Figures for the end of 2018 show that San Diego-based Silvergate Bank saw an upsurge in digital currency customers. Previously, the institution provided banking services for 244 crypto businesses. However, by the end of last year, this figure more than doubled to 542.About Silvergate BankFounded in 1988 as a state-chartered bank, the operations at Silvergate typified that of any other bank. But in recognition of the burgeoning digital currency sector, in 2013 they began actively pursuing digital currency customers.This move signaled a diversification of strategy in deploying digital assets on deposit across traditional operations, including lending for commercial real estate, mortgage warehouse, correspondent, and commercial business.The position of Silvergate Bank was considered to be somewhat surprising, given the perceived hostility towards crypto by the global banking sector. Nonetheless, their website reveals an understanding that they see crypto as the future of money. They go on to say:“We leverage our technology platform and our management team’s expertise to develop solutions for many of the largest U.S. digital currency exchanges and investors around the globe. Our solutions are built on our deep-rooted commitment and proprietary approach to regulatory compliance.”Misplaced TribalismAcceptance of digital currency by traditional financial institutions is a trend that is estimated to continue to grow. With this in mind, Silvergate’s development of infrastructure, to combine the old world with the new, will play a pivotal part in mainstream adoption and acceptance of crypto assets.As things stand, advocates of crypto generally hold the view that crypto represents the solution to an elitist banking system. And so promote tribalist attitudes against the banking sector. However, in truth, crypto has a symbiotic relationship with fiat. With fiat being the more influential of the pair. For now at least. By actively pursuing crypto companies, banks such as Silvergate, and Bank Frick in Europe, will stand to benefit from the inevitable growth of crypto. Silvergate’s SEC Registration Statement echoes this view:“We believe that the market opportunity for digital currencies, the need for infrastructure solutions and services and the regulatory complexity have all expanded significantly since 2013. Our ability to address these market dynamics over the past five years has provided us with a first-mover advantage within the digital currency industry that is the cornerstone of our leadership position today.”Building Out Crypto InfrastructureThe increase in digital asset customers for Silvergate is an encouraging sign for the US crypto market. This news, first reported by The Block, is further heightened when coupled with data that shows customer deposits had increased from $46.4m to $273.9m.Bear markets are for builders. The calm, the quiet, the disillusionment… while the fickle and fair-weather peer around with nervous insecurity, the builders become the market’s foundation, preparing the mortar and stone of tomorrow’s towers. #bitcoin— Erik Voorhees (@ErikVoorhees) September 17, 2018So, despite the gloom and doom that has dominated headlines of late, we should remind ourselves that the bear market cannot last forever. After all, those behind the scenes are working diligently to develop strong foundations that will sustain better times. Shapeshift CEO, Erik Voorhees sees bear markets as necessary for shaking out weak players. With them gone, crypto businesses can focus on developing quality products and service.Featured Image From Shutterstock
Following a series of recent layoffs and closures within the industry, top Korean exchange Bithumb follows suit by announcing it will cut its workforce in half by the end of this month. While the market is currently showing signs of optimism, this news brings an unwelcome reminder to the realities of an extended bear market.“Voluntary Retirement” At BithumbCoindesk Korea broke the news of Bithumb’s plans on Monday 18th March. Details show the company will reduce its existing workforce of 310 employees down to 150. A spokesman for the firm commented:“It is true, voluntary retirement is planned to reduce the total number of employees by 50% by the end of the month.”Bithumb has developed a company-sponsored program to help former employees. The initiative will provide support and training to find new work. However, news of more job cuts in the crypto space is bringing further uncertainty.So Crypto peeps. What’s your guess? How long are we going to continue to endure this bear market? 6 months? 12 months? 18 months?— The Scrooge XPRess (@etnezerscrooge) March 18, 2019Crypto Exchanges Are Feeling The PinchOnchain Capital CEO, Ran Neuner, stated that crypto exchanges would continue to struggle in the coming year. He takes an unsympathetic view by attributing the difficulties to a lack of business foresight.“I’m expecting more exchanges to shut down in this bear market. Last year everyone rushed to start an exchange. Exchanges require infrastructure that is expensive to maintain and most won’t survive this.”
