Top 9 Frequently Asked Questions About Ripple and XRP
The market interest about Ripple and XRP has reached a fever pitch, and naturally, people have questions about the company, the digital asset, how it’s used and where to buy it.
In order to clear up any misconceptions about Ripple and XRP, we’ve published answers to nine of the most frequently asked questions that the Ripple team has received. This list will be updated regularly as news and new developments unfold.
1. How do I buy XRP? XRP is available for purchase on more than 60 digital asset exchanges worldwide, many of which are listed on this page. Please note that Ripple does not endorse, recommend, or make any representations with respect to the gateways and exchanges that appear on that page. Every exchange has a different process for purchasing XRP.
If you’ve already purchased XRP and have a question about your purchase, then please reach out to the exchange directly. In order to maintain healthy XRP markets, it’s a top priority for Ripple to have XRP listed on top digital asset exchanges, making it broadly accessible worldwide. Ripple has dedicated resources to the initiative so you can expect ongoing progress toward creating global liquidity.
2. What is the difference between XRP, XRP Ledger, and Ripple? XRP is the digital asset native to XRP Ledger. The XRP Ledger is an open-source, distributed ledger. Ripple is a privately held company.
3. How many financial institutions have adopted XRP? As of January 2018, MoneyGram and Cuallix — two major payment providers — have publicly announced their pilot use of XRP in payment flows through xRapid to provide liquidity solutions for their cross-border payments. Ripple has a growing pipeline of financial institutions that are also interested in using XRP in their payment flows.
4. How secure is XRP? Do I have to use exchanges? The XRP Ledger is where XRP transactions occur and are recorded. The software that maintains the Ledger is open source and executes continually on a distributed network of servers operated by a variety of organizations. It’s an open-source code base that actively develops and maintains the ledger. Since XRP Ledger’s inception, we’ve worked to make the Ledger more resilient and resistant to a single point of failure through decentralization, a process that continues today.
To purchase XRP you must use an exchange or gateway and/or have a digital wallet. Ripple does not endorse, recommend, or make any representations with respect to gateways, exchanges, or wallets, but please see the list of exchanges that offer XRP here.
5. Is the XRP Ledger centralized? This is a top misconception with the XRP Ledger. Centralization implies that a single entity controls the Ledger. While Ripple contributes to the open-source code of the XRP Ledger, we don’t own, control, or administer the XRP Ledger. The XRP Ledger is decentralized. If Ripple ceased to exist, the XRP Ledger would continue to exist.
Ripple has an interest in supporting the XRP Ledger for several reasons, including contributing to the longer-term strategy to encourage the use of XRP as a liquidity tool for financial institutions. Decentralization of the XRP Ledger is an ongoing process that started right at its inception. In May 2017, we publicly shared our decentralization strategy.
First, we announced plans to continue to diversify validators on the XRP Ledger, which we expanded to 55 validator nodes in July 2017. We also shared plans to add attested validators to Unique Node Lists (UNLs), and announced over the course of 2017 and 2018, for every two attested third-party validating nodes that meet the objective criteria mentioned above, we will remove one validating node operated by Ripple, until no entity operates a majority of trusted nodes on the XRP Ledger.
We believe these efforts will increase the XRP Ledger’s enterprise-grade resiliency and robustness, leading to XRP’s continued adoption as the best digital asset for payments.
6. Which wallet should I use? Ripple does not endorse, recommend, or make any representations with respect to digital wallets. It’s advisable to always conduct your own due diligence before trusting money to any third party or third-party technology.
7. Does the price volatility of XRP impact whether financial institutions adopt xRapid? No. Ripple has a stable cache of financial institutions that are interested in piloting xRapid. Financial institutions who use xRapid don’t need to hold XRP for an extended period of time. What’s more, XRP settles in three to five seconds, which means financial institutions are exposed to limited volatility during the course of the transaction.
8. Can Ripple freeze XRP transactions? Are they able to view or monitor transactions? No one can freeze XRP, including Ripple. All transactions on XRP Ledger are publicly viewable.
9. Can Ripple create more XRP? No. Ripple the company didn’t create XRP; 100 billion XRP was created before the company was formed, and after Ripple was founded, the creators of XRP gifted a substantial amount of XRP to the company.
Ripple Employee Spotlight: Raghu Battula, Sr. Director of Engineering
Ripple’s growth and success can be attributed to the hard work of the bright and driven people that work at the company.
The engineering team at Ripple has been critical to creating solutions to improve cross-border payments, and with the recent addition of Raghu Battula, the Senior Director of Engineering, the team will be positioned to drive further innovation in the global payments space.
In this Employee Spotlight, Battula details why he joined the company and what he’s looking forward to the most in his role at Ripple.
Q: What brought you to Ripple?
Raghu Battula: There’s been a lot of innovation in the digital economy and you see a lot of cool things happening from an end-consumer perspective.
There has also been a lot of innovation in the domestic-payment space, but sending cross-border payments real time is still an area that needs innovation and is a tough problem to solve.
After meeting with Brad Garlinghouse (CEO) and hearing his vision, it became very clear to me that Ripple is doing something really amazing. In fact, this will be the most transformative work I’ve ever done in my life and feel honored to be part of this journey.
Q: What has been the most surprising thing about working at Ripple?
RB: The most surprising thing has been the shift in mindset that corporations and financial institutions have had and their willingness to adopt our technology and product solutions. It has been extremely surprising in a really good way. I’m very excited about that.
Customers are very eager to adopt our technology and use our solutions. They see the value in what we’re doing.
Additionally, the people we have are very smart and very humble, and they live by our values and it’s great to see that.
Q: Tell us about your greatest achievement in your career, so far.
RB: When I look back in my career, I like to think that the sum of all parts is greater than the individual piece. However, for me, the greatest achievement has been to have worked at technology companies like Intuit, Paypal and Apple.
