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Expanding Popularity: How Ripple’s XRP Will Boost the Allure of Cryptocurrencies

 3 min read / 

Cryptocurrencies are all the rage. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, the list of cryptocurrencies continues to rapidly grow as interest grows in their use as a currency as well as the underlying technology -Blockchain. One of the newest entrants into the cryptocurrency world is Ripple’s XRP. It has rapidly grown in market cap and trading volumes, with particularly high interest in the currency from Asian markets such as South Korea and Japan. What differentiates XRP is the way in which it has been developed and marketed by Ripple.

Ripple has taken a very different approach to developing XRP and its underlying technologies than has been taken for other cryptocurrencies. It is specifically targeting uptake and usage of XRP by financial institutions and governments rather than trying to popularise XRP with the general populace and traders in the same way that Bitcoin has been.


Two Steps Ahead

XRP itself seems designed to answer some of the pointed questions that are directed towards rivals such as bitcoin over their widespread commercial viability and stability as assets. XRP is advertised as being able to settle payments much faster than rivals with an advertised speed of 4 seconds to settle payments. XRP is also designed to handle a much greater volume of payments than its rivals, which is something that is often highlighted as a major weakness of other cryptocurrencies, and was the primary reason for the recent fork between bitcoin and bitcoin cash.


Building the Foundation

This strategy seems to be working, as the list of partners that Ripple is working with includes some of the largest global financial institutions such as UBS, Mizuho and Standard Chartered. Ripple has also taken steps to directly communicate with governments to smooth the path for greater acceptance of XRP and the technologies that underpin it.  On August 28th Ripple hosted a delegation from the People’s Bank of China to present their technology and currency solutions. This long-sighted strategy is in stark contrast to other companies and individuals involved with cryptocurrencies who are generally more focused more on day to day price dynamics and the political arguments surrounding fiat currencies. Indeed, other developments  – such as Ripple’s announcement that they will not rapidly increase the supply of XRP in the market, through only releasing a set amount of XRP into the market monthly – are encouraging signs.


Long-term Potential

Lastly, Ripple is proactively developing the software that would allow for a wider uptake of XRP as a method of payment. The company has developed three primary pieces of software that are designed to enable Ripple’s blockchain technology. xCurrent is designed for banks to settle cross border payments, xRapid is designed to minimise liquidity requirements using XRP and xVia is a common interface for banks, payment providers and companies to send payments.

This proactive approach is somewhat unique to Ripple and again highlights how the company is targeting a long term uptake of its technologies and XRP. Ultimately, the development of Blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is still in its early stages, but the steps that Ripple has taken thus far are the types of strategies that are most likely to result in a wider uptake of cryptocurrencies among people and businesses.


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Saved: Emirates Places Order for Airbus A380

 1 min read / 

airbus emirates

The Dubai-based airline, Emirates, has announced an order for 36 A380s worth $16bn, saving the superjumbo after Airbus threatened to stop production. The deal places a firm order for 20 planes with the option of ordering another 16. Deliveries are scheduled for 2020.

The two-decked superjumbo has faced declining sales as more airlines opt for smaller, cheaper is said to be worth $1.6bn. Emirates is by far Airbus’ largest customer, with Thursday’s order taking their commitment to 178 aircraft.

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Financing for Green Sustainable Development

 3 min read / 

Green Sustainable Development

Green sustainable development has been on multiple discussions channels. Talks, seminars, workshops, you name it. However, financing it has not been thoroughly discussed. How do we finance sustainable green development? Is it profitable for companies who do so? Is the rate of return high enough to cover the cost of investing in green technologies?

No doubt, green sustainable technology is an expensive technology with no clear ROI. Venturing into green technologies may be a blind-man guided only by a voice in his head. Yes, green sustainable technology yields a significant Marginal Social Benefit (MSB). But often, MSB is non-quantifiable.

Leading this social-technology movement, Jeffrey Sachs, with the support of foundations such as the Jeffrey Cheah Institute, established the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) centre in the backdrop of academics – Sunway University.

The aim is to directly address the issues for SDGs and to ensure the goal set in the Paris Climate Agreement is able to be achieved successfully.

Now, as mentioned, private firms are both afraid and pessimistic about green sustainable development. Many do not see the outcome of this initiative and are not concerned about the environment. The technology is costly, and some firms are even struggling to break-even at their current costs. Lack of momentum from firms involved in similar industries and lack of financial support has made venturing into green technology unattractive.

On 14th of January 2018, pioneers and advocates from across the globe were invited to join a workshop at Sunway University. The idea was to bring together a group of academics, from the Asian Development Bank Institute to representatives from New Zealand and Austria, to discuss how to finance green sustainable developments. It attracted a number of firms involved or who wanted to be involved in this movement.

Financing models such as the SIB model and the Yozma model were introduced by Dr Hee Jin Noh. Papers on the theoretical relationships between a firm, a bank, and households were presented by Dr Maria Teresa Punzi. And the outcome of these series of workshops will be a book, which aims to provide a better insight and guideline for green financing, written by Dr Hee.

Also presented was a case study, comparing different countries. Associate Professor Ivan Diaz-Rainey had made comparisons on some successful countries, looking at European countries versus New Zealand and Australia. In the case study, countries were compared, and recommendations were made on how to make green financing successful. Though the definition and KPIs of a successful green development country are still vague, countries from Europe are exemplary on the ‘theory to practice’ phase.

While there is a significant increase in awareness and wanting to be involved by private firms, it needs to be supported by the government more. Regulators need to provide sufficient information to assist private firms venturing into green technology or green development. A healthy government support will increase the chance of a firm venturing into green development being successful. And these are the baby steps needed in order for transformation at city-scale or nationwide-scale.

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Carillion: Funds Buy Debt for Peanuts

 1 min read / 

carillion debt

Distressed debt investors are reportedly buying up debt in the collapsed construction company, Carillion, for as little as 2% of their face value, with private notes exchanging for as little as 5%.

Distressed debt investors normally buy up bonds in companies facing liquidation on a hunch that their value will increase. Often they will buy a small amount that allows them access to company records before deciding on whether to place a larger bet. If Carillion retains its public contracts, in schools or hospitals for example, then investors can expect a return by buying up bonds now.

Keep reading |  1 min read


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