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XRP News Update: May 19th, 2019

PayWithXRP Tweet

The cryptomarket is transforming itself, and traders are scrambling to find the latest news and information about the assets comprising their portfolio.

The XRP ecosystem has continued to log steady and impressive progress in the past few days, including announcements about xRapid, high-profile conference appearances by Ripple, and some various fascinating finds by XRP Community Members.

Ripple News

Xpring has been making nonstop headlines for months now, investing in multiple projects that have formed a well-defined circle around the monetization of entertainment, games, music, and general online content.   Some of these investments have to do with the tokenization of securities and the strengthening of the Interledger network.

And recently, two investments - XRPL Labs and Agoric, are squarely aimed at growing new capabilities in the larger XRP ecosystem of tools and services.

Suffice it to say that the sheer number of investments is starting to be difficult for even XRP fans to track, which is a good thing when it comes to the growth of real utility for XRP.

As part of Xpring, Ripple recently advertised an open position within the company for an "Xpring Community Advocate."   They provided a comprehensive bullet-point list that included the following points, which seemed like the primary focus when I read through it:  1

  • Create, support, and grow a community of developers who are excited about these technologies to ensure that the community is an open and welcoming one
  • Drive community engagement strategy, development and growth

In addition to these two key items, Ripple is clearly looking for a person who is well-versed in culling what it calls 'actionable information' from the community, and somebody who can analyze local and international trends and competitors.

It's a great sign that Ripple is taking the step of adding this role in their organization, as it means that some of these Xpring investments are most likely close to bearing fruit in one respect or another, and that the next step will be to publicize and drive adoption of these new innovative technologies.

Thanks to @WietseWind for the heads-up on this new Ripple position listing.   If you're interested in working for Ripple in this capacity or in another one, visit the following link to view more of Ripple's fifty-one open positions:

Link:   https://ripple.com/company/careers/all-jobs/

David Schwartz at Consensus

David Schwartz, Ripple's Chief Technology Officer, attended this year's Consensus conference along with Ryan Zagone, Ripple's Director of Regulatory Relations.

The conference organizers decided to record and release only specific stages at the conference, and unfortunately, the first presentation that David Schwartz provided was not on one of those stages;  however, video coverage of his talk soon appeared on social media, specifically a live-stream from one of the most popular YouTube crypto personalities, @CKJCryptonews:

The video was captured real-time, and the audio requires the viewer to turn up the sound quite a bit;  but the coverage was still watched live by over a thousand people, and since being released on his channel, was watched by an additional fifteen thousand people.

After the presentation, a large group of people followed David Schwartz into the hallway, where he was peppered with additional audience questions.

One question led to an informal nod to a new corridor, and was covered by @Dave_Jonez_02 (Twitter avatar) on Twitter:

Tweet from Dave Jones

The news about a corridor to Brazil was an exciting revelation, and seems like a logical progression for Ripple, given that some high-volume remittance corridors go back and forth between that country and Asia.   In addition, I viewed the part of the video where David Schwartz very carefully dances around a question about Polysign, and it was fascinating to hear, given Polysign's scope:  Institutional Custody.

In March of 2018, I covered how Polysign was ramping up its project staff in preparation for development.   Now, over a year later, it's intriguing to hear David Schwartz avoid the topic with such self-restraint.

My guess is that we might hear a project update from Polysign in the near future.

Another of my favorite quotes from David Schwartz's 'hallway discussion' on CKJ Crypto News's live-stream was this one at around the twenty-five minute mark:

"If we build really good micropayments, not only can we do micropayment applications, which is ...  the obvious thing; but we could literally take over the world of payments."

His official presentations are always incredible, but even more so is David Schwartz's extemporaneous commentary that is provided in open, honest ways in-between carefully-scripted communication.

David Schwartz's Closing Speech

In addition to his well-received presentation on Day Two of the conference, David Schwartz also gave a speech during the conference wrap-up, which he termed his "We're All In This Together" speech.

The message was crowd-pleasing for digital asset stakeholders like Wirex:

Wirex Tweet

In addition, it's a positive message for mainstream businesses to hear from prominent members of the cryptomarket, as the early years of crypto were rife with infighting and tribalism.   David Schwartz is a visionary, and we would all be wise to listen to his message, no matter our personal take on banking or traditional finance.

My own natural reaction is to support interoperability, and at the same time support XRP as the first & best representative for digital assets.   While it's great for the entire industry to move forward with a sense of cooperation, we should be picky about which digital asset is our preferred ambassador to real-world business stakeholders.   I believe the correct ambassador is clearly XRP, not environmentally-destructive, insecure, and inefficient P.O.W.  technology.

Congratulations to David Schwartz on an amazing week in New York.   Hopefully we get to see more video coverage of his 'Day 3' content in addition to some of the informal video coverage that's already emerged for his 'Day 2' presentation.

High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System for Swiss National Bank

It wasn't just David Schwartz dropping hints about new potential xRapid corridors to South America.

Brad Garlinghouse attended the 9th High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System for the Swiss National Bank, where he talked to a large group of central bankers in a session titled 'Past, Present and Future of the International Monetary System':

The audience members quizzed him on several topics that dovetailed with usage of CBDCs, digital assets and specifically XRP, which he handled with casual confidence, explaining the concepts of liquidity sourcing.   At the end of one of his explanations, he mentioned both Brazil and Argentina:

"People are getting liquidity that exists in the marketplace;  in local regions, between ...  XRP and the Philippine Peso; between XRP and the Argentine Peso; between XRP and the Brazilian Real ..."

