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Santander group rolls out Ripple (XRP) in Brazil – The Ripple network continues to grow

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Western Union is one of Ripple’s biggest partners. It’s actually one of the partnerships that Ripple (XRP) investors have been counting on, to push up the value of this crypto in the long run. However, this seems to have been dented yesterday when the Western Union CEO announced that the firm had not yet realized any major cost savings, from its Ripple (XRP) pilot. However, this is really a no biggie, and should not scare ripple (XRP) investors. That’s because the nature in which the pilot has been conducted, would not have given Western Union the results they wanted, in terms of operational efficiency.

Western union has only tested Ripple (XRP) in 10 transactions, which is too low to have any major impact on cost-efficiency. For a company that does millions of transactions every month, there is no way they could feel any impact from such a small number of transactions. Even the western Union CEO shares this sentiment despite saying that they have not seen the benefits yet. That’s why he stated that Western Union would continue with the pilot and is still bullish on blockchain.

But Western Union aside, the story of ripple adoption continues to grow by the day. Santander has announced that they will be rolling out ripple based payments in Brazil. That’s an indicator that they not only have faith in ripple, but they have tested it in Europe and know that it is working.

Ripple (XRP) has also announced that in the last 30 days, they have carried out pilots with a number of companies including Mercury FX and in all these tests, the companies saved more than 70% in transaction costs. That’s an indicator that ripple has an actual utility in cutting costs in the finance industry. That’s why ripple (XRP) is one of the best cryptos to hold in today’s uncertain crypto market. That’s because unlike most other cryptos that don’t even have any working products, ripple has proven its value in the market, with hundreds of partnerships. Besides, no bank has come out with any complaints about the ripple system as a tool for cutting costs. If anything, more banks are coming into the fold. If ripple was not efficient, no bank would touch it.

Once money starts flowing into crypto, Ripple (XRP) could be in for an unprecedented bull run. That’s because in the long-run, it is cryptos that have an actual use case that stand to dominate the market. Even bitcoin with its massive hold on the market doesn’t have much utility, when compared to ripple (XRP). In essence, ripple (XRP) not only has the capacity to grow in value in the near term, but also to become the first crypto to decouple from bitcoin.

Once that happens, Ripple (XRP) could hit triple digit valuations per coin. Now is the time to scout for good long-term cryptos, and Ripple is one of those to pay attention to, with a target of 5-10 years. It won’t be surprising if banks do away with SWIFT and adopt Ripple (XRP) all together.

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After a Tumultuous 2018 for Crypto and the Birth of Stablecoins, Here is what to Expect in 2019

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2018 was the year of the bear run and the stablecoin. So what does 2019 hold for the crypto world? While it is impossible to tell what exactly will happen in 2019, one can make a good guess. Here are the five likely scenarios that will play out in 2019 for crypto:

Tether Will Lose Traction

For years, there have been issues raised about how legit Tether is. Despite this, it has remained a popular stablecoin in the crypto world.

However, rival stablecoins such as Coinbase, Circle, and Gemini could offer a challenge. This will erode the monopoly that it has enjoyed in the past. Even if Tether does not shutter as Basis did at the end of 2018, it will most likely not be as dominant.

Facebook Will Mint The WhatsApp Crypto

Facebook has been interested in creating a payments platform for years. The effort started in 2014 when it poached David Marcus of PayPal.

Marcus became the head of messaging products at the company. However, he was picked to head the company’s blockchain project in 2018, which is still shrouded in mystery. Recent reports indicate that he might launch a WhatsApp-based remittance service in India. After a rough period in 2018, the company could use a win in 2019.

The Regulators Will Go After Big Fish

The SEC will take on the major players in crypto in 2019. For instance, it might decide that XRP is unregistered security.

If that happens, Ripple could be hit with huge fines. It might also decide to shut down an exchange for not adhering to anti-money laundering laws. Besides that, celebrities who have used their star power to pump ICs might be in trouble.

The Bitcoin ETF Gets Approved

As the crypto world evolves, it could help the stage for a BTC traded fund also called an ETF. After the bubble burst, investors that are more reasonable are joining the crypto world.

Right now, a firm called Bakkt, created by those behind the NYSE wants to launch a BTC futures market. This could help to improve liquidity in the crypto world. Thus far, it is known that an SEC commission is seeking to have the BTC ETF approved. Before that, a VanEck might or might not be approved next month. It is worth noting how that works out.

The Bear Run Persists

The crypto world has been in a bear run since they reached a high in 2017. Right now, various factors such as volatility in the equity market, a possible economic recession, and global geopolitics might reduce appetite for crypto assets for now.

