Ripple’s figure heads can’t be the only ones pitching and insisting that XRP is a utility. Aside the many payment providers spread across the world who see value in XRP, coins.ph, a popular crypto payment platform in the Philippines is yet another provider who finds XRP irresistible. With more than five million customers in the Philippines alone, Coins.ph is adding XRPmeaning their customers can settle their bills using XRP instead of fiat.
Coins.ph is a Philippines based cryptocurrency platform that was launched in 2014. That’s was two years after Ripple the company was incorporated and two years after XRP came into existence. As such they are amongst the very first believers of cryptocurrency justifying their wide customer base.
More about Coins.ph
According to statistics, Coins.ph has five million customers but by 2020, the company plans to on board 20 million customers spurred mostly by the influence of XRP, the third most valuable cryptocurrency in the world. Other than XRP which is now available on Android version of Coins.ph mobile version, the platform allows customers to settle bills using Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH) and Ethereum (ETH).
Exchanges and Funds attracted by XRP
Of course, news of such development is encouraging for XRP investors who have to contend with strong sell pressure driving the value of XRP from upwards of $3.2 early this year to 30 cents at the time of press. That’s an 80 percent value drop in a span of eight months.
However, on the bright side of things and complementing developments that draws value as Wirex offering support for XRP and most exchanges as DCEX basing their available trading assets in XRP, the company behind RTXCP and xRapid which make use of XRP are readjusting and decentralizing accordingly. This is of course a huge plus. Remember, even exchanges are following suit and most recently Mike Arrington, the founder of TechCrunch and Arrington XRP Capital acknowledge the benefits of incorporating XRP.
Cryptocurrency exchange and wallet service Bittrex has announced plans to launch U.S. dollar (USD) trading pairs for two new cryptocurrencies, according to an official announcement published August 8.
Per the announcement, Bittrex is looking to expand its fiat markets to Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Ripple (XRP) on August 20. The new trading pairs will be added to already listed dollar markets for Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), and TrueUSD (TUSD).
The company says that it will continue gradually adding tokens to its USD markets, using a “phased approach” for USD trading. Bittrex further explained that it takes a gradual approach to “ramping up these markets” in order to ensure quality in processes and systems before making them available to qualified customers. Bittrex said:
“In addition to broader acceptance, expanding fiat markets to the top digital currencies on our trading platform will help limit the dominance and influence of any one token over other blockchain projects – a necessary evolution if we’re going to unleash blockchain’s potential benefits for consumers and businesses.”
Bittrex was founded in 2014 by Bill Shihara and two business partners, all of whom previously served in the security team at Amazon. In February of this year, Shihara announced the exchange’s intention to open up USD trading to the majority of its customers.
In October 2017, Bittrex made a sudden decision to disable thousands of accounts for compliance reviews without warning its users in advance. Later in December, Bittrex temporarily stopped registration of new users, citing an inability to accurately verify each new user due to high demand. The exchange subsequently opened again, but with additional requirements.
At press time, Bittrex is 23rd largest exchange with a trade volume over $72 million. According to Coinmarketcap, it has grown by 16 percent over the 24 hour period.
By adding new crypto assets, Coinbase is poised to increase its revenue from custody services. This is significant because a growing number of companies are offering cryptocurrency trading, which has been a lucrative business for Coinbase, but where margins are likely to drop in the future.
A Coinbase spokesperson declined to provide a specific timetable for when exactly the custody support for the new assets will be available. The company also says plans to add all 40 of the assets are not definitive.
Coinbase is not the only cryptocurrency company to offer custody (another is Boston-based Circle), and it does not sell many of the assets it plans to store as a custodian. As such, it’s unclear how much the expansion of its custody offerings will boost Coinbase’s revenues.
Currently, Coinbase counts the funds Autonomous Partners, Polychain Cap, and Multicoin Cap among its custody customers. The company says it aims to have more than 100 institutional customers and store at least $20 billion under custody by the end of 2019.
