After a long wait, it seems that things are finally moving forward for Ripple. The San Francisco based blockchain firm is making a push towards expanding the use of their XRP digital assets into new segments and verticals which shy away from conventional payment systems or the banking space.
At the moment, Ripple is the world’s third-largest crypto, with the first position being occupied by Bitcoin, the first virtual asset, followed by Ethereum, the platform that most developers seem connected to. Despite standing as third, XRP is still holding strong, having accumulated a total coin market cap of nearly $28.7 billion, according to Coinmarketcap.com.
But, we could go as far as saying that Ripple is just in its infancy stages, as it’s not being used beyond a handful of pilot customer deployments. Nonetheless, big things could soon be happening for Ripple, particularly following the announcement that a new initiative will soon start.
Called Xpring but pronounced ‘spring’, the project aims to bring entrepreneurs and their businesses over to XRP. But, we’re not solely referring to the XRP cryptocurrency. Instead, the discussion is that the smart ledger will also be part of the equation, ultimately helping build an ecosystem. Overall, this new endeavour by Ripple will feature a mixture of grants, investments, and incubation, with the hope of luring companies to expand the use of Ripple, all while allowing the focus on its financial services business.
This bold yet admirable decision is meant to make Ripple an even more competitive player in the market. As we are aware, the value of XRP shot up in December of last year, continuing on a money-hungry run until January, right around the time when Bitcoin reached an all-time high of nearly $20,000 per coin.
At that point, the collective value of XRP was worth more than $128 billion, but eventually, the market crashed in January. Since then, Ripple has come under a lot of fire because of what investors call “a lack of use for XRP.” In the beginning, the digital asset had been marketed as an intuitive tool for traditional banks, but the majority of crypto enthusiasts failed to see its usefulness.
Looking Beyond Ripple
One of the most significant announcements of this week concerns Ripple’s decision to support start-up development projects in return for firms using Ripples’ XRP currency and XRP Ledger. In other words, the San Francisco based company launched the Xpring program out of a desire to help new investors and fund proven entrepreneurs who want to incubate, acquire and supply grants to projects in exchange for their input into the XRP Ledger and the utilisation of the XRP digital coin.
The decision was announced using Ripple’s official website, where details were provided as to what the project means and how it will affect the Ripple ecosystem. To make things happen the company decided to hire a new addition, Ethan Beard, who some might know as the former Director of the Facebook Developer Network and an ex-EIR at Greylock Partners.
According to reports, Beard will act as a senior vice president for both Ripple and Xpring’s developer program.
“The goal is to support businesses that we believe would see benefit from building upon the XRP ledger, […] and this support will come in a variety of ways: investment, incubation, and the potential of acquisition or grants. We’re focused on proven entrepreneurs who can use the ledger and XRP to really address their customers’ problems.”
Also, Van Miltenburg told reporters that Ripple has been approached multiple times by different companies and entrepreneurs looking to work and utilise XRP. But, it appears that the discussions didn’t amount to much, as Ripple is highly focused on financial services.
“There’s been enough interaction to say there’s something here [and] now is the time […] Over the last four to six months the concept of Xpring has really crystallised.”
Without a doubt, such an important concept requires a great deal of money, and Ripple has been making great attempts at quietly upping their investment focus. Initially, two Ripple executives were part of a $25 million investment for Bay Area-based start-up Omni, back in January. Now, a couple of months ago, CEO Brad Garlinghouse told TechCrunch that Ripple plans to expand its horizons and leverage its solutions is multiple different ways.
Shying away from vague statements, Van Miltenburg and Beard both told TechCrunch that the kind of areas where they see the most potential for XRP are trade finance, media, gaming, virtual goods, identity, real estate, and micro-payments.
“There’s a use case we have established for it: Ripple is one of the only enterprise solutions on the blockchain that’s out in production. We believe the XRP ledger and the asset has a performance profile that lends it to others,” said the entrepreneur.
Similarly, Beard was quoted in Ripple’s official website announcement as saying the following:
“I love helping start-ups leverage new technologies and developments to grow. At Facebook, we saw companies in areas like gaming, music, and news, use our platform to become big businesses, blockchain and digital assets can solve important problems. […] With XRP it’s all about speed, scalability and demonstrated real-world use case – is a great tool for startups and entrepreneurs to build businesses around.”
The Creative Minds Behind the Project
All in all, we have great confidence in Ripple’s ability to pull together. As it stands, Ripple already features an impressive group of minds that can see this project to completion. Among some of the most noteworthy names, we have:
- Thomas McLeod as the co-founder and CEO of Omni, a platform that will oversee the integration of the XRP currency into Omni’s marketplace.
- Stefan Thomas is known as the inventor of the Interledger Protocol (ILP), BitcoinJS, and as co-founder of TxtBear. Thomas could use XRP and the Interledger Protocol (ILP) for the creation of various micropayments applications.
- Bart and Brad Stephens are the co-founders of Blockchain Capital, and focus on innovations within the blockchain sector.
- Scooter Braun is an entrepreneur, entertainment talent manager, and founder of SB Projects –a company who is pursuing the ways in which XRP could improve artists’ capacity of managing and promoting their content and art.