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Big Numbers: Big Money

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Big Numbers: Big Money


During the long ‘crypto winter,’ we were witness to the negative characterization of crypto by mainstream media.

Countless times, they seemed to delight in labeling the cryptomarket as ‘in a bubble,’ or ‘based only on speculation.’

Part of this was based on the percentage increases in the price of the digital assets that comprise the market. And the percentage increases are – and can be – astounding; however, all of the numbers we’ve seen thus far in relation to this new and growing asset category do not compare to the amount of capital that is part of everyday existence in the traditional halls of finance.

Look at Stripe.

Stripe is a fintech founded in 2010 that helps businesses process online payments. They have an entire suite of online and ‘checkout’ tools to assist online retailers.

Like Ripple, the company is based in San Francisco and counts a number of blue-chip companies as clients. They have not yet ‘gone public,’ but have instead, for the moment, decided to remain private, accessing capital through successive funding rounds:

Their latest funding round brought in $250 million in new funding.

But more amazing than its ability to raise cash through additional funding rounds is the company’s growing market valuation, which is estimated to be around $35 billion dollars.

And Stripe is but one example of many in Silicon Valley. I’ve recently analyzed the possibility of what would happen if Ripple goes public; the valuation I used for that analysis was half of Stripe’s estimated market value. These types of scenarios are very real, and serve to add a potential complication to what would otherwise be un-interrupted laser focus on building the IoV.

The flip side of these ‘large numbers’ and massive amounts of capital in traditional markets is that they also provide a measure of what we can eventually expect for the entire market of digital assets once the industry matures and plateaus as streaming technology and other capabilities are further developed. It took the Internet quite a few years before the major players with real use cases were identified apart from the ‘noise’ in the larger market.

XRP’s use case is measured using numbers that are too large for the human mind to grasp; Ripple’s own estimates indicate that there is approximately ten trillion dollars locked up in Nostro accounts overseas; and FinCen estimated that the ForEx market, when combined with other markets such as cross-border payments, accounts for trillions of dollars’ worth of value each day.

It’s unclear what percentage of this traffic is currently a part of RippleNet, and it’s also unclear what percentage of these numbers will eventually settle through the XRP Ledger; however, the percentages don’t have to be large to have a profound effect on where the price levels of digital assets like XRP will plateau. The numbers of payments flowing through xRapid is increasing week-over-week; and it looks like XRP is going to be the ‘standard’ when it comes to payment streaming as well, with Coil announcing recently that they’d processed over 10 billion payments using standards-based technology.

The cryptomarket is shifting its focus to digital assets with utility, and chief among them is the one created for cross-border payments and real-time streaming of value: XRP

General Crypto News

On September 20ᵗʰ, a number of mainstream news outlets reported that CME Group was planning on extending its offerings to include ‘options’ on its Bitcoin futures. This decision will increase the number of ways in which traditional investors can access returns based on the cryptomarket:

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Financial products such as futures or options allow organizations to hedge their risk exposure while owning digital assets. The more that these products are available on a competitive basis, the more that conservative businesses such as banks can effectively manage their risk while holding these assets.

This strategy – holding a volatile asset and then hedging risk by betting against it – is a frequent way to minimize financial exposure.

In addition, new financial products such as options and futures allow any trader to purchase them and take calculated positions either ‘long’ or ‘short,’ adding more liquidity into the overall cryptomarket.

While these developments may seem opaque to some crypto owners, it’s a collective indication of how crypto is becoming more connected to significant sources of liquidity and finance. Another major development that is scheduled for September is the introduction of Bakkt’s physically-delivered Bitcoin futures.

Bakkt’s debut is scheduled for September 23ʳᵈ.

Ripple News

Ripple’s corporate website underwent a design makeover last week:

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The new design promotes ‘RippleNet’ to a more appropriate central location on the site, occupying the first drop-down interface on the main page. Ripple has also decided to use its home page to publish a combination of compelling customer testimonials along with an easy-to-follow path for investigating RippleNet:

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This well-defined and friendly introduction to joining RippleNet is important for the company’s next phase of growth, and provides a nice user interface for potential customers.

In addition to this impressive redesign of its corporate website, Ripple also, perhaps unintentionally, revealed two new customers that were not publicized prior to the fresh content. An XRP fan noticed two names that they’d not seen before:

Interbank: Interbank is a Peruvian bank founded in 1897. It’s one of the largest banks in Peru, alongside BBVA, Scotiabank Peru, and BCP. It’s a serious competitor in the financial sector, with 230 branches and over 1,500 ATMs.