Meanwhile, Coinbase also disclosed on Friday that traders will be able to buy and sell the asset known as Ethereum Classic beginning on Tuesday. The move comes after the company announced in June it would add the cryptocurrency, which is currently the 14th biggest, according to the site CoinMarketCap.
The San Francisco-based cryptocurrency giant Coinbase said Wednesday that customers in the United Kingdom can now buy digital assets with the British Pound.
The news is significant because, until now, the company’s UK customers had to maintain their fiat funds in euros rather than pound sterling. This meant the process for buying Bitcoin and other digital currencies on Coinbase took several days and resulted in foreign exchange fees.
The upshot is British customers will now be able to carry out same-day payments and withdrawals.
“UK banks have been conservative in terms of working with crypto businesses and we’re proud to be one of the first companies to get access to domestic banking,” said Zeeshan Feroz, the CEO of Coinbase UK.
Coinbase’s support for British pounds (GBP) could also mean a higher volume of cryptocurrency transactions in the United Kingdom, which is the world’s fifth biggest economy.
The company says it will begin adding GBP trading pairs such as GBP-Bitcoin and GBP-Ethereum in the coming weeks. These pairs are the instruments by which traders make bets on currency movements in global foreign exchange markets, and Coinbase expects the new offerings to be popular with professional traders.
In the last month, Coinbase has also suggested it has preparing to expand the number of digital assets it makes available to customers. Due to regulatory uncertainty, the company has so far only offered Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, Ethereum Classic, and Litecoin.
In a recent blog post, Coinbase says it is contemplating the addition of Cardano, Basic Attention Token, 0x, Stellar Lumens, and Zcash. Given the tighter regulatory constraints, it is likely the company will begin offering these tokens first in the UK and Europe.
Corporate America’s love affair with all things blockchain may be cooling.
A number of software projects based on the distributed ledger technology will be wound down this year, according toForrester Research Inc. And some companies pushing ahead with pilot tests are scaling back their ambitions and timelines. In 90 percent of cases, the experiments will never become part of a company’s operations, the firm estimates.
Even Nasdaq Inc., a high-profile champion of blockchain and cryptocurrencies, hasn’t moved as quickly as hoped. The exchange operator, which talked in 2016 about deploying blockchain for voting in shareholder meetings and private-company stock issuance, isn’t using the technology in any widely deployed projects yet.
“The expectation was we’d quickly find use cases,” Magnus Haglind, Nasdaq’s senior vice president and head of product management for market technology, said in an interview. “But introducing new technologies requires broad collaboration with industry participants, and it all takes time.”
Blockchain is designed to provide a tamper-proof digital ledger — a groundbreaking means of tracking products, payments and customers. But the much-ballyhooed technology has proven difficult to adopt in real-life situations. As companies try to ramp up projects across their businesses, they’re hitting problems with performance, oversight and operations.
Hype Versus Reality
“The disconnect between the hype and the reality is significant — I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Rajesh Kandaswamy, an analyst at Gartner Inc. “In terms of actual production use, it’s very rare.”
That could be bad news for makers of blockchain software and services, which include International Business Machines Corp. and Microsoft Corp. They’re aiming to make billions on cloud services that help run supply chains, send and receive payments, and interact with customers. Now their projections — and investors’ expectations — may need to be tempered.
“Blockchain is supposed to be an important future revenue stream for IBM, Microsoft and others in equipment sales, cloud services and consulting,” said Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates. “If it materializes more slowly, analysts will have to make downward revisions.”
IBM, which has more than 1,500 employees working on blockchain, said it’s still seeing strong demand. But growing competition could affect how much it can charge clients, according to Jerry Cuomo, vice president of blockchain technologies at IBM.
Microsoft also remains upbeat. “We see tremendous momentum and progress in the enterprise blockchain marketplace,” the company said in a statement. “We remain committed to developing cutting-edge technology and working side-by-side with industry leaders to ensure business of all types realize this value.”
