Show us the emails, GaryAnother week, another bark in the dogfight between Ripple and the SEC – and this time it’s getting down to the nitty-gritty.
- The latest development has a lot to do with a speech made by SEC official William Hinman, where he declared Ethereum a non-security. If that’s the case, then why is Ripple getting treated (and punished) like one?
- Has Hinman forced the SEC’s hand? Potentially. The agency has tried to distance itself from the speech, but now the judge has demanded it pass over all emails and drafts from around that time. If any juicy details are found in the emails, it could prove the SEC acted inconsistently, which would be v bad for their case against Ripple.
- XRP lifted 2.8% on Tuesday after a rocky start to the week for crypto. On a broader scale, XRP has been in a downtrend since Sept 7, and something tells us this may not change until its beef with the SEC is cleared up. Over to you, US legal system.
Dealer’s choiceThe De-Fi market feels the heat with a footnote from the SEC, and Ripple’s just tryna catch some shade.
🔍 Key points:
- Another wave of trouble has swollen on the horizon for Ripple. The SEC’s latest proposal redefines ‘securities dealer’ to include automated market makers (AMM) and algorithm-based trading technology with more than $50m in total assets, potentially putting a few bruises on not just XRP, but the whole of De-Fi.
- The proposal is a bit of a problem for crypto more generally, but it could hurt Ripple’s ongoing dog fight with SEC chairman Gary Gensler over whether XRP is an unregistered security. Luckily for investors, the token pretty much shrugged its shoulders at the proposal, falling barely 0.2% on Tuesday.
- So it seems Gary could be dealing his blow – if a blow constitutes a footnote buried in the 200-page text. Some have called it a sneaky move on the SEC’s part – the proposal doesn’t actually explicitly mention De-Fi, but if it passed it could see many decentralized exchanges hit a wall of SEC registration requirements.
Illustration by TradingView
Ripples of joy after SEC 'win'The Ripple vs. SEC smackdown continues, and while we might not be close to a KO just yet, Ripple has just won a round.
🔍 Key points:
- Ripple’s XRP token went soaring 16% in intraday trading on Saturday to outperform the otherwise flat crypto market, before getting swept up in the negative sentiment and closing the day down over 2%.
- A judge voted in favor of Ripple’s “fair notice” argument. The SEC alleges Ripple’s execs carried out a $1.3bn unregistered securities offering with its XRP sales, but the company wants to argue that it didn't get reasonable notice that it had violated a law – the SEC tried to shoot down that defense, but a judge now says it’s a valid one.
- CEO Brad Garlinghouse called it “a huge win”. He noted that while he thinks the case against him personally should be over by now, he is now confident that all of the SEC’s claims against himself, XRP, and its execs will be dismissed; and expects the final court ruling to be here sooner rather than later.
Ripple flows into exchangesRipple Labs puts its token under selling pressure after locking up millions of XRP in escrow.
- Payments giant Ripple locked 800m XRP in escrow as part of a programmed schedule of withdrawals, 200m of which will be used to cover the blockchains operating expenses, and the rest to be moved to various exchanges.
- It has put pressure on the token, which is on its third day in the red as of Friday morning. The platform has made three transfers to the Bitstamp and Bittrex exchanges, and the spike in the XRP’s circulating supply is increasing selling pressure.
- Elsewhere, Ripple Labs is still navigating its landmark battle with the SEC. There is some good news on that front though, with the company expecting to have a final ruling by April. The result will have far-reaching consequences for the whole crypto industry, so keep your eyes peeled.
vjkombajn / Pixabay
Free the RippleRipple flashes signs of recovery after we get a perky update from its SEC battle.
- Its landmark court battle against the SEC is looking up. Specifically, it was reported that the documents the SEC was reviewing could actually be irrelevant to the case – you can see for yourself when the docs are released publicly later in Feb.
- The token rallied 21% on Monday for its fifth consecutive session in the green. It’s up 40% for February so far, more than making up for last month's 25% losses.
- It’s a big deal in cryptoland, whatever the outcome. A win for Ripple would likely mean louder calls for regulation, and a loss would mean that regulators had a case against a lot of the crypto market. Things seem to be heating up, so keep your eyes peeled.
Milad Fakurian / Unsplash
A buyback’s ripple effectRipple Labs' latest buyback fetches it a new valuation, but its SEC battle still has the fate of the company hanging in the balance.
- Ripple Labs has pulled in a $15bn valuation after announcing a private stock buy-back and boasting its best year to date in 2021. The stock jumped 5% in 24 hours, rebounding from 2022’s crypto sell off.
- Ripple’s in for another blowout year if its latest crypto report is anything to go by, which cites “consistent growth and maturation in conversation” around crypto.
- But that all depends on its ongoing court case with the SEC, which has been dangling over it like the sword of Damocles since 2020. It could lead to crazy fines for the company.
Linus Nylund / Unsplash
Courting the bullsRipple’s CEO is confident that the SEC’s splash is subsiding. Could we finally see smooth waters ahead?
- Brad Garlinghouse sees “good progress” in Ripple’s legal battle with the SEC, and expects the lawsuit to end by 2022.
- It just inked a new deal to create a stablecoin for the Island of Palau, adding to a slew of recent new partnerships that JP Morgan thinks will send the token soaring – but only if it wins its SEC suit.
- It’ll affect the whole crypto industry, but Dogecoin won’t be invited to the winning party if Garlinghouse can help it – he recently blasted its “inflationary dynamics” as bad for crypto.
Ripple shares the love with its new Liquidity HubXRP’s Ripple wants to help finance firms bring crypto trading to their customers. Because they’re nice like that.
- The Ripple Liquidity Hub will give firms access to a range of cryptos including Bitcoin (BTCUSD), Ethereum (ETHUSD), Litecoin (LTCUSD), Ethereum Classic (ETCUSD), Bitcoin Cash (BCHUSD)… and, of course, XRP.
- Its a turnkey solution that will leverage smart order routing to source digital assets at favorable prices from market makers, exchanges, and OTC desks, with no pre-funding required.
- The debut partner for the alpha version is CoinMe, the first licensed Bitcoin ATM provider in the U.S. with thousands of locations country-wide.
Ripple CEO thinks XRP should be on the podiumRipple CEO Brad Garlinghouse feels hard done by, arguing that the SEC is the only reason Ethereum was able to eclipse the XRP token as the worlds #2 crypto.
As Ripple and the Securities and Exchange Commission continue their war in the courtroom, CEO Brad Garlinghouse is airing some of his grievances against the regulator. At a conference in DC, Garlinghouse claimed that the SEC has given special treatment to Ethereum (ETHUSD) over the years and has treated Ripple unfairly. In December 2017, the XRP token was the most popular crypto by market cap, and apparently the fact that Ethereum (ETHUSD) has gotten the regulatory go ahead is the only reason that XRP was displaced. The CEO said:
Within the last few years, XRP was the second most valuable digital asset. As it became clear the SEC had given a hall pass to ETH, ETH obviously has kind of exploded and that clarity has helped.
XRP has since slipped down to seventh place on the list.
The SEC scores againRipple gets some bad news in its ongoing battle against the SEC after Judge Sarah Netburn extends its expert discovery deadline.
The Ripple vs SEC drama seems to be never-ending, and Judge Sarah Netburn just extended things after granting the SEC’s request to extend its expert delivery deadline, saying:
The additional time sought by the SEC will not affect the schedule to resolve this case. Rather, the additional time will allow both sides to complete the outstanding fact discovery and properly prepare for expert depositions.
The deadline has been moved to January 14, so the war won’t be coming to an end any time soon. XRP lost over 5% on Thursday.
XRP is top dog in the U.K.Ripple’s XRP might be down 42% from its April peak, but the currency has still managed to become the preferred digital asset in the U.K.
Popular trading platform eToro has just released a report which shows that Ripple’s XRP, which is currently the 6th largest crypto by market cap, has seen an increase in retail and institutional adoption recently and was the most popular crypto among the retail investors of the U.K in the third quarter. The period has seen a 105% increase in ownership on a year-on-year basis. Simon Peters, Crypto Market Analyst at eToro, said:
Whilst bitcoin holdings ‘only’ increased 2%, its year on year increase is 325%, which is a demonstration of how crypto assets have captured retail investors’ imaginations over the past 12 months and showing how they’re a vital component of many portfolios. XRP is similar – its growth quarter on quarter is just 4% but a lot of our investors are holding it. Some bought it way back in 2017, others more recently. There is a strong community of XRP supporters who believe in its long-term potential.
The token ended Thursday down 1.53%.
Aleks Marinkovic / Unsplash
Ripple continues to plan for the future despite the SECIts war with the SEC has yet to come to an end, with each side taking their knocks, but Ripple still continues to build its business and has just announced two new ventures. The first is a partnership with Nelnet Renewable Energy for a joint venture that will fund solar energy projects across the country to support the move to clean energy, which is a hot topic in the crypto world at the moment. The crypto firm has also joined forces with Qatar National Bank to enhance global cross-border payments, starting with Turkey but ultimately scaling into other markets.
Ripple has been in court with the SEC since January, and has spent the last 10 months piling the regulator under paperwork and continuing on with business as usual. Ripple holders are feeling optimistic about the result. Despite that, Ripple is down over 4% for the week so far.
Ripple makes a splash with NFTsRipple Labs first dipped its toes into the world of NFTs back in July, joining in on a $13 million funding round for NFT marketplace Mintable. Now the company is taking things up a notch to match the massive growth in the non-fungible market.
Ripple has just launched a new $250 million Creator Fund, which will work with Mintable and other partners, aiming to support developers that want to craft premium tokenized projects on the XRP ledger. These could be anything from from tradition art and collectibles to other more adventurous projects like interactive experiences. Monica Long, general manager of RippleX at Ripple, said:
While NFTs have opened the door for a tokenized future, actually navigating these concepts is a different ballgame for many. By starting with marketplaces and creators, our fund seeks to take the guesswork out of NFT projects to unlock unexplored tokenization use cases on the XRP Ledger. NFTs have the potential to accelerate new revenue streams and business models, while deepening creators’ relationships with the communities, people, and things they care about. Through our creator fund, we want to help bring new, high-profile creators and brands into the NFT space.
In the first half of this year, NFT sales volumes passed $2.5 billion, and continue to gain popularity around the world as people splash out more and more on the new digital tokens.
XRP prices fell below the $1 mark on September 20 and haven't recovered yet, largely due to Ripple's ongoing legal battle with the SEC.
Fakurian Design / Unsplash
Is XRP better than all the rest?As XRP moves to reclaim $1 after slipping below the mark last week, a Ripple board member throws shade at Bitcoin after the crypto market took a tumble on the back of speculation. Despite the company’s ongoing battle with the SEC regarding its digital currency, former U.S. Treasurer and XRP board member Rosie Rios still has faith that XRP can beat out Bitcoin.
XRP’s primary purpose is facilitating cross border payments while other #Cryptos find their value in speculation. China’s latest move brings this point home. I want to clarify, while Ripple is committed to the cross-border use case, developers globally everyday are pursuing other use cases, including store of value, medium of exchange, etc for multiple blockchains/cryptos.
People have since accused her of spreading biased information because of her affiliation to the coin, but only time will tell. Prices ended Tuesday down 3.16% amid a broader market sell-off.
Ripple partners up with BhutanRipple is partnering up with Bhutan to help the Asian state launch its own central bank digital currency (CBDC), and prices soar over 15%.
Ripple’s XRP got a boost on Wednesday from its new partnership with the The Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan, which is looking to pilot its own central bank digital currency (not unlike the one the Federal Reserve is currently considering) – and Ripple is using its tech to pilot the ledger they’re going to use. Popularity of the XRP ledger has soared this year, largely thanks to the fact that it is energy efficient, and its CBDC technology is reliable and cost-effective. Yangchen Tshogyel, deputy governor of the Royal Monetary Authority of Bhutan, said:
Our collaboration with Ripple is testament to the potential of CBDCs to provide an alternative and sustainable digital payment instrument in Bhutan. Ripple’s groundbreaking technology will allow for the experimentation of a CBDC with our existing payments infrastructure – while ensuring efficient and cost-effective cross-border transfers.
Ripple’s XRP jumped on the news, ending the day leading the crypto recovery with an increase of over 15%.
Faith in Ripple is risingJapan’s crypto exchange TaoTao decides to re-list XRP as the token earns back some faith following its SEC scandal.
Ripple’s XRP gets another win in Japan, where crypto exchange TaoTao is re-listing the token. Crypto exchanges around the world suspended trading on XRP when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) called it an “unregistered security”. However, ten months later, it seems like faith is beginning to get restored in some corners of the world. TaoTao said it is becoming more and more confident that Ripple will beat down the SEC’s claims, and the news comes not long after e-commerce giant Rakuten also resumed XRP trading – who knows what other exchanges could be inspired to do the same?
Pop and dropRipple’s XRP gets caught up in a game of Chinese whispers, and prices pop and drop 10% all in one morning Coinbase denies re-listing the token.
There was much excitement in the early hours of Friday morning as four XRP trading pairs seemed to appear on Coinbase’s (COIN) mobile trading app – the platform suspended in January amid its ongoing battle with the SEC, and the appearance got people excited that perhaps the popular crypto exchange was back on board. Prices shot up over 10% in mere minutes, but shortly after, Coinbase (COIN) ruined all the fun by denying the rumors, and prices quickly plummeted back down to below their opening price.
After making some impressive summer gains, XRP is still nursing its wounds from the crash that followed Bitcoin’s (BTCUSD) disastrous debut as a legal currency in El Salvador.
The XRP train gains momentumRipple’s XRP is picking up speed along with the rest of the alt-coin crew, and analysts see the digital asset reaching $3.
Ripple’s XRP took a hit from the crypto crash, but a recent alt-coin rally has seen the token lift over 160% since the market took a turn for the better on July 21. August saw the stock soar around 60%, and analysts see a $3 price tag in the future.
In other news, Ripple’s motion to reveal the personal holdings of SEC employees in its ongoing battle against the regulator has been denied on grounds of irrelevance.
One point to the SECIn a win for the SEC in its battle against Ripple and its executives, a judge has ordered the company to hand over masses of Slack messages.
Despite Ripple’s argument that the process would be too long and costly to consider, the SEC has been granted its motion to gain access to over 1 million Slack messages between Ripple employees. The digital asset company had already agreed to hand over the messages, but it turns out they left some fairly major stuff out and blamed it on a “technical error." Oops.
Ripple gets personalThe SEC battle rages on, and Ripple is getting personal with a request to expose the XRP holdings of specific Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) employees.
Ripple fights back at the SEC’s ongoing claims that it has been operating as an unregistered security with a request to expose the personal XRP holdings of specific SEC employees. The legal order says:
At all times from 2013 until at least January 19, 2018, SEC employees were free to buy, sell and hold XRP without any restriction by the SEC.
From a ripple to a tidal waveThe SEC vs Ripple drama has been dragged into U.S. courts, and the tidal wave of drama is showing no signs of pulling back – the SEC warns that the two sides are unlikely to reach a resolution for at least another several months.
In December 2020 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Ripple and two of its executives, alleging that XRP was not a cryptocurrency at all, but a $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering. The complaint said that Ripple’s XRP sales from 2013 to date were illegal, unregistered security offerings instead of the distribution of a digital token to build a payments network, as Ripple claimed. The SEC also named Ripple co-founder Christian Larsen and Chief Executive Officer Bradley Garlinghouse as co-defendants in the alleged crime, saying the CEO:
sold over 357 million XRP he had received from Ripple to public investors in the market, generating approximately US$159 million USD from those sales.
Ripple is the company behind the XRP token, which is mainly known for its digital payment network and protocol. It’s managed to set itself apart from other popular digital tokens by working directly with the established financial services sector, and a lot of major banks now use the payment system. The drama hasn’t stopped XRP from surging over 490% this year alone, keeping its spot as a top 10 cryptocurrency with a market cap of just under $59 billion.
The court case is currently stalled on Slack messages – the SEC has filed a motion to get access to Slack messages from 22 Ripple employees. Slack, unsurprisingly, isn’t super willing to hand over the details, and numerous regulators and market participants are waiting with bated breath to see the outcome, which has the potential to set a drastic precedent and turn the crypto world on its head. While nobody can seem to agree on whether the SEC has a strong case against Ripple, everyone seems to agree that this case highlights the clear lack of regulatory process around an asset class that has now been around for over a decade. It looks everyone will be waiting a bit longer though, and the SEC warns that it’ll be another few months at least until anything is resolved:
In sum, there is no realistic prospect that the parties will fully resolve this case for several months, if not longer.
Tingey Injury Law Firm / Unplash
Ripple gets caught in the riptideThe crypto market tipped $2 trillion over the weekend, but a market-wide pull-back drags Ripple’s XRP down just under 18% in two days.
Ripple’s XRP coin has been along for the crypto comeback joyride, lifting 65% last week, but as the market pulls back across the board following its exciting weekend, XRP loses just under 18% in the first two days of this week. After peaking at $1.34999 on Saturday, prices closed down at $1.09782 on Tuesday.
Pawel Сzerwinsk / Unsplash
Binance gets roped into the SEC dramaThe ongoing drama between the SEC and Ripple Labs gets more convoluted by the day. Now things are going international and crypto exchange Binance is roped in to try and fend off SEC claims. Ripple lifts 2% on Monday, then drops back 3.5% on Tuesday.
The long-running SEC-Ripple battle doesn't show any signs of coming to an end, despite the numerous regulators and market participants waiting with bated breath to see the outcome, which has the potential to set a drastic precedent and turn the crypto world on its head. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and his lawyers took things international this week by filing a request to obtain documents from the Cayman Islands-based crypto exchange platform Binance.
In December 2020 the SEC filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Ripple and two of its executives, alleging that XRP was not a cryptocurrency at all, but a $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering. The complaint said that Ripple’s XRP sales from 2013 to date were illegal, unregistered security offerings instead of the distribution of a digital token to build a payments network, as Ripple claimed.
Lawyers representing the CEO are now arguing that the offerings the SEC objected to did not happen in the U.S., and therefore cannot be subject to the law being invoked by the SEC. As one of the international exchanges that offered XRP, Binance is being pulled in to prove the theory.
As the SEC knows, Mr. Garlinghouse’s sales of XRP were overwhelmingly made on digital asset trading platforms outside of the United States (…) the discovery that Mr. Garlinghouse seeks will be relevant to demonstrating that the offers and sales that the SEC challenges did not occur in this country and are not subject to the law that the SEC has invoked in this case. Mr. Garlinghouse seeks foreign discovery on the basis of his good faith belief that (Binance Holdings Limited) possesses unique documents and information concerning this case, and specifically, concerning the process by which transactions in XRP allegedly conducted by Mr. Garlinghouse on foreign digital asset trading platforms were conducted,
said the filing.
Binance will likely have to comply, given that government institutions and the Hague Convention are involved. Ripple closed Monday up 2% but has since succumbed to another decline.
Ripple brings in an opposing team memberAs its war with the SEC rages on, Ripple brings in a member of the other side to testify. The deposition of the former SEC Director of Corporation Finance takes place this week, but unlike many of the other hearings in the case, it’s a private affair.