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Vitesse: Vitesse is a UK-based bank founded in 2013 and licensed by the Financial Conduct Authority. While I don’t have a good idea of how large Vitesse is, it’s obvious that it is targeting services at connecting new fintechs with traditional banking and regulatory compliance. It offers services geared for establishing a compliant way for developers to deploy P2P applications and other platforms.

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We don’t know what Ripple solutions these two banks are using, but the conservative guess is that they’re at least using xCurrent, the Ripple messaging software that replaces SWIFT and supports real-time settlement.

Ripple is already on-boarding banks with increasing frequency, and hopefully this new site design accelerates the trend even further, and helps the world achieve a full replacement for all legacy SWIFT customers.

KPMG Future of Payments

KPMG is one of the ‘big four’ consulting firms. As part of its value proposition for high-end customers, the partnership conducts industry research in high-tech fields and in fintech areas to help inform their clients about new technology. The firm recently conducted a series of interviews with influential individuals in both fintech and in payments, and shared the videos on their corporate website:

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Professionals from PayPal, MUFG, Mastercard, and Ripple participated in the interviews, with Marcus Treacher providing a two-minute introduction for how Ripple can help organizations free up liquidity:

“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘣𝘪𝘨 𝘭𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘮 𝘵𝘰𝘥𝘢𝘺. 𝘞𝘩𝘢𝘵’𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘣𝘢𝘯𝘬𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘮𝘢𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘳𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘥𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘴 𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘴𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘸-𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨, 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩-𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘦, 𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘭𝘰𝘸-𝘷𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘮𝘦 𝘱𝘢𝘺𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘢𝘺-𝘵𝘰-𝘥𝘢𝘺.

𝘈𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘤𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘴 𝘢𝘯 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘥𝘳𝘢𝘨 𝘰𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘨𝘭𝘰𝘣𝘢𝘭 𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘰𝘮𝘺, 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘱 𝘤𝘢𝘱𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭; 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘥 𝘶𝘱 𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺;

𝘕𝘰𝘸 𝘸𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬 𝘸𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘮 𝘣𝘺 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘬𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘭𝘪𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘥𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘪𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘦𝘯𝘥-𝘶𝘴𝘦𝘳. 𝘛𝘰 𝘥𝘰 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵, 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭𝘰𝘱𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘴𝘰𝘭𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘰𝘶𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘵𝘴.

𝘍𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘹𝘢𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦, 𝘸𝘦 𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘟𝘙𝘗 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘥𝘪𝘨𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘦𝘵; 𝘪𝘵’𝘴 𝘥𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘨𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘧𝘪𝘯𝘦-𝘵𝘶𝘯𝘦𝘥 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘦𝘯𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘰𝘶𝘴 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩-𝘴𝘱𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘮𝘮𝘦𝘥𝘪𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘥𝘦𝘭𝘪𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘰𝘧 𝘷𝘢𝘭𝘶𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘤𝘶𝘳𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘺 𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘯𝘰𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳.”

He also emphasized ‘openness’ of the future payment system as being a key factor; it was a nod to the interoperability that open standards like Interledger provide.

Seeing Ripple in the mix with some of these other payment industry trend-setters is a reflection of positive progress towards the Internet of Value and real-time settlement of digital transactions. My guess is that the other ‘big four’ consulting firms are also researching these same trends, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see some of Marcus Treacher’s insights quoted by other consultancies as well.

Legal Matters

Every startup deals with lawsuits.

How they respond to lawsuits is important, because normally successful startups are pioneering new innovations, approaches, or websites. This sort of new activity will inevitably encounter areas of public interaction that result in unforeseen outcomes, both positive and negative. And in some case, opportunists will bring what are known as ‘nuisance’ lawsuits.

Whatever category you believe the lawsuits against Ripple fall into, they are a reality that Ripple must contend with, and they’ve been diligently presenting their perspective in court over a considerable number of months. The latest newsworthy point happened on September 19ᵗʰ:

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The link navigated to scribd, a platform that stores and displays legal documents.

Since the SEC chooses to allow court cases to decide on some key issues of security-related legal matters, the disposition of this and other cases against Ripple will have the unintended effect of setting legal precedents in the United States when it comes to what is regarded as a security and what is not.

Ripple’s motion to dismiss has now been filed; when it comes to these legal proceedings, it’s important for XRP fans to track the outcome, because lawsuits can sometimes positively or negatively affect business plans. In the case of Ripple, there will continue to be lawsuits occasionally just by nature of its role as a leader in blockchain technology; there are very few legal precedents related to this new industry.

And in this case, resolving some of these XRP-related lawsuits may assist in moving adoption of digital assets forward more quickly.

InstaReM

InstaReM is an xRapid and xVia partner with Ripple.

Because of its membership in RippleNet, and especially because of its use of xRapid, XRP fans actively track business developments associated with the company. InstaReM is a cross-border payment operator that was founded in 2014 in Singapore; it has offices throughout the world, in Singapore, Australia, Malaysia, Hong Kong, India, USA, Canada and the EU.