At each company, I was part of teams that created innovative, customer-facing products, such as mobile wallets, financial platforms, and consumer and enterprise apps. But, if I had to pick one, the work I did at Intuit was the most exciting. I built the engineering organization that built the financial data platform for Intuit. Products like Mint, Quicken, QuickBooks, TurboTax all use this platform on a daily basis which connects to thousands of financial institutions.
It’s a very high-transaction processing system. We worked with banking customers, as well. That’s how I have been exposed to the banking world.
Q: What are Engineering’s three key priorities for 2018, and what do they mean for all of Team Ripple?
RB: The No.1 goal is to make sure we rapidly scale out RippleNet and the core products behind it — xVia, xCurrent, and xRapid — to meet our enterprise customers’ needs and provide a frictionless experience. We’re building this out in a way that’s highly scalable, fast and reliable for our customers.
No.2 is to hire a lot of smart people. I’m looking to hire engineers who have built scalable financial systems.
No.3 is the culture, as we’re growing rapidly, it’s important to make sure we continue to live our core values that make up the larger Ripple family. From an engineering perspective, this means we’ll continue to have a fast-paced culture and rapid innovation in the blockchain space and try new ideas.
Q: What challenge are you most excited to tackle this year?
RB: We have exciting challenge(s) on the architecture and design side. It will feel like we’re building the runway while the plane is taking off because as we’re doing this we’re getting more and more requirements. At the same time, we’re building out a highly scalable RippleNet platform that will benefit our customers.
We need to make sure that we continue to focus on providing a frictionless experience for our customers. It’s a technical challenge but this is what we’re looking forward to in engineering.
Q: What’s the biggest misconception about engineering from non-engineers?
RB: In my experience, the biggest misconception is that sometimes non-engineers have a tendency to define a solution rather than define a problem.
My recommendation is to give an opportunity for engineers to walk in the customers’ shoes and pose the “problem definition” to engineers and allow them to ask more questions. This allows engineers to come up with a better solution and also solve a set of problem(s) that a non-engineer may not have asked the engineer to solve.
Q: What’s the most fun part of the job?
RB: The fun part of my job is seeing our products being used by our customers. In engineering, we come up with innovative-, problem-solving products and solutions, and what makes my day is when customers use our products and love it. When customers love our products that makes engineers very happy!
Also, working at Ripple is really fun. It’s not just work, work, work, we have a lot of social events. For example, we have wine clubs, yoga clubs, soccer matches, a lot of team activities, I could go on.
Q: If Ripple employees want to learn more about the engineering team and the work you’re doing, what’s the best way for them to reach out?
RB: They can start by reaching out to me, we’re going to schedule a lot of meetups and publish more engineering-focused blogs and more. All of the blogs will be published on Ripple’s website soon. This is an area where we can improve and I want people to reach out to us and understand what we’re doing.
For more information about open engineering positions, please visit our Careers page.
Ripple (XRP) - Much Ado, Much to Do – Part 1 - Ripple’s vision and product strategy.
Though it didn’t happen overnight, we’re living in a new world; blockchain and digital assets went from niche to mainstream in 2017.
Since 2014, Ripple has been focused on building products that solve the gross inefficiencies in cross-border payments. Those products are based on the technology and principles of the XRP Ledger and are built for those responsible for the world’s financial infrastructure — financial institutions.
We’ve focused our communications efforts on that target customer audience with the intended and happy by-product of other interested audiences consuming the Ripple story.
But for years, while we dedicated communication to our institutional customer base, interest and excitement in the promise and potential of blockchain and digital assets exploded. Retail speculation in digital assets took off.
As we saw this phenomenon take place, we came to recognize and embrace the important role that speculative liquidity plays in building payments liquidity. Put simply: Liquidity begets liquidity!
We’ve fielded a lot of questions as of late about our strategy (and how the speculative markets fit into it), and traction (and how real it is). We want to clearly communicate who we are, what we’re doing and how we’re doing it, not just to our institutional customers but all Ripple stakeholders and the XRP ecosystem.
What follows isn’t any different from what we’ve said in the past. Our hope is that this comprehensive, unfiltered view of our strategy and traction will enlighten the conversations currently taking place about Ripple and XRP.
A Vision of Value
Chris Larsen, our co-founder and executive chairman, started talking about his vision for an Internet of Value in 2013 — before anyone had heard of such a thing.
His vision was and remains pretty mind blowing: enable the world to move value like information moves today.
Today, we can stream video from a space station using the internet but we can’t easily move and exchange different forms of value (dollars, euros, bitcoins, loyalty points, gold) around the world because the financial infrastructure uses the equivalent of analog technology.
The Internet of Value is about modernizing financial infrastructure using blockchain technologies and digital assets so that sending money from point A to point B is as fast, easy, transparent, reliable and inexpensive as it is to send a communication from point A to point B.
Frankly, “modernization” undersells the transformative potential of the Internet of Value. The internet as an innovation catalyzed a total revolution in the way the world works. By lowering the barriers to access information, the internet has connected people around the world and spawned new categories and businesses like Google, Amazon, Facebook, Alibaba. We see similar promise with the Internet of Value.
Chris articulated a vision sparked by a trio of developers. It’s important to know that the XRP Ledger has always been and will always be an open-source project that exists independently of Ripple, the company. The trio’s goal in developing the XRP Ledger at the time was to build a better Bitcoin — a faster, more scalable, stable, energy-conscious version. As early Bitcoin developers, they saw miners, not developers, reap the rewards of proof-of-work.
So after creating the Ledger and XRP, they decided to gift the majority of XRP to a private company who could use it to recruit full-time developers and business professionals to build an ecosystem around the technology and drive usage. Ripple did not create XRP. Ripple is a steward of XRP and the most interested party in its success.
