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Ripple’s Xpring adds new features to the XRP ledger

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The XRP ledger will add new updates this week that add support for several new features and increase transaction efficiencies. The XRP Ledger (XRPL) is designed to provide a feature set for the digital asset XRP, in addition to payment settlements, and the exchange of digital assets.

Warren Paul Anderson, Ripple Product Manager XRP Ledger and xRapid, outlined the details in a blog post. Updates for the XRP Ledger version 1.5.0 introduce several improvements and new features including, “support for gRPC API, API versioning, UNL propagation via the peer network, new RPC methods, augmented submit method, improved tx methods, improved CLI parsing, improved protocol-level handshaking protocol, improved package building, and various other minor bug fixes and improvements."

In addition to the above updates that went live last week, the Xpring team will update its own XRP Ledger Mainnet rippled servers, including clusters and validators, to version 1.5.0.

The Xpring developer platform was launched over a year ago to support what it calls ‘the internet of value’. Parent company Ripple is an enterprise solution that helps financial institutions leverage blockchain solutions using the XRP token. The Xpring Platform provides similar solutions for developers. The platform builds on open source technologies to create solutions for sending and receiving payments in any currency.

A complex relationship

Despite Ripple's ongoing efforts to increase the adoption of the XRP token, concerns remain over the complex relationship between Ripple and XRP. Initially, 100 billion XRP were minted by its founders, Arthur Britto, Chris Larsen, and Jed McCaleb in November, 2012. 80% of that supply is held by the parent company Ripple Labs, also known as “Ripple.”

McCaleb resigned in May 2013 and went on to create Stellar (XLM). McCaleb received a reported 5.3 billion XRP at the time of leaving Ripple, which he can sell restricted amounts of, based on a 2016 settlement that set yearly limits. On September 7th, 2019, he received a further 100 million XRP. As of February, McCaleb has sold over one billion XRP and holds a remaining 4.7 billion XRP.

Due to the fact that Ripple still holds the majority of XRP, there have been ongoing doubts about how decentralized the XRP token is.

The situation is further complicated by the fact that there is uncertainty as to whether the XRP token is an unregistered security. Ripple argues that the network is decentralized, that the token does not represent shares of Ripple, and that the network would continue to exist if Ripple Labs did not. However, the fact that Ripple initially created, escrows, owns a majority of, and continues to control the majority flow of tokens is not in dispute, making it difficult to argue that XRP is decentralized to the extent that Bitcoin is.

Several pending court cases, as well as comments from the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), will clear any regulatory uncertainty surrounding the asset. However, the current global disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to slow the U.S. legal system down in the short term.

In the face of these criticisms, Ripple has acted to reassure its ecosystem of collaborators, investors, developers, and vocal social media community. At the end of 2019, Ripple stated that it was committed to acting as “disciplined, responsible stakeholders” in the success of XRP. The company said it has been focused on reducing sales of XRP in both programmatic and institutional direct (OTC) trades. While this is yet to have translated into a noticeable positive effect on the market, XRP has been able to maintain its position as the third-largest digital asset by market cap.

The potential IPO

Ripple concluded its Series C funding in December. The firm raised $200 million in the round, which is usually the final step undertaken before a company goes public. During the funding round, the firm was valued at $10 billion. According to Crunchbase, Ripple has cumulatively raised $293.6 million throughout its funding endeavors.

Following the funding round, investors have been excited by a new development that may further boost Ripple and the XRP token’s prospects - a potential Ripple IPO. Speaking at a Wall Street Journal event at the World Economic Forum in Davos during January, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse suggested the company may conduct a public initial offering (IPO) in the next twelve months.

Garlinghouse said: “In the next 12 months, you’ll see IPOs in the crypto/blockchain space. We’re not going to be the first and we’re not going to be the last, but I expect us to be on the leading side… it’s a natural evolution for our company.”

Crypto IPOs are nothing new. As early as 2018, there were rumors of a few high-value cryptocurrency-related firms going public. Robinhood and Huobi were thought to be planning IPOs towards the end of 2018. In 2019, Chinese mining giants Bitmain and Canaan filed papers with the SEC requesting to hold IPOs. However, the Bitmain IPO is yet to proceed, and the Canaan IPO saw its shares plummet immediately afterward.

Finally, last week, institutional custody solution provider Anchorage added support for XRP. Anchorage’s support will rely on a range of resources, including those maintained by the team at Xpring. The flexibility of the Anchorage platform will allow them to support more advanced XRP functionality like payment channels should customer demand require it.

“Anchorage aims to support every digital asset that meets our standards of quality and security, such as XRP. As a leading crypto asset for global payments and remittances, XRP is attractive to many institutional investors. We’re working closely with the Xpring blockchain to support our institutional clients,” said Diogo Monica, President, Anchorage.

XRP can be traded on Binance.



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Andy Pickering, Khareem Sudlow