While I expected Ripple to make official announcements at SWELL this year, perhaps the pace of progress is allowing them to speed up their schedule of public discussion about these new corridors, even if they didn't mention specific clients or exchange partners involved.

It was an exciting (potential) hint for XRP fans as part of Ripple's high-profile conference participation last week.

Finablr

Over a year ago, I discussed a new RippleNet member named UAE Exchange.

UAE Exchange handles an enormous amount of remittance processing, and by their own estimate is the second-largest 'money transfer' organization in the world.   2

The bank has branches in fourteen countries worldwide, and it plays a dominant role in UAE banking, with 150 branches in that country.   The bank has over 9,000 international employees, and 'more than 15 million customers.'   3   4

UAE Exchange, in turn, is considered one of the 'brands' of Finablr, an international payments processing platform that covers seven different, distinct remittance organizations.  5   This connection is important, because one year after UAE Exchange did a presentation at the World Blockchain Forum in Dubai, Finablr made an announcement about a new cross-border payments service between the Middle East and Thailand.   The new service will include two of its remitter organizations: UAE Exchange, and another called Unimoni.

In that announcement, it was revealed that they would be partnering with Siam Commercial Bank, which also happens to be one of the pioneers of the Ripple multi-hop system of settlement, providing its own network's connections and ability to settle in various Asian countries to banks and other RippleNet partners external to Thailand.  6

The CEO of Finablr had this to say:

"The adoption of blockchain opens up considerable potential to streamline remittances and provide a friction-less, fast and secure payments experience."

This announcement is significant, because the corridor should be a very high-volume one for RippleNet, and further expands the already-gargantuan size of the RippleNet global banking network.

If you'd like to learn more about Finablr and its recent business developments and ties to RippleNet, @XrpCenter (Twitter avatar) has constructed a thread with multiple links to external sources of information.

Kava News

A Github entry discovered by XRP fans recently made its way onto Twitter.   It was information related to an 'XRP-Backed stablecoin' called USDX:

Kava USDX Tweet

According to the paper in Github, the stablecoin would be issued on a new blockchain:  7

"The USDX stablecoin system is implemented as a Cosmos Zone designed to peg in XRP, issue an XRP-collateralized token (called USDX) and dynamically maintain its price stability to USD with decentralized mechanisms."

Accordingly, the company would need to use Interledger, since the token would be backed by XRP, which is the native currency on the XRP Ledger.

Kava quickly toned down the speculative comments that began to appear on social media, and issued this Twitter response:

Kava Tweets regarding USDX

The XRP fan reaction was positive, especially since it would directly involve the usage of XRP to back the currency;  the paper was only recently written, however, so I'm guessing there are some work-intensive steps between now and whenever their first version of the product is released for testing and then production use.

Regardless, it's an exciting development, and opens up some fascinating possibilities for additional options for those wanting to use a form of XRP-collaterlized USD to settle payments.

Thanks to @GermanCryptoInv (Twitter avatar) for the link to the USDX Github reposoitory.

XRP News

Developers on the XRP Ledger naturally might want to try their hand at running an XRP validator;  there are multiple reasons for this, including the ability to configure your own online application or site to point to your own server rather than publicly-available ones that may be subject to high usage.

In addition, many developers enjoy the challenge of 'learning by doing,' and sometimes running a validator personally helps in that respect.

The motivations may vary, but if you fall into one of those categories, a well-written guide was published by @RabbitKickClub (Twitter Avatar), who is also a member of the default XRP Unique Node List:

Rabbits Tweet about validator installation guide

The guide is specifically geared for people that are familiar with the tools mentioned, including the CENTOS operating system, and general server security, especially if that individual is planning on running a 'validating' node.   Note that it's not necessary to run a validating node, as developers and others can still use a non-validating node to do things like send and receive transactions.

It's a great and straight-forward guide, but it also assumes the reader is technically proficient enough to use the tools mentioned;  it's not for business users.   When I contacted @RabbitKickClub to find out their motivation for writing and publishing the guide, they had this to say:

"When I wrote the guide, there really weren't many other resources available, as the Ripple Developer Portal (the 'XRP Ledger Dev Portal') wasn't available in its current form.

The guide developed out of my desire to run a secure cluster of rippled nodes, including a validator.  I hoped to contribute to growing the XRP ecosystem, so I decided to make my research and learning public."

The guide is a great addition to the growing number of third-party documentation, examples, and guides that have been published by members of the XRP Community.

These sorts of high-quality contributions pave the way for future developers and technical researchers to more easily access the features and capabilities of the XRP Ledger.

Uphold

Uphold wants your business.

They are a large-volume ForEx and crypto exchange based in the UK that have supported XRP for some time now.   In 2018, Uphold made several notable updates to its platform, including integrating full support for XRP fiat pairings with the US Dollar, the Euro, and the Swiss Franc, among a larger list of its 30+ supported currencies:

Uphold Currency Support

Since then, they've been competing for the business of the quickly-growing ranks of XRP owners, and on May 17th, the exchange reminded potential customers of some of the special services they offer, along with an announcement that they'd completely eliminated withdrawal fees for XRP:

Uphold Tweet about no withdrawal fee

One thing I've noticed about Uphold and a small number of other XRP-centric exchanges, is that the customers are quite loyal and expressive, providing their own appreciation for the platform over twitter and other social media.   Most crypto exchanges don't command this sort of customer loyalty, so it's something that I mentally noted in perusing some of the comments on their announcement tweet.

Having a major exchange 'up the ante' and eliminate withdrawal fees is great for XRP owners, and will no doubt force other exchanges to try and either lower their own withdrawal fees or even match Uphold's withdrawal fee elimination.

