For me, it’s been a year since I bought my first XRP. Only a year. That seems impossible.
Although I’d been following cryptos for quite a while prior to this, I still had this false belief that I wouldn’t be able to invest in it. Seems crazy now in retrospect, but it’s true.
You see, a few years earlier, I’d tried to buy some Bitcoin. This was before it was as easy as it is now, and after many hours of trying to work it out I still hadn’t. Literally no-one I knew had even heard of it let alone bought some, so there was no-one to ask. Not only that, I’d started to think I was going to lose my money if I handed it over to what appeared to be some very dodgy sites. Eventually I gave up, but I was scarred by the experience. Not only did I now have a belief that it was ‘impossible’ to buy except for those few very techy people who could work it out, I also believed (wrongly) this applied to all currencies. And what was I thinking anyway? It was obviously mad buying Bitcoin at $3 because it had clearly achieved all the growth at that point, right?
So, with my false belief in place, I sat back, took my place as an interested observer and read all I could about the markets and the technology, looking and hoping for another way in. I’d started to look at other coins and really rated Litecoin, Monero, Ethereum and this new kid on the block (as I saw it) Ripple, or XRP as it is more correctly known.
There was something utterly compelling about XRP. It was the best business case I’d seen since Bitcoin, there was a powerful, passionate (and possibly slightly crazy) community attached to it and they had real, actual banks and impressive names working with them. Hell, I even loved the fidget spinner logo, now replaced with the pseudo-sportswear style up and down arrows (also very cool). I became utterly fascinated with it.
In fact, my very first blog article was about Ripple. It’s a fun read not only from the perspective of my naivety which shows slightly throughout the article, but it also highlights how new I was to writing blog articles at the time.
Now, fast forward a year, and how things have changed. We’ve had a crazy, FOMO driven $3.84 peak (in which I will admit that I offloaded some of my beloved XRP), a crash (in which I bought it all back – and more) and whole load of fascinating developments.
First, partners. Too many to mention. In fact Ripple stopped announcing them separately in the end because there were too many, instead rolling them together into ‘groups’. Can you imagine being in that situation? It amuses me to imagine the social media people pushing back in the end because it just got ’embarrassing’ to come out with announcement after announcement. If you haven’t seen it, the list is simply HUGE and you can check it out here. It might be a slightly clunky spreadsheet driven system, but it’s solid information and the status of each implementation and which of Ripple’s products are being used is clearly indicated.
Second, products. Ripple has three main ones called xVia, xCurrent and xRapid. This is not a technical blog and there are people out there who can explain the intricate details far better than me, but the point is, broadly, that there is a natural progression/transition between these products. The ultimate goal is that some, many, most or all organisations would be using xRapid as their defacto standard for payment transition across borders, currencies and banks, a faster, cheaper and more reliable form of the SWIFT system we have come to know today. In one year, Ripple have done what they said they would – roll out the first applications, create stability, and then begin to follow on with the ‘main act’ – xRapid – thereby ensuring they are walking before they are running. These are banks after all, and these guys needs years and a whole lot of legislation to change anything. They have to be super, super careful and carry out extreme due diligence. It’s a long process and XRP is very much a long term bet, but one, in my view, that is well placed to do extremely well. At the point where xRapid has any major adoption at all, the demand will be exponential to what it is now which will almost certainly affect price of each asset.
And, of course, a tiny portion of XRP is burned with each transaction and the current rate can be seen on the Ripple partnerships spreadsheet linked to earlier. Today, for example, it’s at a rate that would take hundreds of years to burn through, though it will change as the fiat value of that XRP changes. This means that although there is a huge reserve of XRP (100 billion, although most is slowly being released from escrow), it is a deflationary currency, thereby increasing value over time as supply diminishes.
Third, speed. XRP is incredibly fast and if you haven’t tried a transaction yet, you should. You barely have time to click between windows when sending between your own wallets, for example. For many, this makes XRP a real contender to replace Bitcoin as the daddy of them all. This isn’t actually that unusual if you think about it. Although many cryptos are designed for a specific purpose, there’s no reason why almost any of them couldn’t be used a global currency if everybody started using one (ie ‘valued’ one) more than another. The argument goes that once adoption via the banks starts and the asset becomes highly sought after, it’s speed and security will give it the edge over the others to be the standard. Personally, whilst I understand that this is definitely technically possible, but I’m not sure that it will happen any time soon, or even at all for a whole host of reasons that I’m not proposing to go into here. But I do accept that this would be no bad thing if it did.
XRP’s speed has led to a whole host of applications though, that perhaps other cryptos have not seen. I think it’s telling that Wirex added XRP to its offering of Ethereum, Bitcoin and Litecoin, particularly as it highlights the difference in speed between them when transferring to the wallet. Use in relative terms is still low, but I see new cards arriving in Twitter feeds everyday and know that it is growing even as I type these words.
Perhaps most excitingly is the real cutting edge stuff that’s going on right now. This blog, for example, is Coil supported, something that is neatly explained by Stefan Thomas (creator of Coil and ex CTO of Ripple) on this little Medium article from May this year. No surprise he chose XRP of course to act as the micro payment currency of choice, but the asset’s sheer speed would have made it a serious contender in any case. Coil is just starting it’s life, but it’s a model that I believe could work very well in the first place and as a mechanism to drive use in the second.
But development is not only limited to ex-Ripple employees. There are individuals, such as Wietse Wind who are doing amazing work developing slick micro payment systems of their own using XRP, such as XRPtipbot (also running on this site among many, many others) and XRParrot. The latter is still in development and the former is really only adopted in the passionate XRP community right now, but it’s so simple to use and set up I predict that this will expand beyond those broad borders within a short period. See that blue button at the top of the sidebar under the search box on the right? You just press it to send a tiny tip, usually around 0.75 XRP. Yes, it really is that easy.
Last (for now) and certainly not least, is Codius, a platform for securely executing smart contracts and other types of smart programs which has chosen – you’ve guessed it – XRP as it’s native currency as payment mechanism for running contracts on nodes. This project is fascinating, as it isn’t specific to any particular programming language, effectively creating a blank canvas type platform to run any form of smart program, with the nodes providing the ‘grunt work’ for it to run being paid in XRP. Right now, I’m actually setting up a Codius node myself simply because I want to support the network and see it grow (I doubt very much the income will exceed the cost at this point) and I will blog about it later.
All this in twelve months? The reality is, to avoid this article being thousands of words, I have only briefly summarized what has happened in that time. And of course, if these things had happened during the craziness of December 2017, no doubt the price would have doubled or even tripled its all time high at that point, but we find ourselves in a bear market in terms of price at the time this article is written. But that is irrelevant in my view. Like many investors, I want to see great returns on any investment I make, but with XRP there’s something more going on. It’s got me passionate about the investment. I want to see the banking system reinvigorated and updated. I want to see automatic or discretionary reward systems for content providers. I want to see systems like Codius remove all barriers to technical creativity going forward. In short, I want to see it work. And I am now convinced it’s just a matter of time.
And my price prediction? Far, far too dangerous to try and put a price on it, I only believe it will be ‘substantially’ higher than it is now in an indeterminate amount of time directly related to legislation and adoption rates. Put it this way, I’m hodling and buying. And I don’t propose to change that behaviour anytime soon.
You, on the other hand, can’t take my word for it. You’ll need to do your own research, because this, dear reader, is only my humble, and very passionate, opinion.