In late June, Ripple came back at the SEC and its claims of unregistered offerings by requesting to bring in the former head of the SEC Division of Corporate Finance, William Hinman, to testify. Attorneys argue that the former official has:
unique first-hand knowledge about the SEC’s communications with third parties and about the agency’s adoption or approval of his well-publicized speech in 2018 about the regulatory treatment of cryptocurrencies.
Hinman famously said in 2018 at the ‘Yahoo Finance All Markets Summit: Crypto’ event that Bitcoin (BTCUSD) and Ether (ETHUSD) were not securities – one of Ripple’s key arguments against the SEC is that XRP is similar enough to Bitcoin (BTCUSD) and Ether (ETHUSD) to not be considered a security either, which takes apart the SEC’s claims the firm sold XRP as an unregistered security. The thinking is that talking with Hinman would back up Ripple’s case. The government body fought back hard against the request, but on July 16 the court granted permission for the testimony, which happened today (July 27). Internal SEC communications on Bitcoin (BTCUSD), Ethereum (ETHUSD) and XRP have become an area of contention in the court case, so the government body isn't eager to have one of its top dogs spilling secrets under oath.
Unfortunately, the deposition wasn’t made public, so no clues yet as to what the outcome will be. Ripple lifted 3% on Tuesday so it looks like the market, at least, is optimistic.
Fakurian Design / Unsplash
The B Word bumps up the broader crypto marketCathie Wood’s ‘The B Word Conference’ takes the crypto market from crash to comeback, with most large cap cryptos popping into the green after weeks in the doldrums as tech billionaires weighed in on the crypto world. Ripple lifts over 8%.
Shares of Ripple, along with the broader crypto market, finally got a boost out of the doldrums from Cathie Wood’s ‘The B Word Conference’, which saw Elon Musk, Twitter’s (TWTR) Jack Dorsey, and star stock-picker and founder of ARK Invest Cathie Woods gather to talk about Bitcoin (BTCUSD) and the world of crypto. Talk about an all-star line-up. The tech billionaire pair teed up the debate through a banter-filled Twitter exchange (classic) at the end of June, and the hype has been off the hook.
All large cap cryptos got a boost from the event, with Ethereum (ETHUSD) lifting 11.7% by the end of the day after Musk admitted to having his own personal stash of the currency, Bitcoin (BTCUSD) bounced back over $30,000 after hints that Tesla (TSLA) might take back the token, and joke currency Dogecoin (DOGEUSD) went soaring 11%.
Ripple lifted 8% to close at $0.04346. Could this be the beginning of a crypto comeback?
Illustration by TradingView
A big win for XRPA public loss for the SEC, but a victory for XRP holders – Ripple gets another win as a judge stops the SEC from accessing XRP legal records, and the token shoots up over 15%.
It might be the big dogs like Ether and Bitcoin (and, er, Doge) that get the big headlines, but XRP has been steadily making a name for itself since it was created back in 2012, and it’s already one of the biggest cryptos by market capitalization. Ripple is the company behind the XRP token, which is mainly known for its digital payment network and protocol. It’s managed to set itself apart from other popular digital tokens like Bitcoin and Litecoin by working directly with the established financial services sector, and a lot of major banks now use the payment system. It’s also been able to provide a better service – Bitcoin transaction confirmation can take a couple of minutes, but XRP gets the job done in just seconds at (in theory) a lower cost.
Despite its ambitious path, however, Ripple has been plagued with legal troubles with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) – though that’s not stopped XRP from surging over 150% in value this year alone. In December 2020 the SEC filed a multi-billion dollar lawsuit against Ripple and two of its executives alleging that XRP was a $1.3 billion unregistered securities offering. The complaint said that Ripple’s XRP sales from 2013 to date were illegal, unregistered security offerings instead of the distribution of a digital token to build a payments network as they claimed.
But in the latest twist, as battle rages on, the SEC has been denied access to Ripple’s legal records, where they were hoping to find proof that Ripple was made aware the sale of XRP was illegal.
It’s a big win for Ripple, and has garnered some major excitement. Not too long ago, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said that the company (which is a majority shareholder in XRP) would be looking to go public as soon as the legal drama was over – and this could be a strong step in that direction. Watch this space, folks.
Ripple floats ‘going public’ as lawsuits appears to stall in their favourRipple CEO Brad Garlinghouseeffectively confirms the company’s plans to go public as the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) case begins to lose momentum.
Sometimes the law works in your favor. And, other times…
The end of May delivered a blow for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in their attempts to take Ripple to court.
Ripple was given access to the SEC’s internal communications under discovery. This was in an attempt by Ripple to find SEC documentation that would confirm the fact that, at one point, XRP was classed in a similar way to Ethereum and Bitcoin.
The gambit was described as a “high stakes” win and was bolstered the same day by Ripple’s CTO David Schwartz appearing on CoinDesk TV and allaying fears about Ripple, by pointing out that… the platform basically couldn’t be stopped:
The market caps of these systems are in the billions of dollars. People acting in their own self-interest are not going to allow the ecosystem to die if there’s a way to save it. That’s all that’s holding these systems together. The governing bodies don’t have any legal authority to control these systems. You have to think that people will be able to come together enough to fix it.
The month closed with Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse effectively confirming Ripple’s plans to go public once the SEC suit had been resolved.
All of this disruption saw XRP fall from a high of $1.59 on May 18 to $0.76 on May 23, before rallying on $0.99 on May 27.
Egypt’s largest bank joins the RippleNetAnother victory for Ripple as the National Bank of Egypt (NBE) joins the RippleNet to facilitate cross-border payments in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) remittance corridor.
Once again, the RippleNet secured a new customer in the form of the National Bank of Egypt (NBE). Their goal? Supporting the United Arab Emirate’s (UAE) lucrative remittance market.
This was a major professional move in a country that had only recently lifted a series of restrictions around cryptocurrency that had been in place since September 2020. This was accomplished in partnership with Lulu International Exchange, a remittance and payment centre provider that launched in 2009 and specialised in supporting foreign exchange.
The UAE provided a steady stream of remittances through individuals sending money to friends and family. Ripple integration was judged to support, streamline, and modernise this process. In this situation, the partnership between the three providers allowed for greater oversight, security, and efficiency alongside lowering costs.
This collaborative approach was something the LuLu financial group’s managing director Adeeb Ahamed confirmed:
Our partnership with Ripple and NBE reaffirms our commitment to enhance the payments ecosystem of the MENA (Middle East and North Africa) region through meaningful collaboration and suitable adoption of technology. By unlocking the full potential of the UAE-Egypt corridor, the partnership will help deliver a reliable, seamless and accessible cross-border payments solution for the Egyptian community and businesses in the UAE.
Unfortunately, this good news didn’t do much to support the value of XRP which was in freefall – starting at $1.59 on May 18, hitting $1.27 on May 19 and bottoming out on May 23 at $0.76, marking a loss of 52% across five days.
XRP surges as the Ripple army growsRipple’s XRP leaps in value despite dealing with ongoing litigation over the SEC’s securities suit.
Despite dealing with ongoing legal scrutiny, cancelled partnerships, and opportunistic lawsuits …XRP wasn’t doing too badly, all things considered.
April saw an explosion in value for XRP that began on April 1 when XRP sat at $0.57 before jumping to $1.09 on April 6 – marking an 91% increase in under a week.
The price reached a peak on April 16 at $1.61 before fluctuating and finishing out the month at $1.55 per token – achieving a two month high and the seventh largest crypto by market cap.
CoinDesk’s “The Hash” panel believed it to be the work of the XRP army.
Despite CEO Brad Garlinghouse’s attempts to position XRP as a ‘neutral’ party in the crypto space, the token had its own advocate, with the self-styled XRP army even protesting outside the SEC. CoinDesk’s Benjamin Powers said:
XRP stans, saying ‘Fight the FUD’. They are still trading. And I do think it gets back to this conversation about tribalism about crypto. People have their camps and they rep them hard. We’ve seen other crypto go through a legal morass – what’s a security, what’s now. This was an incredible example of that…but I think it shows that people will not get off some hills and will die on them if need be.
While it remained to be seen if the SEC’s perceived ‘overreach’ would be used against them by motivated international audiences, April 12 saw the coin sitting at a healthy $1.3800.
MoneyGram and Ripple officially call it quitsMoneyGram and Ripple break off their partnership due to legal pressure from the SEC.
March saw MoneyGram and Ripple split in a classic case of “It’s not you, it’s me”, where ‘me’ actually meant the US Securities and Exchange Commission.
After partnering in 2019, Ripple supported MoneyGram’s remittance network. However the December filing of the SEC’s securities suit cast a shadow over Ripple’s actions, opening it up to legal action from Tetragon, with MoneyGram releasing a detailed statement that appeared to insulate itself from harm.
MoneyGram then actively ‘stepped back’ from the partnership in February.
However, things reached breaking point after MoneyGram was served with a class-action lawsuit on March 1 over allegedly false statement made about XRP.
This culminated in Ripple’s official statement on March 8 confirming that the partnership has been dissolved. That, like all great flames, carried hopes of rekindling. Team Ripple said:
We are proud of the work we were able to accomplish in a short amount of time, as well as the impact we were able to achieve in bringing this first-of-its-kind product to market. Together, we processed billions of dollars through RippleNet and On-Demand Liquidity (ODL). We are both committed to revisiting our relationship in the future. We still believe in the promise of digital assets and blockchain technology to change the status quo in global payments for the benefit of billions of consumers around the world.
Once again, the bad news did little to affect the price of XRP which remained relatively healthy at $0.47 on March 10.
Ripple settles YouTube suitRipple finally settles with YouTube over the XRP phishing scam suit.
With a reported $15,000 of XRP reportedly stolen in a single scam, it was positive news when Ripple announced it had resolved its ongoing lawsuit with YouTube.
The suit was originally filed in April 2020 and aimed to address the scams that were using Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse’s image in order to dupe individuals into sending currency to scammers. This was seen to damage Ripple’s professional image and to perpetuate a pattern of social media platforms failing to actively resolve scams on their platforms.
Garlinghouse made the announcement over Twitter. He confirmed that the companies had come to a resolution, but there were still issues around policing scams and impersonation on the platform:
Social platforms are starting to acknowledge their role in allowing crypto scams to persist and recognize the need to be part of the solution. Some like @xrpforensics are helping detect/track stolen funds, but platforms need to lead the charge or it’s still just whack-a-mole. While specific settlement terms are confidential here, it’s clear to all that without accountability and action, trust erodes in this industry, at a crucial time when govts around the world are looking closely at crypto.
The announcement did little to affect the price of XRP which sat at $0.48.
Alexander Shatov / Unsplash
Ripple wins first victory in Tetragon suitRipple secures an early victory as the courts determines that Tetragon has no basis to reclaim its $175 million investment.
March finally gave Ripple something to celebrate. Well, legally anyway.
After filing suit in January, March saw the courts reject Tetragon investment’s attempt to reclaim their $175 million investment.
This followed an earlier attempt by the group to sue Ripple after the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed charges alleging that XRP was a security.
This time, the legal requests took the form of a preliminary injunction and would have effectively forced Ripple to freeze its liquid assets until the deal had been settled. Thankfully for Ripple, the ruling from the Delaware Chancery Court meant the company was in the clear for the time being.
The decision was quickly reached by the presiding judge who followed the same line of logic as the SEC’s filing and queried XRP’s status as a security. Vice Chancellor of the Court of Chancery, Morgan T. Zurn detailed:
But XRP is no more a security after the SEC filed the enforcement action than it was before it… The enforcement action, by contrast, asks that question. The question is not yet resolved, so a "determination" has not yet been made; and when it is made, it will be made by the District Court.
Ripple used this rejection as grist to bolster its ongoing SEC case in the most Ripple way possible:
Let’s call Tetragon’s lawsuit what it is: an opportunistic move to take advantage of the SEC’s allegations. What has always been clear (and made so even more today) is that the SEC still has to try to prove their case in Court; which we do not believe they will be able to do. As our lawyers have said publicly, the SEC is “dead wrong!”
This legal grappling did little to affect the price of XRP which remained steady at $0.46 on March 6.
Illustration by TradingView
MoneyGram suspends Ripple relationshipThe SEC’s impending lawsuit causes more damage as MoneyGram puts the brakes on its work with Ripple.
February marked another blow to Ripple as the Securities and Exchange Commissions (SEC) lawsuit hung over the company’s head.
The latest damage came courtesy of Ripple’s former partners at MoneyGram who were suspending their pact as a direct result of the suit.
The relationship first began in June 2019 when Ripple entered into a two-year partnership that made the company MoneyGram’s key partner for cross border payments and involved a $50 capital investment from Ripple. This was of significant benefit to MoneyGram, which was able to leverage RippleNet’s capacity for instant payments to streamline its operations and use On Demand Liquidity (ODL) to help free up internal resources.
However, it all came to a grinding halt when MoneyGram released its Q1 2021 outlook, which contained the following paragraph:
The Company is not planning for any benefit from Ripple market development fees in the first quarter. Due to the uncertainty concerning their ongoing litigation with the SEC, the Company has suspended trading on Ripple's platform. In the first quarter of 2020, the Company realized a net expense benefit of $12.1 million from Ripple market development fees.
This was a significant blow to Ripple as the company produced its own response claiming that the lawsuit had “muddied the waters” around its work and accused US markets of reacting conservatively.
Despite this, February saw significant improvement for XRP which hit $0.58 on the day of the announcement, marking a 142% increase since January 1 with a value of $0.24.
Ripple partners bKash and Mobile MoneyRipple’s latest alliances allow for wallet-to-wallet remittances and access to 45 million new users.
After a month of legal action and solid scrutiny, Ripple needed a win.
Thankfully, Mobile Money handed it one.
The Malaysia based logbook loan company partnered with bKash, a Bangladesh based mobile financial services provider with a customer base of 45 million at the time of the deal.
The partnership with RippleNet allowed the two companies to serve remittances between Malaysia and Bangladesh, while using Ripple’s infrastructure to facilitate transactions.
This was a significant acquisition for Ripple as Malaysia was ranked as a top five source of remittances for Bangladesh. The expanded functionality of the RippleNet platform was also a benefit for the new clients and users, with the ability to offer bi-directional messaging, improved liquidity management, credit lines and more.
The key feature was the addition of wall-to-wallet remittances through Mutual Trust Bank (MTB) which allowed for a streamlined payment experience. Mutual Trist Bank’s managing director and CEO Syed Mahbubur Rahman said:
We look forward to enabling wallet-to-wallet remittances from Malaysia to Bangladesh in real-time by partnering with bKash and Ripple. Last year, Bangladesh remittances reached an all-time high of $18.2 billion with the majority of these remittances coming from Malaysia, Middle Eastern countries and the US.
While the news was another long-term win for Ripple’s infrastructure, the decision did little to shift the price of XRP which sat at $0.30.
Illustration by TradingView
Tetragon files suit against RippleOne of Ripple’s biggest backers sues to redeem stock following on from SEC accusations that Ripple is a security.
First the markets come for you, then it’s the investors.
Following the Securities and Exchange Commission’s December 22 lawsuit, the value of XRP plummeted, dropping from $0.46 on December 22 to $0.22 on December 31, marking a drop of 52%.
But it turns out, Ripple wasn’t through the worst of it yet.
The start of the year saw Tetragon Financial Group filed a suit against Ripple, which specifically named the SEC’s Wells notice and the December enforcement action in its decision.
Tetragon was previously involved in a December 2019 Series C funding round where Ripple accumulated $200 million.
Now it seemed that Tetragon wanted some of that money back.
The filing saw Ripple take a more judicious tone than it had with the SEC. The statement from Team Ripple said:
In Ripple’s Series C investment agreement, there is a provision that if XRP is deemed to be a security on a go forward basis, then Tetragon has the option of having Ripple redeem their Ripple equity. Since there has been no such determination, this lawsuit has no merit. We are disappointed that Tetragon is seeking to unfairly take advantage of the lack of regulatory clarity here in the US. The courts will provide this clarity and we are very confident in our position.
Despite these actions, the price of XRP actually began to slowly recover across the period, starting at $0.24 on January 1 and dipping to $0.23 on the day of filing before rising to $0.32 on January 7.
Coinbase suspends XRPThe Coinbase exchange slams the brakes on trading XRP as the SEC’s securities suit continues to cast its shadow.
It seemed that the news of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) forthcoming securities suit finally pushed exchanges too far.
Following the announcement, Coinbase confirmed that it would stop trading XRP on January 19 on the site’s official blog.
Aside from not wanting the negative press or being embroiled in the fallout from the suit, Coinbase’s decision was judged to have been made to avoid excess paperwork from its aims of ‘going public’.
The article clarified that customers would not have the XRP in their wallets affected, they did highlight the importance of regulations and trust, as Paul Grewal, Coinbase’s chief legal officer clarified:
We strive to provide our customers with access to a broad set of assets, all of which are evaluated against our Digital Asset Framework to assess factors like security, compliance, and the project’s alignment with our mission of creating an open financial system for the world. We take seriously any decision to change our customers’ access to one of those assets.
Before the suit was publicised, XRP hit year-long highs of $0.67 per token on November 24. However, the end of the year saw XRP slam to earth at $0.22 per token – representing a 67% loss in just over a month.
SEC sues Ripple for illegal security offeringThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) pulls the trigger on a lawsuit targeting Ripple for illegal securities sales of $1.3 billion.
Merry Christmas, we’ll see you in court!
Like one of those gifts you remember forever, the end of December finally saw the Securities and Exchange commission file a lawsuit - targeting Ripple, its CEO, and chairman for selling securities to the tune of $1.3 billion.
The SEC set out the full details of the suit in a detailed press release. This labelled Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and chairman Chris Larsen as beneficiaries of the activities and were responsible for unregistered sales of XRP.
The SEC’s director of enforcement Stephanie Avakian clarified this point further:
We allege that Ripple, Larsen, and Garlinghouse failed to register their ongoing offer and sale of billions of XRP to retail investors, which deprived potential purchasers of adequate disclosures about XRP and Ripple's business and other important long-standing protections that are fundamental to our robust public market system.
Of course, Ripple had something to add. Garlinghouse said in an interview with CNN:
The SEC is fundamentally wrong as a matter of law and fact. The SEC has permitted XRP to function as a currency for over eight years, and we question the motivation for bringing this action just days before the change in administration.
In response, Ripple released one final statement before the end of the year, addressing concerns and clarifying their position about the SEC’s “unproven allegations.”
However, the damage had been done as XRP slam to earth at $0.22 per token, a far cry from the year’s peak of $0.67 on November 24.
Ripple’s CEO begins war of words as the SEC prepares to sueThe Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prepares to undertake enforcement action as the value of XRP begins to drop.
In what would be a contender for the worst Christmas present ever, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) prepared to take Ripple to court over its status as a security on December 22 2020.
While the SEC made no official moves, a string of messaging through Ripple’s social accounts and press releases followed the company as it tried to get ahead of the story and sling a little mud.
