This week played host to Ripple’s Swell conference in San Francisco. The event arrived just as ripple’s price shot up more than 100% and briefly overtook ethereum as the number two cryptocurrency. But what did we learn from the conference? Let’s take a look.
1. xRapid Is (Finally) Live
On the first day of the event, CEO Brad Garlinghouse revealed that three companies are now officially using xRapid to process payments.
The three companies involved are Catalyst Corporate Credit Union (a financial firm), MercuryFX, and Cuallix (money transfer services).
xRapid is Ripple’s flagship product for moving money instantly across borders. The crucial thing is that the software actively uses Ripple’s XRP token to make the transaction (learn more about xRapid here).
Although xRapid has been “piloted” by various financial institutions, this is the first real deployment of the technology. Garlinghouse has previously said that “dozens” of banks will use xRapid (and the XRP token) by the end of 2019.
According to MercuryFX, the system helped slash transaction times between Mexico and the UK from days to just minutes.
2. Bill Clinton Can Talk for a Long Time Without Mentioning Blockchain
Bill Clinton was the big-name speaker at Ripple Swell, but he seemed to spend most of his time avoiding cryptocurrency.
According to CoinDesk, he touched on migration, weapons, and the conflict in Israel, but made only a handful of references to blockchain. When he did talk about the technology, he was vague:
“This whole blockchain deal has the potential it does only because it is applicable across national borders [and] income groups. The permutations and possibilities are staggeringly great.”
Clinton did, however, warn about the dangers of heavy-handed regulation which threatened to stifle creativity in the industry.
3. Ripple Is “Very Clearly Decentralized,” According to Its CEO
Ever since it was created, Ripple has been plagued with accusations of centralization. Unlike bitcoin and ethereum, where tokens are mined by its users, XRP was simply created all at once and gifted to Ripple. Ripple holds most of the XRP in existence and slowly distributes it via an escrow system.
Fighting back against the critics, Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse said:
“It is very clearly decentralized. I, as CEO of the company, can’t control the XRP ledger. I can’t change a transaction… Anybody can participate in the XRP ecosystem, and if Ripple does something that is not in the best interest of the ecosystem, the rest of the ecosystem can ignore us.”
It echoes previous comments by Ripple’s CTO who said XRP is more decentralized than bitcoin and ethereum. He argued that bitcoin and ethereum are dominated by just three-four mining pools, making it more centralized than XRP.
4. The Price of Xrp Dropped 13% During the Event
Coming off the back of 100% weekly rally, the price of XRP stalled despite the xRapid announcement.
It’s a clear case of “buy the rumor, sell the news” – an old stock market saying. The 100% surge took place as Ripple teased the adoption of xRapid in the preceding weeks. When it was finally announced at the conference, the price dipped.
Is this an indication of disappointment among XRP traders? Perhaps. Maybe they expected a higher profile partnership. However, it’s more likely a natural correction after a 100% rise.
5. Ripple Still Has a Long Way to Go
Although three companies are now using xRapid, Ripple has a mountain to climb. One of the panels at the conference was aptly named the “800-pound gorilla,” referring to the difficulty of convincing banks to adopt cryptocurrency.
Risk-management teams at banks are still reluctant to open their arms to XRP and other crypto assets. They’ll first need to see stronger regulations. The good news is that Ripple says that talks with regulators have been encouraging.
So, what did we learn from the Ripple Swell conference? Ripple is making baby-steps with xRapid, but there’s a way to go before the bigger banks come on board.
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