Because of its use of xRapid, its costs are some of the lowest on the market, and it competes successfully with other payment processors that use traditional SWIFT technology to transfer money using a multi-day turnaround time.

On September 3ʳᵈ, the company announced that they were expanding service into Canada:

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The Canadian corridor is important, because a large number of ex-patriots from other InstaReM-serviced countries work there and send money back home to family. The company announced that they:

“… 𝘳𝘦𝘨𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘴 𝘢 𝘔𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘺 𝘚𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘉𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘯𝘦𝘴𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘍𝘪𝘯𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘛𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘙𝘦𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘴 𝘈𝘯𝘢𝘭𝘺𝘴𝘪𝘴 𝘊𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘳𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘢𝘥𝘢 (𝘍𝘐𝘕𝘛𝘙𝘈𝘊) 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘪𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘳𝘢𝘯𝘴𝘮𝘪𝘵 𝘧𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘴 𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘰𝘧 𝘊𝘢𝘯𝘢𝘥𝘢.”

It’s great to see InstaReM expand its service into Canada; their use of RippleNet and specifically some of the products like xVia and xRapid have helped them to achieve low costs that allow them to successfully compete against the larger players. Kudos to the team at InstaReM, and hopefully we’ll hear more from them about cost savings specifically attributable to their use of XRP.

xRapid Tracking

One of the XRP Community fans that has dedicated themselves to successfully identifying and tracking xRapid transaction volumes is @hmatejx (Twitter avatar).

He’s continually updated his technical approach to sort through payments and filter them to get a data set of xRapid transactions. Once he’s accessed this resulting data set, he’s able to stratify the transactions by exchange. Here is a recent tweet from @hmatejx:

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He’s also invited others to help him identity transactions; to successfully sort them, he normally uses ‘tags’ associated with each exchange. Large exchanges, including the xRapid partner exchanges, use XRPL ‘tags’ to separate out amounts related to each customer. And it’s these tags that allow H_M_X_ to successfully identity xRapid-related transactions.

To create these dramatic visualizations, he must first successfully identify data sets. His approaches, tools, and techniques are all described in his prior blogs, and in the Github repository he’s created: https://github.com/hmatejx/xrapid_search

Quantum Questions

Are you worried about the potential security threat represented by quantum entanglement?

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It’s a strange topic.

Development of this ‘spooky’ tech has taken place on a combination of public-facing and ‘dark’ black budget projects that are seeking to capitalize on the potential processing capabilities of quantum computers.

Essentially, modern computers are limited by the speed of light, so there exists a point of diminishing returns in the creation of faster and faster silicon-based central processing units of computers. The new quantum computers use something called ‘qubits’ that are capable of storing two potential values at the same time.

The topic is a popular one with cutting-edge computer scientists and programmers, and Google even helped make an early-version quantum computer available to researchers, known as ‘D-Wave.’

Even though the technology is still very much in research mode, there are those in the cryptomarket who are already using it to create fear, uncertainty, and doubt about some of the classical security algorithms used in current cryptography.

And occasionally, somebody that is not well-versed on the topic feels the need to expound on the hype surrounding the new technology:

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Presidential candidate Andrew Yang tweeted out his concern over an article describing Google’s ‘Quantum supremacy.’ In that tweet, he made the comment that ‘no code is uncrackable.’

Before any serious FUD appeared around the topic, Nik Bougalis from Ripple did some research into the matter and communicated his thoughts in a recent multi-tweet. I’ve taken his responses from multiple tweets and combined them here:

“𝘐𝘵’𝘴 𝘚𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵. 𝘐’𝘮 𝘢 𝘤𝘳𝘺𝘱𝘵𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘱𝘩𝘦𝘳. 𝘓𝘦𝘵’𝘴 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘢 𝘤𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘤𝘳𝘺𝘱𝘵𝘰.

𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘥𝘪𝘥𝘯’𝘵 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘢𝘥𝘷𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘵, 𝘐 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘮𝘶𝘤𝘩 𝘥𝘰𝘶𝘣𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘎𝘰𝘰𝘨𝘭𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘥 “𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘴𝘶𝘱𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘢𝘤𝘺” 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘮𝘦𝘢𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨𝘧𝘶𝘭 𝘸𝘢𝘺.