Foremost was Brad Garlinghouse’s official Twitter account where was the Ripple CEO was forthright in setting out his perspective:
Today, the SEC voted to attack crypto. Chairman Jay Clayton – in his final act – is picking winners and trying to limit US innovation in the crypto industry to BTC and ETH. We know crypto and blockchain technologies aren’t going anywhere. Ripple has and will continue to use XRP because it is the best digital asset for payments – speed, cost, scalability and energy efficiency. It’s traded on 200+ exchanges globally and will continue to thrive. The SEC – out of step with other G20 countries & the rest of the US govt – should not be able to cherry-pick what innovation looks like (especially when their decision directly benefits China). Make no mistake, we are ready to fight and win - this battle is just beginning.
This bolshy attitude did little to convince investors, with XRP dropping from heights of $0.50 per coin on December 16 to $0.46 on the day of Garlinghouse’s announcements.
Ripple entertains London move over XRP regulation issuesContinued debate about XRP’s status as a security leads Ripple to consider relocating to the City of London.
If at first you don’t succeed…move somewhere with looser financial regulations.
An October interview with CNBC had Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse openly discuss a potential move for the $10 billion fintech company.
Describing the US as “out of sync” with the modern cryptocurrency market, Garlinghouse flirted with the idea of moving Ripple to another regulatory environment:
What you see in the UK is a clear taxonomy, and the UK’s FCA took a leadership role in characterizing how we should think about these different assets and their use cases. The outcome of that was clarity that XRP is not a security and is used as a currency. With that clarity, it would be advantageous for Ripple to operate in the UK.
The thinly veiled threat also saw the CEO list locations like Switzerland, Singapore, Japan, and the UAE.
The contention was due to the ongoing legal battles over a securities lawsuit, creating a war of words over the nature of RippleNet’s XRP crypto tokens. Despite owning 55 billion out of the 100 billion pre-mined tokens, Ripple has repeatedly maintained that XRP and the Ripple platform are sufficiently decentralised.
Though the Securities and Exchange Commission certainly felt differently.
The announcement did little to affect the price of XRP which remained fairly constant throughout the month, hitting $0.26 on October 23.
Ripple advances ambitious sustainability agendaRipple commits to carbon neutrality by 2030 in new sustainability agenda.
While crypto was seen by many to contribute to global warming, Ripple decided to make a difference.
In an official announcement on the company’s website, Ripple committed to carbon neutrality by 2030, making it the first business in the blockchain industry to make such a public announcement.
While the company did not provide concrete dates or a detailed agenda, Ripple did agree three key goals for its ambitious 2030 target.
- Measuring its carbon footprint and taking active steps to reduce it. This saw the company commit to buy clean, renewable energy to power its offices in locations where it had a physical presence.
- Fund carbon removal technology, which could potentially be facilitated and funded through Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI)
- Continue to support UBRI and continue to form relationships with other research initiatives and academic institutions.
The importance of this was underlined by Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse:
While the mainstream adoption of blockchain and crypto is encouraging, we must constantly evaluate how we innovate to ensure the future of global finance is sustainable. As digital payments continue to evolve, we need to make long-term systemic shifts as an industry to ensure digital transformation doesn’t come at the cost of our planet. We are leading this change and urging all crypto players to hold themselves accountable–monitoring their energy consumption to make greener choices.
These commitments continued to see XRP plateau at $0.24.
Ripple declared “not a security” by former CFTC chairRipple picks up some support in the long-running securities debate.
When the former Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC) has your back in a legal argument, you can’t help but feel a little better.
Adding another wrinkle to the legal debate surrounding XRP’s status as a security, Chris Giancarlo’s words were a balm to Ripple in the wake of their ongoing legal troubles.
Giancarlo was the former head of the Commodity Futures and Trading Commission (CFTC). The CFTC was established in 1974 and was responsible for the regulation of futures and options markets, with the rise of cryptocurrencies placing increased regulatory importance upon the commission.
Giancarlo was appointed to the role of CFTC commissioner under the Obama administration and served as CFTC chair under the Trump administration. He was eventually confirmed as full-time chair on August 3, 2017 and stepped down following the confirmation of his successor on June 5, 2019. He then took a role as senior counsel with the law firm Wilkie, Farr & Gallagher.
This led to him co-authoring and publishing “Cryptocurrencies and US Securities Laws: Beyond Bitcoin and Ether” that methodically picked apart The Howey Test that defined what was or what was not a security. Giancarlo and Bahlke argue in the paper:
Ultimately, under a fair application of the Howey test and the SEC’s presently expanding analysis, XRP should not be regulated as a security, but instead considered a currency or a medium of exchange. The increased adoption of XRP as a medium of exchange and a form of payment in recent years, both by consumers and in the business-to-business setting, further underscores the utility of XRP as a bona fide fiat substitute.
So far so good. But some drew attention to a footnote at the end of the article, noting:
Wilkie is counsel to Ripple on certain matter and relied on certain factual information provided by Ripple in preparation of the article.
Despite raising questions about the provenance of the article, The month of June saw XRP remain mostly stable, coming in at $0.19, failing to match February 14’s high of $0.33 per token.
Jernej Furman / Flickr
Ripple launches new cloud based platformRipple embraces the cloud and launches RippleNet Cloud, allowing access to the company’s platform without the need for specific hardware.
There’s no better time to be disruptive than after a period of mass disruption.
The start of the Covid 19 pandemic coincided with the release of the RippleNet cloud, an extension for the RippleNet platform that streamlined the setup of Ripple and removes hardware configurations from the implementation process. This was claimed to save customers five weeks on initial setup and deploy Ripple’s On Demand Liquidity.
Amrir Sanghi, Ripple’s vice president of product, was keen to highlight the change in the sector that made RippleNet more attractive than ever before:
The world as we know it is unrecognizable, but with this unexpected change comes the opportunity to adapt and create better, more seamless ways of doing things. Despite this global pandemic, global payments should be instantaneous to ensure that day-to-day life continues undisrupted, no matter what. The banks and financial institutions that provide these agile digital methods will be well-positioned as innovators and leaders beyond this current crisis.
This was seen to be Ripple making hay during the global pandemic, allowing platform users to benefit from the flexibility and scalability of cloud infrastructure with the added security of RippleNet’s blockchain.
Cloud was seen to provide advantages for Ripple’s exciting 300 strong customer base as well as new clients. Just over two weeks later, Ripple secured its first cloud-only customer in Banco Rendimento.
However, this innovation did little to affect the value of XRP which remained static at $0.20 per token.
Ripple sues YouTubeRipple takes YouTube to court over failure to act to stop a cryptocurrency scam.
There’s no failure like a “deliberate and inexplicable” failure.
Ripple filed suit in response to a XRP related scam that was perpetuated through YouTube.
This copied the tactics of a popular scam where a ‘giveaway’ was promised, using a prominent celebrity’s likeness to help legitimise the deception. Once a client interacted, they were spear phished into passing through their data and/or an initial sum of money, which was not returned.
The string of scams promised to disperse up to five million XRP and ran afoul of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act that had previously been used to shield Facebook, Google, and other parties from culpability when similar issues arose.
This followed on from a phishing epidemic that hit the site in September 2019 and had YouTube creator accounts scam audiences out of personal information and cash.
Ripple’s suit accused YouTube of failing to take action quickly enough, or failing to restrict the scam or compromised accounts once they were unearthed:
YouTube regularly touts its robust tools for self-regulating content on its platform, which purportedly include ‘cutting-edge machine learning technology’ and a sprawling network of human reviewers. But in this case, faced with a pervasive scam, YouTube chose, and continues to choose, inaction.
Despite this crusade, the suit did little to move the needle for XRP’s price, remaining static at $0.1800.
Ripple sets sights on South Korean marketRipple goes into 2020 swinging as it outlines a ‘full-scale’ drive to enter the South Korean marketplace by adding new clients to the RippleNet.
When Ripple decides to do something, it doesn’t do it by halves. And choosing to focus on South Korea made sense.
This was emboldened by buyers in the region ”going mad” for XRP as far back at 2017.
South Korea historically held a healthy appetite for cryptocurrency. Representatives from every age group showed interest in crypto investment, with the SK government actively attempting to regulate exchanges and bring crypto into the mainstream.
Ripple moved to capitalise on this interest by adding South Korea’s Sentbe to the Ripple platform.
This remittance provider’s market focused on the south and northeast Asian corridor and planned on using the established RippleNet to cut down on settlement times, improve security and visibility, and expand its capacity to support cross-border payments throughout the region.
But this was not the first time the company had dipped its toe in Korea’s crypto markets.
In 2018, South Korean firm Coinone had also joined the platform, and – according to Ripple – had enjoyed 50% month-over-month increases in payment volume and allowed for a 90% reduction in fees compared to conventional banks. Ripple’s senior director of global operations Emi Yoshikawa said:
South Korea is a hotbed of fintech innovation, and we’re committed to grow our customer base and presence. Since the Korean government started licensing payment providers for remittance in 2017, we have witnessed how Korean payment providers dramatically improved payments experience for their customers, and we are pleased to be part of their on-going efforts.
February saw a spike in activity for XRP, hitting a high of $0.33 on February 14 but dropping to $0.26 on February 25.
Ripple makes final attempt to dismiss XRP securities suitRipple’s legal team makes a last-ditch bid to dismiss a long-standing lawsuit while facing securities scrutiny.
Marking a different tone from last month’s Swell 2019 conference, Ripple made one last attempt to dismiss its ongoing damages suit.
The month had Ripple file its arguments with the Californian District Court and attempt to pick apart the case that was rapidly proving to be a growing storm on the platform’s horizon.
These attacks directly targeted Bradley Stostack – now designated as a lead plaintiff – and picked holes in his argument. These focused on the fact that Stostack was still unable to prove the origin of the XRP in question, that he had missed a filing deadline in August, and that elements of the case conflicted with California’s consumer protection law.
While the document dissolves into specific wording and legalese, the key point of Ripple’s case was heard loud and clear:
XRP is not a security, but that is irrelevant for purposes of this motion. Even if XRP were a security, Plaintiff’s claims still fail as a matter of law.
Ripple’s defence was seen to be based on attacking Stostack directly rather than defending the platform’s potentially tenuous position and risking the ire of the Securities and Exchange Commission.
However, while Ripple were gathering for a fight, the damage had already been done. A Q4 2019 report from early 2020 showed that Ripple had only managed to sell $13 million of XRP, with over-the counter trades falling by 74%.
As if that wasn’t bad enough, XRP was sitting at $0.22 and showed no signs of going anywhere else anytime soon.
Marco Verch / Ccnull
Ripple makes 300 customer milestoneAfter enduring the threat of litigation, Ripple celebrates the addition of new clients to the RippleNet family at Swell 2019.
After a year dominated by litigation, Ripple finally had some good news to celebrate.
The month saw Ripple exceed 300 customers for the platform and enjoy x10 year-on-year growth in online transactions. There was no doubt that this was due to the popularity of xRapid – now referred to as On Demand Liquidity (ODL) – that allowed Ripple to better leverage the power of cross-border payments.
Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse was optimistic about the future at the company’s Swell conference in Singapore.
If he was worried about dealing with SEC scrutiny and ongoing litigation, he didn’t show it:
This year has been our strongest for Ripple yet. In 2019 we’ve seen continued momentum with customers, growth of RippleNet and adoption of On-Demand Liquidity. In just a year since we launched ODL, we are already making an impact on the bottom line for our customers. We’re excited to continue this momentum into next year and for the expansion of ODL into new markets.
This gave Garlinghouse an opportunity to ‘set out the stall’ for the future of XRP. This involved taking aim at correspondent banking, confident in the fact that the benefits of the Ripple platform and ODL will become irresistible to larger and smaller banks alike.
The ability to leverage ‘working capital’ that had previously been assigned to nostro liquidity was a big driver for growth. But Garlinghouse was under no illusions that he wasn’t in it for the long haul:
I think the people who are focused on the hype are trying to sprint – Ripple is very much focused on the marathon. And I think we are at mile marker two of the 26 miles. We have 24 miles ahead of us. This is real and it’s happening.
However, the event had the unfortunate distinction of marking the last high of 2019 for XRP – hitting $0.30 per token on November 6 before beginning the start of a year-long downturn that saw XRP finish December 31 at $0.19 – a 37% decrease in value.
Ripple branded ‘scam’ as crypto tanks market wideThe pile-on begins as Ripple’s XRP comes under further criticism while dealing with lawsuits and a dive in value.
When the God of Thunder himself is mentioned in industry commentary, you know things are hotting up.
Tone Vays didn’t mince his words in August when he published a tweet claiming that the SEC was bringing “Thor’s Hammer”.
“The next #Bitcoin Law Review is gonna be epic...” he added. “Come at me $XRP Army "of the Brain Dead" your scam coin should never have existed #Ripple Corp!”
While characteristically hyperbolic, Vays’ commentary came on the back of the recent amendments made to a long-standing suit against XRP. Though the actions were strongly worded, the accusation wasn’t entirely unfounded.
All XRP tokens are pre-mined, with one billion tokens mined at the point of launch and held in escrow, and another billion introduced every month. This sat in opposition to platforms like Bitcoin that require mining to validate transactions and generate new currency.
Sites such as Investopedia had been covering this issue since December 2017. This led Ripple to publish a blog written by Ripple CTO David Schwartz covering it’s ‘inherently decentralised’ nature:
The XRP ledger is and always has been inherently decentralized because the users always retain the freedom to change their UNLs and the corresponding validators that they trust. For example, if a party controlling a large number of validators abused that power to propose changes that served only its own interests, users operating nodes could simply remove the party’s validators from their UNLs and rely on other validators that more closely represented their interests. Every user is the ultimate authority of the code his or her server runs, and therefore, the rules under which it operates.
The news couldn’t have come at a worse time for the company as, crypto markets plummeted worldwide.
This saw Ethereum hit an early peak at January 13 of $1,352 before tumbling to $300 on August 18, with Bitcoin spiking at $16,575 on January 7 and hitting $6,464 on August 18.
As XRP continued to languish at $0.34, it couldn’t help to wonder what had happened to the bright future the platform used to enjoy.
XRP lawsuits gain traction after SEC rulingA long-standing securities lawsuit is refiled as Ripple’s legal concerns begin to snowball.
Unfortunately, innovation creates the kind of attention you can do without.
And the attention Ripple was getting was very problematic indeed.
The month brought a re-filing of a class action lawsuit that claimed Ripple violated state and federal law.
With Ryan Coffey now listed as the primary claimant, the suit sought damages after buying and selling XRP…which had ballooned to a market cap of $140 billion in January 2018 before dropping to $14 billion at the time of the re-filing.
The inciting incident for the suit’s emergence? The third of April.
On this date, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) released its Framework for “Investment Contract” Analysis of Digital Assets report. While the report did not hold precedential value, it outlined what became known as “The Howey Test”.
This provided four key criteria for determining if an ‘investment contract’ existed in a financial transaction.
a) The investment of money-
b) In a common enterprise-
c) With the expectation of profit-
d) To be derived from the efforts of others.
If these criteria were met, the transaction would be seen to qualify as an investment contract. Under the 1933 Securities Act and Securities Exchange Act of 1934, the transaction would then be considered a security and fall under the SEC’s purview.
This specific avenue was pursued within the filing:
Lead Plaintiff and the Class invested fiat and other digital currencies, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, to purchase XRP. As explained in the SEC Framework, investment of both fiat and digital currency meets the first prong of Howey. Lead Plaintiff and the Class have entirely passive roles vis-à-vis the success of the XRP Ledger and XRP. Rather, as Defendants’ own marketing makes clear, the success of the XRP Ledger, and the profits the Class reasonably expected to derive from investing in XRP, are dependent on the essential technical, entrepreneurial, and managerial efforts of Defendants and their agents and employees.
As if this wasn’t bad enough, the news also appeared to bolster the position of a consolidated suit which left Ripple hanging in the wind.
This saw XRP sit at $0.32 on August 5 before $0.26 on August 14, marking a 19% drop in value.
Ripple expands its UBRI program to JapanRipple continues to extend its University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) to Japan as the initiative boasts 33 partners in 14 countries.
The end of July brought further announcements from Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) as the program extended to 33 partners.
UBRI was founded in June 2018 and was designed to encourage research and collaboration around blockchain technologies, digital payments, and address key challenges facing the fintech sector.
This was intended to be cross-disciplinary as well as cross-cultural, which is why the Ripple team were excited to confirm that Kyoto University and the University of Tokyo were now active participants in the program.
The decision was a timely one, with Japan being labelled as a global leader when it came to cryptocurrencies and adopting a forward thinking attitude to the technology.
These feelings were backed up by comments from Emi Yoshikawa, Ripple’s senior director of global operations:
Japan is quickly becoming a leading force in crypto assets and blockchain. The region has always been forward thinking and exploring ways to improve the current financial system. We have seen high levels of interest from the academic community on topics around blockchain and crypto. Ripple is committed to engaging and inspiring students to become part of the workforce of the future, across areas such as blockchain, distributed computing, banking and fintech.
The good news did little to affect the price of XRP which sat wavering at $0.32 on the date of the announcement.
Ripple’s CEO comes out in support of… Bitcoin?Ripple’s Brad Garlinghouse ‘goes long’ on Bitcoin, reopening discussion about Ripple’s role in the modern marketplace.
Declaring “I own Bitcoin and am long Bitcoin”, Brad Garlinghouse made waves at the 2019 Fortune Brainstorm Finance conference.
This was seen as a “turnaround” by some observers, although it was fairly consistent with the CEO’s take on cryptocurrencies.
Speaking in June 2018, the Ripple CEO claimed that Bitcoin was not the “panacea” it was made out to be and took a moderated approach to competition in the sector. Garlinghouse said:
Well, I don’t really think about it as one versus the other. I mean, it’s actually unfortunate, I think, that there’s some people in this, the crypto space, the blockchain space — for them, it’s almost a holy war of one versus the other. I don’t look at that at all. I think that what we’re seeing is the overall growth of this space and there will be many winners.
This messaging was seen to be in-part prompted by XRP’s launch on Coinbase earlier on in the year. But it was this unwillingness to engage with the ‘cult’ of crypto that was seen as a strength for the platform.
By Garlinghouse’s own admission, Ripple represented an ‘orthogonal side of the argument’ by working in close collaboration with banks without fully decentralising their currency, with all XRP fully pre-mined and held in escrow, with Ripple labs controlling 60% of Ripple supply.
The end result of his words? a spike of $0.46 for XRP, climbing 15% from a dip of $0.39 on June 10.
André François McKenzie / Unsplash
Ripple partners with MoneyGramRipple secures a $50 million stake in MoneyGram as the two payment institutions partner.
Once again, xRapid helped draw in another Ripple client. The institution looking to benefit? MoneyGram.
An American money transfer institution, MoneyGram’s shot-term focus was on undercutting its main competitor Western Union when it came to money transfers. Using the RippleNet and XRP, MoneyGram planned to use Ripple’s infrastructure and xRapid protocols to secure a competitive advantage.
This took the form of a two year contract with Ripple that was preceded by a ‘modernizing’ partnership in January 2018. This launched a pilot program that used XRP to eliminate inefficiencies in process flows and add value to MoneyGram’s multiple touch-point payment methodologies through online, app-based, and in-person payment functionality.
