Ripple is the world’s third most valuable currency. Even with each coin trading at only $0.29, so many people and institutions buy Ripple that its total market cap is more than $11 billion. Only Ethereum and Bitcoin are more valuable in total supply.
Ripple made a name for itself all the way back in 2012. That’s a couple of lifetimes in crypto years, but the company has managed to continue advancing its platform and increase user adoption. Ripple is built for fast, efficient financial transfers. Its immediate applications are in the realm of banking. Indeed, financial institutions can and do use Ripple to move money more efficiently. But Ripple’s ambitions aren’t just for the rich and powerful.
Ripple can be used to send money across borders. It can also serve as a payment channel for any other application. Transfers like these may be used by an immigrant worker to send funds back home. Using traditional payment networks like Western Union, this remittance might cost $30 or more, even for sums as low as $100.
Rather than attacking the powers that be, Ripple is integrating them. Western Union may be antiquated and usurious, but Ripple has made inroads in order to make Western Union more affordable and fast. There are talks about a Ripple/Moneygram partnership, and Ripple is already well established in the banking industry.
So what’s stopping Ripple from becoming the new technological standard for moving money? Well, the Ripple network is just not powerful enough… yet.
Ripple Cobalt is Coming
Ripple Cobalt is a complex array of technical advancements that will make Ripple faster and more reliable. Presently, it takes about four seconds for a Ripple transaction to move between sender and recipient. That’s shockingly fast compared to payment channels like Western Union (which takes days) – but Ripple can go even faster.
Ripple Cobalt will reduce this time to one second or less. No matter where in the world a recipient lives, funds can clear from source to destination in the span of one heartbeat. Speed is just one of the benefits of efficiency. Ripple Cobalt will be cheaper to use (Ripple is already cheap at the moment), making it a natural technology to adopt for established financial channels like the ones we’ve already discussed.
With Ripple Cobalt, Ripple will begin to make big advancements to becoming the world’s most popular cryptocurrency. Ripple is already more reliable than Bitcoin and Ethereum, at least as a payment solution. Anyone who has used Bitcoin and Ethereum more than a few times knows that sometimes the platforms work perfectly. Other times, transfers are expensive and slow. In the worst cases, transactions can be delayed for weeks.
How and When Will Ripple Cobalt Happen?
Curious about how Ripple Cobalt works? Ripple had this to say in a published statement:
“We present Cobalt, a novel atomic broadcast algorithm that works in networks with non-uniform trust and no global agreement on participants and is probabilistically guaranteed to make forward progress even in the presence of maximal faults and arbitrary asynchrony. The exact properties that Cobalt satisfies makes it particularly applicable to designing an efficient decentralized “voting network” that allows a public, open-entry group of nodes to agree on changes to some shared set of rules in a fair and consistent manner while tolerating some trusted nodes and arbitrarily many untrusted nodes behaving maliciously. We also define a new set of properties which must be satisfied by any safe decentralized governance algorithm, and all of which Cobalt satisfies.”
More details about Ripple Cobalt are available in the full text of Ripple’s statement. The paper is 49 pages long and fairly dense, but you’ll be much better informed about the nuance of the Ripple Cobalt system. This is especially recommended for investors.
So when will all of this happen? Ripple has set no date – not even a possible window of time yet – and even analysts and engineers are hesitant to make release date claims. Updates like this are incredibly sophisticated. If we’ve learned anything from ongoing projects like Ethereum, ARK, Lisk, Cardano, and ICON, it takes a long time to build powerful technology.
Ripple Cobalt could be days away. It might also take weeks, months, or years. Fortunately, Ripple is already a functioning technology (one of only 40 in the crypto top 100). The platform is already effective enough to be gaining fans in the public and private arena, and this is unlikely to stop before Ripple Cobalt is released. As fans of Ripple, we think the upcoming update will only further solidify Ripple in the new face of global commerce
Zcash Foundation Responds to Monero Developer’s Tweet
There is never a shortage of controversy in the world of cryptocurrency. Although there are plenty of positive developments happening too, a recent announcement by the Zcash Foundation sparks some debates. In a tweet last Friday, Monero developer Riccardo Spagni calls out the Zcash Foundation for its funding strategy.
The Zcash Funding Debacle
One has to look at cryptocurrencies from many different angles. Most speculators and traders tend to forget all of these projects need to be funded one way or another. For Zcash, the creation of the Zcash Foundation should, in theory, take care of most problems in this department. So far that has not caused issues, although there is some criticism about the Foundation funding “nonsensical projects”.