Where to Start
Chris’ pitch on the Internet of Value is incredibly inspiring. It’s attracted the 200 of us who work at Ripple to leap at the opportunity to join the company and to give Ripple our all day-in and day-out.
But no one company can build the Internet of Value, just as no one company built the internet! (Not even Al Gore.) We decided early on that Ripple’s insertion point in enabling the Internet of Value would be in removing friction from cross-border payments.
It’s an audacious mission. According to McKinsey’s Global Payments report, today the world sends more than $150 trillion across borders. That figure climbs year to year as global commerce grows. And if we harken back to the internet analogy, the internet made information exchange across networks so efficient that the volume of information exchanged skyrocketed. We believe that when we’re successful at making global payments infrastructure hyper-efficient, the volume of cross-border and cross-network transactions will skyrocket. Point being, cross-border payments is a very large and expanding space.
If you’ve ever sent money internationally, you were probably underwhelmed or even very frustrated with your experience. It was probably expensive, slow and a mystery as to when your payment would be delivered. Maybe your institution even lost the payment — that happens surprisingly often. In a day and age where we can order food, rides, movies, groceries with a finger tap and then track order fulfillment and delivery minute-to-minute, global payments fall woefully short of our expectations.
Global payments run on an entrenched, antiquated system in which financial institutions relay payments from one to another, country to country. Like a relay in a foot race, each hand off of the payment from one institution to the next creates risk of delay, failure, miscommunication and cost. It’s why institutions regularly “drop the baton.”
The largest banks in the world sit in the middle of the relay and provide foreign exchange services. Because few banks are big enough to hold liquidity in many currencies in accounts around the world, payments liquidity isn’t very competitive. As a result, smaller financial institutions — banks and payment providers — wind up paying these big banks a premium for their services.
We can do better.
Much Ado, Much To Do – Part 2 - Ripple’s vision and product strategy.
Our Strategy: Partner and Rebuild
We learned early in our journey that despite what Bitcoin purists will preach, financial institutions aren’t the enemy. Money is a powerful tool — mostly used for constructive purposes — but can be used for harmful, criminal activity. To encourage constructive development and prevent criminal use, governments regulate payments.
Financial institutions have built the systems and teams to legally operate payments businesses.
They’re experts in operating payments businesses.
We don’t see a future without financial institutions.
Starting in the early days, we’ve taken the approach of partnering with financial institutions to rebuild payments infrastructure. They are our customers.
When we say “financial institutions,” we don’t just mean banks. Importantly, our customers are banks and many breeds of payment providers (money transfer operators, payment networks, mobile wallets, etc.).
There are challenges to partnering with financial institutions and rebuilding global payments infrastructure compliantly — it takes time. To solve a problem as big and complex and impactful as the one we’re solving, doing it the right way is worth the time investment!
By partnering with financial institutions (FIs), we attack three root cause issues with cross-border payments:
- Speed and certainty
- Liquidity management
- Connection standardization
We’re working to address these three issues simultaneously.
Strategy One: Solve Speed and Certainty with xCurrent
Today, cross-border payments are slow, opaque and unreliable, in large part due to the fact that FIs can’t easily communicate information about a payment between each other.
xCurrent, software FIs install as part of their core payments processing infrastructure, enables FIs to communicate information about a payment between each other in real-time, and settle the payment instantly. xCurrent doesn’t use XRP as part of the solution. We’ll get to how XRP fits into the ecosystem next.
We first introduced xCurrent in late 2015 and we launched an enterprise-ready version of it in early 2016.
As the most mature in our product suite, it’s gained the most adoption across banks and payment providers. We only sign customers who are serious about using xCurrent commercially. We don’t waste our time on proofs of concept or science experiments at innovation labs.
Customers almost always start with a pilot that tests the software using real funds (duh!), before deploying xCurrent commercially. A commercial deployment means the institution processes their customers’ payments through xCurrent.
One customer describes the implementation process as sensitive as “changing a jet engine in flight” since xCurrent directly integrates with an FI’s core payments processing infrastructure. As you might expect, the process of signing an FI, running a pilot with them, completing a production deployment and then transitioning payments volume from their old system to xCurrent in a careful and measured way takes a matter of months.
SBI Remit and Siam Commercial Bank went live with Ripple-powered remittances last June. Their customers send more payments more frequently now — a strong signal they like the service!
SEB, a large Scandinavian bank, has now processed close to $1 billion in cross-border payments over xCurrent. Feedback has been so positive on speed and reliability, SEB is expanding its offering of Ripple-powered payments to more of its customers.
Considering FIs haven’t changed this infrastructure since the 1970s(!!), we’re incredibly pleased with the rate of adoption and the success these early adopters report back to us.
Much Ado, Much To Do – Part 3 - Ripple’s vision and product strategy.
Strategy Two: Solve Liquidity Management with xRapid
Cross-border payments usually involve a currency trade. Financial institutions and corporations generally solve this liquidity need one of two ways today:
- They open bank accounts where they want to send money and pre-fund those accounts with local currency (or via lines of credit) so funds are readily available when they want to make a payment in that country. There’s trillions of dollars trapped in these types of accounts. Much of that is working capital sitting idle.
- They buy FX services from large correspondent banks like Citibank. We mentioned earlier that there are few banks large enough to provide these services so the market isn’t all that competitive and as a result, the “little guy” pays the price!
With xRapid, there’s now a third, faster, far less expensive option.
In its end state, here is how xRapid will work:
- Financial institutions or corporations will initiate a payment through xRapid.
- xRapid sources the most competitive liquidity option across all of the exchanges and third-party market makers it connects.
- Whichever market maker offers the tightest spread takes the sending currency, trades it into XRP, transfers the XRP to the destination (in just a few seconds), trades it into the destination currency and then settles it in the destination account.
This end-to-end flow is instant, seamless and enables FIs to service cross-border payments on an on-demand basis — no more trapped working capital or expensive FX services!