Once again, Ripple’s capacity to bring multiple benefits to a single implementation won out.
MoneyGram’s CEO Alex Holmes noted Ripple and xRapid’s modernising power in a statement given after the announcement:
As the payments industry evolves and matures, it’s imperative that we continue to improve our platform and provide the most effective solution to get funds from point A to point B. Through Ripple’s xRapid product, we will have the ability to instantly settle funds from US dollars to destination currencies on a 24/7 basis, which has the potential to revolutionize our operations and dramatically streamline our global liquidity management.
This streamlining took the form of Ripple becoming a ‘key partner’ for MoneyGram for an initial capital commitment of $50 million that was tendered through the company providing $30 million in June and a further $20 million in November 2019.
While this partnership carried immense potential, the impact wasn’t felt through XRP which sat at $0.39 on July 7 and dropped to $0.31 on July 14, marking a 20% decrease across the week.
Coinbase opens trading on XRPXRP finally makes its long-awaited debut on Coinbase Pro through a tiered release.
After a long wait, Coinbase finally played host to Ripple’s XRP.
Coinbase was arguably the best-known crypto exchange operating at the time and allowed users to convert fiat currency into crypto of their choice. At the time, Coinbase hosted Bitcoin and number of leading altcoins such as Ethereum, Litecoin, Cardano, and others.
For this release, XRP was limited to Coinbase Pro. The platform was launched on May 2018 and was an evolution of Coinbase’s GDAX platform that supported ‘active’ (aka advanced) crypto traders.
The pro platform offered users more trading options, additional charting features, access to more complicated financial instruments such as trading pairs, and unlimited trading amounts.
This began with allowing users to initially transfer their XRP into their Coinbase Pro account from February 25 with a 12 hour window. Once this elapsed and a critical mass of XRP was accumulated, the second stage opened and users were able to post orders without matching on the system. The third step involved ‘limit only’ trading where orders were matched but unable to be submitted. Finally, once all elements were in place, full trading was possible.
The announcement saw XRP leap 10% in value to $0.33 per coin on February 25. However, many observers were surprised at the lack of an ‘explosion’ in value for the crypto, which continued to trundle through February, ending the month at $0.3166 on February 28.
Speaking to Forbes, Amulet’s Marouane Garcon was far from shocked:
I can't say that I'm surprised by the lack of movement. Throughout this entire bear market news and public developments haven't been able to spark any sort of uptrend. Nothing has moved the market. I believe the best news is news of adoption. In XRP's case, I think banks utilizing XRP in their daily operations is what's going to move their market.
Ripple adds new members to UBRIRipple takes an expansionist approach to the world of tech research, adding 11 new members to the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI).
First launched in June 2018, The University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) hit new heights as Ripple added 11 institutions to its partnership list.
The latest round added global luminaries such as Carnegie Mellon University, Cornell University, The National University of Singapore, The University of São Paulo, and the recently founded Institute for Fintech Research at Tsinghua University.
As previously stated by the company, Ripple’s influence extended only as far as the provision of resources and industry guidance, with institutions setting their own curriculums and being given free rein in how they benefited from the partnership. This included founding scholarships, creating courses, arranging conferences and more.
Since the program’s founding, institutions benefitted, with Berkeley founding the Berkeley Hass Blockchain Initiative to UPenn using blockchain to help incentivise sustainability.
Commenting on these results, Ripple’s SVP of global operations Eric Van Miltenburg was effusive:
In less than a year, our initial UBRI partners hit the ground running with the launch of new research projects, events, course offerings and more. Expanding the ecosystem to a more global, diversified network of UBRI partners will only continue to enrich these projects.
However, the news did little to move the needle on XRP, which still sat at $0.31 at the time of the announcement.
Ripple exceeds 200 customersRipple hits a new record for client number as the demand for XRP based solutions continues to grow.
Unlucky for some, January saw Ripple announce a record 13 new clients on the system.
These financial institutions included Euro Exim Bank, Transpaygo, ConnectPay, and others.
This meant that Ripple had a foothold in 40 countries and six continents. Of these, five specifically chose the system to leverage XRP’s capacity to improve liquidity by removing the need for Nostro accounts. This further streamlined cross-border transactions and cut down on cost of multiple currency conversions.
The critical mass of 200 users also provided inroads to different international markets, simultaneously removing the need for legacy banking architecture and optimise processes.
This multi-win approach appeared to resonate with many clients, with Euro Exim Bank’s Director Kaushik Punjani stating his rationale for selecting Ripple and using the xRapid client.
As a leader in trade finance solutions for global corporates and fintechs, we are uniquely placed to offer new payment channels and ways to source liquidity. Our customers – whether big corporates or individual remitters – have historically been restricted from obtaining suitable funds or settling transactions in a cost efficient and timely manner. Working collaboratively with Ripple and selected counterparts, we have designed, tested and are implementing both xCurrent and xRapid in record time, and we look forward to the benefits these will bring our customers.
Add Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse’s assertion that Ripple was seeing a 350% increase in live payments and that his team were “now signing two—sometimes three—new customers per week”, and it seemed that Ripple was coming into 2019 swinging.
Unfortunately, this was not reflected in the price of XRP, which remained relatively stationary at $0.37.
Ripple closes 2018 with 83% fall in valueStarting the year on a high, Ripple closes the year out with a significant loss on its books.
Well. They can’t all be winners.
In a year that took its toll on all cryptocurrencies, XRP took its fair share of the lumps. Despite starting the year at $2.05 per XRP token on January 1, December 31 saw the crypto close out at $0.3564.
So, what happened?
For many observers, things turned out better than could be expected. XRP experienced a spike that started in December 11 2017, peaked on January 4, 2018 and continued to reach equilibrium around mid June. This tracked with a year where the “Crypto Bubble” decimated exchanges.
However, if we stack this up against other major players, the numbers take on another meaning.
Bitcoin started January 1 at a lofty $13,484 but finished the year a shadow of its former self at $3,803 in December 13 - a loss of 72%. Though, by contrast, Ethereum began January 1 at $757 but by December 31 had fallen to $133 - a drop of 82%.
However, the unique nature of XRP, and the platform’s recent commercial success caught the eye of businesses and regulators. Both of whom would be paying very close attention throughout next year…
Corda implements XRP supportRipple and R3 heal old wounds as the Corda platform hosts XRP for the first time.
Setting an example for us all, Ripple and R3 moved past their previous issues with the release of an open-source payments application on the Corda platform.
Launched in 2016, the Corda Network is a series of networked nodes allowing for the safe, secure transfer of data through blockchain technologies.
The implementation of Corda Settler allowed users to deal with ‘on ledger’ payments through ‘off ledger’ payments, acting as a form of bridging cryptocurrency. The Settler app was designed to have a high degree of modularity and compatibility with bank API’s or other CorDapps on the network.
In short, this empowered users to take global crypto payments within enterprise blockchains. When a payment obligation arises, a party now had the ability to request XRP when reconciling – automatically sending a request to the other party. After the platform’s oracle verifies this, the transaction is automatically marked as settled.
While this may not have seemed like much on paper, the decision worked as a proof of concept and marked the potential growth of a working relationship between the two companies. R3’s CTO Richard Gendal Brown said:
The deployment of the Corda Settler and its support for XRP as the first settlement mechanism is an important step in showing how the powerful ecosystems cultivated by two of the of the world’s most influential crypto and blockchain communities can work together. While the Settler will be open to all forms of crypto and traditional assets, this demonstration with XRP is the next logical step in showing how widespread acceptance and use of digital assets to transfer value and make payments can be achieved.
Unfortunately, the announcement came in the middle of a downturn for XRP, with the previous high of November 18 at $0.5100 contrasted with December 5 $0.3400 – marking a 33% decrease across the period.
Ripple finally launches xRapidRipple offers ‘liquidity on demand’ with the release of xRapid.
The start of October finally saw the release of the Ripple platform’s secret weapon.
Long in development, xRapid was designed to leverage the power of XRP for clients and payment makers who may have been uncomfortable with the perceived ‘disruption’ that could be caused through cryptocurrencies and digital tokens.
While the platform had been in operation since 2014, this marked the first time that Ripple’s XRP token would be used in an application by the financial services.
Here xRapid acted as a pipeline for cross-border payments that allowed for expedited transfers by converting fiat into XRP currency, then finishing the conversion once the transaction had made its way through the system – allowing for payments to potentially be made in minutes.
This was based upon earlier trials held with R3 in October 2016 that measured the potential for Ripple to replace Nostro accounts. Seen as a part of ‘legacy’ finance, Nostro accounts represented a liquidity pool in a foreign currency held with a bank on the payment network, tying up money and resources and increasing transaction times.
In the case of xRapid, multiple Nostro ‘pools’ were replaced with XRP’s single liquidity source, using the RippleNet to facilitate the transfer. This allowed users to free up the capital stored in their existing Nostro accounts, take advantage of Ripple’s existing payment infrastructure, enjoy the additional security and transparency provided by blockchain, and reduce transaction fees.
In practical terms, this saw Ripple support MercuryFX after a pilot program alongside Cuallix, and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit Union (CFCC). Asheesh Birla, Ripple’s Senior Vice President of product said:
I’m really excited to bring the product into the market at a time when there is a lot of scepticism about digital assets and their real use case. Here’s something where we’re finding a ton of value and providing a ton of value to our customers using digital assets to move money more efficiently.
Unsurprisingly, the announcement marked a high for the platform as October 1 witnessed XRP hit $0.5165.
Ripple enjoys record year2018 proves to be a banner year for Ripple as the company grows, social giving expands, and recruitment soars…as xRapid is finally released.
If there was one year that defined Ripple’s recipe for success, It was 2018.
Ripple marked positive movement in three key areas. The first was customer growth. Between the third quarter of 2017 and the third quarter of 2018, Ripple’s user-base grew by 100%, averaging sign-up rates of two clients per week to the platform. These figures were supported by RippleNet’s expansion to over 40 countries and the addition of PNC to the platform.
The second marker was Ripple’s social giving which saw it donate $29 million XRP to public schools in March and create the Ripple for Good social giving charity later on in the same year – with the company committing to $100 million in donations.
The third barometer was the company’s recruitment efforts, which claimed 100% year-on-year growth as it hit close to 300 employees and saw the promotion of David Schwartz to CTO.
Overall, Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse summed things up pretty effectively:
Across the board, this has been the most successful twelve months in Ripple’s history. While we’re still only at mile one of a marathon, I’m thrilled with our momentum. We now have multiple customers who will send production payments through xRapid; we’re seeing two financial institutions sign up to RippleNet per week; and the network is more global than ever.
This coincided with a high for the platform, with October 1 hitting $0.5165.
Ripple launches “Ripple for Good” CharityBringing a banner Q3 to a close, Ripple announces the launch of “Ripple for Good”.
Making good on its business name, Ripple decide that 2018 was the year to make some waves.
This marked the launch of the Ripple for Good charity. The initiative focused on education and financial inclusion, with donations of $80 million – Ripple itself added an additional $25 million to the pot.
Ripple for Good’s emphasis on education extended to STEM and fintech adjacent subjects such as business, finance, ICT and computer science, law, and other fields.
The initiative also ran alongside Rippleworks, another charitable initiative designed to fund social ventures and outreach. The program was targeted at entrepreneurs, helping them scale quickly and effectively through the funding of short duration, high-impact projects that helped individuals hone or learn new professional skills.
At the time of announcement, Rippleworks had supported 75 projects across 55 countries and – according to the charity – had positively impacted the lives of more than 250 million individuals.
As Ken Weber, Ripple’s head of social impact, confirmed:
When we reflected on the unique role Ripple could play from a social impact standpoint, we kept landing on the idea that the benefits of these new technologies should reach as many people as possible. If we are truly committed to transformative global change, we will work to help ensure that innovations in banking and global payments are available everywhere to everyone, among unbanked and underbanked populations and in economies and economic sectors that serve the greater good. Our goal is to deliver on the promise of an Internet of Value for all.
The impact on Ripple’s bottom line? Not bad at all. The announcement coincided with a spike in the value of XRP, hitting a high of $0.53 on September 27.
RippleNet is now live in 40 countriesRipple makes the landmark announcement that the platform is now live across six continents, opening up payment corridors for future and existing customers.
Once again, the seeds of expansion and infrastructure bore fruit as the RippleNet expanded to 40 countries across the globe.
The nature of Ripple’s payment network means that the more clients are onboarded, the more nodes and pathways are added to the system. This time new ‘pathways’ for the network were created in North America, Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America.
As Ripple’s Marcus Treacher, SVP of customer success explained:
By opening up new corridors across North America, Europe, Africa and Asia, we’re expanding the global footprint of individuals who can benefit from faster and cheaper cross-border payments. Whether it’s global banks or technology-forward payments providers like RationalFX, Remitr and Beetech, financial institutions are focused on building connections between themselves so that they can better leverage Ripple’s blockchain technology to help people and businesses in need.
This came on the heels of further good news as Ripple’s price also massively improved. The day after the announcement, XRP hit $0.4485 and rise to $0.5732 on September 20 – marking an increase of 28%.
NASA / Unsplash
Ripple and R3 finally reach legal settlementHatchets are buried as Ripple and R3 agree to stop litigation.
Almost a year to the day when it started, the legal issues between Ripple and R3 finally drew to a close.
Started over purchase options for XRP, the suit began when R3 protested against Ripple’s failure to honour a standing purchase agreement for five billion XRP. This would have allowed R3 to buy the crypto at a rate of $0.00085 per coin at a time when the value of each XRP was $0.26.
This led to a counter suit from Ripple which was dismissed by the court and denied again in a follow up action in March 2018.
However, in September, the normally verbose Ripple provided a surprisingly tight-lipped statement confirming news about the settlement:
R3 HoldCo LLC, R3 LLC, Ripple Labs Inc. and XRP II, LLC announce that they have reached a settlement of all outstanding litigation between the parties. The terms of the agreement will remain confidential and both sides look forward to putting these disputes behind them.
This marked the end of discussion for both parties, with no further statements released by either side.
But – if we fast-forward to December 24 2020, further light was shed on the situation.
Leaked SEC papers eventually revealed that the likely settlement value for the suit was be close $240 million after R3 bought 1.04 billion XRP tokens after the settlement decision.
Taking the sting out of that tail? The announcement saw XRP tokens leapt in value from September 10 at $0.2697 to September 22 at $0.5732 – marking an increase of close to 113%.
Ripple’s xRapid produces three new exchange partnersThe Ripple ecosystem expands as the platform adds three partners to its exchanges, optimising liquidity and minimising costs.
Once again, Ripple’s xRapid brought in the business for the platform.
Bittrex joined the ranks of Ripple and become the preferred provider of choice for transactions in USD. The arrangement also saw Bitso and Coins.ph take on roles that involved conversions in Mexican and Philippine pesos, respectively.
Founded in 2014, Bittrex marketed itself as an exchange that put cybersecurity first. Bittrex offered ‘fast deposits and withdrawals’ that would now be facilitated with the help of Ripple’s digital infrastructure. The exchange also made headlines earlier in the year after it worked with New York’s signature bank to allow direct fiat-to-Bitcoin purchases. Cory Johnson, Ripple’s chief market strategist said:
Bittrex is one of the biggest names in digital asset trading in the US. The same goes for Bitso in Mexico and Coins.ph in the Philippines. That makes today’s announcement an important development for xRapid. We’ve seen several successful xRapid pilots already, and as we move the product from beta to production later this year, these exchange partners will allow us to provide financial institutions with the comfort and assurance that their payments will move seamlessly between different currencies.
But it wasn’t all positive change.
Two days earlier, XRP fell by double digits, dropping by 10% to $0.26 as the rest of the market tumbled alongside it, marking a seven-day loss of 36%.
This meant that Ripple’s attempts to be the respectable, reliable face of commercial crypto were dealt a significant and potentially lasting blow.
Ripple announces $50 million blockchain initiativeRipple partners with UCL to ‘accelerate innovation’ by funding a blockchain and crypto research program.
It’s great to give back, especially when you’re the major beneficiary.
Ripple founded the University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) in June with seed funding of $50 million.
It was developed and run in collaboration with 17 universities worldwide and specialised in practical research, technical innovation, and further development in the fields of crypto, blockchain, and digital payments.
The founding program focused on three ‘streams’ of research.
- Innovation within distributed ledger technologies
- Business apps and their socio-economic impact/potential risk
- Distributed ledger regulation
While UCL was a founding member, the funding and research streams were open to prestigious tech-focused institutions such as MIT, Berkley, and Princeton.
The initiative was designed to be cross-disciplinary, with Ripple also taking a hands off approach to the studies and research spinning out from their investment. Eric Van Miltenburg, Ripple’s Chief Business Officer said:
Academia has traditionally been a critical driver of technical innovation. University Blockchain Research Initiative is an acknowledgment of the vital importance of the unique role universities will play in advancing our understanding and application of cryptography and blockchain technology. Much of the enthusiasm and activity to date around blockchain is disconnected from real use cases that result in clear customer benefits. While Ripple won’t dictate research parameters, we are excited to play a role in helping to support projects that explore increasingly useful applications of blockchain and cryptocurrencies.
However, the announcement did little to lift the price of XRP, which sat at $0.3981.
Ripple’s XRP pilot results in 70% cut in payment feesEarly pilots provide positive feedback for xRapid, with Ripple reporting significant savings for clients and massively improved transaction speed.
Thursday saw Ripple publish the results of its xRapid program, and they were well worth shouting about.
And what results they were.
For starters, payments in the US and Mexico corridor provided a 40-70% saving for clients and averaged an average transaction time of two minutes. By contrast, the non-XRP average was two to three days. However, these benefits were confined to parts of the transaction that ‘touched’ the XRP ledger, making Ripple a useful tool rather than a catch-all solution.
From a client perspective, this highlighted XRP’s capacity to expedite payments, provide security through blockchain technology, and benefit from a streamlined implementation. Viamericas CEO and co-founder Paul Dwyer said:
We were very pleased with our pilot results. It’s clear that xRapid can lower liquidity costs while increasing payment speed and transparency in a way that facilitates rigorous compliance controls. We believe that digital assets like XRP will play a key role in the future of cross-border payments, helping to safely address some of the structural inefficiencies of legacy settlement infrastructure as their adoption grows. We look forward to exploring next steps with Ripple.
This saw XRP sit at $0.7800 on May 10, a slight fall from May 3 at $0.8700.
Ripple nabs five new payment providersxVia continues to prove a solid investment as Ripple onboards five new clients with the promise of reduced failure rates and lowered reconciliation costs.
Once again, Ripple succeeded in coaxing more clients to its platform.
The month saw FairFX, RationalFX, Exchange4Free, UniPAY, and MoneyMatch join the Ripple platform.
Having spent most of 2017 building the platform, Ripple’s xVia was the secret sauce that seemed to keep clients interested. For clients (and Ripple alike) its effectiveness came through ease of implementation. Delivered through an API, xVia allowed users to send payments through the RippleNet and allow for bi-directional messaging about payment statuses. It also made it possible to transfer ‘rich’ files like invoices – helping with issues around verification and reconciliation.