More specifically, the Zcash Foundation announced the winners of their quarterly Grants Program. A total of 13 projects will receive some funding to ensure their ideas can be turned into working and viable Zcash-oriented solutions. In response, Monero developer Riccardo Spagni called out the foundation for funding these projects while he himself has been paying the salary of Jane MercerWeiss, supposedly the person in charge of keeping the Windows and Mac wallets alive.
So the @ZcashFoundation is using a fraction of the founders reward to pay for largely nonsensical projects. Meanwhile, I’ve been paying @radix42’s salary for ages to keep the Windows & Mac ZCash software alive because I believe privacy is that important. It’s a pleasure, @zooko. https://t.co/Pgm4DFCHv6
— Riccardo Spagni (@fluffypony) November 9, 2018
Why is the Zcash Foundation awarding grants to various projects while the person behind their Windows and Macintosh wallets is being paid by an outside party? It is this allegation which currently causes some scrutiny and concern. We reached out to the Zcash Foundation for comment. Sonya Mann, the foundation’s Communications Manager said:
“The Zcash Foundation has funded half of the four grants that Jane MercerWeiss (radix42) has applied for, and the other two were voluntarily withdrawn, as you can see on GitHub: 1, 2, 3, 4. We attempted to reach an agreement outside of our Grants Program, but unfortunately our needs did not coincide with hers.
WinZEC is a vital piece of technology in the Zcash ecosystem, and we’re glad that MercerWeiss has continued to develop and support it. The Foundation also commends Riccardo Spagni’s funding of open-source privacy infrastructure, but as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit we have certain constraints that he may not. (We have no visibility into his decision-making process.)”
The reason that the foundation is not able to simply pay for MercerWeiss’ salary is because they are a nonprofit organization, they have to fund projects is through grants. There are exceptions however, Sonya Mann said:
“we’re able to dispense funds outside of the Grants Program, but we need a certain amount of oversight and accountability with respect to contractors.”
Furthermore, out of the four proposals that Jane MercerWeiss applied for, only one had anything to do with a Windows / Mac wallet. The proposal was made on Sep 15th, 2017 and was closed a day later by Jane’s request:
“close this issue (I DO have a LOT of other things on my plate already!)”
Features of the proposal ended up being merged with that of Vaklinov, a Zcash developer who was working on the Windows / Mac desktop GUI clients. His proposal was titled “Enhancements to the Zcash Dekstop GUI Wallet #7”. Looking over the github thread it is clear Vaklinov is a strong contributor to Zcash’s GUI wallets, which is even acknowledged by Jane herself:
“I’m all in favor of Vaklinov rolling the duplicated or similar items from my gui-related proposal into his, and possibly closing mine altogether. I have 3 other proposals I’m working on, he is much more intimately familiar with the gui code”
Nevertheless, it is commendable that Riccardo Spagni is supporting the Zcash Windows and Mac clients. However, it is important to understand that the Zcash foundation has also funded the development and improvement of the GUI clients.
Bitcoin Cash’s ‘Mining War’ Escalates as Blockchain Hard Fork Approaches
The global network of computer operators who today help power the bitcoin cash cryptocurrency are beginning to signal that they may take differing paths ahead of a technical update scheduled for Thursday.
Data from Coin Dance indicates that bitcoin cash mining pools, collectives of individuals and companies providing computer power to the cryptocurrency, the world’s fourth most valuable, are indicating they will run a version of the software called Bitcoin SV, an alternative to the Bitcoin ABC software most widely used by the network today.
In fact, early signs suggest Bitcoin SV may control some 76.39 percent of the network’s current mining power.
While it’s too early to tell if this many computers will actually update their software, causing the bitcoin cash network to split, the strong rhetoric employed by those backing the upstart Bitcoin SV software, including Craig Wright, the Australian cryptographer who claims to be Satoshi Nakamoto, suggests this is a possibility.
Wright in particular has vowed to destroy the ABC network, going so far as to threaten ABC proponents on Twitter.
Amidst this dialogue, SV’s hash power advantage is up from 73.62 percent just a day ago. In particular, CoinGeek, the platform owned by Wright supporter Calvin Ayre, jumped from controlling about 30.6 percent of the overall hash power to 41 percent.
In contrast, okminer and Mempool both lost a significant portion of the hash power, falling from 7.64 percent and 6.25 percent respectively to 3.47 percent each.