While we’ve talked about this use case for XRP for years, we finally started to see the customer demand last year. (As mentioned, 2017 was a pivotal year in which a lot of people started to embrace the power and potential of not just blockchain technologies, but also digital assets.) The problem was institutional customers needed an easy way to connect with exchanges and market makers — enter xRapid.
We built and launched xRapid in beta late last summer. In just a few months, we’ve built a pipeline of customers. The early adopters of xRapid are mainly payment providers, not banks.
We have publicly announced that Cuallix and MoneyGram are piloting xRapid, and we expect to announce more throughout 2018. These players move fast, are hungry for a competitive edge and often operate in emerging corridors, where this liquidity pain is most acute.
These customers are signing up to pilot xRapid in beta. Just like the xCurrent pilots, xRapid pilots use real money. We’re working hand-in-hand with these beta customers to prepare xRapid for production payments. Nicolas Palacios, CFO of Cuallix, shared with our team: “We ran the costs on our end and see that this is 1000 percent more efficient than what we’re doing now. The xRapid pilots all went perfectly.”
For xRapid to be ready for production primetime, XRP needs to be highly liquid across many different currencies. And we appreciate that retail speculation plays an important role building liquidity for XRP. We’ve always pledged to support a healthy XRP ecosystem, and there are many players in that healthy ecosystem.
These are the earliest days of any institution using a digital asset in their payment flows to solve a real problem. While no xCurrent customers today use xRapid, we’re increasingly speaking to them about their liquidity challenges and xRapid at their request. Ultimately, banks and payment providers are capitalists. If we can provide a service through xRapid that allows them to offer better services at a better price that attract more customers, and help them grow shareholder value, we believe they’ll do it!
As long as we continue to run xRapid pilots as successful as Cuallix’s, we believe we’ll drive a lot of payments volume through XRP in the years ahead.
Strategy Three: Solve Connection Standardization with xVia
While some FIs process payments, others just want to send payments on behalf of their customers. But to offer global payments, they have to integrate with lots of different networks, platforms and digital wallets. With each connection a bespoke integration, building and maintaining these connections around the world becomes expensive.
Corporations who process lots of cross-border payments face this same problem.
Last summer, we introduced xVia in beta — a set of standard APIs that’ll connect these sending institutions to our growing network of xCurrent and xRapid FIs.
A similar story to xRapid, we’re seeing demand build quickly in our pipeline for xVia with customers like IFX, Currencies Direct and TransferGo already signed and publicly announced.
Our Strategy Remains Consistent. Our Traction Is Real. We Have A Lot of Work Ahead.
Our goal in publishing this series was to address our growing audience of stakeholders and give it to you straight.
While our company strategy has matured over time, it has remained consistent for a number of years now. Let’s recap:
- We’re focused on removing the frictions in cross-border payments.
- We believe financial institutions, fiat currency and governments are here to stay.
- We partner with financial institutions – banks and payment providers – to deploy our products to make cross-border payments instant, certain and low cost.
- Dozens of FIs have signed up to use xCurrent, most of which start with real-money pilots before moving to commercial roll outs and none of which currently use XRP in their payment flows.
- We released xRapid and xVia in beta last summer and have built strong customer pipelines to pilot each. xRapid uses XRP to enable on-demand liquidity. xVia standardizes connections to different FIs across different networks.
- Early adopters of xRapid are payment providers. xCurrent customers are increasingly interested in learning more about xRapid because it further reduces costs.
- The fact that global payments infrastructure hasn’t changed in decades coupled by the regulatory and technical complexity of updating it with brand new technology means that institutional adoption and commercial usage of our products will take time.
- We’re encouraged and impressed by how fast our customers are moving (and they’re only getting faster).
When you zoom out and look at Ripple’s position in the market relative to any other blockchain player, we’re strides ahead. No one else has customers deploying their products commercially. And when you look at XRP’s position relative to other digital assets, we’re pleased we’ve defined a real world problem it solves; it solves it well; and we’ve validated those facts with customers.
It’s important to remember the Internet didn’t change the world in a year or even five years. It took time. It took partnership between Internet businesses, incumbents and governments.
We have a lot of work to do. We’re proud of our team and what we’ve accomplished to date. We have every reason to believe we’ll achieve our mission so long as we stay focused on serving our customers and put one foot in front of the other.
Ripple - Q4 2017 XRP Markets Report
To continually improve the health of XRP markets globally, we share regular updates on the state of the market including quarterly sales, commentary on previous-quarter market developments and Ripple company-related announcements.
In Q4 2017, market participants purchased $20.1 million directly from XRP II, LLC1 — our registered and licensed money service business (MSB). These participants tend to be institutional buyers, and their purchases typically include restrictions that mitigate the risk of market instability due to potential subsequent large sales
Additionally, the company sold $71.5 million worth of XRP programmatically as a small percentage of overall exchange volume. For Q4, these sales represented 0.075 percent (7.5 basis points) of the total $95.4 billion2 traded — a decrease from Q3 2017’s 0.20 percent (20 basis points).
Market Commentary: A Quarter for the Ages
XRP markets ended the year with a statement — one that will likely be remembered as a defining milestone in XRP’s history. Though the beginning of the quarter was relatively quiet — with prices trading in a range between $0.203 and $0.30 — XRP began rallying on December 12 and continued moving upwards throughout the month. It quickly reached and exceeded dollar parity on December 21. From there it climbed higher, briefly touching $2.19 on December 30 before retracing somewhat and finishing the quarter at $1.91. This price appreciation represents an impressive quarter-over-quarter increase of 887 percent and a year-over-year gain of 29,631 percent.
Given the price activity, in some respects, this quarter felt like Q2 2017. While XRP saw large percentage gains in the second quarter, its notional value was the more poignant story in Q4, expanding from approximately $8 billion at the end of Q3 to $191.0 billion4 on December 31, making XRP the second most valuable digital asset in the world. In short, XRP markets had a record-setting quarter.