The topic of charity often brings disparity of opinion. On the one hand, most of us recognize the injustices of the world and want to help those in need. But, given the reports of fraud and misconduct, as well as the sheer scale of problems, it’s understandable why many become numb to the issue. However, crypto and blockchain technology is working to change that.Charity FraudFigures show that more than a third of charity fraud was perpetrated by staff, trustees or volunteers. These findings came about during a study by The Charity Commission. They noted that weak governance, poor financial controls, and excessive trust in key individuals were common factors to the problem. Michelle Russell, Director of Investigations, said:“charities could protect themselves from internal and external fraud through the robust and consistent application of financial controls.”With this in mind, it’s clear to see how a decentralized blockchain system and crypto can address people’s concerns over charity.How Blockchain and Crypto Can HelpA decade on since Bitcoin first paved the way, many institutions are beginning to realize how blockchain is more than financial speculation. With blockchain technology, there exists a significant opportunity for charities to benefit the world.Blockchains are inherently designed to eliminate corruption and non-transparency in situations involved multiple participants. As well as that, the technology facilitates an audit trail, where benefactors can track donations across its complete cycle.The implications of this are massive. Blockchain technology has the potential to completely change the way the sector operates, allowing organizations to run more efficiently by eliminating waste, and therefore providing real help to those in need. Also, from a credibility standpoint, use of blockchain would undoubtedly instill greater trust, which is something often lacking in people’s reasoning for not giving.
The Plight of Ugandan School Children
When it comes to important cases, few are more deserving than feeding children. In Uganda, the problems of war, famine, and AIDS make for dangerous living conditions. Here, more than a third of people live below the poverty line, and children are the primary victims of this desperate economic situation.
Binance recently launched their blockchain solution to tackle hunger and access to primary education. The Lunch for Children campaign is asking for 1 BNB to provide a lunch program for children who need your help. Contributing will provide a month’s worth of food for a child in remote African areas. Without which some will be forced to abandon their education.
The 50-Cent Dream: How Blockchain Brings Uganda’s Children Back to School
Read the stories from three of Uganda’s children, whose futures are being built, 50 cents at a time. @BinanceBCF
— Binance (@binance) March 15, 2019
The collaboration between Binance Charity and Dream Building Service Association will select schools that serve poor children, and choose reliable food suppliers. Donations made will go to the crypto wallets of children’s parents or legal guardians, who will then use the funds to pay food suppliers.
This system is a real life example of how blockchain is revolutionizing the charity sector. The verified audit trail of transactions deals with issues related to lack of transparency and accountability. The foundation will collect monthly reports from the school, and provide updates on how the project is progressing. All of which ensures your donations are making a real difference.
In a continuation of good news for crypto asset Stellar, Coinbase recently announced the listing of XLM on its platform. Markets reacted positively to the news, with a 4% increase against the Dollar, but similar to XRP’s recent listing on the platform; investors were left feeling somewhat disappointed.Is this further confirmation of Coinbase’s diminishing influence? Or, were past pumps the result of market manipulation?To be fair, a good amount of altcoins followed similar movements…Also, the Coinbase listing pump appears basically dead. $XLM initially jumped 7%, now sitting around 5% above the announcement level. Nothing to write home about in crypto land— Crypto Bobby (@crypto_bobby) March 13, 2019Coinbase Making All The Right Moves2018 proved to be an outstanding year for Coinbase. For instance, rumors of an imminent IPO circulated when they announced a successful round of investment fundraising to the tune of $300 million – which puts a valuation of $8 billion on the company. They said the money would be spent on building out fiat to crypto infrastructure. But were quick to quash suggestions of a public offering by saying:“we would always remain a crypto-first company.”Coinbase Ventures, their investment division, also invested in several startups last year. This move brought Nomics, Securitize, Starkware, and Abacus on board, adding data and API specialism to their portfolio. But perhaps most significant was their collaboration with technology company Circle to develop the USDC stablecoin. USDC has since made great strides in a short amount of time. Circle CEO, Jeremy Allaire celebrated its achievements at the end of last year by signaling his ambition to overtake Tether. And with leading exchanges including Bitfinex, KuCoin, Binance, Poloniex, and