Cryptocurrency giant Ripple wants to get its digital currency XRP used rather than held speculatively or as an investment, writes The New York Times.
Ripple says it is having problems getting people to actually use XRP in the way it was originally intended, making simple electronic transfers quicker, easier and significantly cheaper than traditional banking or other financial institution methods. This isn’t happening, with Ripple suggesting almost no transactions other that users betting on their price or buying and selling for short-term profits.
The company hasn’t been scared to give away money, perhaps in the belief that funds will get out into the crypto environment and used as intended. Recently, charity airdrops have included a USD 4 million XRP donation to Ellen DeGeneres’s favorite charity and another XRP windfall for schoolteachers to the tune of USD 29 million on comedian Stephen Colbert’s Late Show.
Ripple is certainly chasing publicity in order to push XRP into the crypto psyche including the creation of a USD 300 million fund designed to pay companies for using the product. Another program, Xpring, pays developers for building XRP software.
Asheesh Birla, Ripple’s head of product, wants to get some of USD 30 billion worth of XRP out there and working, despite the token’s dramatic drop in value this year, explaining, “It’s still really, really early days, but we are seeing the vision come to life. I need to make sure it’s in the hands of the right folks.”
“The right folks” are people who know that they can use Ripple for transactions, but the company will have to convince these users that XRP has the potential to serve their needs in a number of practical ways and have global significance to companies worldwide.
Industry investor Spencer Bogart calls projects which are being used primarily as investment “Cash-Flush Business-Light” operations:
“Many people who bought the digital tokens created by these projects did so in the belief they will one day be useful for real transactions of some sort. If the projects want to keep those investors from selling, the projects have to convince them the tokens will have some long-term value.”
A company reportedly breaking this mould is Block One. Having raised USD 4 billion from investors, it is now using the funds to encourage developers to make its cryptocurrency EOS a useful product.
Some 60% of XRP are held by Ripple, a fact which may have unfavorable outcomes for the company, given that the SEC has clearly said that they will determine whether a token is a security by the number of tokens held by companies, and the degree to which the company is driving its sale. Ripple states that XRP isn’t a security as the currency would exist even without the company behind it.
Western Union announced that its new arrangement with Ripple as yet hadn’t shown any noticeable benefits, but the company is continuing with its trial, according to Fortune.
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