An Eventful Quarter
Early in the quarter, market attention was focused on issues between bitcoin and bitcoin cash and the launch of Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) and Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) bitcoin futures. The anticipation for futures was particularly distracting, as markets awaited a pivotal development in the history of the digital asset space. Since XRP has historically been relatively uncorrelated to BTC or any other digital asset, it was not entirely surprising that while the rest of the space found its footing earlier in the quarter, XRP consolidated instead.
In late Q4, XRP markets began to connect the dots once again. Of particular importance were the American Express/Santander partnership announcement, the activation of escrow and the connection of Korean banks to the Japan Bank Consortium. The completion of escrow represented the company’s consistent ability to follow through on a previously announced initiative. Additionally, while neither the AMEX news nor the Korean bank initiative involved XRP, these key developments prove that Ripple is gaining customer momentum. Though it’s early, and today most RippleNet members are adopting xCurrent, each one of these client milestones increases the probability that institutions will eventually use XRP and xRapid to take advantage of more efficient liquidity, just like Cuallix does today. As digital asset markets grow and evolve, newer market participants will continue to look to milestones such as these to gauge XRP’s potential.
Lastly, the fourth quarter was also fascinating with respect to other digital assets. There were some great advancements in the space. Unfortunately, there were also some concerning developments, in particular, the very public bitcoin vs. bitcoin cash civil war and concerns around ether (ETH) and litecoin (LTC) leadership commitment. This may be where XRP most significantly distinguishes itself going forward.
As established corporations consider leveraging distributed ledgers and blockchains, especially public incarnations of those technologies, dispute resolution and commitment will be key. Building pivotal infrastructure on top of technology that does not have clear governance is not palatable for large established companies. Also, from conversations with market participants as well as with possible clients, it’s clear Ripple’s consistent and steadfast support of XRP is a major advantage as the payments industry continues to seriously consider it as an alternative liquidity solution.
Dramatic Volume Increases
Of all the developments in Q4, the dramatic increase in volume likely had the most impact on XRP’s likelihood of becoming an international standard for digital-value transfer. In order for XRP to be highly efficient as a settlement asset for cross-currency transactions, it will continue to need greater volume and depth of order books. These market attributes increase its ability to support much larger cross-border payments and thus increase its utility broadly. Overall, Q4 volumes averaged more than $807.6 million per day, a 35,341 percent increase over Q4 2016’s volumes of $2.28 million per day, with much of the volume growth coming late in the last month of the quarter.
Since December 11, XRP’s volumes averaged $2.77 billion per day as the price rally progressed in earnest. Of particular importance is the growth of strategically important XRP/MXN volumes in Mexico, one leg of the first xRapid corridors. In December, XRP/MXN activity increased by more than 25x its volumes in September, and at times outpaced BTC/MXN volumes. We believe this rise in volumes is partly due to additional market maker activity at Bitso, as well as the rise in speculative interest.
Lastly, XRP also became available across more than 50 exchanges globally — which was likely a driver of growth as well. This increased global reach is the result of Ripple’s continued investment in the XRP ecosystem and will more easily allow financial institutions to source liquidity for international payments through XRP going forward.
Korea’s Impact Continues
Though Korean markets continued to be a significant driver of XRP activity during the quarter, growing geographic diversification of XRP liquidity lowered KRW market share to 44.8 percent of total Q4 volume.
Interestingly, this retracement of market share didn’t apply to KRW prices. As XRP advanced in Q4, so did Korea’s premium over USD markets. At times, prices were as much as 40 percent higher in Korea than the rest of the world. While it’s still somewhat early to tell, it will be interesting to see if these premiums develop into a leading or lagging indicator of market activity going forward.
Towards the end of December, rumors of a Korean government clamp down on the space began circulating. On December 27, the official news broke. However, much to the market’s surprise, the impact was muted. In fact, many markets — XRP included — continued to rally. However, what seemed like insatiable demand may have some challenges ahead. Given South Korea’s outsized volume share on digital asset exchanges, a more restrictive stance there poses a significant market risk.
What’s on the Horizon for Q1 2018
2018 is likely to be a pivotal year for the broader digital asset markets as a whole, as well as for XRP markets specifically. Q1 will be key to ensuring XRP’s liquidity eventually becomes more like that of existing foreign exchange markets and XRP achieves its goal of becoming the digital standard for international value transfer.
On January 11, 2018, we formally announced a partnership with MoneyGram — one of the world’s largest money transfer companies — to use xRapid and XRP for near real-time cross-border payments. In addition, there are a number of other xRapid deals at various stages of completion in the pipeline. We’ll look to make those public as they’re signed and our partners agree to be publicly recognized.
Institutional Hedging and Custody
While customers can use XRP for on-demand liquidity through xRapid, we want to build the necessary markets infrastructure for eventual direct usage of XRP by financial institutions. In Q1, we’ll begin work towards the launch of institutional hedging instruments and custody solutions. Both of these market components are important to institutional adoption and thus are important components of our 2018 roadmap.
1XRP II, LLC is licensed to engage in Virtual Currency Business Activity by the New York State Department of Financial Services.
2Volume numbers reference xrpcharts.ripple.com volume data.
3Price data references on-exchange Bitstamp XRP/USD closing 24-hour bar prices.
4XRP total market cap is calculated using total distributed XRP plus total XRP held by Ripple, including XRP held in escrow, multiplied by the closing Bitstamp XRP/USD price on 12/31/2017.
Ripple - More Global Payment Providers, IDT and MercuryFX, Sign Up to Use XRP
As the remittance market grows in emerging and major corridors, so too does the need to make payments real-time, transparent and certain.
In fact, global remittances — which include flows to high-income countries — were estimated to be $596 billion in 2017.
