  It is listed in the top ten most popular web sites in the world.4

For those unfamiliar with Reddit, it is sufficient to understand that it allows users to post content and also to rate others’ content.  The overall content is broken down into categories known as “subreddits.”  To participate in a subreddit, a user must subscribe.  This allows them to comment about others’ posts, and also to rate the posts with a positive or negative emote.

Crypto-currency is covered in Reddit and is a very popular topic.  In fact, on December 15th, the r/Ripple subreddit was the fastest-growing subreddit of the day.5

Here are the current statistics from each of the major XRP-related subreddits:

Subreddit Number of Subscribers
r/Ripple 5 91,000
r/XRP 6 8,000
r/RippleTalk 7 4,000

The top XRP-related subreddit is without a doubt r/Ripple.  This is a well-moderated forum with a large amount of supporting material.  In addition, the discussions tend to be well-moderated and XRP-specific.  The fan base in this subreddit has shown a hunger for all Ripple-and-XRP related news, and is helpful to each other with pointers, tips, and advice.  Criticism tends to be constructive rather than antagonistic.

The other two subreddits are supportive way-points in the wilderness as well, but tend to be frequented by a lesser number of readers.  I think it’s good that we have a subreddit titled r/XRP, for those new investors looking for guidance or helpful information by searching for our crypto-currency’s acronym.

Agnostic Subreddits

Crypto-currency is gaining a tremendous amount of exposure among the mainstream press and also mainstream retail investors looking to capitalize on incredible returns.  The traditional stock market provides some opportunity for investors, but the crypto markets provide a way for an ordinary person to achieve far higher returns than most publicly-listed stocks.

It’s important that the XRP fan base take a look at these subreddits and be able to correct  information and educate potential investors.  You might be surprised by how many regular subscribers are reading this content:

Subreddit Number of Subscribers
r/Investing 8 458,000
r/CryptoCurrency 9 312,000
r/CryptoMarkets 10 72,000

As you can see, these agnostic subreddits far outnumber XRP-specific subreddits; while sticking within r/Ripple is comforting to those of us already sold on XRP, it’s important to avoid the concept of “preaching to the choir.”

If we truly want to meet and interact with readers that don’t already know about XRP and Ripple, we need to subscribe and participate in these non-specific crypto subreddits as well.

XRPChat

XRPChat is a forum that is ideal for discussions, elaborately winding topics that may run  for pages, and for sharing content of almost any variety, including images, links, and metadata from other platforms like Twitter and Reddit.xrpchat

XRPChat is my personal favorite, because it’s where I got my start – it has the same abilities, generally, as Reddit, and people that like Reddit seem to react well to XRPChat.  I’ve noticed academics frequenting the site at times, doing research among the historical content and threads.  In addition, there is a variety of useful information that the website owner (Karlos) has organized using an intuitive tab-based navigation.

I would recommend that new long-term investors make a commitment to join XRPChat in addition to Reddit.

XRPChat is also where many community-sponsored efforts at XRP promotion and application development originate.11 No invitation is necessary – you may create your own account at any time and start posting immediately.  Take a look at some sample content for yourself and decide if XRPChat is right for you:  https://www.xrpchat.com/

YouTube

Earlier, I noted that Reddit is among the top ten most popular global websites.  What is even more popular than Reddit?  YouTube.  YouTube ranks second worldwide only to Google.  So popular is YouTube, that it has given birth to more than one superstar over the years – and of course the ever popular viral cat videos.

Like Reddit, consumers can “subscribe” to channels of videos and content created by specific video publishers.  Some XRP fans have taken to YouTube to express themselves using their own channel(s).

Video allows for maximum personal expression of opinions, and the context of content is more readily apparent to the viewer.  The wide space of YouTube is home to official Ripple video streams from prior conferences, and other content that the company publishes.  It is also the home of a new breed of XRP supporter: The Video Blogger.  There are multiple out there, but let me cover two as an example:

Dre Ventures

One of the best crypto – and XRP – commentators is Dre Ventures.  He covers a huge dreventuresbreadth of topics, from cold wallets to countering common misconceptions about XRP and Ripple.  Dre Ventures is convincing not just because of his deep knowledge of crypto, but also because he is impartial – he calls things like he sees them, and he’s not afraid to take the gloves off when covering social media conflicts within crypto.  Dre Ventures currently has approximately 9,000 subscribers12

Teenage Investor

And then there’s Teenage Investor, who, despite his young age, is able to pick the best crypto investment out of a lineup.  He puts out content about crypto in general, but more specifically, he’s been recording video blogs about XRP and Ripple.  He discusses various strong points and pontificates about various contemporary crypto news items.  Teenage Investor has approximately 3,000 subscribers13

Other One-Off YouTube Videos

There are others in the YouTube space that have produced well-received videos.  Some of them are sporadic, but they still serve to support XRP and raise the profile of our favorite digital asset.