Cobalt

Many XRP fans want to know about Cobalt, the much-anticipated upgrade to the XRP ledger that was first written about in early 2018.  8

The improved characteristics of the XRP Ledger resulting from Cobalt are speculative at the moment, but previous discussions have indicated the following:

  • Greater Decentralization
  • Faster Ledger Close Times
  • Enhanced Throughput (Transactions Per Second)

The Cobalt changes would, in theory, support multiple recommended Unique Node Lists instead of just the one that is the default list downloaded with the XRP validator software at present.  9   While Ripple is already a minority operator in every capacity on the XRP Ledger, having multiple recommended UNLs would enhance the level of decentralization even further.

Ledger close time is the XRP equivalent to 'block time' in proof-of-work systems, with the difference that settlement on the XRP Ledger is considered deterministic after only one ledger close.   Cobalt would potentially reduce the current 3-4 second ledger close time to only one second.  10   To arrive at this number, we assume a half-second close time for the XRP Consensus algorithm.

The topic of enhanced throughput is less clear, but in one tweet, Ethan MacBrough, the computer scientist that authored the paper, indicated that TPS may be a 'very high number' or even be scalable upwards 'arbitrarily.'   11

Since these topics were originally discussed over social media, the schedule of the Cobalt upgrade has been kept closely under wraps, and then, after his stint at Consensus, David Schwartz mentioned that Cobalt is:   12

"...  still mostly theoretical and designed but not implemented."

He went on to explain the risk-reward for a Cobalt upgrade, but stopped short of saying it wouldn't be done;  he seemed to indicate that the benefits of the upgrade would be worth the trouble of implementation in his last tweet on the topic, referencing improved network resiliency.

As an XRP stakeholder, I appreciate the circumspect and careful approach to code proposals that he's taking, and even though Cobalt would provide vast improvements, it would also require a significant change to a live crypto network, which is no small task from an implementation standpoint.

BlueHelix

BlueHelix is based in Singapore, and is one of many new, ICO-funded exchanges.  13   Like many other exchanges, it has its own token that is used to reward early investors and fund its operations.   14

On May 15th, the exchange added support for XRP, implementing a pairing with USDT:

BlueHelix Tweet

The exchange only recently went live in December of 2018, and it's a smart move for their team to add XRP to their list of markets.   I'm always fascinated by some of these new ICO-related exchanges, generally, as their value proposition seems to be so similar among them;  I predict that eventually the cryptomarket will see a consolidation of many of these exchanges over time, but some will inevitably rise to the top as they successfully compete.

Bitkeep

Bitkeep is a Singapore-based wallet and exchange application that allows users to manage their own crypto assets and engage with various crypto services and applications such as lending, decentralized games, and participation in exchange profits via their platform token.

On May 17th, the exchange announced that they'd added two parings for XRP:

Bitkeep Tweet

Note: Thanks to Leonidas Hadjiloizou for the news about Bitkeep.   It's great to see XRP added to two Singapore-based exchanges in just a few days.

Stay Tuned ...  To XRP!

The pace of progress in building sources of real utility for XRP is accelerating, with dozens of businesses and individual projects due to release significant applications and tools in the remainder of 2019, parallel to other important crypto trading developments.

Read about the latest news here at the XRP Community Blog, or on the Coil platform!

xrp symbol Sources and Credits:

Cover Art: Thank you to AbsolutVision

  1. https://ripple.com/company/careers/all-jobs/#xpring-community-advocate
  2. https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=186&v=w1pZtPb7j1Y (1:45 mark)
  3. https://www.uaeexchange.com/about-us
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/UAE_Exchange
  5. https://www.finablr.com/
  6. https://www.thenational.ae/business/technology/finablr-s-uae-exchange-and-ripple-begin-blockchain-payments-service-1.824004
  7. https://github.com/Kava-Labs/usdx/blob/master/validators/validator_economics.md
  8. https://arxiv.org/abs/1802.07240
  9. https://ripple.com/insights/continued-decentralization-xrp-ledger-consensus-protocol/
  10. https://twitter.com/emacbrough/status/978525468835176448
  11. https://twitter.com/emacbrough/status/977915203399462912
  12. https://twitter.com/JoelKatz/status/1129473071234990080
  13. https://icodrops.com/bhex/
  14. https://www.bhex.com/BHex_1.0_en.pdf

XRP News Update: May 25th, 2019

PayWithXRP Tweet

Each day now, it's second nature to look for multiple stories that help paint a picture of the growing capabilities for the Internet of Value.   Heading into Memorial Day here in the U.S., this past week was no exception.

In this issue, I focus on some highlights that are important for you to know, especially a major announcement from Kava, a company that is using Interledger to help scale the entire cryptomarket.

Ripple News

On May 20th, Ripple's VP of Strategic Accounts, Pat Thelen, was elected to a new payment industry organization, formed to advance the development of the U.S. Payments Infrastructure, called the "U.S. Faster Payments Council (FPC)."

The official announcement lists Pat Thelen as an 'at-large' board member, which generally indicates that the member will have special duties as assigned by the board.

As background, the Federal Reserve's Faster Payments Task Force - which started its work in 2017 - resulted in dozens of proposals by some of the same firms that are now participants in this new industry group.   At the conclusion of the task force activities, the Federal Reserve decided to stand aside and allow the market to determine which solution was considered the preferred one, with the assumption that free market forces would allow the best alternative to bubble to the top naturally.

Since then, we've seen Ripple emerge as the de facto alternative to the aging, legacy SWIFT network, providing real-time payments across the world's borders.   But cross-border payments is one of many aspects of what the Federal Reserve looks at when it comes to modernization of the U.S. payments infrastructure.

