Investors are cottoning on to the fact that Ripple is jostling for a leading position in the new Internet of Money. But very few know what’s going on under the hood. While most are aware of the difference between Ripple and XRP, anything beyond that gets murky.
What Is Ripple/XRP?
On the surface, this is simple. XRP is a digital, decentralised, alternative currency. You can bundle XRP in the same loose family as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and all their distant cousins.
Ripple has created an asset, XRP, somewhat similar to Bitcoin, with a limited supply, which will be reduced over time. External investors and traders make transactions on this instrument. To have an idea you can check on the web for charts of XRP/USD or XRP/EUR or XRP/JOY or XRP/BTC (the rate between XRP and Bitcoin). XRP’s existence is confined to the Ripple system or architecture.
After doing some superficial research, most people have to resist becoming a fully-fledged XRP nut. Individuals in the space compile charts far different from others in the financial sphere. Check out an example here. It’s flashy. Unpredictable. And will leave you stunned.
How Much Do Investors Know?
Most people who are piling money into alt or decentralised currencies have no real clue as to what the underlying technology is all about. So, what’s going on with this one?
If you go and visit the corporate site at Ripple.com, the first thing you see is the sales pitch: “Join the Global Settlement Network… Instant, certain, low-cost international payments”. Informative but not exciting. Then it talks about the Internet of Value. If it sounds like it goes beyond the Internet of Things, it does. By far.
Alt tech and newly invented currencies going well beyond any government intervention is a symptom of the new movement to disrupt everything in sight for the sake of efficiency, but it’s only part of a much wider and infinitely more complex overall picture. We stand here on loose and unpredictable ground that few understand. Many claim to understand it all after simply opening an online account with some shady broker and pushing $10,000 into Bitcoin, Steem, Melon, Radium, etc.
What Is the Dream?
For a startup who received a bit of money in 2012, including from CME Ventures, Ripple isn’t doing too bad. They are now sitting on billions of dollars of value (arguably created out of thin air).
Going back to the corporate site, we can read “Using Ripple, banks can meet growing demands for faster, low-cost, on-demand global payment services for any payment size. The result: new revenue opportunities, lower processing costs, and better overall customer experiences.”
Faster than Bitcoin, cheaper than any alternative out there, able to easily surpass anything currently in existence and allowing everyone, everywhere, to ensure real-time global payments, worldwide, in real-time. If this is not a script for (financial) world domination, I can’t think of a better story line.
We’re familiar with the Internet of Information – you use it each day to read emails and talk through Skype, etc. You have some knowledge about the Internet of Things, as tech companies push for all their products to be as connected as your smartphone.
Welcome to the Internet of Money. Where money becomes information and energy, sent, morphed, re-shaped, shared, at the same exact moment, in any and all places, all around the globe.
All the major international banks have heard the sales pitch and seen the numbers and in just a few years, they are now knocking themselves over to be part of the adventure. The fact that early joiners experienced cost savings on money transfers of about 50%, resulted in increasing margins and profits, sealed the deal and convinced all others.
Now, picture this. You’re Ripple. And the CEO of UBS keeps calling you to make sure he’s in as well, you’re happy, right? Maybe. But keep in mind we have not seen anything beyond 0.1% of the possible growth curve. When you have the biggest players worldwide, from the Federal Reserve to the government of Abu Dhabi to Chinese billionaires, all pitching in… that’s when you take note.
On April 2nd 2017, XRP’s value was less than $1bn. And by mid-May 2017, it went above $10bn. This is, after Bitcoin, only the second alt currency able to break the billion threshold. You might hear that the bubble will burst, but it could be that it has barely begun. After all, XRP/USD is currently sitting at around $0.2704.
If Ripple is able to deliver the goods on half of its promise, and in the span of 10 years, it captures one-tenth of the worldwide market of real-time money transfers between banks, the price of XRP is likely to not only reach $100, but many times that. Remember it’s going after the multi-trillion dollar financial services market, which sees a volume of transactions worth $14trn per day. Stay tuned.