To serve the bustling remittance market, Ripple is proud to announce that two new partners — IDT Corporation and MercuryFX — will now use xRapid to settle retail remittances and corporate transactions quickly.
MercuryFX and IDT use XRP to improve customer experience
IDT and MercuryFX both have unique customers and business models. However, they share a common goal of continuously improving their customer experience.
For MercuryFX — a leading global currency exchange provider — their focus is on challenging the status quo in retail remittance payments. Similar to Ripple’s goal of reducing friction in global payments, MercuryFX wants to help payments move in real time, providing a more efficient and transparent customer experience.
“Ripple, XRP and fiat currency fit hand in glove. What we’re doing together is realizing one of the best use cases for frictionless transactions, which is international settlement. xRapid allows us to drive down the cost of currency exchange and global settlement, making our customers more competitive and saving them tens of millions of dollars each year.
“Digital assets promise fast transaction speeds but XRP is far faster than all of them, including bitcoin. Cutting settlement times from hours and days to just three seconds or less will remove billions of dollars in unnecessary intermediary fees,” said Alastair Constance, CEO and founder of Mercury FX.
For IDT — a publicly traded telecommunications company, which facilitates online money transfers between individuals — the goal is to make sure their customers can send low-cost global payments.
“Our BOSS Revolution international money transfer business routinely utilizes digital assets to generate liquidity in fiat currencies for our disbursement agents as part of our transaction settlement process,” said Alfredo O’Hagan, senior vice president of IDT’s consumer payments business.
“We’re excited to pilot Ripple’s xRapid solution for on-demand liquidity. We expect that xRapid will enable us to settle more transactions in real-time and at a lower cost.”
Payment providers contributing to Internet of Value
The growing institutional adoption of XRP, through the on-demand liquidity solution, xRapid, shows that real progress is being made towards building the Internet of Value (IoV).
IoV is Ripple’s long-term vision for moving money the same way information moves today — instantly.
With xRapid and XRP, financial institutions can eliminate the need for costly intermediaries or pre-funded Nostro accounts in destination currencies.
Now, these payment providers will be able to send real-time payments at a low cost while giving customers visibility into the status of their payments.
“It’s no secret that XRP is faster and more efficient than bitcoin or any other digital asset. It settles in three seconds and at fractions of a penny,” said Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple. “Payment providers like IDT Corporation and MercuryFX are early movers because they understand what XRP can do for their business and customer experience. We’re excited to have them at the forefront of the Internet of Value.”
Learn more about how xRapid can help your financial institution source on-demand liquidity and send real-time payments.
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- Fix: isSameIssue() should check counterparty. This bug caused
getOrderbook()to return incorrect values.
This release also includes the changes from 0.18.0:
- Convert from Flow to TypeScriptUse ES Module syntax (Babel still compiles these to common.js modules for distribution)
- Docs: Improve escrow creation example/testFix type errors
- Fix lint errors
- Fix: isSameIssue() should check counterparty. This bug caused
SBI Virtual Currencies to Exclusively List XRP at Launch
Adding to the momentum behind XRP’s growing global liquidity, SBI Holdings announced that its newly released digital asset exchange — SBI Virtual Currencies — will use XRPpost last August, SBI Holdings CEO and Executive Chairman Yoshitaka Kitao, told Ripple Insights why SBI Holdings believes so strongly in XRP.
“Not only does it have a clear use case, XRP is faster, cheaper and more scalable than any other digital asset,” Mr. Kitao said. “I strongly believe it will become the global standard in digital currencies.”
SBI Virtual Currencies looks to join xRapid ecosystem
SBI Virtual Currencies (SBI VC) is looking to join the xRapidSolutions page.
Ripple (XRP) Release rippled wallet V0.90.0
rippled0.90.0 release introduces several features and enhancements that improve the reliability, scalability and security of the XRP Ledger.
Highlights of this release include:
DepositAuthamendment, which lets an account strictly reject any incoming money from transactions sent by other accounts.
Checksamendment, which allows users to create deferred payments that can be cancelled or cashed by their intended recipients.
- History Sharding, which allows
rippledservers to distribute historical ledger data if they agree to dedicate storage for segments of ledger history.
- New Preferred Ledger by Branch semantics which improve the logic that allow a server to decide which ledger it should base future ledgers on when there are multiple candidates.
New and Updated Features
- Add support for Deposit Authorization account root flag (#2239#2258)
- Preferred ledger by branch (#2300#2209)
- Tune for higher transaction processing (#2294#2312)
Journalto be copied/moved (#2292#2305)
- Improve log scrubbing (#2358#2307)
- Force json commands to be objects (#2319#2325)
account_objectsRPC to filter by “check” (#2356#2326)
- Unit test that
sign_forreturns a correct hash (#2333#2355)
- Force boost static linking for MacOS builds (#2334#2342)
- Add dev docs generation to Jenkins (#2343#2290)
- Remove unused
- Add missing includes (#2368#2291)
- Unit test logging fixes (#2293#2289)
- Avoid AppVeyor stack overflow (#2344#2352)
Ripple - Three Burning Blockchain Questions
Blockchain is everywhere these days. From CryptoKitties to the company formerly known as Long Island Iced Tea, blockchain has become one of the most talked-about technologies since the advent of the internet.
Ultimately, it will move beyond talk and become a core functional technology powering everything from payments to voter identification. But given that we’re still in the early stages, we often have to help sort through the hype to better understand the reality of blockchain today and tomorrow.
Generally, we hear three basic questions as part of those conversations. We thought it might be helpful to share and address those here.
What is blockchain?
The core concept is a simple breakdown of the name: blockchain is a chain of data blocks. Because it is spread out over a network of computers, no single company owns all the data. This means there are no discrepancies between company ledgers since there is only one record of the data owned across this network.