Korbit listing the coin, 2019 holds great promise.USDC hits $250m issued in just months. Great end to 2018. Here’s to becoming the top stablecoin in 2019! @centre_io @circlepay @coinbase https://t.co/VmKHTTA79N— Jeremy Allaire (@jerallaire) December 31, 2018Retail Investors Not ForgottenAside from the corporate goings-on, retail investors can now make instant withdrawals to PayPal. Also, with the introduction of Coinbase Earn, users get rewarded for learning about crypto. This move recognizes that lack of knowledge is a significant barrier to crypto uptake. Coinbase Earn addresses this by incentivizing users. They say:“The idea is for users to understand more about an asset’s utility and its underlying technology, while getting a bit of the asset to try out.”At the same time, the expansion of their product offering has seen the addition of BAT, BSV, CVC, DAI, DNT, ETC, GNT, LOOM, MANA, MKR, XLM, XRP, USDC, ZEC, ZIL, ZRX to the lineup. With an on-going assessment to add more. Coinbase has publicized its plans to eventually incorporate almost all assets that meet its criteria for security, compliance, and vision. This brings welcome news to users, who were previously frustrated by the lack of choice on offer. In a statement, they said:” Over time, we intend to offer our customers access to greater than 90% of all compliant digital assets by market cap.”Whereas back in May 2017, when Coinbase listed Litecoin, triggering a 40% spike in price against Bitcoin, not only did fewer exchanges exist, but the average investor was merely out to make quick money in what seemed like a frenzied free-for-all.
As the 116th Congress gets underway, a wide range of proposals affecting blockchain technology are on the agenda. Some of the bills would provide greater regulatory clarity for operators within the space. While others focus on preventing the use of digital currency to enable unlawful behavior.However, critics raise concerns over the Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists’ Use of Virtual Currencies Act being a further curtailment of freedoms.What is the Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists’ Use of Virtual Currencies Act?Representative Kathleen Rice introduced the bill in the previous Congress as a way to counter terrorist use of digital currencies. It centers around intelligence gathering as a tool to oppose terrorist threats. She argues:“[the] bill will give law enforcement officials at all levels the 21st-century solutions, information and resources they need to counter this emerging threat.”Nonetheless, members of the Freedom Caucus have attacked the plans as a tiptoe towards broader censorship or restrictions within the crypto market. Likewise, many Twitter users share this view.Patriot Act – hunt #PatriotsInternet Freedom Act – hunt internet #usersHomeland Security Assessment of Terrorists Use of Virtual Currencies Act – hunt #bitcoiners— Morgan (@NODEfather) March 2, 2018No Evidence of Institutional Endorsement by TerroristsMainstream media outlets are often quick to sensationalize the link between digital currencies and terrorism. But no evidence exists of any terrorist group endorsing digital currencies at the institutional level. Yaya J. Fanusie, a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies said:“cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology are not innately illicit and should not be feared.”He maintains that terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda, the Islamic State, and others have had limited success in raising funds with the technology. In the Jahezona (“Equip Us” in Arabic) case, which sought to raise $2,500 per fighter, the outcome resulted in just over $500 being raised.
The fact is, cryptocurrency represents an inferior form of exchange for terrorists, who usually need cash to purchase supplies, and often in areas with unstable infrastructure.
Advancement of Forensic Technologies
Also, given the improvements in forensic technology, Bitcoin is no longer the criminal’s choice. Sarah Meiklejohn, a computer scientist at University College London, said that when Bitcoin first emerged, law enforcement officials were terrified. However, as forensic technologies have caught up, the means to track criminals now exist.
According to Kyrylo Chykhradze of Crystal Blockchain Analytics, it’s possible to collect information from the network to identify individuals. Moreover, the systems at Crystal are capable of providing a risk assessment function. He expands on this by saying:
“The solution also utilizes web crawlers and manual registration to name the entities and assign them a risk score.”
Given the inefficiencies of cryptocurrency as a terrorist fundraising mechanism, as well as the implications of traceability, is the Homeland Security Assessment of Terrorists’ Use of Virtual Currencies Act necessary? Indeed, one may draw attention to eliciting preventative measures. But this would be at the expense of restraining the market and our freedoms.
Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson shared his less than flattering assessment of JPMorgan’s crypto asset JPM Coin at Hong Kong Blockchain Week 2019. His scathing comments drew an impassioned response from the audience, and most of the panel, who applauded his outspoken message.
