With the meteoric rise of Bitcoin in 2017 to its all time high just shy of USD $20,000.00 in December, the spotlight has been cast onto many other Cryptocurrencies, from TRON to Ethereum, Salt to January’s poster child: Ripple.
It is to be noted that while I write this article, Ripple has dropped by around $0.70c in just a few hours, this is a considerable valuation change considering the price was hovering around $3.10 over the past few days after multiple climbs from late December. For those interested in why this has happened, it appears it is due to coinmarketcap.com removing Korean exchanges from the displayed price of Ripple.
Coinmarketcap’s decision to exclude Korean prices from the displayed XRP price made the price appear to drop, likely triggering some panic selling. Look closely at the data and don’t be mislead.
— David Schwartz (@JoelKatz) January 8, 2018
(Source: David Schwartz – Chief Cryptographer at Ripple)
What is Ripple?
Ripple, unlike Bitcoin, is a company, with three clear products, and their own cryptocurrency, also called Ripple, or XRP. These three products are:
xCurrent: For payment processing
xRapid: For low-cost liquidity
xVia: For sending Payments
Unlike Bitcoin, Dash, or Litecoin, when you are buying XRP, you are essentially investing in a business as well as a cryptocurrency. This is because Ripple intends on using XRP as a part of the xRapid service, but more of that later.
This is Ripple’s first successful product, its an incredibly elegant and impressive solution for global transactions which enables near-instant global transactions to take place between banks. This solution basically will allow a sender to know within seconds if their transaction has been processed as opposed to the current system using SWIFT, which takes days. In particular, I like the fact that you will know if a transaction has failed as opposed to waiting days, and then correcting the error, then waiting a few more days for it to go through. xCurrent also is able to integrate into the current banking systems which means that there are no major changes required to the infrastructure to implement the product. I previously worked for an international commodities company, and this sort of instantaneous transacting would have saved us massive amounts of money, not only in charges, forex and fees, but also on downtime due to waiting on deliveries from suppliers who are waiting on payments to reflect at their bank, its pretty easy to see the value in the product, and many banks have signed on to test it out in Q1 2018.
xRapid is where it gets interesting.
According to Ripple, xRapid is: “Built for enterprise use, XRP offers banks and payment providers a reliable, on-demand option to source liquidity for cross-border payments.”
To understand what that means, you need to understand how these payments are currently made. We just discussed how xCurrent can quickly transfer funds from one bank to another, and this would be suitable if you were sending funds from the U.S. to Germany, but what if you wanted to send funds from the U.S. to Uganda for example?
Quite often in emerging markets, a bank from outside that country would open what is called a Nostro account. A Nostro account is a bank account that is held by another bank in a foreign currency. So in the above example, if Bank of America wanted to transfer funds to Uganda, they would own a Nostro account in Uganda, which holds Uganda Shillings. This requires B.O.A. to have previously bought Ugandan Shillings and have it available in their account in order to send it to the receivers’ account in Uganda. This process adds time, risk and cost to the bank, which ultimately costs their client in the U.S.
xRapid solves this by allowing the sending bank to exchange their currency for XRP, and then exchanges XRP for the receivers currency.
This approach allows for on-demand liquidity (as opposed to having to pre-fund a Nostro account) and close to real-time transactions. This creates a revolutionary shift in finance in emerging markets for both local businesses and international businesses. Your average business in Uganda would now be able to easily sell their products internationally and be paid in realtime, and if you are a foreign investor, saving a massive amount in forex charges and fees, doing business in a country such as Uganda now becomes not only more attractive, but more practical.
When Ripple created XRP, they “mined” it themselves, and 100 Billion were created, of which 55 Billion are held in escrow for future use. This would be for selling to banks etc in order to use xRapid. The other 45 Billion are essentially available to the public for purchase, investment and trading. This is why I mentioned earlier that buying XRP is not only buying into a cryptocurrency, it is also buying into Ripple as a company. Their success will result in your success as an XRP buyer and investor because xRapid’s success or failure will directly correlate to the value of the XRP you’re holding on to.
xVia is a really cool product which is currently in the “Early Access” phase. This is a unique payments API which allows for payments into traditional (like banks) and non-traditional networks (like a XRP wallet). It allows for the addition of rich information, like invoices and also allows for transparency like the payment status to be available. As xVia is still in its infancy, we will explore it more as it develops and case studies become available.
Ripple is a very exciting company and altcoin and hopefully, this information has helped you make an informed decision about whether to invest or not.