𝘞𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥, 𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘧 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘥𝘰 𝘨𝘦𝘵 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴, 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘢𝘺 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 ‘𝘯𝘰 𝘤𝘰𝘥𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘶𝘯𝘤𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦’ 𝘪𝘴 𝘴𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘺 𝘯𝘰𝘵 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘦. 𝘠𝘦𝘴, (sic) 𝘰𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘤𝘳𝘺𝘱𝘵𝘰 𝘢𝘭𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘮𝘴 𝘸𝘦 𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘤𝘢𝘯 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘵𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘦𝘥 𝘰𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘨𝘦𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘢𝘭 𝘱𝘶𝘳𝘱𝘰𝘴𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘱𝘶𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘴 𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘩 𝘢 𝘴𝘶𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵 𝘯𝘶𝘮𝘣𝘦𝘳 𝘰𝘧 𝘲𝘶𝘣𝘪𝘵𝘴 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘷𝘢𝘪𝘭𝘢𝘣𝘭𝘦.

𝘉𝘶𝘵 𝘸𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦𝘯’𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘸𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘴𝘦𝘦 𝘨𝘦𝘵𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘰𝘯. 𝘛𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘩𝘢𝘳𝘥 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘣𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘴 𝘸𝘦 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘢𝘤𝘬𝘭𝘦 𝘧𝘪𝘳𝘴𝘵, 𝘪𝘯𝘷𝘰𝘭𝘷𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘥𝘦𝘤𝘰𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘪𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳𝘧𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘯𝘤𝘦. 𝘛𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘰𝘳𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘣𝘦𝘤𝘢𝘶𝘴𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘵𝘶𝘮 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘯𝘵 𝘢𝘭𝘨𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘵𝘩𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘴 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘷𝘦 (sic) 𝘳𝘦𝘴𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘵𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘦𝘴.

𝘚𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘢𝘺 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘯𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘧𝘰𝘭𝘭𝘰𝘸-𝘶𝘱: 𝘪𝘵 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘴 𝘰𝘶𝘵 @𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘶𝘧𝘵 𝘵𝘸𝘦𝘦𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘪𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘦 𝘭𝘢𝘴𝘵 𝘯𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘵, 𝘨𝘰𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘢 𝘭𝘰𝘵 𝘥𝘦𝘦𝘱𝘦𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘐 𝘥𝘪𝘥; 𝘧𝘰𝘳 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘪𝘯𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘮𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯, 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘴𝘩𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥 𝘵𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘢 𝘮𝘪𝘯𝘶𝘵𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘩𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘥: 𝘩𝘵𝘵𝘱𝘴://𝘵𝘸𝘪𝘵𝘵𝘦𝘳.𝘤𝘰𝘮/𝘪𝘴𝘪𝘴𝘭𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘤𝘳𝘶𝘧𝘵/𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘶𝘴/1175557089067823104″

The communication was a proactive response to Andrew Yang’s ringing of alarm bells. Nik Bougalis’s multi-tweet served to demonstrate how Ripple is actively surveying new technology; quantum computing is probably one of a number of areas where the company is allocating its resources.

In any event, it’s a relief to know that Nik Bougalis is aware of these recent claims by Google engineers, even if they seem to enjoy engaging in hyperbole, to the dismay of those of us that take blockchain technology very seriously.

Coil

The team at Coil is not resting on their – incredible – accomplishments to date.

Instead, the company is continuing to make updates to its blogging platform as it also helps organize the next major phases to its roll-out of web monetization. On September 19ᵗʰ, the new site changes were noticed by multiple Coil fans, including me:

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The search is one of those generic searches that will match the targeted term against multiple post metadata fields, including the title of the post, or the author’s name.

The development model of continual improvements is a centerpiece of modern project management; it’s great to see Coil promoting some of these popular changes to their service.

Cinnamon Adds Feedback Feature

The Coil team is not the only group working diligently to improve their platform: Cinnamon, the new video platform that is pursuing a revenue model based on web monetization, is currently in a ‘closed’ release where a small group of individuals – including me – are experimenting and using the new site.

During this phase of the team’s development, they are continuing to make changes and continue their development. One of the new features they recently added to the service is the ability for viewers to add comments about videos after they’re published:

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The new capability mirrors that of popular video sharing sites such as YouTube, Vimeo, Bitchute, and others, and provides a way for viewers to interact directly with video creators.

My Coil Recommendations

Coil is continuing to attract more authors, including some where I was able to review at least one article (each). Here are the authors that were included in my reading list over the last two days:

Author: Rocco [email protected]_io
Article: Web Monetization Javascript API demo
Topic: web monetization

Author: [email protected]
Article: No need for labels to make an artist earn anymore.
Topic: music

Author: Doctor [email protected]_Change
Article: Moneygram, XRP and the Value of First Mover Advantage
Topic: XRP

Author: quinto [email protected]
Article: Secrets of becoming a successful trader
Topic: finance / trading

Author: WGhoop [email protected]_XARTP
Article: Art Work by Goop XARTP
Topic: art

XRP News

One of the most common phrases that I impart to others on social media when it comes to crypto is ‘Do Your Own Research.’ It’s a term that, although perhaps overused a bit, still holds true in 2019.

