Ripple (XRP) rose to meteoric heights in December 2017, reaching what some are calling ‘Big Mac’ parity, only to pull back over 80% in January. The market cap now stands US$105.6 billion, with US$2.65 billion in trading volume over the last 24 hours.
XRP the token is a separate entity from other companies with the same namesake, including the banking network RippleNet (originally Ripple Labs), the social network Ripple Works, the advertising company Ripple Media, and the plant-based milk company Ripple Foods.
While XRP aims to disrupt the remittance and cross-border payment industry generally, the main goal of RippleNet is to take on SWIFT, a telecom cooperative created over 40 years ago that is currently used to send secure financial messages between banks. These messages exclude clearing or settlement.
Ripple recently celebrated its fifth birthday, having been created in 2012, and now claims over 100 financial and banking partnerships around the world, most recently with the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority. However, a Bloomberg article on January 25th suggested banks “have no interest in using XRP.”
The network has an existing supply of ~100 billion, 55 billion of which was placed in escrow in December 2017. By securing the lion’s share of XRP in escrow, anyone can now mathematically verify the maximum supply that can enter the market, and eliminates any concern that Ripple could flood the market. Taking this into account, the circulating supply stands around ~US$46.48 billion.
According to recent Bitmex research, 7 billion XRP was held by Ripple as of January 31st, 39 billion XRP has been distributed, and 55 billion XRP remains in escrow. Distribution and internal holdings have fluctuated over time with supply estimates based on available data from 2013-2015 unable to reconcile “how many XRP were sold, at what price, or how many were given away” according to the research team.
However, Ripple states that market participants purchased US$20.1 million in Q4 2017. These participants tend to be institutional buyers, and their purchases typically include restrictions that mitigate the risk of market instability due to potential subsequent large sales. Additionally, the company sold US$71.5 million worth of XRP programmatically, as a small percentage of overall exchange volume.
XRP transactions per day have steadily increased in an upward trend since 2014. The network, RippleNet, is composed of; xCurrent, which processes global payments for customers; xRapid, to source on-demand liquidity; and xVia, to plug into RippleNet to send payments.
It was recently announced that xCurrent will be used Chinese ecommerce company LianLian international. Non-bank financial services institution, Cuallix, recently became the first worldwide institution to use xRapid, reducing the cost of sending cross-border payments from the U.S. to Mexico. Moneygram, a remittance service, is also piloting a xRapid program.
At US$0.0067 currently, XRP has the cheapest average transaction cost among other high cap coins (not shown). XRP, Ethereum Classic, and Dogecoin have had a similar fee market over the past few months with Zcash consistently cheaper than all others. For the most part, transaction fees denominated in USD rise and fall in line with the cost of the coin itself.
The network value to estimated on-chain daily transaction (NVT) ratio can be used to assess the network’s relative utility over time, although NVT is difficult to compare between coins which use different transactions types. The XRP NVT ratio has been trending lower since July 2015 suggesting transactional use has increased since that time, reaching a low of 75 in January.
Exchange traded volume is largely led by Korea (KRW) with a >5% premium on Bithumb, an exchange with fee-free trading which inherently inflates reported volume data. XRP has been the most popular market added to Bithumb since being added in May 2017. XRP is not nearly as widely traded in JPY or CNY, largely due to trading pair availability and continues to be added to exchanges around the world, most recently Zebpay in India.
While traders normally use charts from the highest volume exchange, the more broad XRP/Tether (USDT) market has the most available data. These charts show that the explosive gains from late December have been erased.
Indicators like Ichimoku Cloud, Exponential Moving Average (EMA), and chart patterns can be used to determine if the trend remains bullish. Details of the indicators and methods used can be found here.
XRP had been in a bullish triangle consolidation pattern throughout 2017, while holding above the 100EMA on the two-day chart and the 200EMA on the daily chart. After the initial breakout, price found resistance at the yearly R1 pivot and 7.618 fib extension.
A bearish double top pattern has begun to form on high timeframes. However, due to the sharp inverted V structure, an Adam-Eve or Adam-Adam is possible. Horizontal support for the pattern is ~US$0.70. Despite the pattern being bearish, this would suggest a gain well North of US$2.50.
The Ichimoku Cloud metrics on the daily chart are all bearish, with a potential bearish Tenkan bounce at the current price level. However, the distance between the Kijun (mean) and Tenkan suggest that XRP is heavily oversold.
If price cannot break the Tenkan, bearish continuation is strongly indicated. A long, flat Kumo at US$1.73 is a magnet for price so long as price does not make a lower low. Should bullish momentum exist, a push to that zone, near the Kumo twist on February 26th, is likely.