We need more YouTubers.

If you’re wondering where to put your talents to support XRP and Ripple, look no further than YouTube.  You may be able to strike out on your own & build a new channel and following; the decision is yours.  But make no mistake, new investors are hungry for video blogs and other content on YouTube.   While my own preference and talents lie within the “written word” space, I deeply respect these new video stars, as they’re willing to put their face and opinions online in a format that requires courage.

The Blogosphere

Bloggers are writers.  We are fans of the written word, typically we dig into topics that require a bit of research.  And let’s face it, despite the popularity of YouTube, there are a significant number of individuals that prefer to get their content and editorials in written form.  I’ve already discussed Reddit, but blogs offer something that Reddit is not well-suited for: multi-page opinion pieces that lay out supporting points in great detail.

I started blogging only recently.  In April of this year, I started to write long, winding posts on XRPChat.  Some of the readers on that forum recognized my content for what it was – a blog.  They gently persuaded me that my posts could benefit from their own location  – i.e., a blog.  I started my blog on WordPress and never looked back.

I’m not the only one blogging – not by a long shot!

For purposes of this discussion, I’ve divided up the bloggers by whether they currently work for Ripple, or are part of the general XRP community.  This listing is impressive not only because of the XRP community involvement in blogging, but also the number of blogs that have been published by Ripple employees.   While some XRP veterans may be accustomed to the high level of intellectual curiosity typically shown by Ripple employees, some new XRP fans will be surprised by the amount of blogging and publishing that’s done by Ripple employees.

Let’s start with the general XRP community bloggers:

NOTE: The above list is incomplete.  If you are a blogger on XRPChat, and I’ve forgotten your name, please send me the link, and I’ll modify this post to include it.  I’ve just started with a list that I remember without prompting.

Next let’s take a look at the blogs written by Ripple employees:

Appeal For New XRP Writers and Bloggers

Some XRP fans are ideal for blogging, but they just might not know it yet.  Every so often, I come across a poster on XRPChat or Reddit that has put enormous effort into an opinion with strong supporting points.  Sometimes the writer is literally just inches away from creating something that could be published in its own right.

Do your opinions stand up to scrutiny?  Can you cite your sources if you’re covering something that might be controversial?  Do you like to speculate and talk about different topics at length?  Do you have the ability to be persuasive?

If any of the above apply to you, you would be an ideal addition to the XRP Blogosphere.

You don’t need anybody’s permission to blog.  You can express any opinion you wish with no interruption. And… its free!  In fact, some platforms can actually pay you if your content ends up being popular (Steemit).14 Even if you don’t plan on publishing new entries every week or month, contributing your opinion in a written blog every once in a while is a powerful addition to the public perception of XRP and Ripple.

Discord

Discord is an invitation-only real-time chat program.  You can run it through your Discordbrowser, or download the desktop application for enhanced features.

My first impression of Discord was not positive.  It was too fast-paced, and I didn’t like the intensity of real-time chat.  Don’t get me wrong – real-time chat has its place, and I was familiar with the XRPChat version of this; we called it the “zerp-box” and it’s still in existence on XRPChat for those that want to use it.  You can think of Discord as the zerp-box on steroids.

Discord is ideal for sharing up-to-the-minute information about crypto-currency and can provide day traders with a leg up on the latest XRP and Ripple information.  In addition, even for XRP long-term investors, useful information can be exchanged in this medium.  But Discord has some peculiarities that you should be aware of.

Discord is not great for getting your opinion about an in-depth topic.  It’s great for one-liners, sharing graphics, and exchanging information with people one-on-one in real-time chats.  This one-on-one chat function is almost identical to Twitter’s version of private chats between users.