The provided significant benefit to payment originators and allowed for reduced operating costs, improved speed and security, and near-instantaneous access to foreign markets through Ripple’s infrastructure. Ripple’s senior vice president of product Asheesh Birla said:
By tapping our global network with xVia, our customers now access new markets quicker and cost efficiently. All of these customers run into the same problem: building bespoke connections to banks and networks all over the world. It’s expensive and time consuming. xVia enables them to grow their overall market share by reaching new customers in new markets, easier than ever before.
This marked a slow but steady climb in value for XRP as it closed out April 26 at $0.8463, starting the month at $0.4787, marking an increase of 77%.
Ripple invests in Blockchain CapitalRipple sinks a $25 million investment into Blockchain Capital to drive innovation in the world of digital assets.
After securing tens of millions in investment, it was time for Ripple to return the favour.
The month saw Ripple invest $25 million into Blockchain Capital, a venture capital fund that focuses on blockchain technologies and deals.
Well. Kind of.
The investment was made through XRP, the Ripple platform’s digital currency. This investment was added to the Blockchain Capital Parallel IV LP fund which was valued at $150 million at the time.
This was considered particularly unusual as it was a rare case of a start-up supporting a venture capital outfit, with the roles often proving to be reversed. In yet another example of dogfooding, Ripple was actually part of Blockchain Capital’s portfolio at the time.
The decision was seen as indicative by some corners of the market, as Ripple steadily expanded its client base to more than 100 institutions and now seemed to be developing an appetite for bigger things. It also didn’t go unnoticed that Blockchain Capital’s portfolio contained a number of movers and shakers in the crypto sector such as Coinbase, Kraken, and Blockstack Inc.
Suspicions around this grouping were not exactly lifted by Bart Stephens, Blockchain Capital’s co-founder:
As pioneers in the blockchain sector, we have been on the front lines and in the trenches with our portfolio companies like Ripple building a new crypto ecosystem. There are entire verticals – like healthcare or identity management – that could benefit from blockchain or distributed ledger technology. Whether it’s using XRP, Bitcoin or just the underlying blockchain technology, our goal is to find the best projects and give them the resources to be successful companies that deliver value to customers for the long-term.
The news may have instilled confidence in investors and platform users as XRP hit $0.5399 on April 11, ending the month at $0.8313 – an increase of 54%.
Mexico passes landmark Fintech BillMexico passes novel legislation to regulate the country’s fintech sector, establishing a stable base for the sector and attempting to quash money laundering.
The same day that a ground-breaking pilot project was launched, Ripple had something else to celebrate.
Mexico continued the worldwide pattern of crypto regulation with the country’s lower house passing “Ley para Regular las Instituciones de Tecnología Financiera”, or “The Fintech Act”.
The law set out a structure for online financial transactions, and included an in-depth regulatory framework with multiple provisions for the sector.
This was broken down into four distinct sections.
‘Authorization’ - which established the steps required to receive permissions as a fintech and acquire the capital required to operate.
‘Operations’ – the idea that each fintech required distinct controls, risk management, auditing and reporting requirement.
‘Suspension and Revocation’ - where the Bank of Mexico and National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) would have grounds to suspend or limit business activities.
‘Inspection and Surveillance’ – which detailed supervisions and compliance.
Of course, Ripple was quick to come out in favour of the regulations. As Ripple’s director of regulatory relations Ray Zagone explained:
Ripple applauds Mexico’s efforts to drive regulatory clarity for fintech and digital assets. The fintech bill creates a pivotal opportunity to create rules that ensure safety and soundness, while enabling a new generation of financial services. Digital assets have great potential to lower payment costs and increase financial inclusion, especially when leveraged as FX tools by banks. We urge regulators to consider emerging enterprise use cases of digital assets as the bill is signed into law and the regulations take shape.
The legislation did little to impact the price of XRP, which traded at $0.9155 on March 1.
The little crypto that couldThe international appetite for cross-border payment solutions deepens as FLEETCOR allies with Ripple to examine the role of blockchain in online payments.
XRP – the little crypto that could – finally got its turn in the spotlight through a new pilot program launched on March 1.
Georgia’s FLEETCOR looked at international cross-border payments and see where Ripple’s platform could add value to their processes. This would eventually take the form of XRP being used in payment flows under the xRapid umbrella – a product that allowed XRP users to do away with the need for sluggish and costly Nostro accounts and instantly settle payments.
FLEETCOR specialised in business payment technology and streamlining spending with a view to allowing companies greater control over their finances. This included a focus on digitising extant systems, security, with a range of products relating to e-payables and payment cards for businesses.
For FLEETCOR, Ripple’s technology represented an opportunity to benefit from the security and modularity of blockchain while also removing payment friction and additional costs through the use of XRP.
The project was to be implemented through Cambridge Global Payments, a FLEETCOR-owned B2B payments provider responsible for $20 billion of cross-border payments.
While the program was very much a pilot, both parties were interested in the practical applications of xRapid, as Cambridge Global Payments’ COO Mark Frey confirmed:
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. 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.
The start of the month saw XRP trade at $0.9155, hitting $1.0000 on March 4.
Ripple secures five new customersThe acquisition of new customers opens up Ripple’s global access to markets in Brazil, India, Singapore, and Canada.
Ripple closed out February swinging as the company secured an additional five new customers on the platform.
The month’s spoils included adding two banks and three global remittance providers to the platform. These included Brazil’s Itaú Unibanco and India’s IndusInd alongside Singapore’s InstaReM, Brazils’ Beetech, and Canada’s Zip Remit, all of which would go on to use RippleNet to facilitate their payments.
This continued the trend of Ripple being viewed as both a modernising quick-win and providing long term benefit from the platform’s existing infrastructure and ongoing improvements.
Being able to access these emerging markets was a significant, long-term win for Ripple. At the time, these markets housed 85% of the world’s population, with 90% of people under 30 residing there. This made the issue of resolving cross-border payments a massive problem and one that Ripple’s team was happy to help with, as Patrick Griffin, head of Ripple’s business development, confirmed:
The payments problem is a global problem, but its negative impact disproportionally affects emerging markets. Whether it’s a teacher in the US sending money home to his family in Brazil or a small business owner in India trying to move money to open up a second store in another country, it’s imperative that we connect the world’s financial institutions into a payments system that works for their customers, not against them.
The period also saw XRP’s value fluctuate following its astronomical rise in early January. One XRP was worth $0.99 on February 21, slipping to $0.91 by the end of the month.
Ripple supports Saudi’s SAMA through payments techThe Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) agrees to a pilot-program using Ripple for cross-border payments.
Once again, xCurrent proved an attractive prospect as the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) built a pilot-program to examine the utility of Ripple’s payment protocols.
This allowed users to resolve payments in and outside of the country’s borders and benefit from the security and privacy of blockchain while doing so. It also resulted in lowered transaction costs and allowed those in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) easy access to Ripple’s existing payment infrastructure.
Founded in 1952, SAMA is KSA’s central bank and is responsible for currency issuance, supervision, managing reserves, and operating the banking infrastructure systems – the latter of which Ripple could help optimize.
This was seen to be part of Saudi Arabia’s ongoing adoption of fintech innovation and digital payments tech and protocols, with the region forecasted to spend $7.5 billion on ‘transformative’ tech around cloud computing, big data, and more by 2030.
The decision was prescient as high-value transactions were increasingly being carried out electronically as reporting confirmed later on in the year.
This also marked the second time that Ripple had been chosen by a central bank, since the Bank of England (BoE) published the results of an accelerator trial for Ripple in 2017.
According to Ripple’s global head of infrastructure innovation Dilip Rao, this was a pattern that would be shown throughout the sector:
Central banks around the world are leaning into blockchain technology in recognition of how it can transform cross-border payments, resulting in lower barriers to trade and commerce for both corporates and consumers. SAMA is leading the charge as the first central bank to provide resources to domestic banks that want to enable instant payments using Ripple’s innovative blockchain solution.
The decision was also accompanied by a 12.69% jump in value for XRP, closing the day out at $1.1300 per token.
UAE Exchange partners with RippleThe UAE Exchange cements a partnership with Ripple to secure ‘frictionless’ cross border payments.
It may have been a new year, but the world’s appetite for Ripple had not diminished.
February brought the UAE Exchange to the Ripple platform. The provider was keen to take advantage of Ripple’s now proven track record for supporting low-cost, high volume transactions, and rapidly modernising legacy infrastructure.
At the time, the UAE Exchange was the largest cross-border payments body in the Emirates and had a firm grip on the global remittance market. At the time, UAE Exchange claimed a 6.75% share of the $575 billion global market and aimed to build that to a 10% share by 2020. Promoth Manghat, CEO of the UAE Exchange said:
Our growth strategy has always been, and continues to be, driven by our customer-centric approach. Incorporating Ripple’s blockchain technology into our payments systems will bring customers an enhanced, new payments experience. The early adoption of this game-changing technology allows us to offer a competitive service, as it will have an impact on the speed and cost of cross-border transactions. We are proud to deliver the future of payments with Ripple.
The announcement came as XRP was sitting at $1.0300.
Santander agrees app rollout as XRP peaks… then plummetsA mixed bag for Ripple as Santander preps the rollout of a Ripple-powered app while the value of XRP slides.
A classic case of good news following bad as Santander confirmed a Q1 2018 rollout of its long-awaited app to Brazil, Spain, Poland, and the UK.
The still unnamed app was originally trialled in June 2016 by internal staff – marking an 18 month gestation period which allowed for Apple Pay integration. At launch, the app allowed users to make payments of between $14 and $14,000.
However, the tool used Ripple’s xCurrent technology which meant that XRP was not present on the platform or would used the established Ripple public blockchain.
Which was maybe a good thing, given what was going on with the cryptocurrency.
January saw XRP hit a lifetime high of $3 on January 3, but over the next few weeks the crypto took a dramatic slide of 80% to reach $0.6805 by February 6.
In order to restore confidence, Ripple only spent $84 million of its monthly $1 billion reserve, sending the rest to escrow, representing roughly $756 million at the time. This was judged to be a show of strength for the platform as South Korean statements about crypto regulation sent the markets tumbling.
The February 2 announcement didn’t do anything to improve XRP’s situation, with the currency sitting at $0.8989 per token.
XRP available on 50 exchanges, breaks $1In a new milestone for the platform, XRP becomes available on over 50 crypto exchanges throughout the world.
Six to 50 in under a year. For cars, not that impressive. But for pioneering crypto platforms, not to be sniffed at.
In late December XRP was available on 50 exchanges thanks to the popularity of the xRapid product which went live on October 2018.
The latest additions included CEX.IO in the UK, Japan’s GMOCoin, and Huobi.pro in Singapore that secured a total trade volume of $787 million at the time.
Ripple’s SVP of business development Patrick Griffin emphasised this pattern of growth:
The market recognizes that XRP is the fastest, most scalable digital asset for global payments that can also provide liquidity to financial institutions. What’s more, being listed on more than 50 exchanges will not only make this asset more available globally but also further the Internet of Value, which will enable the world to move money as easily as information moves today.
This came at a time when XRP managed to become the third most valuable cryptocurrency with a market cap of $47 billion, just lagging behind Bitcoin and Ethereum. The month also saw XRP hit over $1 for the first time in the token’s history, with December 21 seeing it finish out the day at $1.12 per token.
The token then went on to quickly exceed $1, achieving $1.93 on December 29 and finishing out the year at $1.98 on December 31.
Marco Verch / Flickr
American Express introduces cross-border paymentsRipple breaks new ground with American Express as the company launches FX International Payments (FXIP).
In mid November, Ripple partnered with American Express to launch a new blockchain-powered business-to-business payments platform. The system was called FX International Payments (FXIP) and aimed to leverage the security of blockchain and fluidity of Ripple’s payment networks to reduce the time and costs of settlements.
The deployment involved an integration of RippleNet into American Express’ existing platform. The improvements allowed American Express to take a modular approach to future development and embed the rapid, modernising improvements that Ripple had become known for.
The program began with Ripple allowing American Express customers access to their long-running partners in Santander before allowing them to access other established customers and clients on the platform.
As always, Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse was on hand to comment on the potential of their deal:
We’re taking a huge step forward with American Express and Santander in solving the problems corporate customers experience with global payments. Transfers that used to take days will be completed in real-time, allowing money to move as fast as business today. It is just the beginning, and we look forward to growing this partnership to help other American Express FXIP customers.
While this marked a new chapter for the company, XRP remained steady at the time of announcement – coming in at $0.24 on November 16.
Gates Foundation collaborates with RippleRipple’s latest work on payment streamlining catches the eye of the Gates foundation, as the non-profit looks to establish a payments platform for the poor.
With two billion living below their country’s poverty line in 2017, the Bill and Melinda Gates foundation decided that supporting the unbanked was the answer.
This led to the announcement of Mojaloop in October, a platform designed for the poor that allowed for easy connection between financial systems. Developed in collaboration with a range of other providers, the platform was designed to connect users, merchants, banks, and government to help tackle and support issues around poverty – helping to create Ripple’s ‘Internet of Value’.
The platform was powered by Ripple’s interledger protocols and released to GitHub. The launch started by inviting developers and experts to join the discussion about standards, specifications, and contributions.
Of course, while their intentions were benign, there was value in the project. Echoing the finding of experts like C.K Prahalad’s “Fortune at the Bottom of the Pyramid”, the ‘aspiring poor’ represented a potentially lucrative market and allow all involved to share in prosperity.
Or as Ripple’s CTO Stefan Thomas put it:
Enabling the poor to make payments to anyone, anywhere, using a mobile wallet has implications beyond increased access to their domestic economies. It has the potential to bring millions into the fold of the global digital economy. We are honored to have been a part of this project.
However, the announcement saw the value of XRP slip. The crypto saw a drop from $0.2579 on October 16 to $0.2295 on October 17.
Ripple blockchain network grows to 100 clientsThe Ripple network hits critical mass as transaction volumes and liquidity reach all-time highs.
October saw the Ripple network hit a milestone, with more than 100 institutions implementing the platform’s digital solution. Where 2016 was dominated by expansion, 2017 saw more companies than ever before flocking to the brand.
For Ripple, the reason was “entrenched infrastructure”. The platform allowed legacy or outdated infrastructure to be quickly modernised, with new ‘nodes’ being added to the Ripple network with each fresh client. This helped modernize payment protocols and optimize cross-border transactions.
This was due to two elements.
The first was the reduction in cost for global payments, with Ripple supporting the Emirate’s RAKBANK, Credit Agricole’s remittance efforts in Switzerland, and Currencies Direct’s ongoing implementation in India.
Integrating with Ripple allowed these banks to quickly become competitive with their more technologically adept competitors, alongside offering the increased security and the potential modularity of blockchain design.
The second benefit came in the form of improved liquidity, with the reduction of payment costs preventing the need to ‘pre-fund’ transactions or hold nostro reserves for currency conversions that siloed around $27 trillion in capital in 2015. At the time, Ripple referred to Cuallix’s pilot program that was specifically designed to tackle the institution’s liquidity issues.
This was seen to help - and reflect renewed in - modern financial institutions. As Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse commented:
Global payments are undeniably going through a sea change, led by financial institutions adopting blockchain to fix their customers’ broken payments experience. Now more than 100 financial institutions are looking to Ripple as the solution to the problem. Updating their payments infrastructure with Ripple has become the equivalent of a retailer choosing to build an e-commerce business in the year 2000 — it’s a no brainer.
This announcement came as XRP jumped to $0.2799 per token on October 8 at a gain of +14.36% before falling to $0.2582 on October 10, marking another increase for the cryptocurrency.
Ripple partners with LianLian InternationalRipple’s latest partnership ends up extending RippleNet, and its access to a range of markets, to China.
Ripple makes a big splash in international markets in September thanks to a partnership with China’s LianLian International.
This extended Ripple’s ‘real-time’ payments to professional clients and customers, allowing LianLian to accept overseas payments and relay these to end users.
Of course, the decision was a huge plus for Ripple, which had now secured a backdoor into a new market and accessing a share of the potential $1.1 trillion in ecommerce revenue projected for 2017 - roughly half of worldwide ecommerce.
With headquarters in Hong Kong, LianLian supported money transfers, international payment companies, and focused on eCommerce and digital transactions. Emphasising a ‘frictionless’ customer experience, Ripple was seen as a natural choice for the company as its Chairman Arthur Zhu confirmed:
LianLian International is a leader in the pay out experience both into and out of China, as evidenced by the large number of our merchants and partners. With RippleNet, we will further enhance that experience and increase our market share by offering customers instant, blockchain-powered payments across the 19 currencies that we currently support. We look forward to working with Ripple to power payment flows between China and RippleNet members in new markets.
The news came at a time when XRP had consolidated its position following March’s jump in value, finishing September 8 at $0.21 per token.
Ripple and R3 face off in $1 billion legal challengeRipple and R3 come to legal loggerheads over an XRP purchasing contract, with the R3 consortium claiming that it had been unlawfully terminated.
September was a black day for Ripple’s legal team after R3 filed suit on Friday September 8.
At the heart of the issue? The Ripple platform’s cryptocurrency, XRP.
R3’s suit alleged that the companies had entered into a contract in September 2016 that extended R3 the option to purchase five billion XRP at $0.0085. However, given XRP’s recent leap to trading at $0.20, this was quickly contested by Brad Garlinghouse who emailed R3’s CEO David Rutter in an attempt to terminate the contract.
Founded in 2014 as a consortium of nine investment banks – growing to 80 financial institutions at the time of writing – R3 secured early successes by pursuing digital innovation, optimising and improving upon legacy bank infrastructure. It achieved modern success through its Corda Enterprise Platform. Their platform used blockchain technology to power direct, private transactions for a range of use-cases, allowing for multi-part transparency, automation, and digitized assets.
This created a high degree of overlap with Ripple’s business model, with both companies targeting banks, financial institutions, and other adjacent businesses.
R3’s response fought this unilateral termination and sought clarity through the courts over ownership. Of course, Ripple responded by filing its own countersuit later that day, with a Ripple spokesperson claiming that R3 was basically just jealous of Ripple’s success:
Our filing is straightforward -- R3 misrepresented their ability and intent to deliver on their commitments. Given XRP’s ~4000% increase over the course of the year, R3 suddenly wants to tap into the value of XRP, though the facts are clear that they did not earn any option based on our agreement.
All this publicity did little to affect XRP’s position, which remained at $0.2122 per token at the time the suits were filed.
Ripple adds ten more institutions to its rosterThe addition of banks, credit unions, and payment service providers helps Ripple expand and tackle specific issues on the modern market.
Ripple hit another milestone by adding ten new financial institutions to its roster.
Then known as the only blockchain-powered provider with extensive commercial deployments, Ripple managed to onboard a diverse range of clients.
These included: MUFG, BBVA, SEB, Akbank, Axis Bank, YES BANK, SBI Remit, Cambridge Global Payments, Star One Credit Union, and eZforex.com.
Once again, Ripple’s unique value proposition and existing blockchain infrastructure proved attractive to the new clients.