Price has also held above the 200EMA, just as it did during a multi month-long period triangle consolidation pattern. Price will likely continue consolidating between the 50EMA and the 200EMA until either level is broken, with higher volume.
The Ichimoku Cloud on the four hour chart also is decidedly bearish, but price has broken the Cloud for the first time since dropping below the Cloud in January. This is the earliest indication of a trend reversal. A long entry signal would follow a bullish Kumo breakout and bullish Kumo twist, and/or a bullish 50/200EMA cross.
Lastly, the trading in the bitcoin (BTC) market indicates that XRP has bounced off a key horizontal level and broken the 50EMA after completing a bullish reversal chart pattern, the falling wedge. XRP fell from this level after forming a bearish descending triangle in May. The measured move and 1.618 fib extension yield a projected target zone of 20,000-25,000 Satoshis.
XRP is a controversial cryptocurrency for several reasons. First, the supply and consensus mechanism suggests that XRP is neither distributed nor decentralized. While nothing is inherently wrong with this, it can be misleading to newcomers who do not understand the differences and nuances between blockchain projects.
Second, major news outlets have reported banks having no interest in actually using XRP, yet RippleNet continues to announce partnerships with multiple banks and companies around the world, seemingly fulfilling their mission to bring broader adoption of the XRP network across the globe – beyond just speculation.
Technicals suggest a continued bull trend, after a return to the mean from being heavily overbought. A USD value of $2.50 and a BTC value of 20k sats is likely within the next few weeks, should the trend continue with its current momentum.
Champion Shave to Launch Champion Coin ICO with Usain Bolt, Ronaldinho and Dominique Wilkins
Champion Shave to Launch Champion Coin in an ICO in 2019 Q2
Champion Shave, a superstar-owned shaving company, has outlined its intentions to launch its own cryptocurrency token. The company was established in 2016 by 100m world record holder, Fusain Bolt, soccer legend, Ronaldinho, and NBA legend, Dominique Wilkins.
Since its inception, the company has sold over 10 million razor products. The products are available in 17 countries across the world. According to Manny Bains, the CEO of Champion Shave, the firm is revolutionizing the men’s grooming sector that is valued at $47 billion. They intend to further this transformation by adopting a blockchain-based solution for their supply chain and customer data management.
Manny states that Champion Shave will use blockchain technology to track the entirety of the supply chain. This would reduce expenses and enhance efficiency by offering a transparent, unalterable and decentralized ledger for tracking movement of freight. Moreover, Champion Shave will conduct an ICO where it will issue its cryptocurrency token, called Champion Coin.
The objective of the Champion Coin and Champion Shave blockchain ecosystem is to eliminate intermediaries and charges in cross-border transactions. In addition to increased efficiency, Champion coin users will get rewards and discounts for shaving products.
Champion Coin ICO
The presale phase of the Champion Coin ICO is expected to start on October 29. The event will be backed by a specially curated marketing campaign meant to appeal to sports fans as well as crypto hobbyists. The main token sale is expected to go live in Q2 2019.
David Trezeguet, a former football star, will represent tie Champion Coin ICO during the Malta Blockchain Summit scheduled for November 1. Trezeguet said that he was excited by the launch of the token, adding that it would be useful to all members of the Champion Shave fraternity.
Debating Satoshi Nakamoto’s Original Vision Between Blockchain Ledgers or Tokens
According to Adam Krellenstein, co-founder and CTO at Symbiont.io, says that ten years after the anniversary of Bitcoin’s creation, the community is in a crisis. Symbiont.io is a fintech company that focuses on traditional financial markets and blockchain technology.
Mr Krellenstein says that he has been working during the last decade in order to produce new blockchain protocols that go beyond Satoshi’s original proposal. However, it seems that the industry is still struggling to answer important questions related to the nature of this technology and how it should improve society.
The author explains the struggle to understand the relationship between Bitcoin and distributed ledger technology (DLT). For him, there are some blockchains that want to create smart contracts, while others aim at creating tokens. Additionally, there is a debate on whether blockchain networks should be permissioned or not. Krellenstein believes that token systems are more useful than smart contracts when they are based on a public blockchain consensus protocol.
He mentions that Satoshi Nakamoto was right about the best use of blockchain technology. In this way, he created a payment system and a virtual currency (Bitcoin) that is nowadays the most popular and, perhaps, one of the most resilient in the market.
However, Krellenstein says that he spent a lot of time thinking about this issue and that he analyzed it very well when he created the cryptocurrency Counterparty and Symbiont. He goes on describing how Counter-party and Symbiont work and how they were created.