For those researchers that like to use techniques for accessing the latest up-to-the-minute information about XRP or another crypto, having a strategy for checking Twitter posts is a necessary component of any comprehensive strategy.

Most grizzled crypto veterans have their own techniques for how to do this, borne of sometimes-painful experience in missing important updates or information.

There are two effective approaches to use Twitter for searching through posts:

Lists
Twitter allows any user to create lists that are either public or private. I have my own lists, and I also sometimes examine the results from other Tweeter’s lists, such as the one maintained by Leonidas Hadjiloizou:

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In the above screenshot, you’ll see that it’s a two-step process for accessing somebody’s lists: navigate to their home page first. Then, choose the ellipse and you’ll see a choice for ‘View Lists.’ After you click on this choice, you’ll be able to activate the list for an individual.

Essentially, a list is a stored search that dynamically keeps searching for new tweets, which makes it a convenient tool.

Advanced Search
In addition to lists, you can always launch a one-off search and define new criteria. I use the advanced search on Twitter if I’m searching for a specific tweet, or if I’m interested in tweets pertaining to a particular topic. To access the search directly, you have to know a little bit about the URLs that Twitter uses to summon the user interface. In this case, I’ll provide the URL for you:

https://twitter.com/search-advanced

I’m not sure how to access this interface through the traditional Twitter home page, but this link will work regardless of where you happen to be. The advanced search allows you to target a specific topic, or if you know that a tweet exists on somebody’s timeline, you can zero in on it much more easily than by using a manual ‘scroll-and-look’ method.

Once you know about some of these approaches, doing your own research can benefit from the time saved.

It was hard not to notice the new profile picture for David Schwartz, Ripple’s CTO, on Twitter:

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The image was distinctive enough to make it memorable and noteworthy. Seeing a person’s image in broad brush-strokes evokes memories of family portraits hung in dark and dusty American households, or hung in antiseptic corporate offices.

For me, it symbolized the creativity inherent in translating a person’s likeness into paint.

The account that created this portrait is @WGhoop (Twitter avatar), and he’s a painter from New Zealand.

Over the last couple months, I’ve noticed other paintings that conform to his same style, including this one portraying @NordicAnn (Twitter avatar):

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@WGhoop indicated that his approach ‘started as an idea in a dream,’ and has registered a site that he plans on developing to display his work; it’s on his Twitter home page, along with a stream that includes tweets to others that have received his artwork as well.

He also authored a Coil blog that includes a large sampling of his catalog of work if you’re curious about seeing all of them in one place. @WGhoop_XARTP‘s Coil Article: https://coil.com/p/Goop_XARTP/Art-Work-by-Goop-XARTP/wL2IAUvJp

If you are thinking of contracting with him to commission a painting, he indicated that fans of his work can contact him directly (direct message) over Twitter.

Let Math Be Your Guide

Each person that invests in digital assets by buying-and-holding is aiming to capitalize on the possibility that the value of a digital asset might increase over time.

The most important measure of this probability comes from examining the use case(s) involved.

For XRP, its use cases include numbers that require scientific notation to describe the potential size of the market. The market for cross-border payments and ForEx is measured in the trillions of dollars per day. The market for streaming micropayments may be considerable as well, but nobody really knows for certain how large this new industry will grow.

We do know that XRP is the foremost asset being used in streaming these payments.

There is some poetic irony to the fact that Interledger, the core technology that makes streaming payments as part of the IoV possible, involves payments that are microscopic in size, and yet could be used to move money globally within a short period of time. ILP is a truly revolutionary technology, and the companies involved – including Ripple & Coil – are literally at the center of the storm, navigating the churning waters on a sea that has until now never been charted.

To stay up-to-date on how Coil, Ripple, and other XRP-related companies are changing international commerce, make sure to subscribe to my blog on Coil. And remember to support others in the XRP Community who are helping to spread the word about the fastest, most scalable, decentralized, secure, and dependable digital asset in the world.

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Cover Art: Thank you to Thought Catalog
Subscribe: @Hodor





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LATAM: Low Interoperability Highlights Crypto’s Big Potential

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LATAM: Low Interoperability Highlights Crypto's Big Potential


Across Latin America, a fragmented payments landscape has resulted in low interoperability, often leading to high fees for both senders and receivers of payments. Regulators in the region are working — with varying progress and approaches — to enable real-time payment options that foster greater interoperability, increase financial inclusion, generate revenue for banks and businesses and help protect economies from global market volatility. With use cases like inbound remittance flows seen as a critical component of GDP for numerous LATAM countries, identifying ways to reduce costs associated with those remittances is a key driver of regional growth.