Meanwhile, mining pools supporting the Bitcoin ABC implementation spearheaded by Roger Ver have made gains of their own. In particular,, Antpool and now control 8.33, 4.86 and 6.25 percent of the total hash power respectively. Antpool and are controlled by bitcoin cash supporter and hardware giant Bitmain.
As of yesterday, both of Bitmain’s pools only controlled 2.78 percent of the power each, while Ver’s website had 6.25 percent.
While several mining pools have firmly declared support for one party or another, a number have yet to publicly express which network they might help secure. The most prominent of these is ViaBTC, which controlled 7.64 percent of the network total yesterday, though its relative power dropped to 2.08 percent by 14:00 UTC Tuesday.
Another pool, Northern Bitcoin, likewise has yet to commit to a particular implementation, though chief technology officer Moritz Jäger told Forbes that his pool switched from bitcoin to bitcoin cash to be among “the decision makers on the upcoming fork.”
Still, while Bitcoin SV seems to have a clear advantage in hash power, traders seem more confident about Bitcoin ABC.
BCHABC, a trading pair being offered in advance at some exchange, is still trading at a higher price than markets for SV, though its lead has shrunk slightly. At press time, pre-fork trading of the token hovered around $391 (priced in the USDC stablecoin), down from $415 just 24 hours ago.
In contrast, BCHSV’s price surged 22 percent in that time period to reach $136.
According to TradingView, BCHABC may also be seeing less interest in terms of volume, with only876,258 USDC being traded over the past 24 hours, up from 818,375 yesterday.
BCHSV, on the other hand, saw 969,715 USDC in volume over that period, though this fell from more than 1.2 million USDC traded previously.
Cryptocurrency Mining Farms In China Shut Down For ‘Strict’ Tax Inspections
Cryptocurrency mining operations in the Chinese provinces of Xinjiang and Guizhou were suspended so the government could conduct “very strict” tax inspections and real-name registration checks.
Power to the mining farms was shut off on November 5, sources told local daily Cong News. As a result, the mines lost about 1 million yuan (or roughly $143,700) a day during the period of “rectification.”
“Joint enforcement actions examined the mine’s tax information, funds, and customer information,” Cong News reported. “It is understood that the tax inspection of the mine is very strict.”
Mining Farms Required To Sign Pledge
The tax inspection is now complete, but it’s unclear if power to the mining farms has been restored yet.
“It is understood that the mines, including business licenses, state-of-the-art power supply procedures, and employee Social Security, are officially complete,” Cong News noted.
The mining farms were required to sign an agreement promising that their mining data centers will implement “higher standards for the company’s business real-name system,” as mandated by China’s Public Security Department.
The farms also agreed to not provide services to any customers that do not comply with these rules.
Did the Shutdown Affect Bitmain?
It’s unclear how this shutdown affected Bitmain, which recently deployed 90,000 S9 Antminer rigs to the coal-rich region of Xinjiang ahead of the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, which is scheduled for November 15.
Bitmain — the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency company — is making moves to maintain its market dominance amid reports that its smaller rival Bitfury is considering an initial public offering in Amsterdam or London as early as 2019.
The move would make Bitfury the first major crypto IPO listed in Europe, as CCN has reported. The Amsterdam-based blockchain startup could seek a valuation of $3 billion to $5 billion.
In September 2018, Bitmain filed for an initial public offering in Hong Kong, with a potential valuation of up to $3 billion. Bitmain — which is valued at $10 billion — is on track to post $10 billion in revenue by the end of 2018.
$700 Million Bitcoin Mining Farm Being Built
Meanwhile, crypto mining firm Coinmint plans to invest up to $700 million to build the world’s largest bitcoin mining center in Upstate New York, with a 435-megawatt capacity.
Coinmint has already invested $50 million so far to convert a 1,300-acre Alcoa aluminum smelting plant in Massena, New York.
— VTOS FOUNDATION (@VTOSFOUNDATION) June 7, 2018
The new crypto mining farm is projected to create an estimated 150 new jobs, and is expected to be fully operational by June 2019.
The old Alcoa plant shuttered in 2014, but Coinmint signed a 10-year lease on the property, signaling its confidence that despite bitcoin’s recent slump, it believes cryptocurrencies are here to stay.
“As long as bitcoin networks exist, we anticipate mining to be profitable,” said Coinmint CTO Prieur Leary.