So far, IBM and Microsoft have grabbed 51 percent of the more than $700 million market for blockchain products and services, WinterGreen Research Inc. estimated earlier this year.
For a large swath of companies, blockchain remains an exotic fruit. Only 1 percent of chief information officers said they had any kind of blockchain adoption in their organizations, and only 8 percent said they were in short-term planning or active experimentation with the technology, according to a Gartner study. Nearly 80 percent of CIOs said they had no interest in the technology.
Many companies that previously announced blockchain rollouts have changed plans. ASX Ltd., which operates Australia’s primary national stock exchange, now expects to have a blockchain-based clearing and settlement system at the end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021. Two years ago, the company was aiming for a commercial blockchain platform within 18 months. An exchange spokesman said “there’s been no delay,” as the company hadn’t announced the exact launch date until recently.
Another early advocate, Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd., said in 2016 that it would deploy blockchain to track rock and fluid samples in early 2017. But it currently doesn’t “have a blockchain project/experiment in progress,” according to spokeswoman Judy Dane.
But there could be more of an uptick next year, according to blockchain-backing organizations.
“It’s not on a steep ramp-up curve at all,” said Ron Resnick, executive director of Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, comprised of about 600 members such as Cisco Systems Inc., Intel Corp. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. “I don’t expect that to happen this year. They are still testing the waters.”
One reason behind the delays: Most blockchain vendors don’t offer compatible software. Companies are worried about being beholden to one vendor — an issue the EEA group hopes to resolve by setting standards.
The organization will launch its certification testing program for blockchain software in mid-2019, Resnick said. Rival industry effort Hyperledger, which represents companies such as IBM, Airbus SE and American Express Co., is preparing to connect its blockchain software to a popular platform called Kubernetes.
Most blockchains also can’t yet handle a large volume of transactions — a must-have for major corporations. And they only shine in certain types of use cases, typically where companies collaborate on projects. But because different businesses have to share the same blockchain, it can be a challenge to agree on technology and how to adopt it.
Many companies also are simply worried about being the first to deploy new technology — and the first to run into problems.
“They want to see other people fail first — they don’t wanna be a guinea pig,” said Brian Behlendorf, executive director of Hyperledger. “It’s just the nature of enterprise software.”
Ripple (XRP) is one of the most popular crypto coins, which have stunned the world via the massive increase in the value of the token in 2017. Despite major criticism on crypto and regulations instituted by many large economies, the currency has kept growing. Many major companies have already adopted its platform.
Large banks and financial institutions have already adopted the ripple platform. Even remittance companies have adopted it for payment processing purposes. In the Ripple network, global transactions take place in seconds. This is as opposed to the current financial system where a global transaction takes place in days. It might even take longer if even a simple glitch occurs.
CoinFlux now Supports Ripple
Almost all major crypto exchanges have extended support for the Ripple platform and its token XRP.
CoinFLux, which is a top exchange that operates in Romania, recently announced that it would add Ripple to its trading platform. The official announcement by the company confirmed that it had done so in response to customer demand. To be allowed to trade Ripple, all customers need to do is have an account with the exchange. To trade in Ripple, the transaction needs to be equal to or larger than 30 EUR.
Ripple is a global payments platform that has revolutionized the financial world. The global business transactions that used to take days with conventional money transfer systems can now take three seconds on Ripple. All the companies that utilize Ripple are connected via the Ripple blockchain. For some time now, CoinFlux has also been experimenting with the Ripple Network. CoinFlux was established in 2015. It recently re-invented itself and changed the UI and design. It helps users to trade crypto with each other and with fiat currencies such as RON or Leu.
It’s Nothing But Up for Ripple
Ripple XRP is achieving its goal of going global slowly but surely. The crypto coin is just waiting for the decision by the SEC for it to list on CoinFLux. There is very little chance of that approval not going through.