At the same time, central banks are becoming more interested in re-examining their relationship with crypto, creating an opening for the crypto and blockchain sectors to help bring forth a unified LATAM payments system to make low-cost, faster and more seamless transactions a real possibility. Of course, not all crypto is created equal. Using a digital asset that was designed specifically for payments will be key to implementing a successful digital payments system that can handle high transaction volumes without friction.

Supporting Trends

Latin America as a region is highly dependent on the US dollar: from US remittance flows and USD as a reserve currency, to economies like Costa Rica and El Salvador that use dollars interchangeably with local bills. Some LATAM businesses even use USD as a liquidity source by routing payments through American banks to transfer funds to international accounts within the region. This reliance on USD means crypto adoption in the States is likely to have a major impact on crypto adoption in Latin America.  

There are also various new fintech players in the market that are working to get involved in consumer payments. From an awareness standpoint, for example, the sponsorship of football clubs across the region by crypto exchanges is helping to bolster public understanding of how to access crypto. Public adoption and embrace of crypto as an alternative to cash holdings or bank accounts is also gaining popularity in some countries as an easier, less volatile alternative to local currency. In one case, the use of crypto as an alternative to cash is being promoted by the government in El Salvador where the adoption of Bitcoin as legal tender is significant. And there are central banks, like that of Brazil and Mexico, that have recognized the value and potential of crypto and have started developing and providing their customers with digital wallets.

Because Brazil is often a leader in Latin America in the adoption of new technology, it’s worth noting that the country is driving smart and progressive crypto use and regulation. In March of 2022, Brazil announced that it had selected nine projects to advance in its quest to develop a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), indicating a real thirst for a digital future. Brazil’s central bank has also been ahead of the curve in showing public-facing interest in the potential of DeFi, NFTs and even the metaverse. And in terms of consumer adoption, Brazil is seeing crypto trading activity boom, portending a bright crypto future for the region.

From a compliance perspective, businesses in the region are able to use the same fiat compliance measures, like Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML), for crypto transactions to ensure the safety of these flows and help protect the integrity of the financial system. 

Barriers and Challenges to Success

Because crypto has, at times, been perceived as a threat to the established bank sector — which has historically controlled the financial markets and influenced regulatory and legal structures in the region — any major movement toward crypto is likely to encounter some level of structural resistance. As payments infrastructure is often dictated by larger banks and their governmental relationships, this could make it difficult for digital banks to compete for market share on a level playing field. But, in fact, as we’ll describe below, crypto offers all kinds of financial institutions powerful new business opportunities.

From a consumer perspective, there is also a disconnect between traditional banking and the use of money for everyday transactions across many LATAM economies. Lower incomes often equate to less acceptance of fee-based banking services, meaning that both convenience and efficiency take a backseat to value in many markets. This can manifest itself in people being more willing to wait in line to pay cash rather than incur a fee for an online transaction that might be completed in seconds. Without implementing better ways to make digital payments and financial services available, large sections of the LATAM economy are often left underbanked.  

Lastly, with such a high dependency on USD and US clearing institutions, as costs rise in the States, fear and volatility in the LATAM marketplace also rise. The possibility of insulation from other regions’ financial swings underscores a major reason why achieving interoperability across Latin America and avoiding the de-risking trend in the US is so critical for LATAM economies.

Opportunities and What’s Next

There is a lucrative opening for traditional banks, fintechs and governments to increase adoption of crypto-forward technology to address this underbanked and fragmented market. These challenges will be much easier to solve once digital banks have more ready access to the market, helping drive down high fees and frictions associated with institutionally-controlled transactions. This will also help move people away from physical cash and into the digital payments space — increasing convenience for consumers and creating new markets for both businesses and banks without heavy reliance on the traditional US banking sector.

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on both consumers and banks in the region that have historically relied on cash transactions. Many financial institutions are already seeing growth in digital payments due to an uptick in cashless transactions as the region looks for safer, quicker and more convenient payments alternatives. An Americas Market Intelligence study shows that Brazil’s banked population grew to 88% in 2021 with Chile not far behind at 82%. Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, and Peru all experienced growth that year as well. The region will need to continue prioritizing foundational infrastructures like internet connection, electricity, and institutional trust for digital payments to remain viable and financially inclusive. 

Smart and progressive regulation will beget further successful regulation — leading to increased innovation and progress around crypto across Latin America. In the wake of the regulatory debate happening in the United States, there is a large opportunity for banks and fintechs to work with regional regulators to create smart public policy frameworks to ensure that all boats rise.

LATAM is a diverse and varied region, with both developed and emerging economies breaking into the digital payments landscape to varying degrees. But by finding interoperability across the region, Latin America can become more financially independent, more financially attractive to outside investment, and more financially inclusive.