The FPC is an industry group, and they've stated part of their mission on their official website:  1

"Do you want a hand in shaping the future of the nation’s payments system?  The U.S.  Faster Payments Council (FPC) is a new membership organization established so Americans can safely and securely pay anyone, anywhere, at any time and with near-immediate funds availability.

FPC members use private-sector approaches to address issues that inhibit adoption of faster payments, and enable end users to reach each other in ways as seamless and transparent to them as mobile texting."

The last part of that quote sounds a lot like how the Internet Of Value is described by its proponents;  hopefully it means that the entire U.S. payments industry is beginning to see the benefits of real-time settlement, rather than being stuck in the archaic 'batch processing' paradigm that's caused the U.S. to fall behind many Asian countries when it comes to mobile payment technology.

It's great to see that Ripple will play an active role in shaping this new industry organization.

Recode Podcast

Brad Garlinghouse book-ended his presentation last week to a group of central bankers with an appearance on a popular podcast by Kara Swisher, who covers a wide assortment of topics in Silicon Valley.  2

The broadcast started by giving Brad Garlinghouse ample time to go over his professional pedigree, which was fascinating in itself;  while I've read the textbook-style history of his resume, listening to both him and Kara Swisher tell stories from each of their 'early years' working with some early Internet companies was entertaining.

Later in the show, Brad Garlinghouse discussed the expected contemporary topics, including XRP, digital assets, correspondence banking, and some of the possibilities around how Ripple is improving payments.

Some of my favorite quotes from the one-hour podcast:

"A culture that encourages risks and tolerates failure, is, I think, a culture that will yield innovation."

"Bitcoin alone represents almost one percent of global power consumption."

"The population that is currently paying the cross-border remittance costs...  are the ones that can least afford it."

"We want to change the system by working with the system."

And on the topic of technology adoption inertia from some of the top banks:

"There's a small number of oligopoly, of what we call money-center banks.   They are the global banks that make money.   So Citibank made about $8 billion last year from other banks ...

...  Wells Fargo is not considered a tier one money-center bank ...  so it turns out, ninety-nine percent of banks love what we're doing, because we're democratizing something that's controlled by a small number of banks, their competitors.

Because they have the most equity they've pre-funded around the world.   Citi, Deutsche Bank, JPM, these are the big kind of money-center banks that other banks use."

I don't think I've ever heard Brad Garlinghouse talk in such an open manner about some of the challenges he faced in the early years working in Silicon Valley, including the famous 'Peanut-butter Manifesto' story.   In addition, his frank discussion of what Ripple is trying to accomplish in banking was engaging as well;  If you haven't heard it, I recommend giving it a 'listen.'

Coil News

Amazon Web Services (AWS) is sponsoring a series of events that are centered around their various 'Loft' locations where AWS stakeholders can meetup and discuss application-related topics with various industry experts.  3

One of these 'Loft' events was recently focused on blockchain, and involved a three-person panel that included Stefan Thomas, the CEO of Coil, and Thomas McLeod, the CEO of Omni;  both entrepreneurs have constructed businesses that 'run on XRP' in different ways.

Coil settles its micropayments to content providers in XRP, and Omni makes payments to their renters in XRP.

The event allowed each of the attendees to introduce themselves and provide background about the company(s) that they represent, and the discussion involved several heady topics such as the inclusion of un-banked populations and transaction cost and scalability:

Tom McLeod spoke about his company's integration of blockchain technology:

"One of the big things that we believe, just in general, is that 'access' is kind of the future, right?   And you've seen that in digital industries already, from your Netflix to Spotify;  a lot of the old-world industries that are doing things on the internet have already started to move to a payment system via a subscription and I think the next phase - even when you're looking at that - is you can start to see this type of thing happen in physical, too.

So maybe you subscribe to clothing or you subscribe to furniture or you subscribe to all these things.   It's ...  you've been doing it for years.   It's called renting or leasing.   This has already existed, and we think over time, the better way to do that, both on digital and in physical, will be these ideas around streaming.

So ...  the ability to make very small versions of it, that actually reconcile in real-time.

So, maybe you are renting a leaf-blower from Omni, from four to six on Friday from another person around the corner from you, the actual time you're using it could be streaming in the currency directly from your account to theirs, as opposed to having to rent for a (full) day for two hours."

Thomas McLeod also talked about tokenization of items, which, from his standpoint, is very much tied to rental of physical items.

Stefan Thomas linked together all three panelists by noting that each company represented was using Interledger, including Omni and Stronghold.   He also touched on why he feels it's important for him to help out with Mojaloop, which is the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's platform for mobile payments that was built to help include (currently) un-banked populations of the world in the global economic infrastructure:

"I get a lot of questions as to why we are involved in this project.   Mojaloop is a project to improve financial access in poorer countries.   (It) basically makes it possible for everyone to have access to digital financial services, and the reason that's important is because it is very expensive to use cash and you don't really think about that, but you know you have the risk of getting mugged; you have the risk that someone will take it from you; you have the risk that you lose it.

So digital financial services, by removing a lot of friction to give you access to a lot of benefits and then of course, you know, anything that's online ...  you can't use cash ...  so you need digital financial services to invest or participate in online commerce etc...

So one of the big things holding that back today is a lack of interoperability.

By creating interoperability, you ... create a certain competition and you open up the market and you reduce costs for merchants who no longer have to have multiple phones to support the multiple different payment options.   And ...  that's where the basic idea of Mojaloop comes from."

He went on to explain that blockchain technologies make it feasible financially to accomplish the objectives of inclusion, because the use cases involved may be too costly for banks and other providers to offer if done through legacy technology.