Discord is organized into “servers.”  Each one has a number of subscribers that log into Discord and contribute to the rolling conversation.  The strength of a Discord server lies in the number and quality of subscribers.  If you’re thinking of running a Discord server, don’t make the decision lightly: Discord requires a large amount of time to invest in customization.  To establish and run a successful Discord server, you should recruit moderators to help you keep the discussion and topic on-point and enforce the channel’s rules.

There are multiple Discord servers worth considering if you own XRP, and there are new ones springing up every once in a while.  The following is an incomplete list of XRP-related Discord servers:

Discord Name Invitation
Ripple (XRP) https://discord.gg/qgfVERN
The Real ZerpBox https://discord.gg/4NmTrj2
The ZerpBox https://discord.gg/MjSkxA5

Each of these has a fair number of moderators, and I’m a member of each server; note that Ripple employees have been known to make appearances over Discord, but more often they choose to interact over Quora, XRPChat, Reddit, or through their own blogs.

Facebook

Facebook is a massive assortment of personal biographies, products, businesses, and now, crypto-currency groups.  Facebook is popular for sharing information with XRP-curious individuals that may not be active in other social media.  While more social media-savvy users may be present on Reddit, Discord, or XRPChat, almost any person that has basic technical literacy has a Facebook account.

Because of this, there is ample opportunity to promote and educate others on this platform.  You will be amazed at how quickly your new group gains followers; do not underestimate the potential of Facebook for its ability to get your message about XRP and Ripple across to potential new investors.  Currently, roughly three accounts divide up the viewers on Facebook:

The top XRP/Ripple-related Facebook groups:

If you’re active on Facebook, or if you want to contribute to helping build or expand one of these groups, I would urge you to join them and interact directly with the organizers.

If you feel like you have the ability to found and grow a new XRP group with a different or more specific focus, that would be excellent:  Facebook has a tremendous amount of traffic and viewers.

Twitter

Let’s face it: Love it or hate it, Twitter is here to stay.  It’s shown its ability to shift twitter_symbolopinions for good or ill, and the original constraint on the number of words is one of the reasons that many people read tweets during busy times such as work or running an errand.  Reading a couple sentences can be done in under twenty seconds.

Tweeting is definitely a learned skill for me, and I’m still growing accustomed to having to edit my thoughts down into one or two sentences.

If I could pick one of the strongest social media categories for Ripple and its employees, it’s Twitter.  The official company account is run by a great communicator that seems able to construct very effective and singular messages.  In addition, the XRP community is quite adept at creating specific impressions and responding with alacrity to current events.

If you wish to contribute to the XRP Twitter presence, I would advise you to build a list of accounts to follow, and then get a feel for how to either tweet your own content, retweet others, or participate in tweet-based discussions.  Twitter is a surprisingly powerful tool for creating a quick, intuitive impression.  Ironically, I find that it’s ideal for those XRP fans that have a flair for graphics – sometimes a graphic will fit very nicely with a two-sentence caption within the body of a tweet.

Financial Support

I know there are individuals in my reading audience that are probably thinking at this point

“I don’t have the time to participate in social media, or even help expose XRP to a larger audience.  Is there a way I can financially contribute?”

And of course, the answer is yes.  If you look for ways to contribute to any of the above choices, you will probably be able to get that information.  Whether it’s a new video blogger on YouTube, or XRPChat, you can normally “inquire within” to find out how to contribute financial support.

In my experience, those members of the XRP ecosystem that accept donations will accept them in XRP!

Build an Application

Some XRP investors are developers.  They are the tinkerers of cyberspace, and are not directly related to the company.  These external, third-party businesses and individuals have added significant mind-share for understanding the XRP Ledger’s potential for various applications.

To build an application on XRP, you must first acquaint yourself with Ripple technology and XRP.  To do this I would advise researching the official Ripple documentation.  Be sure to visit their developer center for instructions on how to run a Rippled server and many other topics.  The link to the Ripple developer center is here:  https://ripple.com/build/

Examples of Applications Built on XRP

Some very early applications built on XRP still exist in GitHub for curious developers’ reference.  Others are more recent, and can be either downloaded or used online by stakeholders.  Some of these include:

XRP Tip Bot

The XRP Tip Bot is an application that can be used to tip posters on Reddit and (potentially) XRPChat.  The developer requires that tippers deposit their nominal amount at his website under their own tag, and then they can proceed to tip XRP to others in online forums.