The goal of blockchain is to deliver an agnostic, digital ledger that can be universally trusted. Its potential applications are legion: identity, voting, finance, property ownership, global payments and many more. And its impact could be enormous. Gartner predicts that blockchain will deliver $176 billion in value to businesses by 2025, and an incredible $3.1 trillion just five short years later.
Why does blockchain matter?
The ultimate role for blockchain will be more substance than sizzle.
To understand the many different areas where blockchain holds value, think of interactions that require trust. Personal identity is an obvious one. On the Internet, the famous New Yorker cartoon explains that no one knows you’re a dog. This could be trouble for cats – especially if canines manage the accepted system of identity. By placing trust for identity in a secure, distributed network that is visible to everyone, blockchain can help resolve issues of identity verification for travel, transactions and more.
Supply chain is another example. Rather than use proprietary software systems that must communicate with one another, hospitals and suppliers can use blockchain as a trusted, independent network to track inventory levels, monitor costs, and close transactions faster and more efficiently.
Removing friction from global payments is the focal point for Ripple. Ripple’s primary customers are financial institutions conducting transactions across borders. Historically, this has been a complex process fraught with delays, fees and risks. But blockchain is changing the game.
Even as global commerce has expanded and effectively flattened the world, these borders still stand tall – essentially bringing a transaction to a stop every time it meets one. In order to complete international payments, providers have to accept 3-5 day settlement times, fund pools of liquidity in local currencies on each side of a transaction (nostro accounts), and wait out a blackout period while funds were in transaction and unable to be tracked by either the sender or the recipient.
This opacity and confusion surrounding international transactions was laid bare in the years-long $1.8 billion Punjab National Bank fraud that was just recently uncovered. The perpetrators of this fraud uncovered a vulnerability — the messaging system was not linked to the centralized system of record and, therefore, fraudulent transactions went under the radar and left PNB officials in the dark for years. With Ripple, it’s impossible to separate the messaging system (xCurrent Messenger) from the system of record (xCurrent Ledger) – so chances are that this type of fraud would have been detected immediately.
Moreover, by removing the friction that exists when moving money across borders, financial institutions can fund international transactions in real time, affordably and with complete transparency. And for those that leverage XRP as a digital asset custom built for institutional use in these transactions, they can eliminate the need to create nostro accounts on each side of a transaction. The end result is more customers, new markets, and healthier bottom lines.
Which blockchain will win?
While the chatter around digital assets and blockchain can sometimes sound like an episode of Game of Thrones, the truth is that the sheer number of applications means there will be multiple forms of blockchain with utility. Projects custom designed for real estate ownership, supply chain management, and international payments all have unique technology and features that can allow them to succeed.
The key to making them thrive is their ability to interact and interoperate. Just as the Internet evolved from distinct proprietary networks into the worldwide web using a core communication protocol, so will disparate blockchain technologies mature into an interoperable system of decentralized distributed ledgers.
This will require a common language like the Interledger Protocol (ILP). This system of sharing information or data packets across ledgers will power the Internet of Value, the financial equivalent of the Internet of Information.
The promise of ILP and the Internet of Value means that as an organization, you should not wait for a future that will never arrive. Instead, identify the solution best matched to your needs to be ready to fully realize the promise of the Internet of Value.
Cambridge to use Ripple (XRP) for Faster Global Payments
Cambridge Global Payments — a subsidiary of FLEETCOR Technologies and a leading global provider of commercial payment solutions — is launching a pilot program to use XRP in cross-border payment flows through xRapid.
Cambridge currently has over 13,000 clients around the world and handles $20 billion in international transactions annually. Incorporating XRP in those flows will provide their clients with a cross-border payments experience that is significantly faster, cheaper and more transparent.
Cambridge looks to use xRapid to improve their customer experience
Cambridge works with businesses, large and small, to facilitate critical and secure payments for fuel, toll, lodging, and general payables through its own proprietary payment networks in North America, Latin America, Europe and Australasia.
These international payment flows allow for a streamlined experience for customers who depend on Cambridge to ensure their businesses stay healthy and expand. With xRapid, Cambridge aims to provide an even better experience for those customers.
Mark Frey, chief operating officer for Cambridge Global Payments, is confident that blockchain powered solutions like xRapid can not only help Cambridge improve their customers’ payments journey, but also spur critical innovation in their industry.
“We are excited for the insights this pilot program is expected to deliver, and we will use that information to help both Cambridge and FLEETCOR develop our use cases for blockchain in international payments,” said Frey.
“We strive to deliver best-in-class cross-border payments services, with speed and transparency. We look forward to exploring how Ripple can help us continue to improve the customer experience using new technology.”
Continued adoption of digital assets will revolutionize cross-border payments
As Cambridge and more financial institutions begin to use xRapid to source liquidity, capital locked up around the world required in today’s fractured system for international payments can become available and put to use in new ways.
Ripple’s director of business development, Danny Aranda, believes that partners like Cambridge recognize the revolutionary potential using XRP has for financial institutions.
“We’re focused on working with partners like Cambridge that understand the benefits of digital assets and are serious about using XRP to overcome the inefficiencies in the global payment system,” said Aranda. “We look forward to collaborating with Cambridge during this pilot to enhance the speed and transparency of cross-border payments for their clients.”
The efficiency of cheaper and on-demand international payments using digital assets like XRP together with the release of dormant capital, is an important step forward toward Ripple’s mission of establishing an Internet of Value, where money can move like information.
To learn more, please visit our solutions page.
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Ripple Powered Mobile App to Provide On-Demand Domestic Payments in Japan
The Japan Bank Consortium will release a groundbreaking smartphone application called “MoneyTap”— powered by Ripple’s blockchain technology — to allow customers of the bank consortium to settle transactions instantly, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“MoneyTap” is the first mobile app of its kind to be developed and used by multiple, different banks in the country.
