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.
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.