Charles Hoskinson – Crypto Philanthropist
Charles Hoskinson is a successful entrepreneur, mathematician and humanitarian with a mission – to solve global problems using emerging technologies. Consequently, he often talks about banking the unbanked, in which his priority is to develop financial tools for billions of people who would otherwise lack access to monetary means.
At Hong Kong Blockchain Week 2019, he gave an update on Cardano’s operations in Africa, stating that they have ambitious plans to be in 25 countries by the end of the year. With the intention of opening offices in every African country in the coming years. He then expanded on what this entails by saying:
“we train people and then we set up public private infrastructure and we’re trying to modernize most of these governments, we modernize with blockchain technology, so everything from property and business registration to voting systems to supply chain management.”
He went on to say that his biggest challenge is dealing with government officials and citizens, who show a great deal of suspicion when idealistic solutions are put forward.
JP Morgan Comments
When the topic of JPM Coin came up, Charles did not hold back. After patiently waiting for his turn to speak, he said:
“I saw the JP Morgan Coin, and you guys just don’t get this space. You don’t know how any of these things work. It’s an abomination of crypto. It’s an abomination of concept.
There is absolutely no need or utility behind what they’ve created, it’s just a proof of concept for the sake of being a proof of concept..to justify some bizare executive fantasy.
The whole reason why we exist is because these guys are criminals. They’ve done horrible things over these last few decades. They’ve bankrupted the world, and they’ve excluded three billion people from the world financial systems as a consequence of the regulations and systems they’ve put into play. And the whole world is living the consequences of their wrongdoing and poor decisions.
As a counter-reaction, the cryptocurrency world exists, and it continues to grow, and it will continue to gain relevance. And eventually, it will collide with the legacy system.
I see this [JPM Coin] as the last vestiges of a dying industry trying to achieve some form of relevance. And I have very little respect for this type of work. I don’t see it as a positive thing.”
— Chepicap (@Chepicap) March 8, 2019
This rebuke of JPM Coin shows the extent of Hoskinson’s frustration with the status quo. The points he raised, although cutting at times, demonstrate his sincerity towards establishing a more equitable economic system, for which he is fast becoming the poster boy for. While his speech said what many are thinking, the crypto-community would do well to remain mindful of JP Morgan’s influence.
According to CoinMetrics.io, the recent fall in Bitcoin’s transaction count has coincided with the end of VeriBlock’s testnet phase. Reports indicate the little-known startup is responsible for a significant number of BTC transactions. This raises concerns over its use of the Bitcoin network.The recent collapse in BTC transaction count seems to correlate with the end of the Veriblock testnet (on March 4th) which was accounting for 20-30% of BTC transactions https://t.co/vguXa1mTa8 pic.twitter.com/DV43AICrw4— CoinMetrics.io (@coinmetrics) March 11, 2019Is VeriBlock Responsible For Falling Bitcoin Transactions?According to VeriBlock’s self-published figures, during the active testnet phase, they were responsible for between 25-45% of Bitcoin’s transaction count. Since testing ended on the 4th March, Bitcoin’s daily transaction count has fallen by 21%, leading many to draw parallels.