XRP is well established in Japan. This is after SBI Holdings, a major Ripple partner, opened their platform to the public. The Japanese financial giant has an in-house crypto trading platform. It is the first bank-backed crypto exchange in the world. Investors in Japan are able to trade with Bitcoin, XRP, and BCH against the Yen. At first, the exchange only allowed trade in XRP. However, BTC and BCH were later added.
The CEO and president of SBI Group, Yoshitaka Kitao, said he thinks that the use of Ripple will only continue to grow. He believes that Ripple will be adopted globally, which will help to revolutionize how global transactions take place.
The reason for his belief is because Ripple is cheaper, faster, and more scalable than all other digital assets. According to him, it is only time until Ripple becomes the global standard for crypto. With Ripple, it is possible to make instant and cheap cross-border payments.
Grayscale, the investment company behind over-the-counter cryptocurrency products such as the Bitcoin Investment Trust and the Ethereum Classic Investment Trust has just released their first annual report. The good news is that they saw a 2018 influx of just under $250 million in new investments – more than half of which came from what they call institutional customers. The bad news is that naturally, anyone who invested in January saw upwards of 69.4% losses.
The Grayscale Tale
Grayscale is an investment firm that specializes in offering cryptocurrency-based investment trusts and other products through OTC markets. This means that from a functional level, their products operate in a manner very similar to conventional stock exchanges. However, according to their report, their products are not registered with the SEC as they apparently do not require registration.
Grayscale Investments was set up by Digital Currency Group back in 2013 and has become a one-stop shop of sorts for those looking to get exposure to digital currencies without actually holding them directly.
Currently, the group offers investment products that give exposure to bitcoin, Ethereum Classic, Zcash, Ethereum, Bitcoin Cash, XRP, and Litecoin. The firm also offers a product it calls Digital Large-Cap Fund.
Grayscale has been particularly interested in the development of Ethereum Classic, as the group is one of the key organizations behind the new Ethereum Classic Summit, the second of which will be held in South Korea later this year.
Key Data Points
The report itself is only a few pages long, but it provides a number of interesting points that reflect on an aspect of digital assets that may not be apparent from just reading price charts. The report states that since the beginning of 2013, the group has seen $248.39 million invested into Grayscale products, which breaks down to $9.55 million per week.
What’s also interesting is where this money is coming from.
The report states that 56% of all investment for 2018 has come from institutional investors. The average investment for institutional investors is $848,000. The next largest investment group is accredited individuals, followed by retirement accounts, and lastly family offices. Accredited individuals average $289,000 each.
Of these investors, 64% are US-based, 26% are based in the Cayman Islands, and 10% come from other territories.
Long-Term Income, Short-Term Losses
One section of the report was dedicated to the performance of the individual investment products themselves. A chart lists two categories. One is the performance of the fund from the beginning of 2018 to now, and another includes the total performance since the launch of the product.
Unfortunately, the majority of products only launched this year and so the amount of data this section includes is somewhat limited as a result. Regardless, this is what the report states.
Total Return (Cumulative %)
H1 2018 Performance
The Bitcoin Investment Trust is down 59.8% this year, but is up 4107.1% since launch. Ethereum classic is down 47.7% this year, but is up 270.3% since launch. The Zcash Investment Trust didn’t fare quite as well, with it down 69.4% this year, and down 30.1% since launch. The Ethereum Investment Trust is down 43.9% this year, and a little less since inception. The remaining four products all seem to have launched this year and are all down between 47.9% with the Digital Large-Cap Fund, and 64.3% with the Litecoin Investment Trust.
These numbers don’t come as much of a surprise, however, as we all know that 2018 has been a very hard year for cryptocurrencies.