Learn how Ripple’s payments solution can help absorb price fluctuations, allowing for more certainty, visibility and transparency in real-time payments.



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For the Love of NFTs: VSA Partners and Rare Air Media Bring Jordan NFTs to the XRPL

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For the Love of NFTs: VSA Partners and Rare Air Media Bring Jordan NFTs to the XRPL


Non-Fungible Tokens, or NFTs, are creating tremendous opportunities for creators and collectors of art, memorabilia, and other digital assets. Since the initial launch of Ripple’s Creator Fund, we have seen incredible momentum and exciting NFT use cases come to life on the XRP Ledger (XRPL). Creators like Justin Bua, xPunks, and Sebring Revolution continue to prove out tokenization projects and capabilities for metaverses, gaming, art and beyond.  

Making Waves in Media & Entertainment

Now Rare Air Media, producer of Michael Jordan’s visual autobiography For the Love of the Game, is getting into the NFT game, too. The company is working with VSA Partners, the premier creative agency partner to Ripple’s Creator Fund, to design, develop, and market a range of NFTs on the XRPL, including a one-of-a-kind selection of digital assets covering former NBA player Michael Jordan’s life and storied career. The first batch of NFTs is expected to hit the market in Q2 2022 and will include an intimate selection of original, momentous images of Michael Jordan, accompanied by his personal thoughts and observations leading up to the photo.

As additional use cases for programmable, functional NFTs continue to be built out and tested across industries, the media & entertainment space has been among the earliest adopters of the technology: expanding NFT use cases across music, sports, ticketing, access rights, and beyond. From celebrities like Snoop Dogg and Paris Hilton, to professional athletes like LeBron James, and major brands including Disney and the Grammys — it seems there is no shortage of possibilities for NFT applications in the industry.

High-profile brands, celebrities and their agencies have specialized needs when it comes to identity and ownership of digital assets. The unique security and identification attributes of distributed ledger technology have opened up extraordinary opportunities for creators of digital content to not only assign value to their work, but to profit from it and share behind-the-scenes stories with an even wider audience. With more and more collectors coming aboard the blockchain train, both sides of digital asset commerce can be confident in the assets they purchase and create. 

Why Create NFTs on the XRPL?

The XRP Ledger has ease of use and native token functionality built-in by design. Released in January, NFT-Devnet — a beta environment built to enhance NFT support on the XRPL — lowers the technical barriers to entry for those looking to get started either creating and minting their own NFTs or on behalf of their customers and their brands.

A couple of the key benefits to using XRPL for NFT creation include:

  • Speed: each transaction on the XRPL takes no more than 3-5 seconds to complete.
  • Low Cost: at fractions of a penny per transaction, costs are inexpensive enough to enable a wide variety of NFT use cases.
  • Sustainable: the XRPL is the first major blockchain to be carbon-neutral — maintaining neutrality since 2020 — and is more efficient than leading proof-of-work blockchains.
  • Simplicity: NFT capabilities on the XRP Ledger pre-program all activities that an NFT user may wish to complete, including minting, burning, trading, requiring royalties, and more.

Created for All Creators

Whether you are new to the NFT space or are looking for a new ledger to build on, the XRPL is customizable to meet your NFT needs—large or small. As one contributor to the growing XRPL community, we’re working closely with developers, creators, marketplaces, creative agencies and brands to help define the future of NFTs and the tokenization of assets in a low-cost, sustainable and accessible way. 

As the Creator Fund and its supported NFT projects continue to grow and gain momentum, especially across the media & entertainment industry, it’s likely we will continue to see expanded uses and partnerships take shape—not only on the XRPL but across the broader tokenization landscape as a whole. 

Check out the Creator Fund for more information or learn more about tokenization on the XRPL



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CBDCs: From the “Hype” to the “How” of Making Financial Inclusion a Reality – Part 2

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CBDCs: From the “Hype” to the “How” of Making Financial Inclusion a Reality - Part 2


In our recent survey of over 1,600 financial leaders across 22 countries, we uncovered some pretty astounding insights: A whopping 85% of payment leaders at financial institutions globally think their country will launch a digital currency in the next four years. 

If these last two years in a pandemic have taught us anything, it’s that time flies. So this begs the question: What needs to happen between now and four years from now in order to make those launches possible? It turns out there’s quite a bit to consider, not only as central bankers and commercial bankers, but as individuals as well.

In our first post on this topic, we discussed why the term “financial inclusion” has become such a buzzword when talking about Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), and how we at Ripple succinctly define it (hint: making financial services available to people who don’t have access to them today). While the insight gleaned from our research is promising and the uptick in global CBDC exploration encouraging, there is still much to be addressed in regards to how the implementation of these digital currencies will impact society, and what primary hurdles we need to collectively overcome in order to achieve that vision of a more financially inclusive future. 