Thomas McLeod provided his frank commentary on how companies have tried to use buzzwords to raise money, and how he feels that Omni did not go down that path, but instead chose very specific use cases for integration and use of digital assets and tokenization.   The concept of 'real utility and problem-solving' using blockchain tech is starting to replace irrational exuberance in the cryptomarket, at least at the level of company investment.

One of the ideas that seems to have caught on recently - and has been talked about by the leading visionaries at Ripple, Coil, and Omni, is the idea of how real-time, streaming payments could usher in entire new business models and applications that will be difficult to predict.   Stefan Thomas offered his take on the topic:

"...  the idea that rather than ...  paying my rent monthly and getting my salary monthly where I then ...  get into liquidity issues if my rent gets charged a few days before my paycheck comes in ...  or I have to carefully budget so I don't spend too much and then come ...  rent day, I don't have enough money left ...  I think some of those could be solved by having those things sort of trickle in across the month so your paycheck just comes in every five minutes - or whatever - and your balance slowly goes up.

And your rent comes out every five minutes, and so anything in your account is pretty much yours to spend and you don't have to think about your budgeting over time anymore.

Is that a useful use case?   I don't know.   If you think it is, you should start a company ...

A lot of things fall into that category ...  when you lower the friction;  when you lower the cost of an individual transaction, by three, four, five orders of magnitude, you see the volume of transactions explode."

He then noted that now, even though we're not actually using our mobile devices, millions of messages are being transmitted across the Internet, due to the fact that the cost of these transmissions has approached near-zero.   He then stated that the same might be true of payments at some point;  that they won't be something that we consciously think about any longer.

The theme for the session was futuristic, but also centered on the interoperability that ILP provides, and how it facilitates the goals of all three of the companies represented on the panel.   If you're interested in any three of these companies or their potential use cases, this video is a must-watch.

AMA Session with Stefan Thomas

'AMA' stands for 'Ask Me Anything,' and occasionally, high-profile members of XRP's championing organizations conduct them to interface with community stakeholders in a direct and open fashion.

Brad Garlinghouse, David Schwartz, and others have conducted multiple AMA sessions over the years, providing an opportunity to hear from them on user-submitted topics.

On May 23rd, Stefan Thomas announced that he'd be participating in an AMA session on May 30th:

AMA Stefan Thomas

Some AMA sessions have been live-stream interviews, and some AMA sessions have taken the form of Quora responses, with a certain amount of time set aside by participants to answer written questions.   In this case, Stefan Thomas decided to use a subreddit known as 'r/IAmA,' which houses a huge diversity of fascinating AMAs by people in a variety of careers.

The subreddit has a whopping 19 million subscribers, placing it well above even the most popular crypto subreddits.

It was an insightful decision to post the AMA on this subreddit.

Thus far, Stefan Thomas tweeted about some basic questions that he might consider as part of the session:

Stefan Thomas Tweet

In addition to these, Reddit allows people to submit questions real-time, so I expect that many of us might be peppering him with a list of questions on May 30th.   No doubt many of them will pertain to the recent unveiling of the Coil content platform that goes along with its free web monetization tools.

Kava News

While we all knew that Kava was expanding scaling technology for digital assets, it was not clear what their next major accomplishment would entail.   But on May 23rd, the company made an announcement about a new service they're offering, whereby users can access liquidity to swap crypto from one crypto account to another:

Kava Switch Announcement

The service is called 'Switch,' and Kava is describing it as 'non-custodial,' since users do not 'send' them the actual cryptocurrency;  the entire platform is simply a way to use Interledger to stream payments from one crypto network to another.

The tweet led to a blog where they attempt to keep the complexity orderly if not high-level, and then link the reader to successively more challenging technical topics that describe the blockchain technology they're using to make their service work.

Kava indicated that the service is considered a 'beta' release.

In the blog, Kincaid O'Neil, a Software Engineer for Kava, described Switch this way:  4   5

"Switch sidesteps the problems of traditional DEXs by employing a novel solution:  streaming micropayments, which work by moving little bits of value piece-by-piece until an entire payment or trade is complete.

Streaming micropayments enable lightning-fast swaps, interoperability across blockchains, and complete self-custody of assets.

Load funds onto 'cards,' swap between them, and withdraw at your leisure.  Only you have access to these funds, even while trading!"

The graphic associated with this quote showed an intuitive concept;  a user transferring value from one of their private wallets, represented by a 'card,' to another of their private wallets, represented by a different card.

The team gets around custody of the crypto by utilizing the Interledger network to transfer value in very small amounts, until an entire payment has been sent from one network to another via ILP 'connectors.'

The fascinating thing is that they are starting out small (trades up to $20), and they indicate that the service will 'settle' the transaction, even though it uses off-chain processing.   They can make this claim because it's up to the connector operators to configure their settings correctly, to reflect the amount of risk and liquidity that they are willing to accept and provide.

Kincaid O'Neil was careful to remind the first adopters that it is 'beta' software, with all of the expected pitfalls that go along with that label:

"While we hope it’s all smooth streaming, as this is beta-quality software, issues may arise.  We’re rapidly iterating to make Switch more reliable, feature-complete, and secure.  If you encounter any bugs or unexpected behavior, we’d encourage you to submit an issue!

And for the latest updates from Kava, follow us on Twitter ~ we’d love to hear about your experience with Switch!"

My initial reaction was a guttural 'wow!" as I didn't expect this much progress so quickly from Kava's amazing team;  but they obviously have been busy, and not just with one off-chain processing solution.   They've integrated three of them with Interledger!