Following on from a generally quiet weekend, Stellar’s XLM continues a strong performance into Monday. This brings welcome relief to a project that had fallen sharply since last November when it was trading as high as 4,705 satoshis.As of 08:00 GMT, XLM/BTC is trading at 0.0002678, up 25% from March 7th. During this time frame, 24-hour volume has increased by $77million, with Chinese exchange ZB.com currently accounting for the majority of the volume with its XLM/USDT pairing.SatoshiPay Will Use Stellar’s XLM for Micropayment SolutionsOn the 7th March, SatoshiPay announced details of a strategic partnership with German media outlet Börsenmedien AG. Both companies will collaborate to develop a micropayment solution. The proposal will allow users to purchase premium content, with a single click, on platforms owned by the publishing house.In response to the news, SatoshiPay CEO, Meinhard Benn states:“We are delighted to have gained Börsenmedien AG as a strategic partner that firmly believes in SatoshiPay’s vision — both, as an investor and as a content provider. The groups’ digital formats, such as videos, PDF downloads or e-books represent an ideal use case for our technology. We are looking forward to further develop our product in close collaboration with Börsenmedien’s editorial and product teams.”Börsenmedien AG founder and CEO, Bernd Förtsch, discusses the intent behind the stake acquisition:“[Currently] online content is either free and monetised through ads or charged for — in which case readers have to sign-up for a subscription or deal with paywalls. [But] there’s a gap in between: inexpensive content that can be purchased on a pay-per-article plan, without hassle. SatoshiPay’s nanopayment solution represents that missing link that fills the gap. We are excited about our stake in SatoshiPay, as well as the upcoming integration of their solution on our websites.”Stellar ApprovalThe planned solution will utilize Stellar’s ledger to transfer payments from the user’s wallet to the publisher. Furthermore, this proposal will take full advantage of the low transactional costs of the network, and will also benefit from direct end to end transfer without a 3rd party intermediary.Lisa Nestor, Director of Partnerships at Stellar commends the pairing in her most recent tweet:Another great win for the #Stellar ecosystem! @SatoshiPay brings on a new investor and platform partnership. A big congrats from @StellarOrg 🎉🚀https://t.co/p9idRqddMm— Lisa Nestor (@nestorious828) March 7, 2019She goes on to say:“Enabling seamless micro-payments through a platform like SatoshiPay has tremendous value across industries and geographies. And enabling purchases of content is an obvious place to start. SatoshiPay continues to execute on their vision, signing on high-value partners like Börsenmedien AG. We are excited to see the company grow and continue to be a leader in the industry.”MicropaymentsThe move by Börsenmedien AG to utilize micropayment solutions goes some way to addressing criticisms of cryptocurrency’s failure to integrate with everyday life. This represents a further development of the space, and a calculated move to capitalize on changing media consumption habits.
There is much talk of 2019 being the year that institutional money comes. And with the recent update by Fidelity on its Bitcoin custodial service, there is renewed hope for an end to the bear market. However, by welcoming this news, does that mean we have collectively abandoned our principles?While the goal of institutional investing is to make money on behalf of members, this cannot be at the expense of diligence. Concerns over excessive volatility, uncertain regulatory framework, and technical barriers present something of a problem. But despite this, further developments in this space suggest that institutions are coming.Fidelity Acknowledges Blockchain’s PotentialBack in May 2017, Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson delivered a keynote speech discussing the problems of working with blockchain technology. She explained that challenges related to scalability, regulation, and governance needed to be addressed.And while it lacked specifics, the acknowledge of blockchain’s potential to revolutionize investing was there.Since then, the past few weeks has seen news filtering out regarding developments at Fidelity. They had previously announced their intent to build institutional-grade infrastructure for securing, trading and supporting digital assets. And yesterday they confirmed initial testing of a final product.We are live with a select group of eligible clients and will continue rolling out slowly. Our solutions are focused on the needs of hedge funds, family offices, pensions, endowments, other institutional investors. More on our project: https://t.co/EkJ2pWJt2Y #DCBlockchain— Fidelity Digital Assets (@DigitalAssets) March 7, 2019In an update, they go on to say:“Our initial clients are an important part of our final testing and process refinement periods, which will eventually enable us to provide these services to a broader set of eligible institutions.”The Bitcoin ParadoxMost see this as a positive move, but the arrival of institutional money once again brings to light fractures within the community. While Fidelity’s clout is expected to help legitimize crypto and bring benefits to retail investors through increased volume and stability, one cannot ignore the fundamental philosophies that spawned blockchain in the first place.This split in opinion is firmly down to individual expectations. On the one hand, those who expect to get wealthy from crypto investing would see this as a natural development of the space. But idealists would sooner build a more equitable economic system to which corporate interest has no part. On that note, the acceptance of institutional money flies in the face of Nakamoto’s vision of a decentralized and trustless mechanism.Nik Bhatia agrees with this. He has openly criticized institutional interest by saying:“Bitcoin does not need Fidelity to become legitimate; rather Fidelity launched bitcoin custodial services because bitcoin has already achieved legitimacy.”“I cannot stress enough the follow-on effects of Fidelity’s arrival. Bitcoin does not need Fidelity to become legitimate; rather Fidelity launched bitcoin custodial services because bitcoin has already achieved legitimacy.” https://t.co/vALUSBfYDG— Nik Bhatia (@timevalueofbtc) November 8, 2018And therein lies the paradox to Bitcoin. While blockchain enthusiasts, who believe in personal sovereignty, want mass adoption. This can never happen without the involvement of centralized authorities. With that in mind, you may ask yourself whether the acceptance of institutional money is, in fact, a selling out of one’s principles.