On the matter, he explained:
“Counterparty is a public blockchain smart contracts platform, albeit one focused on token issuance and trading, while Symbiont is a fintech company that develops and licenses its permissioned blockchain-based smart contracts system to improve the infrastructure of traditional financial markets.”
He said that while working on Counterparty and watching Ethereum – one of the largest virtual currencies and blockchain networks in the market – he saw that although both systems were built to support smart contracts, they were primarily used to create and transfer tokens.
Moreover, he explains that their vision was to create a trustless network of decentralized finance, and in order to do so, they implemented smart contracts for token balances, prediction markets, transparent elections and many other features. Nonetheless, those using Counterparty were focusing around its token rather than on other applications.
Krellenstein says that Ethereum makes it difficult to create real applications using the Solidity language. For him, one of the most advanced Ethereum smart contracts is related to CryptoKitties, something that is very similar to other games launched on Counterparty before. Although both platforms, Counterparty and Ethereum, were created to perform many other powerful things, they are exclusively used for tracing tokens.
This is why he thinks that smart contract systems for the general public are not a good idea. Additionally, he says that efficiency is sometimes more important than universality and that interaction among individuals is not yet as complex enough to justify a not efficient decentralized computer program.
Permissioned blockchains could work properly for some participants such as insitutions, governments or corporations. With these blockchains, it is possible to improve consistency and correctness of the current infrastructure.
This is something that some companies such as JP Morgan are already implementing and something that they properly understood.Quorum is the network that has been developed by the recognised bank and that is being used by different institutions and parties.
Krellenstein explains that blockchain can be valuable when replacing a consistent centralized system with a consistent decentralized one. He concludes saying that blockchain technology could become valuable as well when turning an inconsistent decentralized system into a consistent decentralized system.
“The conclusion that I’ve come to is that, just as was originally envisioned by Satoshi Nakamoto, the greatest use of a public blockchain is in fact as a digital currency and payment system,” he says. “Generalizations of Satoshi’s innovations in the time since he launched bitcoin, manifest partly in the enterprise DLT space, are not competitive with bitcoin.”
Perhaps, instead of replacing fiat currencies, blockchain technology could be used to build new databases that support workflows that are un-amenable to management within traditional client-server frameworks.
Coinbase Adds Circle’s USD Coin (USDC) Stablecoin, Doubles Down on Digital Dollar Doubts
Coinbase Adds Circle’s USD Coin (USDC) Stablecoin
San Francisco-based cryptocurrency giant Coinbase just announced that it has added support for USD Coin (USDC), a stablecoin designed by competing crypto exchange Circle, the owner of Poloniex.
One USDC is a 1:1 representation of a US dollar on the Ethereum blockchain. Each USDC is 100% collateralized by a corresponding USD held in accounts subject to regular public reporting of reserves. The underlying technology behind the USDC was developed collaboratively between Coinbase and Circle.
“Coinbase and Circle share a common vision of an open global financial system built on crypto rails and blockchain infrastructure, and realizing this vision requires industry leaders to collaborate to build interoperable protocols and standards,” Circle co-founders Jeremy Allaire and Sean Neville said
Distinctly, USD Coin will be the first stablecoin supported by Coinbase. Circle was the first issuer of the coin in September. The consortium, called Centre, will serve as a platform for users to make deposits from traditional bank accounts, convert fiat currency into tokens issued by members to facilitate transactions and provide the ability to shift back to the greenback.
Use cases of USDC
To start off with, two Ethereum wallets can quickly send and receive any amount of USDC at any time of day. Large transfers for business purposes become as easy as small e-commerce payments. Consumers can use the Coinbase app to send USDC to someone while remaining confident the value is stable.
There is a burgeoning ecosystem of crypto dApps, exchanges, and blockchain-based games. A USDC follows the ERC20 standard, which means it can be used with any app that accepts tokens based on that standard. The USDC can thus be used as a stable digital dollar to buy items in the crypto ecosystem, from Cryptokitties to tickets for blockchain-based games.
Additionally, for developers and fintech companies, a digital dollar like USDC is easier to program with. For example, given the private keys for USDC, a program can easily send and receive them back and forth using the public Ethereum blockchain.
Recently, there has been a large amount of new issuance of stable coins recently as industry enthusiasts try to find more uses for crypto. Tether is the largest of the bunch but is plagued by doubters amid concern as the company has refused to be audited and won’t disclose its banks. Critics of Tether have called into question whether that cryptocurrency is truly backed by the equivalent amount of U.S. dollars.