Kudos to the team at Kava, and I hope that Switch paves the way for amazing new financial services and ideas.   And congratulations to all Interledger stakeholders, as this development is truly an amazing leap forward for the entire family of ILP technology tools and capabilities.

XRP News

One of the most popular XRP fan sites in recent months is the one developed by Leonidas Hadjiloizou, called XRP Arcade.

XRP Arcade has an enormous breadth and depth of content about the XRP ecosystem of business stakeholders, exchanges, and tools.   If you're looking for comprehensive information about wallets, events, XRP markets, and a chronological listing of all the latest news affecting XRP, the site has a page that covers it.

On May 21st, Leonidas Hadjiloizou announced that he'd added a new tab to his fan site, titled 'Infographics,' which displays some fascinating statistics, lists, and charts about XRP price behavior, the RippleNet ecosystem of participants, as well as a cross-section of information about Ripple banking clients and money transfer companies:

XRP Arcade Infographics Tweet

If you haven't already taken a look at XRP Arcade, please do so;  it's a great resource for those looking to learn more about XRP and the businesses that champion its use.

PayWithXRP

If you've been on Twitter recently, you may have noticed a new fan account titled @PaywithXRP.   The account represents more than one person, and the small team has put together a site where businesses can voluntarily register that they 'accept' XRP as payment:

PayWithXRP Tweet

It's a convenient tool, and it allows businesses to list themselves in a central location, thereby advertising to the XRP Community as one.

And of course, those of us in the XRP Community will most likely do our part to use the services of businesses that support XRP;  it's one small way that we can help extend the growth of businesses that are open to the use of digital assets.

Here is the link to that central listing:  https://paywithxrp.io/

Keep Up To Date on XRP

Like XRP's real-time settlement speed, the news cycle in crypto moves fast;   with each passing day we're seeing more amazing progress in the materialization of the Internet of Value.

To keep up to date on the latest XRP news, remember to read some of the blogs on both the XRP Community Blog and on Coil!

xrp symbol Sources and Credits: Cover Art: Thank you to [Mr Cup / Fabien Barral](https://unsplash.com/iammrcup)
  1. https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/ripple-ceo-brad-garlinghouse-on-why-big-banks-should/id1011668648?i=1000438836143
  2. https://aws.amazon.com/start-ups/loft/?sc_channel=EL&sc_campaign=Event_2019_vid&sc_medium=YouTube&sc_content=video4680&sc_detail=STARTUPS&sc_country=US
  3. https://kava.io/team/
  4. https://medium.com/kava-labs/swap-btc-and-eth-in-seconds-keep-your-private-keys-private-554a76c0c574

biTRUE ..... BITRUE

bitrue

April 29, Bitrue reached out to me that they wanted to have a meeting in the Netherlands. They read my blog about the meetup in Amersfoort:

https://xrpcommunity.blog/xrp-community-meetup-amersfoort-nl-part-ii/

what....... as a fact is already .......PRETTY COOL.

To not jump in all the details, Bitrue decided to have the meetup at May 25th in the Beurs van Berlage in Amsterdam. And that is where the blog needs to start ........

Screenshot-2019-05-26-at-23.02.17

I decided to take the train....... parking in Amsterdam is interesting to say at the least:

Screenshot-2019-05-26-at-21.07.32

The X kind of gives it away and the 7.50 is PER HOUR ! ! !

I also had another engagement after the meetup, that required a designated driver, ...... so the train was my transportation going to Amsterdam ....

I have live in the Capital City of the Netherlands and it is always nice to come back...... the Train Station is magnificent.

Screenshot-2019-05-26-at-22.15.34

The station is 215 years old and looks magnificent, joy to start the day with. Beurs van Berlage is not more than a five minute walk and shows you a lot of beautiful things. Before ........ I start talking about the incredible history of the place Bitrue chose I will show you some pictures of the buildings on the way to the meetup place. Amsterdam is famous for the famous facades, that all differ..... and cheese, the Netherlands, is known about cheese!! (The middle picture ........ yes, those are cheeses in the window)!!

Screenshot-2019-05-26-at-22.04.58

So getting at the Beurs van Berlage. Also an old building ...... around 125 years old, but that is not the most interesting part of the building...... the most interesting the building is known for.... it's purpose ... it was designed to be the Dutch commodity exchange; it was a contest and architect Hendrik Petrus Berlage won. Years the commodity exchange sat in the building. The area still shows financial vehicle trading and the architecture is magnificent...

Screenshot-2019-05-26-at-22.47.21

And NOW Crypto Currency moved to the Building.... nice transition to Bitrue.

I entered the building together with Tom Kuster, and ran into Wietse and Ali. This already offered me the first dilemma; these three people were also in Amersfoort and it was too easy,....... to compare this meetup with the one in Amersfoort. I promised myself NOT to do this. I was introduced to Curis Wang, CEO of Bitrue and what a kind person this is... I was looking forward to this day.

The Plan: MEET the team of Bitrue, hear their story.... get some info from Wietse, always interesting and Q & A with Bitrue and the people at the meet. Between 40 and 50 people showed up, from a lot of different countries ... amazing. That was the first win for Bitrue, they probably did something right as a lot of people wanted to know who is Bitrue......... but had to wait a little bit as Wietse had the floor first ............

Started off with a great presentation, with a great first image that raised a lot of questions and not only in the room:
Screenshot-2019-05-26-at-23.11.36
So Xign, it made it to Twitter, to the Internet, but a lot of questions. Well,.... it is one of the projects taken upon by XRPL Labs. Wietse, Tristan (soccer player / golfer) ?!? and Ali are the magicians that are XRPL Labs.