That is, only when we consider where they were in January to where they are now. If we don’t factor in the massive bull run in December and January, prices have actually been on a slow and steady increase for the last two years, which is why the two investment products Grayscale offers that have been running for quite some time see large returns overall since the launch of each respective fund. Particularly, the Bitcoin Investment Trust with its unbelievable 4100+ percent gains.
Bitcoin Still King
One final point we’d like to discuss from the report is to which digital currency most investments in Grayscale products are going.
It comes as no surprise that bitcoin is still leading the pack by a large margin. More than half of all investments made in Grayscale products were towards the Bitcoin Investment Trust. While other currencies are seeing investment and some degree of growth, bitcoin is still consuming the lions share of all investment funds.
This makes sense for a number of reasons. Obviously, bitcoin is the most well-known digital asset and requires the least amount of explanation to new investors of blockchain assets. Secondly, bitcoin operates very similarly to an index fund, in that its value is often representative of the market as a whole. Simply put, if bitcoin is up, the market is up and vice versa.
What that means is that for investors that just want exposure to digital assets, investing in bitcoin is still the easiest way to do that. And of course, with 4107.1% gains in the last five years, it’s difficult to argue that bitcoin would not be a wise choice.
Billionaire Steven Cohen has invested in a hedge fund focusing on cryptocurrencies and blockchain-based companies, according to a person familiar with the matter.
The investment was made through his Cohen Private Ventures, said the person, who asked not to be named because the information is private. The hedge fund, Autonomous Partners, was started last year by Arianna Simpson, an early advocate of cryptocurrencies. It has also secured investments from Union Square Ventures, Coinbase Inc. Chief Executive Officer Brian Armstrong and Craft Ventures Co-Founder David Sacks, Simpson said in an interview Thursday.
Simpson said she is interested in investing in cryptocurrencies that serve as general purpose money and companies that are building the next generation of financial infrastructure. Autonomous Partners also invests in some large cap cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum, she said.
Cohen Private Ventures invests in private equity and other longer-term investments on behalf of Cohen, who runs Point72 Asset Management. A representative for the firm declined to comment.
Crypto-dedicated funds have taken off recently. Of the 249 crypto funds that have opened, 70 percent did so last year, according to Autonomous Research. Despite this year’s collapse in digital coin values, hedge fund managers and other investors have continued to wade into the asset class.
Fortune reported the Cohen investment earlier Thursday.
Coinbase, the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the U.S., is considering adding five new tokens to its platform.
The five digital coins include cardano, basic attention token, stellar lumens, Zcash and 0x.
“It wouldn’t surprise me to see these things up 20, 30, 40 percent over the weekend,” digital trader Brian Kelly said Friday on “Fast Money.”
Kelly, founder and CEO of BKCM LLC, an investment firm focused on digital currencies, said he’s “long almost every single one of them” but would probably choose Zcash and 0x first.
The announcement came Friday in a blog post that read, “these assets will require additional exploratory work and we cannot guarantee they will be listed for trading.” The San Francisco-based company went on to say that some assets may have limited functions and that it has not yet determined if the coins are securities. In addition, some of them may only be available in select countries.
All five assets moved higher after the announcement.
Previously, with the entire cryptocurrency industry under increased regulatory scrutiny, Coinbase only traded four coins despite user demand for more.
Kelly breaks it down for investors:
Brian Kelly said it is similar to ethereum.
“They have working network,” he said. “They have a live road map. That’s important. That’s what the [Securities and Exchange Commission] said was important, so it’s not a security.”
Basic Attention Token
This coin is unique in that it offers an ad-free experience, Kelly said. “You can use Basic Attention Token to pay for content on the web.”
Pronounced “zero x,” this is a decentralized exchange protocol that Kelly said is “up and running.”
Kelly said this token is similar to ripple.
This is a privacy token, “so you can send stuff back and forth without people knowing,” he said.
Kelly said the digital asset platform Gemini has already said it’s going to have Zcash on its platform.
“So this one is probably one of the most likely” to be approved by Coinbase, Kelly said.