This is one application that I use personally, and I like it quite a bit.  I believe using XRP in social media is exciting and is one example of a micropayments use case in action.

The XRP Tip Bot website: https://www.xrptipbot.com/

Zapster.io

This is a payment plug-in for vendors to use to process XRP Payments.  As it’s a recent entrant to the space, you’ll need to contact the developer and do your own research before integrating.  Here is a link to the XRPChat discussion about this plugin:

https://www.xrpchat.com/topic/14515-accept-xrp-payments-on-your-website-for-free-zapsterio/

Coinpayments

Interested in processing XRP payments using a plugin that’s been used by many different vendors?  Integrating with coinpayments may be an option that you wish to look into.  In addition, if you are thinking of spending your XRP directly on purchases, you might want to take a look at the vendor list at their website.  You might be shocked to learn that you can easily go shopping for items directly with your XRP!

The coinpayments web site:  https://www.coinpayments.net/

Reservoir

I’ve mentioned the Reservoir application before; It’s an application that leverages the escrow functionality of XRP – the ability to send XRP with crypto-conditions.  This application makes this feature available to ordinary XRP holders – an exciting prospect.

The Reservoir web site:  https://www.secureblockchains.com/reservoir

A blog about Reservoir explaining the background: https://medium.com/@chennighan/reservoir-an-xrp-escrow-application-8d40fb60fb0b

ToastWallet

The ToastWallet is a recent addition to the list of wallets that are available for storage of XRP.  This team is well-organized, and has released various supported versions of their XRP wallet, including a version for Apple iOS.  Their iOS version was approved for listing in the Apple “app” store.

The ToastWallet web site:  https://toastwallet.com/

Cointal

Cointal is a peer-to-peer crypto-currency marketplace built using Ripple technology.  Users can trade Bitcoin, Ripple, Ethereum, and Litecoin.  The development team is active on social media, including Discord.  It’s also one of the few crypto-currency exchanges with an actual phone number (UK) on its home page.

The Cointal web site:  https://www.cointal.com/

Run a Validator

When I first entered into crypto in 2013, I was enamored with the entire concept of Bitcoin.  It was intriguing, and I installed the software to run a full Bitcoin node.  I had to wait many hours to download gigabytes of blockchain data, but I was enthusiastic about the contributing to the Bitcoin network.

While this sort of community support is important for “proof of work” systems like Bitcoin or Ethereum, Proof-of-stake and other systems such as XRP do not require individuals or miners to run full nodes.  Instead, XRP relies on validators (attested and otherwise) to propose transactions and provide consensus.  Because of this, running a validator is entirely voluntary.  Like Bitcoin or Ethereum, you are not required to run a validator just to use the network – you can simply use a wallet.Ripple_Developer_Center

If you wish to run a validator, Ripple has resources available on their developer center.  Here are the links for specific step-y-step instructions on downloading the software and getting it up and running:  https://ripple.com/build/  (Under “tutorials” you’ll find an option for “rippled set-up”)

Do Your Part

In crypto, we have the opportunity to step away from the sidelines as passive observers and personally influence the market.

Where are you needed?

We need more of the XRP community on Reddit and Facebook, and also in the XRP Blogosphere.  We need more YouTubers.  In summation, to convince new investors of XRP’s value compared to other crypto choices, we need to speak up and make our voices heard on any social media platform where crypto-currency technology is discussed.

Together we’re a massive army; let’s mobilize and get the word out about XRP and Ripple.

Sources:

  1. https://coinmarketcap.com/
  2. https://ripple.com/xrp/
  3. https://bitinfocharts.com/bitcoin/ (assumes 6 confirmations to assumed high-probability settlement)
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_most_popular_websites
  5. http://redditmetrics.com/r/Ripple
  6. http://redditmetrics.com/r/XRP
  7. http://redditmetrics.com/r/ RippleTalk
  8. http://redditmetrics.com/r/CryptoCurrency
  9. http://redditmetrics.com/r/CryptoMarkets
  10. http://redditmetrics.com/r/Investing
  11. https://www.xrpchat.com/forum/33-competitions-and-giveaways/
  12. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCDBEII1GHNuZn0d6Yo4IZjw
  13. https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCg5GzcNQp5C6STqLP9vNAow
  14. https://www.pymnts.com/news/payment-methods/2016/steemit-bloggers-cryptocurrency-payments/