This good news followed on the back of Ripple’s Q1 market report. This report drew repeated attention to Ripple’s comparatively reduced volatility, coupled with increased market activity. However, the most interesting nugget came from observations that Ripple’s growth in trading volume was due to the influence of Bitcoin, with ‘off ledger’ trading volumes increasing from 45.1% in Q4 2016 to 66.6% in Q1 2017.
Or, as Ripple’s Head of XRP Markets, Migel Vias asserted:
In order for any asset to be successful it needs ample liquidity, something XRP attracted during the quarter. This was a reassuring sign of progress towards the eventual fiat liquidity XRP requires to ultimately be successful for payments, its natural use case.
This renewed confidence seemed to track with the continuing pattern of positive customer engagement and client onboarding. It was also reflected in XRP which continued its valuation at $0.03, closing the day out at $0.0328 before finishing the month out at $0.0522, marking a 59% increase in value.
Ripple appoints a new business director… poached from SwiftMarjan Delatinne becomes Ripple’s latest hire, deepening its rivalry with Swift.
Not content with highlighting Swift’s security mistakes, Ripple managed to snap up its business director into the bargain.
Marjan Delatinne was the perfect hire at the perfect time for Ripple, as the company continued its expansionist practice. A seasoned professional, Delatinne had most recently been promoting Swift’s Global Payments Innovation (GPI), seen by many as a direct response to Ripple’s business model.
This was the latest in a bullish series of interactions between the two companies, with a January 13 tweet painting Swift as ‘antiquated’.
And, like all messy rivals, Ripple was keen to spill some tea. In an introductory interview, Ripple directly asked Delatinne to compare the two platforms:
Swift gpi aims to improve the existing infrastructure that banks have already implemented for some. On the other hand, I believe that Ripple is offering a completely new and transformative solution by combining the messaging rail with the real time settlement of a payment transaction. This is offering a way for banks to create a better user experience that hasn’t been possible before. Ripple’s goal is to help banks be successful and Swift is a bank owned organisation. So I don’t see us as competing against Swift.
Maybe it was the mud slinging (or the +64.23% increase on April 02) but XRP moved to $0.0342 on April 13.
XRP launched on Bitstamp exchangeRipple native crypto, XRP, finally made available to users on Bitstamp.
A new year saw a new lease of life for XRP, with the crypto able to be bought, sold and traded through the popular Bitstamp crypto-trading platform from January 17.
Fidor became the first bank to use Ripple protocols in 2014. During this time, XRP remained native to the Ripple ledger and could not be bought or sold on any other exchanges. This was seen to be a direct result of Ripple’s pricing model that saw every coin on the system pre-mined before the platform went live – with consensus mechanisms rather than miners used to validate transactions.
However, this approach led to Ripple occupying a ‘grey area’ for traders as the platform’s mined coins were held in escrow and distributed through an automated smart contract.
This created ideological as well as practical conflicts, with the platform potentially being seen as operating like a protracted ICO and functioning to support business rather than average traders.
XRP’s functionality saw it listed as a bridging crypto and continued discussion around the Internet of Value, as Miguel Vias, Ripple’s Head of XRP markets confirmed:
The relationship with Bitstamp and launch of XRP volume incentives underscores our commitment to making XRP the institutional standard bearer for value transfer globally. XRP is uniquely capable of introducing more liquidity to exchanges to support global payment volume, especially in exotic corridors. Ripple's adoption with banks puts XRP in pole position to become a global settlement asset, which translates to more liquidity for Bitstamp, and more value for institutional and individual investors.
However, even with a suite of offers from Bitstamp, XRP enjoyed imperceptible movement over the trading period – retaining its value of $0.01.
Japanese Banks join Blockchain ConsortiumSBI Ripple expands to 42 member banks and begins discussions around creating their own payments platform.
Launched in August, SBI Ripple Asia was expected to eventually double in size to 30 banks.
However, the truth was a little better.
The first day of November saw the group surpass its own lofty expectations and expand to 42 member banks, with more applications from institutions filtering through the pipeline. The consortium was designed to facilitate internal discussion and the development of standards and improving security, with the influence of the infamous Mt. Gox hack still being felt in the sector.
However, all was not negative. The country also altered its Payment Services Act alongside the Fund Settlement Law – the first step in formally acknowledging the existence of cryptocurrencies and starting down the long path to formal adoption and regulation.
Biggest of all however was the consortium’s plan to create a dedicated real-time payments platform on the system. While news was thin on the ground, and there was no confirmation about the currencies and crypto that were to be hosted, many observers believed that Ripple’s dedicated cryptocurrency XRP may finally get a public listing.
Unfortunately, the news did little to affect XRP in the real world which still sat at $0.01 per token.
Paul Fiedler / Unsplash
Brad Garlinghouse appointed Ripple CEOFollowing a year of high-growth, Brad Garlinghouse is set to take Chris Larsen’s role as CEO.
Choosing to leave while the party was still going, November saw Chris Larsen step down as Ripple CEO to be replaced by Brad Garlinghouse, effective as of January 1, 2017.
Larsen chose to step into the role of executive chairman of Ripple’s board, moving to strategise over the string of decisions made over the last year and seeking out fresh partnerships. While still remaining a controlling shareholder for the business though…
This came after a year of explosive expansion that saw the formation of the Global Payments Steering Group (GPSG), trialling a bespoke Ripple app with Santander, and securing $55 million in series B funding.
For Larsen, this was a chance to take a step back from the day-to-day demands of running a business while still maintaining a stake in its direction. And Garlinghouse had kind words to say after being handed the keys to the kingdom and a company that had enjoyed a x3.5 growth in customer adoption:
I’m honored to step into the role of CEO of Ripple and am grateful to work so closely with a visionary like Chris. I look forward to continuing to work with Chris and the board to set the strategic direction of the company. I could not have asked for a more talented, driven and creative group of people here at Ripple to work with side by side every day. I continue to be impressed by what this team has accomplished and look forward to taking Ripple to the next phase of growth.
However, this passing of the torch did little to change the state of XRP, with the coin continuing at $0.01 per token.
TechCrunch / Wikimedia Commons
R3 Trials Cross-Border PaymentsA trial held across 12 banks demonstrates the potential value of blockchain and Ripple’s distributed ledger.
Working proofs can be the bane of any tech project, but a recent study held by R3 showed definite promise for the future of Ripple.
R3 was an industry-leading tech consortium made up from over 60 financial institutions. They worked to improve and directly benefit from shared ledger technology, and operated from tech-rich locations in New York, San Francisco, and London – with their number made from tech entrepreneurs, crypto, and digital currency experts.
The trial saw twelve members of the R3 consortium use Ripple’s distributed ledger tech through R3’s Lab and research centre.
And the banks involved were as serious as the results.
The sessions had input from Barclays, BMO Financial, CIBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Macquarie Group, National Australia Bank (NAB), Natixis, Nordea, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Santander,
Scotiabank, and Westpac Banking Corporation.
The test focused on the use of Ripple with nostro accounts, stores of liquidity for cross-border payments. The potential benefits of Ripple’s XRP currency, high level of security, and flexibility were tested to see their role in supporting - and even potentially replacing - the need for nostro functionality.
The results found that Ripple was able to perform the task successfully and fully complete authenticated transactions without the need for nostro support – highlighting a potential area for improvement and cost-cutting.
R3’s CEO David Rutter didn’t mince his words when he detailed what this meant for the industry:
The tradition of holding numerous currencies across multiple accounts in different countries is costly and inefficient. This is a legacy issue from a time when the technology did not exist to offer a viable alternative, however digital assets and distributed ledgers can now enable real-time exchange of currencies between parties anywhere in the world without the need for a third party intermediary. This prototype paves the way for a major overhaul of how banks process and settle cross border payments.
The announcement saw XRP leap +6.84% to $0.0092.
Major banks launch Global Payments Steering GroupSeptember saw six global banks form an alliance called the Global Payments Steering Group (GPSG) to oversee and benefit from Ripple technology.
Ever become so popular you got your own fan club?
Made up from six of the world’s leading banks, the Global Payments Steering Group (GPSG) was founded in September 2016 to provide guidance and standards for the Ripple platform. The founding members included Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Santander, UniCredit, Standard Chartered, Westpac Banking Corporation, and Royal Bank of Canada.
The group was formed was due to the perceived value Ripple held when applied to high-volume, low-cost, cross-border transactions. This allowed for a relationship of mutual benefit as Ripple gathered information and guidance about how best to develop its platform based on real-world need. The GPSG was also able to partially dictate areas for experimentation and innovation that would benefit member businesses and contribute to the sector by building improved payments infrastructure. Westpac Institutional Bank’s Head of Transactional Solutions, Mike Baldwin said:
A common set of standards and protocols is critical for the integrity of any platform that transfers money across borders. This is an important milestone for banks to embrace distributed ledgers in the move from proof-of-concept to commercial-ready solutions.
The announcement on September 23 coincided with a 7.46% increase in value for XRP, moving from $0.0068 to $0.0074.
Ripple adds six more banks to its payment networkRipple brings more financial institutions onto its platform as companies embrace the value of FinTech payment solutions.
Ripple’s specific use-case was useful for cross-border payments. Thankfully, it was projected that there was going to be a lot of opportunity in the near future.
But some entities were just not up to the task.
Many institutions grappled with a legacy infrastructure that required multiple currency conversions, took significant time, and adding considerable expense to the process.
Ripple’s value proposition was ideal for high-volume, low-cost transactions and made the digital transfer of money straightforward through blockchain’s secure protocols.
This ‘modernising’ effect was one of the reasons why Shanghai Huarui Bank (SHRB) chose to adopt Ripple. Andrew Fang, SHB’s General Manager and Head of Innovation and Research, made their rationale clear:
We view blockchain as a competitive advantage that allows us to provide differentiated products, serve the on-demand expectations of our existing clients, and grow our customer base. For example, using the Ripple solution, we are working on a new commercial payment service for retail customers that will allow them to send money from China to the US and other countries in real-time.
The adoption came hot on the heels of SBI’s commitment to blockchain tech. This marked the start of a dedicated consortium that was predicted to grow in size to a 30-strong alliance by early 2017.
This announcement fell the same day XRP jumped in value from $0.0061 to $0.0091, marking an increase of 33.43%, only to drop by 26.39% on September 16, finishing the day out at $0.0072.
Ripple secures $55 million in Series B fundingRipple announces the end of its latest Series B financing drive, totalling $55 million for growth, fostering partnerships, and international team-building.
Following on from a successful Series A round in May 2015, Ripple’s latest funding round was even more successful than the first – netting $55 million from a number of strategic investors.
These included Standard Chartered, Accenture Ventures, and SBI Holdings.
Many of the investors saw Ripple playing a role in their own business goals, as Alex Manson, global head of transaction banking at Standard Chartered, said:
This investment is part of our commitment to the bank’s digitization agenda. Ripple is one of the most advanced distributed financial technology companies in the industry with a tested and viable solution. Leveraging Ripple’s deep expertise in technology, financial services and compliance, we can co-develop more use cases to better serve our clients and their ecosystems’ needs in an evolving marketplace.
However, once again these events had little effect on the ringfenced world of XRP. September 15 had the token at $0.0091, falling to $0.086 on September 30 as it continued to struggle to crack the one cent barrier.
Ripple targets Swift with ‘Multi-Sign’ wallet techRipple comes after Swift with its own secure take on Multi-Sign wallet technology following a spate of recent hacks.
If we’ve learned anything about Ripple at this point, it’s that they love capitalizing on an opportunity.
The month saw Ripple muscle in on SWIFT’s territory in the wake of the infamous “Bangladesh Bank Robbery” in February 2016 that saw almost $1 billion stolen due to weaknesses with the SWIFT network.
They were justified in doing so after the Swift network was hacked, with a massive $81 million stolen directly from customers. The hackers deployed malware on one of Swift’s servers in a complex attack.
After installation, the malware reviewed messages within the platform to search for key words and phrases. Once triggered, the malware extracted transfer references and sender addresses, using SQL logic to delete evidence as they extracted money from accounts to compromised addresses in Sri Lanka and the Philippines.
Most glaring of all, the hack was only detected when the hackers misspelled the word “foundation” in correspondence.
Naturally, Ripple was shameless in plugging the brand in the aftermath. networks are partly due to outdated single signature methods. Team Ripple said:
The bank heists in Bangladesh and around the world have demonstrated that the weaknesses that exist today at the periphery of payment. The new features found in distributed fintech solutions, such as multi-signing, are not available in traditional systems like Swift’s. Blockchain technology delivers a more robust and distributed security architecture for banks.
But XRP remained unaffected at $0.01 per token.
More institutions join the Ripple NetworkRipple’s popularity increases as seven new financial institutions join the Ripple platform to support cross-border payments.
The month witnessed further integrations for the Ripple platform with seven new financial institutions trialling its technology with an eye to the possibility of future integration.
These included Santander, UniCredit, UBS, ReiseBank, CIBC, and ATB Financial.
These banks agreed to a trial period with Ripple, with the platform intending to use its combination of distributed ledger tech and XRP to make transfers quick, secure, and simple. Theoretically, this would allow banks to be able to make money transfers almost instantaneous, especially in the case of high-volume, low-cost interactions.
All the examples given had successfully used Ripple for transfers and aimed to use the ledger technology for ongoing commercial work.
This continued Ripple’s drive to further integrate into the space, with its network then including 12 of the world’s 50 top global banks and pilot phases completed in 30 banks.
The news came on the heels of the news that Santander had internally trialled a Ripple powered app through an in-house staff pilot. The tool allowed for cross border payments of between £10 and £10k sterling and were available within the recipient’s accounts within one working day.
This innovation was one of the key drivers for the institutions choosing to partner with Ripple, as Paolo Cederle, CEO of UniCredit said at the time:
Blockchain and related technologies are a paradigm shift from the status quo and increasingly a major focus of innovation for us. That’s why we’re committed to moving beyond the lab and testing environments. Through our partnership with Ripple, we are optimizing our global payments and one of the first major banks to implement distributed financial technology in a commercial setting.
As with the rest of the year, XRP remained static at $0.01 per token.
MIT adopts Ripple technologyMIT’s Connection Science initiative partners with Ripple in an attempt to further blockchain research and best-practice for consensus mechanisms.
When MIT comes knocking at your door, you don’t say no.
April saw MIT’s Connection Science commit to running a ‘validator’ for the Ripple ledger – servers used to secure the 80% consensus threshold to confirm transactions on the Ripple network.
This decision allowed MIT to carry out its own research and test/deploy improvements on the system and carry out research into digital currencies and contemporary concepts of ‘value’.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is a world-leading centre of academic research specialising in the research and development of technology and science. Since its founding in 1861, MIT has produced over 97 Nobel Laureates and generation-defining tech projects revolving around cryptography and W3C standards. Its students have gone on to found Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Dropbox and other leading brands and businesses.
By 2016, MIT Connection Science was a (then) new research initiative at the university that focused on the use of data and analytics to pursue change in the sector.
Surprising no-one, Ripple’s CTO Stefan Thomas had some opinions about the initiative:
We’re extremely excited for MIT to run a Ripple validator. Having a globally renowned institution like MIT contribute to the consensus process on Ripple fortifies the resiliency and security of the network. Beyond that, it’s incredible to have a partner we respect so much share the mission of enabling money to move like information does on the web today.
As always, XRP remained static at $0.01.
Former HSBC and Swift board member joins RippleMarcus Treacher moves to pastures new as Ripple’s new head of strategic accounts.
Ripple’s latest hire was a big one.
The company’s latest announcement saw Marcus Treacher appointed as Ripple’s Global Head of Strategic Accounts.
Treacher’s appointment was a canny move for Ripple. The former Swift board member had 30+ years experience working with banking and payment technology, including 12 years with HSBC under a Global Partnership remit.
During his time with HSBC, Treacher pioneered fintech adoption, working with teams to develop and better understand the importance of mobile technologies and payments innovation. This was seen to be a solid fit for his position in Ripple’s new London office where he was set to “implement and commercialise” the company’s technical infrastructure.
It was an opportunity to innovate that Treacher seemed unable to resist:
Since the early days of the web, I’ve been exploring how new technology can impact and improve banking. Ripple stood out to me as a company that has both the vision and the expertise to truly transform the future of banking and payments, and I’m excited to join the team during this important moment in time where banks are starting to see the need for these advancements to better serve their customers.
During this period, XRP remained static at $0.01 per token.
Alex Cobb / thexrpdaily
Ripple opens London officeRipple continues its drive to expand as it opens a Canary Wharf based office.
Once again responding to demand, Ripple branched out into another thirsty region – the City of London’s financial sector – allowing the company to draw benefit from its standing relationships with banks like Santander and Fidor.
For Ripple, the new office also allowed it to tap into London’s booming fintech community.
The new office fell under the control of the then-managing director for Europe, Daniel Aranda. At the time Arenda was working in Ripple’s San Francisco office and had been a member of the company’s business development team for over three years.
Following up on the success of the founding of Ripple Asia in January, Ripple clearly had sales in mind as they recruited Swift’s Patricia Pittomvils as Sales Director for Europe.
Once the dust cleared, Ripple had secured a physical presence in San Francisco, New York, London, and Sydney – strengthening its grip on the marketplace.
XRP remained static at $0.01.
Ripple strikes multi-national deal with SBI HoldingsRipple continues to respond to market demand by creating SBI Ripple Asia, aiming to facilitate cross-border transactions throughout the region.
Founded in 1999, the Strategic Business Investor Group (SBI) specialized in Fintech and internet-based financial solutions.
Its remit included banking, insurance, and the provision of financial services to a range of tech-adjacent sectors. The influence of internet tech allowed the company to expand its influence overseas and – at the time – had offices in approximately 20 locations across the globe.
For Ripple, the partnership was another feather in its cap and dialled into the company’s long-term plans for expansion by embedding the platform within the financial industries. SBI’s track record with trading brands made Ripple a perfect fit for the company.
Surveying the market, Ripple was the only company that has delivered battle-tested enterprise solutions and global bank customer traction, including commercial deals with top banks already signed in Asia Pacific, said president and CEO of SBI Holdings, Yoshitaka Kitao:
Distributed financial technology is undoubtedly transforming financial infrastructure and we’re excited to drive its adoption throughout Asia.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the offer was SBI and Ripple confirming that they would consider ways to host Ripple’s protocols, ledger, and – most interestingly – XRP, through SBI’s online brokerage platforms.
Throughout the negotiations and partnership announcement, XRP continued to sit at $0.01 per token.
Microsoft ‘Blockchain as a Service’ BAAS approaches RippleMicrosoft continues its commitment to blockchain technology by ‘exploring’ the potential of adding Ripple to its blockchain toolkit.
Microsoft’s Azure cloud development platform previously developed a partnership with Ethereum in early November. This appeared to give the mega-corporation a taste for more as they eyed up Ripple’s interledger protocols.
For Microsoft, working with Ripple’s platform allowed system users to adopt a ‘fail fast’ approach to development, enabling developers to refine their approach with blockchain tech. Here the Ripple consensus network allowed users to deploy XRP as bridging crypto and facilitate low-cost, high efficiency transactions between blockchain’s robust, distributed ledgers and banking systems.