The surprise addition of XRP, the native crypto asset of the Ripple network, on Coinbase towards the end of February was the latest, of many, positive moves for Ripple. However, XRP’s price failed to respond in accordance with expectations.Analysts often refer to Coinbase as the “kingmaker,” and in the recent past, crypto assets listed on the exchange have experienced significant spikes in price and market cap. In consideration of this, one may ask, what is suppressing the XRP price?Ripple Continues To March OnCoinbase ended months of speculation recently with the inclusion of XRP on its platform. For Ripple, it was yet another progressive step towards becoming the standard for international money transfers.The project, which has a global network of over 200 banks and payment providers, deserves credit for leading the industry as far as practical use case is concerned. Indeed, whether you love XRP, or not, there is no denying its capacity to get things done.Last year some notable critics said financial institutions would never use a digital asset in their payment flows. As I said then, if it offers their customers a better experience at a lower cost, they will – and they are! https://t.co/ZX3RDotmhQ— Brad Garlinghouse (@bgarlinghouse) January 8, 2019On Monday 25th February, news spread rapidly about the listing of XRP on Coinbase. The XRP/BTC price peaked at 0.000087915, a 10% increase, but this movement soon retraced. While the gain was somewhat notable, many holders were left feeling underwhelmed.Don’t Believe The HypeAs far back as January 2018, technology reporter Nathaniel Popper questioned whether the hype around Ripple’s partnerships has any substance. When investigated what banking insiders had to say about XRP adoption, the overall sentiment was tepid.Over the last day I’ve asked several people close to banks if banks are indeed planning to begin using Ripple’s token, XRP, in a serious way, which is what investors seem to assume when they buy in at the current XRP prices. This is a sampling of what I heard back: pic.twitter.com/zbfMqg4TpD— Nathaniel Popper (@nathanielpopper) January 5, 2018The Twitter conversation that followed saw Brad Garlinghouse wade into the discussion, arguing the merits of XRP. He went on to say:“Over the last few months I’ve spoken with ACTUAL banks and payment providers. They are indeed planning to use xRapid (our XRP liquidity product) in a serious way.”He ended with a list of comments, from testers, giving positive feedback on improved efficiency, smooth pilot runs, and a noticeable reduction in fees.Fast forward to the present, and Julian Lehman makes the striking claim that only eight of the two-hundred partners are currently using XRP on a regular basis.He lists them as:ZipRemitCuallixSBIJNFXSendFriendTranspayGoFCTSEuro Exim BankThis highlights the distinction between the success of Ripple onboarding partners and XRP adoption. XRP supports would argue the onboarding process is merely the first step. However, critics see XRP as a superfluous add-on and judging by the poor uptake, one that many are loathed to take.Ripple is not XRPThere is an ongoing effort, by Ripple, to separate itself from the digital asset XRP. Last summer, it posted a tweet to that effect.The digital asset #XRP and the company #Ripple are distinctly different. Learn why. https://t.co/yv8cW1gYH6 pic.twitter.com/w3npq2O894— Ripple (@Ripple) July 9, 2018There is much speculation as to why. Some see this as a tactic to circumvent claims of XRP being a security. And with Coinbase CEO Asiff Hirji stating:“[Coinbase] will only list digital currencies that are a regulatory certainty.”On the face of things, it would seem as though XRP is not a security token. However, the SEC has yet to give their official ruling on the matter. And considering the ramifications across the entire industry, the delay is somewhat forgivable. That being so, it is unreasonable to expect significant price action when XRP is caught in regulatory limbo.Class Action LawsuitOn a related matter, Ripple is currently subject to a series of class action lawsuits. All allegations are based on the violation of State and Federal law by failing to register XRP with the SEC before offering, promoting and selling to retail investors. To which, the plaintiffs are claiming injury.At present, there is ongoing posturing over court jurisdictions, and a case has yet to be heard. Jake Chervinsky, Lawyer at Kobre & Kim LLP, tweeted an update of the situation:Ripple securities class action update: The Court has denied the plaintiffs’ motions to remand. This means the case stays in federal court, a minor but meaningful victory for Ripple.The plaintiffs will file an Amended Consolidated Complaint by March 30.https://t.co/4gdQVaCrlM— Jake Chervinsky (@jchervinsky) March 1, 2019The lawsuits put XRP in a further state of uncertainty, which could have continued