Three members of the Japan bank consortium: SBI Net Sumishin Bank, Suruga Bank and Resona Bank will be the first to go live on the mobile app in autumn of 2018. This will be followed by a staggered roll out to the rest of consortium.
The Japan bank consortium, led by SBI Ripple Asia, is comprised of 61 banks covering more than 80% of all banking assets in Japan. MoneyTap will have the potential to provide on-demand payments to the vast majority of the country through this consortium.
Flexibility with domestic payments is limited in Japan: transactions must occur on weekdays and between 8:30 am and 3:30 pm or risk delays.
While there are discussions to change the window on the current banking rail system to make it accessible 24 hours a day and seven days a week, the cost of implementing it would be high.
Blockchain powered domestic payments will speed transactions and lower costs
“MoneyTap” allows the bank consortium customers to make instant domestic payments and only requires a bank account, phone number, or QR code.
What’s more, MoneyTap helps shed the costs associated with existing banking and ATM fees that are currently applied to domestic money transfers in Japan, making those payments not just faster, but cost less overall.
“We are proud to leverage Ripple’s blockchain technology through our new mobile app, MoneyTap, to improve the payments infrastructure in Japan,” said Takashi Okita, CEO of SBI Ripple Asia.
“Together with the trust, reliability and reach of the bank consortium, we can remove friction from payments and create a faster, safer, and more efficient domestic payments experience for our customers.”
Ripple wants to revolutionize domestic and cross-border payments
Ripple has long focused on providing solutions to the problems associated with cross-border payments. Currently, over 100 financial institutions use xCurrent and Ripple has made recent new additions to pilots of xRapid that incorporates XRP into on-demand international payment flows.
However, the power of blockchain can be applied to solving domestic payment issues as well.
“The release of the MoneyTap mobile app shows Ripple’s continued commitment to provide its partners across Asia and the world with blockchain-powered solutions that dramatically improve the customer payments journey,” said Emi Yoshikawa, director of joint venture partnerships at Ripple.
“We’re proud to provide this production-ready technology that not only improves the international payments experience, but also have applications for domestic payments infrastructure.”
Removing friction from both domestic and international payments is central to Ripple’s mission of establishing an Internet of Value, where money can move like information — instantly.
Introducing the Ripple and XRP Video Series
The establishment of an Internet of Value — where money can move like information — will be the ultimate culmination of Ripple’s story.
It’s a story we’re writing every day using blockchain powered solutions that changes how money moves around the world.
Financial institutions are increasingly looking to be a part of this journey, from the recent announcement of 61 banks in Japan who will use Ripple’s technology in a mobile payments app, to the six financial institutions who are piloting the use of XRP in their cross-border payment flows through xRapid.
Today, we’re excited to release the “Ripple and XRP” video series to highlight how Ripple got started, what inspired the notion of the internet of value, Ripple’s product vision and roadmap and how XRP stands out as being the best digital asset for payments.
The seven-part series features Chris Larsen, Brad Garlinghouse, David Schwartz, Stefan Thomas and Asheesh Birla. We’re excited to share our story with you.
Ripple CEO at Money20/20 Asia: A New Payments System for the Digital Age
It was standing room only inside the Money20/20 Asia fireside chat “A New Payments System for the Digital Age” — as Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse shared the stage with panel chair Faisal Khan — and outlined his vision for the future of Ripple, XRP and the Internet of Value.
Seats filled quickly in the lead up to the event as the room buzzed with conference goers waiting for Garlinghouse to take the stage.
Prior to Garlinghouse’s appearance, Dilip Ratha the World Bank’s lead economist for migration and remittances, spoke about worldwide remittance trends and provided some insightful takeaways about the future of their costs.
Ratha stated that a critical sustainable development goal of the World Bank is to lower the cost of remittances globally from 7 percent to 3 percent by 2030. When Garlinghouse took the stage, he immediately connected these statistics back to Ripple’s goal of establishing an Internet of Value.
“If we haven’t lowered the cost of remittance payments by 300 basis points by 2030 as a business, we have failed,” said Garlinghouse. “If we’re successful, we’re not talking about 300 basis points. We’re talking about 30 basis points for the cost of remittance payments.”
The statement itself is bold, and the potential positive impacts of lowering remittance payment costs so significantly could be exponential for the global economy. In Garlinghouse’s vision of the future, he’s hopeful a remittance payment of 200 dollars would cost 60 cents rather than 14 dollars on average today.
If Ripple’s Internet of Value is established in this same timeline, not only would the cost of a cross-border payment drop dramatically, but in theory so would the time it takes money to move country-to-country. In this vision, the time it takes would be instant.
The conversation then addressed the need for the continued adoption of Ripple solutions by the payments and financial industry to remove friction from global payments.
This fact led Garlinghouse to a critical point: Digital assets could work together with financial institutions rather than disrupt them. He argued that, “global payments and banking won’t be changed from the outside; they will be changed from within.”
Khan then asked Garlinghouse how Ripple’s xCurrent solution compared to the SWIFT system used historically by financial institutions to settle cross-border payments. Garlinghouse did not hold back on why blockchain-powered solutions are superior.
“SWIFT’s published error rate is six percent,” said Garlinghouse. “Imagine if six percent of your emails didn’t go through without additional human intervention.”
Audience questions that were submitted online also made their way on stage. Garlinghouse was asked to address criticisms of Ripple and XRP. The first focused on the digital asset volatility and whether that would prevent widespread adoption for cross-border payments.
“We’re talking about three seconds of volatility risk when using XRP for cross-border payments,” Garlinghouse countered. “The reality is you’re exposed to more volatility when doing a traditional transfer with fiat currencies, and that takes several days.” Garlinghouse was referring to when financial institutions use xRapid for cross-border payments
“The reality is we’re working with decentralized technology,” stated Garlinghouse. “If Ripple goes away, and I really hope it doesn’t, the XRP Ledger will continue to exist.”