However, there is a bit of disagreement on this. Some experts believe that prices might bounce back soon. Others believe that crypto prices have not hit their low yet.

Summary

There is a lot of agreement and disagreement over whether these predictions will happen. However, there is quite good evidence to support them if you look at the crypto world right now. It is also worth noting that this is a young industry and anything is possible.

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Dan Hedl: Satoshi’s Bitcoin Vision was a Viable Banking Alternative, not a New Visa for Payments

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The former Blockchain executive and a cryptocurrency veteran, Dan Hedl, has said that Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin, wanted bitcoin to be an “alternative to banks”, and not a “new visa.”

In a series of tweets on January 14, Hedl took up an argument with other cryptocurrencyenthusiasts who believe that the idea of Bitcoin was to be a currency for payments.

He argued that those who have this mere belief haven’t quite understood bitcoin’s full implications from Satoshi’s vision, which is clearly shown in Bitcoin Whitepaper. In his main tweet, he said that:

“Satoshi’s Vision™ is a silly endeavor, as it doesn’t matter what it was, we are where we are now. However, those pushing the “Bitcoin was first made for payments” narrative insist on cherry-picking sentences from the white paper and forum posts to champion their perspective.”

World Needed An Alternative Bank, Not Another Visa

In 2008 when bitcoin whitepaper was published, it happened that there was a financial crisis the same year. During that time, many had lost their trust in Banks, so it was perfect timing for bitcoin to be popularized. According to Hedl, Nakamoto has cleverly planted a seed at the right timing.

Hedl also noted that:

“How do we determine Satoshi’s intention? We need to look at his ideology, description of functionality/architecture, timing, and audience. Let’s start with how Satoshi describes the problem Bitcoin solves. In his first public comms after the whitepaper, in the first paragraph: ‘The root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that’s required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust.’”

Hedl believes that bitcoin is largely a store of value and not an alternative to payment networks such as MasterCard and Visa.

In a tweet, Hedl noted that:

“The world didn’t need a new VISA; they needed an alternative to banks.”

When it comes to capacity, though, bitcoin will outdo payment processing networks like MasterCard and Visa, especially through the Lightning Network, which allow transactions to be processed off-chain.

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Ford and LG to Use IBM’s Hyperledger Fabric Blockchain to Track Supply Chains to End Child Labor

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IBM will be working in order to improve the supply chain in the metals industry using the Hyperledger Fabric as a blockchain platform. The intention is to track cobalt that is mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo until it reaches a car maker plant. Another project will also be tracking metals from Mexico until they reach the Ford Motor Company plant.

The first project will start with a 1.5 ton of cobalt that will be mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo. After it, it will be transported to China, where it will be refined. In Korea, it will be used to create a battery and it will be used in the United States as a battery for an electric car. However, everything will be tracked using IBM’s blockchain.

With this pilot, each company will be checking that the material has been treated with the standards followed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD). The information was shared by IBM’s general manager for global industrial products, Manish Chawla.

On the matter, Chawla commented:

“Blockchain is the most effective technology to provide real-time access to all the due diligence processes, provide visibility to the supply chain from the miners to the market. Our role in IBM is that we are bringing people together for this project and developing the platform.”

Although the intention is to improve the supply chain and have better control over the products handled there is still going to be needed human intervention. There will be inspectors controlling that the mines work properly and following international standards.

Currently, if there are workers that are working in bad conditions, the employee will be recording this on the system and the RCS Global headquarters will be alerted. In this way, they can inform the mine that the batch that they will deliver does not meet the international guidelines.

If everything goes as expected, the employee will just print a code bar that allows other companies and parties in the supply chain to confirm that this batch was mined according to international regulations.

Using blockchain technology the process will be easier. The initial monitoring will take place at the mining site. RCS employees will not have to be there full-time. Instead, everything will be auditing information provided by the management of the mine. Barcode tags will be used for assets on the blockchain and audits and other reports will be stored using an IBM server.

Each of the participants will be working as validators having their own nodes. As more companies join this pilot and program, the will have the possibility to have their node supported by IBM.

At the same time, using Hyperledger technology, customers will be able to protect their information. Companies will be able to share the information they have with third-party partners such as NGOs. In the future, and if the project succeeds, other companies could join such as automakers or electronics manufacturers.

IBM is also working with other companies such as the Canadian startup called MIneHUb Technologies, Goldcorp, Wheaton Precios Metals and many others, including ING Bank.

Back in 2018, IBM and other mining companies and refiners started to work together to leverage blockchain technology and improve the mining industry in different countries in Africa.

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