So Xign, a Signing Platform..... Yes, ... a signing platform, not only a crypto wallet but a banking app that can be explained with 5 easy questions:

  1. Is it only for Crypto Geeks, no, NOT at all, it is an app that can be explained to your family, your mom knows how to use it!

  2. Is it for Crypto Tokes. Yes...... but not ONLY for crypto tokens, you are able to pay, so Euros, Dollars are also part of the app!

  3. Family seed and Mnemonic are part of the app, eh ........... you think that is easy... NO, not what I would think, neither do Wietse, Ali and Tristan, so ...... Secure Setup and User Friendly is what you get.

  4. Account addresses....... that are REALLY long are not part of Xign.... in this banking app you will be able to use Directories, Lookup and via the different Socials, you are able to send / receive transactions.....

  5. Only pushing (sending) transactions. Forget about THAT, if XRPL Labs wants to do something, they do it well: Push & Pull (send & request) !!!

Ehhhhhhh................. like .............. COOL

So how does it all work:

Screenshot-2019-05-26-at-23.59.44

If you want to look at it as a developer.... like we ALL would like it looks like this.

The first thing would be to sign requests. If you look at the ledger, you will see the transaction type, from what account the payment is made, with the according fee. With all that you need to fill out destination and destination tag with the amount. The flags..... well somebody knows what flags means,.. so it HAS a purpose!!!. You also want to fill out when the payment has to be made and the sequence, when it actually can be paid!

So ...... what does the End User (sender) see:

He/ She sees the account but the Destination is not known. The amount is also something that is not known.

So ...... what does the Developer / Beneficiary see

He/ She sees it the other way round. Knows the Destination Address and the amount, not the account where it comes from!!

Xign, makes it easier: Look at the following:

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-00.06.42

The Xign App will make it clear

Going from a Sign Request:
Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-00.10.28

and reviewing the transaction, to selecting an account and sending the developer / beneficiary a confirmation (a web hook):
Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-00.14.22

So What is Xign, if you still have questions, looking at this? A banking app, useable in many industries. It should give you awesome user experience, all you want to keep secret, stays secret, it is a very easy integration for developers and it is easy to use the XRPL/ ILP for payments.

Definitely another ground breaking tool coming from the hands of XRPL Labs

So............ the Bitrue meetup started off with a nice piece of information coming from Netherlands' own Wietse Wind.

Now it was time for Curis Wang, telling, sharing with us, who is:

WhatsApp-Image-2019-05-24-at-10.37.14-1

Curtis started of with where he was coming from and how it all started. He wanted to think big. The only industry that has been thriving through the years and has ALWAYS thrived is......... the BANKING industry.

So Banks have to Improve or they will be Replaced. So this is also where the Mission Statement comes from , to give more people equal access to financial services.

Still, why starting another Exchange, there are SOOOOO Many.

According to Curis:

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-00.33.27

(P&D stands for Pump & Dump). So he is not asking for listing fees, does not want to list Shit coins though. Bitrue has grown a lot and more people have found them.

The growth is part the amazing job of the XRP Community but I would also like to highlight the fact that Bitrue is Listening. 48 XRP Pairs were created after asking the Community what they wanted to see; something that is VERY important for Curis and his team: Listening to the Community. 48 Pairs and it does not stop there !!!

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-00.40.07

Customers really are the most important and was shared with us during the whole presentation. Critical questions arose as 12 hours / 24 hours customer care is very difficult. Acknowledgement is the first step, solving the second. Solving can in some cases not happen within 24 hours.

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-00.47.40

The a very important topic in Curis' presentation was the Bitrue Power Piggy ....Sustainable, what is it .... is it fake ..... is it a stunt......

None of the above ! ! ! !

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-00.55.22

Freezing Tokens/ Coins/ Crypto Currency to actually earn 7.3% interest; yes .... it is what Bitrue says and yes ..... it is what they GIVE.

It is marketing. As Bitrue is a young exchange, not well known everywhere, they want to get bigger and have a great marketing strategy. Whether this is sustainable or not needs to be seen, but so far so good. The freezing actually is not really freezing as you can take out your coins any time. There is a maximum, but they will also re-think that situation.

One more very important topic was the release of the Bitrue Coin (BTR). This will happen at the beginning of June

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-01.06.59

Bitrue wants to look for a decentralized banking landscape, where you can borrow and lend crypto (BTR) to the Crypto Market but also to the Traditional Market. Which will hopefully maximize returns. This can be explained in 4 words:

  1. Trade
  2. Move
  3. Earn
  4. Loan

Important to know, will this new coin be ERC20 (build on the Ethereum Blockchain) or will it be XRPL. build on the XRP Blockchain. Silence fell in the room and the answer was not the latter. At the moment Ripple does not have sufficient resources to assist Bitrue getting this on the XRPL. Wietse will help out where he can, but so far BTR will start as an ERC20 and will move to XRPL.

The presentation was amazing and was followed by a short break, followed by an AMA with the whole Bitrue team that came over:

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-01.14.31

Especially Iris (head of Marketing) answered a lot of questions that ranged from left to right. Esoteric Trading Solutions Suzy, all the way from Australia, had critical questions, but were all answered with amazing answers. Whether Bitrue has to have a trading pair with the future Facebook coin started a discussion that resulted in a pole immediately:

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-01.23.38

Let's see what Curis has for us.... wonder oh wonder ..... I believe you should say something like:

Be Careful what you wish for .......

After the discussions, the Bitrue team had some great snacks for us and the 40+ group kept on talking about all the things they just heard. Very interesting to talk about.