Tech talk aside, Microsoft planned on using Azure to showcase a ‘blockchain agnostic’ approach to development.
Speaking with Marley Gray, head of Microsoft’s Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) – Microsoft’s research team saw multi-chain projects and smart-contract powered tech working together:
(Using both) means a derivatives chain can interact with the securities chain it’s derived from. In all of these interactions, you’ll have to move money around. So you will need Ripple for that. We see Ripple and ILP becoming part of the fabric of this multi-chain reality. Then you have Azure, which is the horizontal computing layer. We’ll provide scale management. We’ll make sure there’s regulatory compliance for data residency. We’ve got all that stuff covered.
XRP remained stationary at $0.01 per token.
Ripple lowers settlement costs and changes nameA new day dawns for Ripple Labs as the company changes its name and reduces transaction costs on the platform.
In a characteristically bolshy move, this month saw Ripple rebrand by dropping the “Labs” from its name and announced a lower cost of settlement for clients.
That wasn’t all.
Having secured new funding and seasoned staff, Ripple attacked the $1.6 trillion in transaction costs that plagued cross-border payments. To tackle this, Ripple launched a suite of new solutions.
These added three advantages for users.
The first was compatibility with industry transaction standards such as FIX, JSON, and .NET to improve ease of use and integration capacity.
The second was labelled “certainty of statement” and allowed banks to compare data before transaction and ‘confirm’ where and when a payment would settle. This improved traceability, transparency, and further reduced transaction times.
The final extra included reduced settlement costs for both banks and customers alongside the Ripple platform’s elimination of processing fees.
This reworking of banking infrastructure was a key goal for Ripple, as CEO and founder Chris Larsen said:
It is hard to believe, but outmoded payment infrastructure forces banks and their corporate customers to prefund foreign accounts for international payments, but then provides few assurances that cross-border transactions will actually settle. With Ripple’s new solutions, banks can now achieve real-time, certain settlement at the lowest total cost possible.
Through this XRP retained a valuation of $0.01.
Ripple Labs adds Santander as an investorRipple Labs’ Series A funding increases to $32 million as Santander joins the latest funding round.
Continuing Ripple’s year of expansion, it was Santander’s turn to put a finger in the digital pie, bringing the Series A funding round from $28 million to $32 million.
The funding was provided by Santander Innoventures (SI). First launched in July 2014, Innoventures specialised in partnering with small startups and FinTech projects.
SI specialised in providing targeted guidance to help companies scale, navigate complex marketplaces, and allowing access to the Santander internal payment infrastructure. This background made products like Ripple perfect for funding as they combined e-commerce, payments, lending, and offered high potential for the use of analytics.
The funding round was seen as a further validation of Ripple’s business model and expansion-based approach to date. The investment also helped pioneer Ripple’s concept of their so-called ”Internet of Value”.
For SI, it was an opportunity to capitalise on findings from its Fintech 2.0 report that suggested a $20 billion ‘opportunity’ awaited within the sector. Opportunities that Santander Innoventures’ Managing Partner Mariano Belinky was keen to highlight:
We believe Ripple possesses the talent, technology, and momentum to address many of these scenarios, and are actively exploring where and how best to apply Ripple technology inside the bank. Ripple and Santander share a common vision of the future of the industry, and we intend to jointly advocate it in the community.
However, even this degree of investment couldn’t make a dent on Ripple’s value, which remained static at $0.01.
Bret Allenback appointed Ripple CFORipple adds another financial luminary as Bret Allenback becomes the latest strategic hire for the company.
One more high-profile hire can’t hurt? Right?
Ripple selected Bret Allenback as CFO due to his extensive history working with online payment platforms. He was formerly CFO for Payments and Risk with PayPal and also spent time as VP of Finance for Visa.
This brought significant, practical experience dealing with issues close to Ripple’s heart such as cryptography, FinTech, cyber security, and other concerns.
Allenback’s hire was another example of Ripple Labs’ explosive expansion, with 2017 labelled as “the year that Ripple grew up” in an end-of-year announcement by the company.
Of course, Allenback was well aware of what his newfound responsibilities meant:
In providing payments services to people and businesses throughout my career, I’ve experienced first-hand the inefficiency and inaccessibility of today’s settlement infrastructure. I look forward to engaging with the team and helping to support our grand vision of enabling an Internet of Value.
Despite the high-powered hire, the value of XRP did not shift and remained static at $0.01 per token.
Vahe Hovannisyan / Ripple
Ripple Labs given “Technology Pioneer Award”The World Economic Forum (WEF) recognises Ripple’s efforts by granting them the 2015 “Technology Pioneer Award”.
It’s always nice to win an award. When it comes from a global body that drives positive change… that’s pretty nice too.
August saw Ripple receive a “technology pioneer award” thanks to its use of distributed ledger technology, with previous winners including trailblazers like Google, Mozilla, Twitter, and GitHub.
Ripple was picked out from a long-list of hundreds of applicants and given rigorous scrutiny through a multi-panel screening process.
This validation was not only seen as a feather in the cap for Ripple, but also a gateway to powerful networking access. Awardees were invited to attend the new World Economic Forum (WEF) even that was set to be held in Davos, Switzerland.
A Geneva-based institution, the WEF is a philanthropic non-governmental organisation that works with philanthropists, entrepreneurs, economists, and world leaders to drive positive change on global issues. It works by fostering partnerships between awardees and members and drive positive global change through institutions.
As always, Ripple’s CEO Chris Larsen had something to add:
We are thrilled to be selected among the world’s most innovative companies in technology and to participate in such a well-established community of technology leaders. Our mission is to modernize payments infrastructure so money can move as easily, freely and transparently as information moves on the Internet today. We’re pleased to know that many of the world’s economic leaders share a desire to fulfil this vision.
However, even the luster of an award could do little to improve the value of XRP, which continued to sit at $0.01.
Ripple appoints Michael Barr as advisorRipple continues its hiring drive and recruits another ex-government official as an advisor.
Once again, Ripple Labs tapped the U.S. Government as a recruitment resource, appointing Michael S. Barr as an advisor with the company.
The former US Treasury official was the latest in a litany of hires from the public and private sectors.
A professor of law at the University of Michigan, Barr was the Treasury’s assistant secretary under the Obama administration.
His tenure was marked by a drive for planning and efficiency across the sector, with Barr being one of the authors behind the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010.
This experience with regulation, governance, and reform made him a welcome sight to Ripple Lab’s CEO, Chris Larsen:
Barr has spent his entire career in pursuit of a more equitable and efficient financial system – within government, as an academic, and with many of today’s leading financial innovators. We will lean on his insights and expertise as we continue to build Ripple into a critical piece of the world’s financial technology infrastructure.
However, even the positive momentum of the last few months couldn’t shift the needle of the platform’s currency which remained at $0.01 per XRP.
Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy University of Michigan's Ford School / flickr
Ripple hires former DTCC CEORipple’s recruitment drive continues with Donal Donahue, formerly CEO of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC), appointed as an advisor for security and infrastructure.
At some point you begin to wonder if Ripple’s CEO wanted to start a company to follow his passion for IT recruitment.
Ripple Lab’s latest hire was Donald Donahue, formerly of Miranda Partners and leader of the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation (DTCC) during the 2008 Financial Crisis.
In addition to this embodied experience, Donahue was also a consultant for the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA). The role provided significant experience providing cybersecurity support and a developing a detailed understanding of technical infrastructure and vulnerabilities.
Ripple CEO and co-founder Chris Larsen seemed pretty excited too:
Don has spent an entire career building, assessing, and safeguarding the country’s financial technology infrastructure. His insights will be invaluable as we continue to expand adoption of Ripple as payments infrastructure technology by financial institutions around the world.
Again, XRP failed to advance or decline, sitting at $0.01.
Ripple obtains $28 million Series A fundingRipple finishes out its latest funding round with a $28 million investment that will help the company with its international ambitions.
Proving that there’s no such thing as bad publicity, Ripple moved past its recent fines to secure $28 million in Series A funding.
Investors included IDG Capital Partners, the CME Group, and Seagate Technology, amongst many others.
Ripple’s initial success was seen as a victory for the company’s evangelism about the Internet of Value (IoV). This was further bolstered for an appetite for blockchain and solutions that combined familiar ‘centralized’ elements and drew benefit from the ‘decentralized’ power of cryptocurrencies.
Seagate Technology’s Senior Vice President of Finance and Treasury, Dave Morton, was effusive about the potential of the platform:
With its real-time settlement capabilities, we recognize the opportunity for Ripple to reduce money transfer costs, create transparency, and increase working capital in corporate treasury use cases. Banking and corporate applications are just the tip of the iceberg for a technology like Ripple, and we’re excited to support the team’s pursuit of those opportunities.
Despite this, the value of XRP remained stable at $0.01.
Ripple eats $700k enforcement actionRipple is a subject to a civil enforcement action from the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) in a first of its kind ruling.
It’s not possible to carve a space out in a busy market without stepping on a few toes. Unfortunately, Ripple seemed to be attracting the wrong kind of attention.
According to the US Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), Ripple had violated multiple requirements in the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA). The BSA was a piece of US legislation that worked to stop money laundering.
The policy dictated that all institutions were required to provide documentation and evidence to regulators and when ‘suspicious’ transactions occur involving values about or above $10k in value.
Ripple’s failure to register with FinCEN and not applying robust anti-money laundering procedures landed the company with the fine. One of the incidents given by FinCEN involved a $250k transaction that was facilitated through Ripple by an individual who had been convicted of dealing in explosive devices.
This came at a time when the company was subject to a settlement between the US Attorney’s Office in California that saw them branded with $450k in costs in addition to settling the charges.
However, Ripple were clear and full-throated in their defence. Ripple’s spokesperson Monica Long informed CoinDesk that the platform would continue to do what it does best:
Ripple Labs was one of the first to proactively build out a compliance and risk program. We’ve been consistent in our message of supporting a compliant and healthy Ripple ecosystem. Ripple is infrastructure technology for banks to build compliant payment networks. The settlement announced today does not impede our ability to execute on those bank integrations.
There was no movement in XRP across this period, retaining its position of $0.01 per token.
Tingey Injury Law Firm / Unsplash
Brad Garlinghouse joins RippleYahoo and AOL alum Brad Garlinghouse joins the Ripple platform as COO.
As it was April, it was time for Ripple to hire another massively overqualified industry professional.
A seasoned AOL and Yahoo alum, Garlinghouse became Ripple’s first COO and was keen to build on the momentum that the platform was enjoying and the role it could play in defining the “Internet of Value”.
Ripple’s CEO Chris Larsen didn’t mince his words about what he thought Garlinghouse could add to the company:
Brad’s experience will be invaluable as we advance our focus from building a strong pipeline to execution and exceptional growth. We share a vision for the future of finance and the creation of an Internet of Value in which value exchange is as fast, free, transparent, and secure as information exchange is on the Internet today.
Once again, Ripple made reference to its desire to expand and take advantage of openings in the sector.
At the time, XRP remained static at $0.01.
François Tancre / flickr
Ripple Labs Asia Pacific opensRipple expands to the Asia Pacific region after recent expansion-driven hires Building further momentum, in April Ripple deepened professional ties in the Asia-Pacific region.
The decision to open the lab was a strategic choice by Ripple. The Australia-based branch helped connect the company’s US, European, and Asia-Pacific markets. This continued their drive into an area where cross-border payments totalled $200 billion and attempted to take advantage of intra-Asia trade flows of an astonishing $3 trillion across 2012.
The lab was spearheaded by Dilap Rao who oversaw business development and operations for the lab. The choice was an easy and an exciting one according to Ripple CEO and founder Chris Larsen:
We are excited to formally unveil a presence in Asia Pacific — an area that has been aggressively pursuing faster payment technologies for both domestic and cross-border payments. Dilip is a natural fit to lead this office because of his years of experience in the space and his deep, engaged network in the region.
The launch saw the new lab push to recruit engineers, developers, and other specialists to help the platform fulfil its mandate. Rao’s 25+ years in senior management and fintech consultancy made him the perfect choice.
Once again though, the news failed to move the needle as XRP continued to maintain a valuation of $0.01 per token.
Ripple appoints second former White House employeeContinuing its recent recruitment drive, Ripple hires ex-State Department professional Anja Manuel as an advisor.
Another month, another hire for Ripple.
Anja Manuel was the latest recruit; a foreign policy expert and official under the Bush administration between 2005 to 2007. She was also a regular commenter on diplomacy and modern digital technologies for several outlets.
Manuel’s expertise with foreign policy and regulation was seen to be a good choice for Ripple and would allow them to better-navigate the waters of international regulation as they built their network.
Though, of course, Manuel was suitably impressed with the platform during her first professional statement from the company:
Ripple is one of the most innovative technologies I have seen. It has the potential to expand the global economy through increased trade, and enables better, more transparent regulatory oversight of payments. I am excited to help build on Ripple’s impressive momentum and help it to gain traction internationally.
Ripple’s reason for hiring Manuel was as simple as it was explicit: “expansion”.
It was expected that Manuel’s experience working in emerging markets and her in-depth understanding of India, China, and the Middle East would come in handy for the hungry, fledgling company.
XRP remained static at $0.01 per token.
Ripple joins W3C Payment GroupRipple decides to join the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) to help shape and adopt standards for value exchanges across the internet.
Continuing its drive to establish itself in a frothy market, Ripple took the plunge and joined the World Wide Web Consortium (WC3) to set the standards of the future.
Founded in 1994, the W3C is one of the oldest institutions that sets standards on the internet. The group takes part in regular engagement and outreach, previously playing a vital role in creating digital tools like CSS, HTML, XML, and more. These frameworks may also be theoretical, opening up conversations about new sectors or applications of technology as seen through the Ripple platform.
Early February saw Ripple join W3C’s “Payment Interest Group” and begin contributing to the development of real-world standards. Ripple’s role allowed it to add value to interoperability research and help to build a network of standards. And, in doing so, to make sure that all members were fully compliant with these rules.
As Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas announced in a press release:
The lack of universal standards within today’s financial system has led to increased systemic costs and hindered economic progress. Much like the information web, we believe that open, neutral standards will create a more competitive environment resulting in improved efficiency and greater access in financial systems.
However, this did little to improve the standing of XRP online which remained static at $0.01 per coin.
Ripple named “Fourth Most Innovative in Money” by Fast CompanyRipple comes fourth in a shortlist that includes ApplePay, Braintree, and spans six continents.
It’s nice to be mentioned when it comes to awards. But when your competition includes multi-billion dollar companies like Google, Tesla, and Netflix, it’s probably worth shouting your accomplishments from the rooftops. Which is exactly what Ripple did.
Early 2015 saw Ripple come fourth in Fast Company’s ‘Most Innovative Company’ awards for 2015. Despite the innovative Warby Parker taking the number one slot, Ripple’s placing was seen as a vindication of its product and approach. Something Ripple CEO Chris Larsen said in a press release after the announcement:
We are thrilled to be named as one of the most innovative companies in money and to be included among such respected brands. Our vision is to transform the world of finance in a way that benefits everyone from banks to governments to innovative developers to merchants, consumers and the financially underserved. It is gratifying to know that others share a desire for this change and recognize our work.
Despite this publicity boost, XRP still remained static at $0.01 per token.
Former White House economic advisor joins RippleFormer Clinton and Obama advisor Gene Sperling joins the Ripple family.
Ripple continued to broaden its platform by snagging a politico. Namely Gene Sperling, a long time Democratic advisor.
Sperling had previously supported the Obama and Clinton administrations, obtaining first-hand experience dealing with the financial crisis, jobs issues, and the challenges of sourcing finance around the early and late periods of internet adoption.
Upon announcing the news, Sperling drew some parallels between Ripple and the early days of the internet:
The currency-neutral Ripple protocol is a unique technology that can fundamentally transform correspondent banking and lead to real-time payment systems. Furthermore, by seeking to do for payments what HTTP did for information sharing, the Ripple protocol can help advance the movement toward universal access to financial markets and services.
For Ripple, the appointment added prestige to its management team, and expanded the company’s sphere of influence.
However, despite their efforts XRP still remained stagnant at $0.01 per coin.
Gene Sperling / wikimedia
Earthport and Ripple Labs PartnerEarthport PLC partners with Ripple to improve its cross-border payment functionality to meet demands from the modern marketplace.
Even in the early days of Ripple, the company was looking for the partnerships and alliances that would come to define its later, global product.
This month’s ‘get’ was Earthport PLC, a UK-based financial services provider that specialised in supporting clients with their cross-border payments and underpinning infrastructure. The addition of Ripple allowed Earthport to take advantage of real-time fund transfers and produce a ‘friction free’ service for the company’s existing client base.
Earthport agreed to adopt the Ripple protocols to improve its existing network and increase the options available to clients. This came on the back of the launch of the UK’s dedicated Cross Border Remittances Group which had its first meeting on January 31 this year.
For Earthport, it appeared to be the perfect opportunity to add a new string to its bow, as CEO Hank Uberpoi, underlined:
We constantly evaluate new technologies to reduce costs and delays associated with global bank payments for our clients, but require these innovations to meet our high, exacting standards for compliance. Ripple is a new technology and, once integrated in our payments service could bring benefits in efficiency and speed to global transfers. Earthport will apply its existing compliance framework, rule sets and secure payments network to any Earthport clients transacting using the Ripple protocol.
As ever, XRP remained static at $0.01 per token.
Ripple adopts open framework for identity, trust, and dataThe release of the Windhover principles marked a milestone of online privacy.
When it comes to online privacy, there’s nobody better placed to make regulations than those most affected by them.
Created through expert-led crowdsourcing the Windhover principles dictated a novel privacy framework to help set future standards for personal identity, privacy, and transparency.
These were supported by Ripple in an attempt to demonstrate how much they valued security and their client data.
While these boiled down to four key tenets:
1) Self Sovereignty of Digital Identity and Personal Data.
2) Proportionate Enforcement and Risk-Based Regulation.
3) Ensuring Innovation in Trust and Privacy.
4) Open source Collaboration and Continuous Innovation.
Like many elements of crypto, the principles were ideological in nature. They believed end-users had a right to privacy and advocated for transparency and formal, agreed-upon regulation.
For many professionals, blockchain and crypto represented that next step in regulation. ID3 director Dan Harple said:
The next phase of Internet growth requires a re-tooling, with identity and trust at the foundation, to bring the ownership and control of personal data back to the individual. Doing so will spawn a new stage of collaboration and open data exchange. Our vision for OMS is as an inclusive platform to transform how we, as collective Internet users, can take back our personal data, and share it in a trusted and secure way — not only for Bitcoin and digital currency transactions, but for other data and media types as well.
Ripple Labs came out in favour of the project, publishing a press release that confirmed its use for ledger-based technologies and ripple as a whole.
Despite this, XRP remained priced at $0.01 per token.
Ripple partners with CBW BankCBW uses Ripple as a modernising influence.
When the deals come, they come fast.
Arriving at the same time as Ripple’s partnership with Cross River Bank, CBW Bank also agreed to use the Ripple platform and protocol to support its work.