Key Use Cases: A Quick Recap

As a refresher, in the first post we identified three primary use cases where we see CBDCs having the biggest immediate impact on financial inclusion across the payments and financial landscape: cross-border remittances, access to peer-to-peer (P2P) loans, and the ability to establish credit history. 

If properly planned for and implemented, the application of digital currency technology to these use cases has the potential to dramatically change the landscape for the better, making the world a more accessible and inclusive place. Across all of these use cases, however, there is a consistent set of practical hurdles to solve: education, user experience, identity, offline access and security. In the first post, we covered education and user experience, so let’s dive into identity, offline access and security, and how CBDCs can help clear these hurdles.

Key Hurdles to Implementation: Going Beyond the Hype

Identity

Developed countries require a national identity to open a bank account, which poses inclusivity problems in and of itself. For citizens who don’t have a family name, a passport, a driver’s license or any other form of identification, this presents a seemingly insurmountable hurdle. We need non-traditional ways of establishing identity for those people to gain access to financial services. With the use of a CBDC, those individuals would have the ability to be associated with a digital wallet, allowing them to meet basic Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements for identity verification. For example, in places where mobile phone usage is high but access to financial services is low, leveraging registered SIM cards and mobile phones as a way of proving identity for payments without a traditional ID number could help create a threshold to meet these requirements.

Even in countries like the US, there is ample opportunity for digital currency-backed solutions to improve current processes related to payments and identity. In the case of the pandemic, governments around the world were challenged to extend stimulus funds to those without bank accounts or because of technology limitations. Funds were delayed, or had to be issued by paper check—or people slipped through the cracks altogether. With a CBDC, stimulus monies could be distributed instantly and directly to every citizen with a mobile phone—regardless of bank account or ID status—via a digital wallet using similar SIM card/mobile methods.

Offline Access

In order to access and use CBDCs, internet access is required. CBDC usage will grow with internet usage through mobile devices, especially given the increasing rate of smartphone penetration throughout the world. However, implementing critical telecommunications infrastructure won’t be enough to match the pace of innovation needed to ensure constantly available internet access on a 24/7 basis. This goes for both developing nations and countries like the US, where currently 7% of all Americans say they don’t use the internet

CBDC platform design needs to consider offline access. Having internet access as a prerequisite to success may harm CBDC adoption and usage, both for those without regular access to the internet and for instances where unexpected power outages occur or devices run out of battery, for example. 

With this in mind, CBDCs that provide alternate solutions—particularly those that don’t require constant charging and can run without a direct power source or internet connection for consecutive days or weeks—and can accommodate offline scenarios will be critical to implementation. One example of how to solve for offline access could be a solution that mirrors the Indian e-Rupi, which leverages digital voucher mechanisms such as QR codes that can be printed offline and scanned to make retail purchases.

This is one idea of many being piloted, and we believe even better solutions will surface. As overall CBDC adoption and usage continues to grow, it will be critical for central banks and governments to proactively think about how to enable offline access, built in by design.

Security

While the use of digital currencies and digital wallets holds a lot of promise for financial inclusion, it also poses potential security risks. With a bigger chunk of the global population making payments, transferring funds, and managing finances on their mobile devices, new vulnerabilities arise. 

These security breaches can come in both physical and digital form. For example, simply leaving your phone at a restaurant or other public place, or having it stolen on public transportation. Virtual risks can include anything from phishing scams and social engineering hacks, to Denial-of-Service (DoS) and double-spend attacks. While a lot of people already use financial apps on their mobile devices and are aware of these risks, many do not and this will likely be a barrier to entry for those people. 

Luckily there are ways to avoid and mitigate these risks with the use of CBDCs. One such solution is a blockchain-based CBDC that uses a multi-signature (“multi-sig”) wallet. This means at least two other trusted parties would hold credentials to that same wallet to help ensure no unauthorized use or access. These other trusted parties could be the central bank itself and/or family members or other contacts of the mobile device owner. Additionally, by imposing spending limits and methods to track transaction frequency when the CBDC user is offline, the impact of such attacks would be greatly reduced.

Paving a Path Forward

While there is work to be done to pave the way for a CBDC-driven future, the journey ahead is an exciting one and undoubtedly promises a more inclusive, sustainable financial system. Digital currencies offer many additional benefits that are currently unmatched in today’s financial landscape, and we’re confident that central banks, commercial banks, and society as a whole can work together to overcome the hurdles and create a clear path forward as we continue to prove out the technology, pilot projects around the world, and ensure equal and equitable access.

Download our CBDC whitepaper to learn more.



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