Screenshot-2019-05-27-at-01.29.36

Personally I think Bitrue has ambition, has potential, and has a good view of the current market... and the future market. They are different than what we have out there and I would definitely indulge you to take a look.

If you have any questions regarding Bitrue, I may be able to answer but the best way is just ask Bitrue on Twitter, they answer very quickly, within 12 / 24 hours. And if you speak to Iris..... tell her hi from XRPTwin

WhatsApp-Image-2019-05-26-at-21.20.03

Two more things:

I am independent, I did NOT get paid to write this as this colors my vision and my outcome on paper. I did not receive any XRP, BTR, not even Ripple. I am, once again, independent and write it positive , if I am positive and negative if I am negative.

Finally, I would like to thank Tom Kuster for showing me the inside of the Beurs van Berlage, although he did not want to, I want to thank Wietse for an incredible explanation what he and the XRPL Lab Team is working on, Curis and Iris and the Bitrue Team to make this an incredible meetup and your continuous XRP support.

Me...... being a member of the XRP Community, I would love to say we are proud having an exchange on our side, that is so pro XRP, so pro Ripple.

Thank you

BBVA: The experts' take on the challenges and opportunities of mass adoption of DLT

steven-lelham-342930-unsplash

While XRP investors and enthusiasts coming from backgrounds other than the financial sector have understood and identified the huge potential of DLT and the problems it aims to solve, some of us may still not be fully aware of the complexity and multiple dimensions of what such regulatory clarity entails.

It has been widely pinpointed by industry experts and key players that one of the main obstacles for the mass adoption of digital assets like XRP is the lack of regulatory clarity:

Regulatory clarity has a huge ability to drive digital asset and blockchain adoption.
-Brad Garlinghouse

While XRP investors and enthusiasts coming from backgrounds other than the financial sector have understood and identified the huge potential of DLT and the problems it aims to solve, some of us may still not be fully aware of the complexity and multiple dimensions of what such regulatory clarity entails.

Last month, a very insightful article that offers further detail on these challenges and the efforts needed to achieve a proper regulatory framework for Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) emerged in the website of one of the largest and most well established banks in Spain: BBVA.

This article places the spotlight on the inputs from José Manuel González-Páramo, BBVA's Head of Global Economics and Public Affairs in the Digital Currency Roundtable organized by the Institute of International Finance (IIF). Held on April 10th in Washington D.C., the roundtable brought together central bankers, regulators, tech experts and industry leaders to discuss different aspects regarding regulatory frameworks for digital assets.

The Six Challenges
In the framework of regulatory clarity, according to BBVA's text, González-Páramo pointed out six major challenges for blockchain technology to overcome:

  1. How to address anonymity, which is an inherent feature of cryptocurrencies and contributes to fraudulent and criminal activities. Initiatives like the recently enacted AMLD5, the European Union’s fifth directive relating to the prevention of money laundering, have begun to address this issue.

  2. Problems arising from the lack of a geographical region associated with distributed ledger technology implementations. Who is accountable if something goes wrong? In the case of intelligent or smart contracts, especially in international trade, there are additional factors to take into consideration. The parties signing the contract can be subject to different laws if they are in different regions. If a smart contract doesn’t work as expected, who is responsible and under which legal jurisdiction?

  3. How to assign a legal value to a blockchain-powered deal. Submitting a deed that conveys ownership or verifies the existence of an asset in a blockchain-enabled operation acts as concrete proof of both ownership and existence of said asset. Will the courts of a various countries accept the validity of this kind of document?

  4. Solving problems associated with data privacy and consumer protection in blockchain deployments. DLT is decentralized, which means data flows freely across borders, which could breach existing local regulation such as the right to be forgotten, as established by the European Union’s the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

  5. Recognition from regulators and banking supervisors of the legal validity of financial instruments issued using blockchain. France and Luxembourg have already approved laws addressing this issue, allowing securities to be issued by blockchain and recognizing their legal validity.

  6. Quantifying and classifying taxes and accounts associated with cryptocurrencies. In this case, it is critical from a prudential standpoint that these assets are recorded in the accounting ledgers. The Basel Committee on Banking Supervision is already working to address these issues.

The Opportunity
This is not the first time that BBVA, a founding member -alongside with Ripple and other key industry players- of the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) has expressed its interest in the use of this technology and also the vision of Ripple on the Internet Of Value:


BBVA's advocacy for a proper regulatory framework, along with the participation of other key players in the industry is instrumental. In the course of this, one of the key takeaways is González-Páramo's view on what is needed for DLT to thrive:

According to José Manuel González-Páramo, recent initiatives demonstrate that greater collaboration between regulators and banking supervisors and the private sector – including significant participation from the financial industry – will pave the way for the safe and profitable adoption of this technology on a mass scale.

Collaboration between the key players in the financial industry will enable safe and profitable adoption -of DLT-, on a mass scale. Perhaps it can be said louder, but not clearer.


References:
1.https://ripple.com/insights/blockchain-and-digital-asset-use-in-asean-ceo-brad-garlinghouse-in-convo-with-imfs-ross-leckow-at-singapore-fintech-festival/?ez_cid=CLIENT_ID(AMP_ECID_EZOIC)
2.https://www.bbva.com/en/bbva-joins-inatba-the-international-blockchain-alliance-promoted-by-the-ec/
3.https://www.iif.com/Portals/0/Files/Event Files/2019_IIF_Digital Currency Roundtable.pdf?ver=2019-04-05-101047-203&timestamp=1554473453505
4.https://www.iif.com/
5.https://inatba.org/
6.https://twitter.com/bbva/status/880436985202167809

Photography: Steven Lelham

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