Ripple: One Thing That Doesn’t Make Sense

If you are bored or just tired of reading about Washington politics, just come over to the crypto world.  But be warned, the headlines can be just as singularly focused and confusing as anything inside the beltway.  Like Ripple for example, it has had everybody talking for the last week. The coming week is likely to be no different. All eyes will be on XRP.

Ripple, of course, is the crypto force that offers its payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology to a growing number of major financial institutions such as UBS, Santander and UniCredit.

Using Ripple, banks can bypass the antiquated SWIFT system. This cuts transfer of international payments to a few seconds from something like three days.  That could save banks billions in fees.

Ripple’s XRP token has had it share of critics, some of which is reflected in XRP being one of the worst performing cryptos this year falling from $3.65 in March to $0.26 on September 13th.

Sudden About Face

Since then, everything has been uphill.  It started a few days ago when CNBC hosted Ripple’s Sagar Sarbhai.  The interview touted high speed xRapid as ready for commercial launch.  Sagar also presented a laundry list of 120 banks that were on board with its xCurrent software.

That interview lit a spark that resulted in a double in the price of XRP and grabbed the attention of just about everyone in the crypto community. Strong technical buy signals were flashing.  In addition announcing that two new banking clients (NCB of Saudi Arabia and PNC) had joined RippleNet, all other fingers were pointing to Sagar’s xRapid announcement.

Following all this comes the headline in Business Cloud website: RIPPLE CRYPTOCURRENCY TO HIT KEY $1 THRESHOLD, PREDICTS CEO Nigel Green, founder of deVere Group, the world’s largest independent financial advisory organization. If that weren’t bold enough, Green’s $1 prediction is for year-end.

Upcoming SWELL Conference Prompts Even More Speculation

There seems to be some real substance behind Sarbhai’s CNBC interview. On October 1-2, Ripple is hosting the SWELL event in San Francisco, CA. The event is meant to connect the world’s leading experts in policy, payments and technology for a proactive dialogue in global payments today.

The event will be packed with political literati including former President Clinton. It is easy to conclude that Ripple is geared up for a major news event. Speculation is that xRapid will be announced and given a date for launch.  When you consider that a keynote address from Bill Clinton could cost Ripple well over $100,000 why would they waste his star power on simple chit chat.

Looking Good

It is fair to say that recent news and the prospects for a potential bombshell announcement next put Ripple in as good a position as it has been in some time.  Who would ever sell XRP at this point? The Wall Street Journal reports that Jed McCaleb, one of the co-founders of both Ripple and Stellar, “has recently stepped up sales of billions of XRP tokens he is thought to own”.  Back in 2013 he owned 9 billion XRP tokens.

OK, so every once in awhile, every crypto entrepreneur needs to pay the rent, but this is more than chump change. To keep things in balance, McCaleb has not worked with Ripple for about five years and, under his lockup agreement, he is entitled to sell up to 750 million XRP annually once year five is passed.  That should be enough dough to pay just about anybody’s rent. Lately, however, the desire to get out of XRP has pushed beyond the lockup agreement.

Why Would Anyone Sell XRP?

With all the good news ahead and the long term outlook for Ripple never looking brighter, who wouldn’t want to own XRP?  This is even more curious given the depressed nature of the XRP price.

Everyone who owns an asset has the right to making independent decisions and there may be special things in McCaleb’s plan that factor into his urgency to sell.  However, there is a section in Investment Analysis 101 that says to ask lots of questions when founders and large inside owners are sellers.

One thing is obvious. After a thoroughly frustrating 2018, there are more reasons to own XRP than to be selling.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

James Waggoner is a veteran Wall Street analyst and hedge fund manager who has spent the past few years researching the fintech possibilities of cryptocurrencies. He has a special passion for writing about the future of crypto.