A long-standing financial institution with 122 years under its belt, CBW Bank viewed its Ripple partnership as an opportunity to step into the digital future and ‘pioneer’ change within their company while providing better support for its customers.
This involved using Ripple as a settlement technology, allowing for fluidity and increased liquidity when it came to supporting cross-border payments.
Being able to leverage digital technologies was seen as a massive win, as the CBW’s CTO Suresh Ramamurthi said:
Ripple addresses the structural problem of payments as IP-based settlement infrastructure that powers the exchange of any types of value. We’ll now be one of the first banks in the world to offer customers a reliable, compliant, safe and secure way to instantly send and receive money internationally.
These changes did little to move the needle and XRP remained static at $0.01.
Ripple integrates with Cross River BankRipple’s latest business partnership continues to allow the business to expand.
It was a match made in DeFi heaven. Cross River Bank specialized in facilitating transfers between the United States and Western Europe; while Ripple’s functionality allowed it to speed those transactions, improve users’ experience, and provide additional layers of security.
Once again, Ripple’s combination of speed and security was a draw for Cross River Bank, as its CEO Gilles Gade confirmed:
Our business customers expect banking to move at the speed of the web, but with the security and confidence of the traditional financial system. Ripple will help make that a reality, enabling our customers to instantly transfer funds internationally while meeting all compliance requirements and payments rules. We are excited to be amongst the very first banks in the US to deploy Ripple as a faster, more affordable and compliant payment rail for our customers.
Once again, this did little to shift the price of XRP which continued to sit at $0.01.
GBI’s “Ripple Gateway” lets users manage their goldGold Bullion International’ (GBI) liquidity increases with the aid of the “Ripple Gateway” platform.
June saw another provider onboard with Ripple, as leading gold and metals exchange Gold Bullion International (GBI) launched its “Ripple Gateway” allowing users to combine the benefit of digital interactions and the allure of gold.
GBI was a precious metals provider that supported industrial demand and investors. GBI’s network acquired gold through its bespoke network and stored the materials at safe locations across the world. Choosing Ripple allowed all friction to be removed from this process and helped speed transactions.
The Gateway allowed users to spend and transfer their digital gold balance and use it anywhere where cryptocurrencies were permitted.
GBI’s co-founder and CEO Steven Feldman emphasized the role that Ripple played in its system:
Ripple changes the dynamics of value, allowing for a real-time market that can instantly trade between gold, currency, mobile minutes, and more. We have been leaders in combining technology and precious metals, and our integration into Ripple allows us to continue our push into digital currencies by enabling investors to now buy digital physical gold.
For GBI, this combined the certainty of gold with the security of blockchain based technologies.
While this marked another victory for Ripple as a business, XRP was still languishing on the market at $0.01 per token.
AstroPay adopts RippleUruguay’s ‘AstroPay’ adopts Ripple as part of its platform, as XRP continues to gain a foothold.
Ripple’s reputation builds as Uruguay’s AstroPay decided to embrace the power of Ripple.
Astropay was a cross border payment services company that specialized in the use of pre-paid card technology. AstroPay’s agreement saw it partner with Ripple and create a new platform supported by Ripple gateways to facilitate transactions in the region.
This collaboration launched as Ripple LatAm, the platform supported the AstroPay network that provided cross-border coverage for Latin America. At the time, the platform had recorded more than 600,000 transactions between seven countries that included Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Mexico, Peru, Argentina, and Uruguay – coming to roughly 5,000 transactions per working day.
According to its founders, AstroPay was then the “fastest growing” payments platform in Latin America, offering a varied range of products and services including capital controls, tax management, fraud prevention, and more. The emphasis on digital solutions and integration made Ripple an attractive investment thanks to its ease of registration, integration and use. Andres Bzurovski, founder of Ripple LatAm said:
Ripple LatAm effectively opens the region for business, allowing for real-time B2B cross-border payments between markets in each partner’s currency of choice. Now, a European-based business can send euros to be received as Brazilian Real by a business in Brazil within seconds and at a fraction of the cost.
From the point of launch, Ripple supported AstroPay’s established network and allowed the bank to potentially build networks and strengthen their infrastructure.
However, the crypto was still considered a financial tool and XRP did not exceed $0.01 over the period.
Fidor Bank AG becomes first institution to use RippleRipple celebrates its first bank partnership as Fidor Bank opts in to the payment scheme.
May was a landmark month for Ripple, with the first official adoption of its platform as Fidor Bank chose to make Ripple part of its payment network.
At this point in its evolution, Ripple functioned as a cryptocurrency (named ‘XRP’) and acted as a rapid, secure digital payment work.
But it differed from conventional crypto in that all of its coins have been pre-mined. This meant that the platform sat in a legal grey area of being “decentralized”, eventually resulting in a number of legal and ideological challenges throughout its lifespan.
Ripple’s USP was its speed, energy efficiency, and low cost. Ripple transactions took seconds, compared to the longer transaction times of platforms such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. It was also highly energy efficient and carried lower transaction costs than its rivals.
It was mainly used for rapid asset exchanges and remittance handling. This made it particularly attractive to financial institutions, banks, and professionals working in the financial sector. And Fidor Bank was the first to take notice. Matthias Kröner, CEO of Fidor Bank said:
Ripple enables us to securely and instantly send money anywhere in the world at no additional cost and through the same customer facing products and relationships we offer today. With Ripple, we can deliver a superior banking experience at a fraction of the time and cost traditionally expected of a financial institution.
However, at this point XRP still had little to no presence on online markets, trading at just $0.01 at the time of the deal.
Ripple launches first major gatewayThe creation of ‘Ripple Singapore’ marks the platform’s first step into the world of precious metals trading.
If you’re planning to diversify, there’s no harm in going for gold.
The year began with Ripple Labs launching ‘Ripple Singapore’ - a gateway for the platform that took the form of a gold bullion exchange.
Ripple’s ‘gateways’ were physical businesses and organizations that allowed users to deploy real-world assets on the Ripple network. This was seen as a major step for the platform as it had previously confined itself to digital and fiat currency exchange.
In practical terms, this meant users had two ways to purchase bullion. The first option was through the platform’s “bullion counter” with a minimum amount of 10oz of gold and platinum or 500oz of silver. Users were also able to arrange delivery of their physical gold or silver with a two-day turn around. The system also allowed trading between registered users. This was supported at a cost of 0.2% per transaction and offered vaulting for no additional charge.
After the launch, Ripple Singapore’s co-founder James Cox was happy to offer an update on its success:
We have over 200 trust lines and our customers have bought gold, silver and platinum,” he said. “They all seem to be trading on Ripple at a premium to the Comex. This is understandable because anyone who buys physical gold and silver knows that you will have to pay a premium. However, the physical price varies a great deal country to country. Ripple is a great way for Chinese and Indian people to buy gold at Singapore prices.
The gateway lasted until 2016, when it was closed on October 31, with a warning message delivered through the platform’s official Twitter account.
Jingming Pan / Unsplash
Ripple plans to go open-sourceAfter enduring criticism, OpenCoin agrees to make Ripple open source.
After complaints about opacity, Ripple finally decided to embrace the world of open source development, confirming that the process would be complete by September 26.
This was intended to address issues around development, with networked nodes being created without releasing the code. Though the decision embraced the disruptive spirit of Ripple, observers pointed out that open-sourcing would also help speed growth and help encourage adoption and integration with businesses, providers, and institutions.
Ripple embraced this new age of openness by announcing new engineering team hires on the site as it pushed to fully open-source the platform’s code.
Among the celebrants and commentators was future Ethereum creator Vitalik Buterin, who posted a characteristically exhaustive piece in Bitcoin Magazine about the decision. Buterin wrote that, while Ripple had provided ‘high-level’ instructions:
Now, we have access to the source code, which is literally as formal a description of the consensus process that one can get. For the first time, actual cryptographers outside of Ripple Labs will be able to create mathematical models out of the code, run simulations or prove theorems on it and see if it actually lives up to the hype.
Ripple co-founds DATARipple becomes a founding member of the “Committee for the Establishment of the Digital Asset Transfer Authority” (DATA) to help improve best practice, standards, and policy for the sector.
If committees were judged solely on their board members, this one had in the bag.
The Digital Asset Transfer Authority (DATA) was launched at the end of July and included luminaries from the world of Bitcoin and cryptocurrency. The committee’s goal was to create a unified voice for the crypto sector when it came to handling and enforcing regulation.
The founding members were a who’s-who of CEOs with Tony Gallipi of Bitpay, Patrick Murck of the Bitcoin Foundation, Jered Kenna of Tradehill, and Ripple CEO Chris Larsen.
The group announced its creationthrough an official announcement on their site:
At the forefront of emerging payments, virtual currency, and other financial technology innovations, our companies are pioneering new services with potential to reduce the friction and cost of payments substantially and make low cost payment services available to hundreds and millions of individuals and businesses throughout the world.
The announcement detailed four objectives for the organization. These included:
- Developing anti-money laundering standards and sanctions to improve compliance;
- Building confidence in the sector through the development of standards;
- Undertaking engagement and advocacy to identify and address industry concerns and potential risk to the sector; and
- Establishing DATA as a reliable, self-regulated organization.
DATA also confirmed that it would create its own board and establish an oversight process for members.
The Ripple Giveaway beginsRipple amps up engagement with an XRP ‘giveaway’ to Beta users while sowing the seeds of future problems.
Everyone loves a freebie, especially if it’s cash…ish.
Following a year of promotion and investment, Ripple announced a giveaway for registrants to their online mailing list, awarding individuals 1000 XRP for simply signing up.
However, things didn’t exactly go smoothly.
The launch involved issues with error messages, delays, and difficulties signing up as users attempted to take advantage of the offer. Despite this, the goal of the event was to grow the Ripple payment network, encourage users to register, begin trading, and allow clients to develop first-hand familiarity with the system.
This familiarity would include teaching users about the unique nature of XRP, with accounts requiring at least 12 XRP to facilitate a trade and 50 XRP in order to be considered ‘active. However, Ripple’s CEO Chris Larsen was more than happy to clarify things:
As the value of the Ripple currency increases or decreases, the servers in the network can raise or lower the thresholds for the reserve and transaction limits on their own through a process of consensus. As a result, Ripple is always working to build maximum utility and liquidity within the system. At the same time, it’s important to remember that Ripple can accommodate any currency – so the value of XRP does not limit the use of Ripple for payments, transfers, remittances, etc.
But, little did they know, that this giveaway was one of the decisions that would come to plague the company. Eventually, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) would file suit against Ripple, pointing to 2013 as the start of their ‘lawbreaking’.
The giveaway event also added fuel to the fire around individuals who criticized Ripple’s hybridized nature.
But if Ripple’s goal was to increase awareness, grow the user-base, and develop system familiarity, it appeared to have more than succeeded.
Ripple’s CEO gives a major, timely, in-depth interview about the platformChris Larson sits down with CoinDesk to explain the hows and whys of the Ripple platform…in the wake of a giveaway announcement.
Even in the crowded crypto market, Ripple was starting to get name recognition.
This was due in part to the star power of Ripple CTO Jed McCaleb and CEO Chris Larsen, the latter of whom promptly decided to sit down with CoinDesk and have an in-depth discussion about the hows and whys of Ripple and the utility of the protocol.
The conversation was an opportunity for Larsen to establish a clear distinction between the two ‘parts’ of the platform, namely the currency (then called “ripples”) and payment system itself.
Larsen’s advocacy included striking out at the cost of Bitcoin mining, the design process, and its inherent flexibility.
While the platform was still in its infancy, Larsen fully outlined the gateway strategy that would go on to form the backbone of Ripple:
We think the bigger use case, though, is around sending Ripple and having gateways that produce balances in traditional currencies. That’s good for commerce. Most merchants will want to receive the currencies that they’re comfortable with. You could hold your math-based currency, and you can send it and it will show up as a currency of the merchant’s choice.
However, he did weather criticism about the platform’s semi-decentralized nature and the lack of transparency in development due to the absence of open-source input.
Of course, there was no point opening the kimono without a purpose.
On May 10, Ripple announced a ‘giveaway’ for individuals signing up for their mailing list.
At the time, XRP was still not listed on marketplaces.
A. Michael Simms / Wikipedia
OpenCoin secures Google Ventures funding for RippleGoogle Ventures chooses to back Ripple, building brand recognition and bankrolling future development.
As far as name recognition goes, Google is definitely up there.
The previous month saw the closure of an angel investor round for the platform, only for OpenCoin to do one better and confirm that Google Ventures had also chosen to back Ripple.
Founded in 2009, Google Ventures was the venture capital arm of Google’s Alphabet Inc. The group operated separately from Google but sought to fund startups that had innovative or disruptive potential. This ranged from software and internet-based projects to everyday fields like construction, transport, and agriculture.
The funding also included support from IDG Capital Partners, an investment firm that specialized in backing ‘extraordinary’ companies. IDG’s co-founder Feng Li said:
The OpenCoin team has an incredible track record and presents a compelling vision for the future of money. We are excited about the prospect for a global payments system that powers instant, free, and secure transactions in any currency.
Ripple begins to attract media attentionOpenCoin starts a media drive that highlights the power of Ripple…and the money they’re securing from investors.
If your product was making money, you’d want to shout about it too.
After launching a live, proof-of-concept system, OpenCoin started a two-pronged media attack.
At the time, cryptocurrency conversation was dominated by Bitcoin, with institutions like the Economist and The MIT Technology Review consistently referring to Ripple in the same breath as the coin.
Cracking through this meant making waves – and not just ripples.
The month of April marked a point where the company began to actively publicize its product, receiving column inches in CoinDesk and TechCrunch.
These interviews focused on the weaknesses of existing crypto and the distinct role that Ripple played in the modern marketplace.
Though, of course, a little bragging about its bank account didn’t hurt either.
The second week of April marked the closure of a fresh angel funding round for the platform. Once the round had completed, OpenCoin secured support from Andreessen Horowitz, FF Angel IV (now Pathfinder, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Vast Ventures, and Bitcoin Opportunity Fund (now the Digital Currency Group.
In addition to securing additional investment, this gave OpenCoin CEO Chris Larsen a chance to publicize, and succinctly explain, the system:
We believe that Ripple will change the way the world thinks about and uses currency through universal access to a trusted, transparent and easy to understand multi-currency financial tool. We are excited to welcome these visionary investors and will use the funds to grow our team and accelerate the launch of Ripple.
Ripple’s ledger goes liveRipple completes its early checks and is ready to fly
With the initial testing over, it was time to go live with the network.
June marked the end of Ripple’s development phase, which resulted in a stress-tested, fully functioning ledger. Writing in December 2019, Ripple co-founder David Schwartz celebrated the launch of the system:
Huzzah! The XRP Ledger version that we know and love today began.
The XRP ledger was the decentralized platform that underpinned the Ripple network. This was powered through blockchain, but differed from established practice by doing away with mining.
Instead, Ripple used “trust based validation”. This involved using a distributed network of banks, payment providers, and institutions, to create transaction pathways that could be securely validated at speed.
Being part of the Ripple Ledger involved several responsibilities. Signing up the ledger marked an entity as part of a shared peer network. This meant agreeing to pass on transactions on the system and keeping a copy of the XRP ledger to verify transactions.
Others could potentially take on the additional, distinct role of a ‘trusted validator’. These were entities who – in addition to passing messages along – were used in Ripple’s consensus process to confirm that the transactions were sound.
At the time of launch, the ledger was made up from five distinct elements.
1. The Open-Source (OS) ‘Ripple’ development project, which was available through GitHub.
2. The Ripple Consensus Ledger to track the flow of XRP.
3. The Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP), which was built on the Ripple OS project that controlled the day-to-day running of Ripple and its system configuration.
4. The Ripple network and its connections and nodes.
5. The assets underpinning the system (at this point known as “Ripples”, instead of XRP).
Pre-launch, XRP80 billion was gifted to its founders with the remainder being placed into escrow.
The start of 2013 also witnessed OpenCoin rebrand as ‘Ripple labs’.
Ripple secures $200k seed money from Avant GlobalRipple’s first seed funding round goes off with a bang as the company secures $200k initial funding.
With the platform designed and currency created, all that remained was putting some gas in the car.
The round was supported by Jesse Powell who provided $200k of initial funding on October 2 2012. This was raised in collaboration with Avant Global.
Powell was the co-founder of the Kraken exchange. Launched on July 28 2011, Kraken supplied crypto-to-fiat currency trading and continued to function as a popular exchange.
In operation since 1999 Avant Global was an investment and strategic innovation partnership that specialized in supporting ‘disruptive leaders’.
This was also predicated by investments from Roger Ver, aka ‘Bitcoin Jesus’ who allegedly funded Ripple well before the platform’s ‘bridging’ concept had fully solidified.
Looking back on this period in an interview, Ver said:
I was actually the second investor ever involved in Ripple. So, Jed came to me in 2012 after we knew each other through Mt. Gox, and he said, ‘I have an idea how to make Bitcoin that doesn’t require mining’. I think mining is wasteful because it uses a lot of electricity. So, if we can figure out how to do it without mining – that would be great.
Ver also admitted to paying David Schwartz his salary for the first two years in the company, with Schwartz eventually moving on to become Ripple’s CTO.
The platform was released to the public on January 1 2013 and saw 18 transactions over the course of the day.
XRP currency createdThe Ripple platform’s XRP currency is (pre)mined for the first time
Marking the dawn of the platform, Ripple Labs’ co-founder Arthur Britto mined 100 billion XRP.
This represented the realization of the platform that had been co-founded by tech entrepreneurs Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen.
McCaleb’s journey started with the co-creation of the eDonkey file sharing network, that allowed for the decentralized sharing of video content. He had launched the Mt. Gox crypto exchange in 2010, before developing Ripple in 2011.
Larsen began by founding eLoan, a pioneering online mortgage broker, in 1996 and Prosper Marketplace a peer-to-peer lending platform in 2005. Self-described as “radically pro consumer”, Larsen founded OpenCoin with McCaleb in 2012.
OpenCoin led to the creation of Ripple, described at the time as being a “Bitcoin like” payments system. Or as the platform’s wiki described it:
Ripple is a peer-to-peer payment system created by Opencoin Inc. Ripple lets you easily, cheaply, and safely send money over the Internet to anyone, anywhere in the world. Anyone can create an account. Because Ripple is P2P software, no individual, corporation, or government controls it. The network operates via the combined effort of the Ripple software running all over the world.
Ripple differed from ‘conventional’ cryptocurrencies in that the platform’s tokens were all ‘premined’.
Conventionally, cryptocurrency mining was used by platforms to complete transactions and bring new coins and/or tokens into the blockchain. This required computers to solve a complex mathematical puzzle to verify transactions on the blockchain network and reward miners with new coins.
By deploying premining, XRP was to be used as a type of bridging crypto on the new system.
Upon finishing mining, the platform’s system ledger was reset. This process was then repeated multiple times during testing, as confirmed by Ripple’s then Ledger Architect David Schwartz in a string of tweets commemorating the event.
At this point, the crypto had no set value nor place in the market. But this was all about to change.
Jernej Furman / Flickr