to affect the price of the asset and the confidence of investors in XRP.And while some believe these actions have no real standing, being merely symptomatic of a litigation culture, the fact remains that the plaintiffs do have recourse to exercise their legal rights. With that in mind, and in consideration of the consequences of a plaintiff win, this situation remains a compelling factor to a cautious market.JP Morgan CoinJP Morgan CEO Jamie Dimon went on record, less than two years ago, to denounce Bitcoin as a fraud. By extension, the entire blockchain industry took exception to the comment, sparking further controversy around cryptocurrencies in general. Following on from that, in an unexpected move last month, JP Morgan announced its own cryptocurrency to rival XRP. Details remain scant. However, JPM Coin will position itself as a stable coin pegged to the USD. Trials are expected to roll out later this year.BREAKING: JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says bitcoin “is a fraud” that will eventually blow up https://t.co/ZnbSx16LT9— CNBC (@CNBC) September 12, 2017This announcement sent news channels into a spin, and for good reason too. While it remains uncertain whether this should be construed as a major U.S bank endorsing cryptocurrency, or just an act of FOMO, there is little doubt over JP Morgan’s credibility, and potential to turn the blockchain industry on its head. This presents a real threat to Ripple and XRP and one that cannot be ignored.So far, since the announcement, the XRP price has been in slight decline, but still in line with broader market trends. As further reports on JPM Coin are released over the coming months, it will be interesting to see how this plays out.The Coinbase EffectUp until as recently as fall last year, Coinbase users could only trade Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin. This earned the platform a prudent reputation but was still highly regarded due to its friendly UI and indemnity cover. Today, Coinbase now supports 18 cryptocurrencies, with plans to add more.Back in May 2017, when Coinbase added Litecoin, the price soared by 40% against BTC, with rumors of this addition likely contributing to a 170%+ rally over the preceding two months. Considering that Litecoin was now more accessible to buy and store, a 40% increase can be justified.However, times have changed, and the market has matured. Users now expect more choice, and in the face of increasing competition, having only four cryptocurrencies available is not good enough. With the recent addition of more cryptocurrencies to their platform, it seems as though Coinbase has finally conceded to this. But, is it too late? Coinmarketcap ranks Coinbase as 39th by 24-hour volume, and almost all of the exchanges above it were launched after Coinbase had listed Litecoin.When people talk about the Coinbase effect, they are referring to market conditions that are unlikely to happen again. While XRP being listed on Coinbase should be taken as positive news, a major price pump should not be expected as Coinbase no longer holds the influence it once did.The Swell ConferenceThe last annual Swell Conference took place in San Francisco over two days from 1st October 2018. It represents an opportunity for Ripple to have an open dialogue on changing the way money is moved. Rumors abounded that Ripple would launch xRapid at the conference, and influencers were pumped to share their thoughts. The general belief was that, following the official launch of xRapid, institutional users would significantly increase volume, and therefore price.
The XRP/BTC price started climbing about two weeks before Swell. At one point, even before the conference had begun, the price spiked as high as 0.00011763. Following the conference, the anticipated major rally never materialized, this left many wondering what had happened.
At the time, most outlets explained this by concluding that these things take time. But with the benefit of hindsight, we now know that just a handful of Ripple partners actual use XRP. Meaning the rumors of significant volume were nothing but hype. We’ve all heard the adage, “buy the rumor, sell the news,” and in the case of XRP price, it would be mindful for investors to reconsider their expectations of return, especially so in a bear market.
As things stand, XRP is at a regulatory and legal intersection, the outcomes of which could be disastrous not only for Ripple but the wider crypto-community as well. On top of which, a maturing market no longer gives as much credence to Coinbase listings or baseless hype. The entry of JP Morgan into the mix presents a major concern, but the lack of information means investors can do nothing but wait. While XRP holders are right to question why significant events have little bearing on the price, this expectation is based on circumstances that no longer apply.