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Ripple XRP Announces Yet Another High-Stakes Partnership

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Ripple has announced another partnership with an Asian financial institution designed to boost cross-border payments, signaling continued uptake for its native XRP token.

LianLian International Joins Ripple Network

Hong Kong-based payment provider LianLian International has agreed to adopt xCurrent, Ripple’s enterprise blockchain platform, for the purpose of sending money overseas. LianLian is an active player in China’s massive cross-border e-commerce market, which is said to have eclipsed $1 trillion in 2017.

LianLian CEO Arthur Zhu said integration with the RippleNet blockchain will offer customers instant payments across 19 currencies.

Emi Yoshikawa, director of Ripple’s joint-venture group, issued the following statement:

“Cross-border payments related to China’s e-commerce market reached $1.07 trillion in 2017. There is a huge opportunity to make these payments quicker and more cost-efficient. With RippleNet, LianLian will now be able to provide merchants and consumers with on-demand payments, which they weren’t able to before. We look forward to connecting other RippleNet members to LianLian.”

Ripple has announced several partnerships in recent months, bringing blockchain technology to Japanese financial institutions, American Express, IDT Corporation and MercuryFX.

China’s E-Commerce Market Offers Huge Potential

Ripple’s involvement in China’s e-commerce boom could provide the company with new avenues for growth. Wall Street financial giant Goldman Sachs has pegged China’s e-commerce market at $1.7 trillion in 2020. That represents a compound annual growth rate of 23%.

The growth of cross-border flows related to e-commerce aligns with Beijing’s vision of a consumer-driven economy. The Chinese government is undertaking a gradual pivot away from traditional smokestack industries in favor of service sectors that can boost consumption. Although the shift has been partly responsible for China’s weakening growth in recent years, it has also supported middle-class formation in the world’s second-largest economy.

In 2015, China’s middle class overtook the United States as the largest in the world.

XRP Price Levels

Ripple’s native XRP token rose on Wednesday in unison with the broader cryptocurrency market, which was still recovering from a massive slide earlier in the week. The token was trading at 77 cents U.S. at the time of writing for a total market cap of $30 billion.

XRP peaked above $3 last month, but has since declined more than 80% from record levels. The coin emerged as 2017’s best performing crypto asset thanks to a stellar month of December.

Disclaimer: The author owns bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple XRP and other cryptocurrencies. He holds investment positions in the coins, but does not engage in short-term or day-trading.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 673 rated postsSam Bourgi is Chief Editor to Hacked.com, where he leads content development for one of the world's foremost cryptocurrency resources. Over the past eight years Sam has authored more than 10,000 articles and over 40 whitepapers in the fields of labor market economics, emerging technologies, cryptocurrency and traditional finance. Sam's work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Contact: sam@hacked.com Twitter: @hsbourgi




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Blockchain and Real Estate: An Industry Overview

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Blockchain is going to change nearly every industry under the sun, but the effect will not always be the same. The big strengths of blockchain technology are efficiency, security, and transparency, and each industry will be affected in a slightly different manner.

Real estate is one example of an industry that presents a huge opportunity for the technology, with different areas showing weakness and providing a chance for the technology to reign supreme.

How Real Estate Connects to Blockchain

The fact is that distributed ledgers provide a level of efficiency that current systems lack. The technology also prevents fraud and increases trust in the system, since all the information is public. Finally, even though blockchain technology is transparent, it is also private.

Combine all these features, and you have a big winner of an innovation. One of the topmost predicted innovations is the tokenization of assets, which will lower transaction costs and open up commercial real estate to more retail participants.

The three most sought after purposes for blockchain technology are smart contracts, transfers of value, and record keeping.

Current Big Players

As would be expected, the biggest companies have the largest opportunity for growth within the space. For example, Propy was founded in 2015 and raised $15 million for a platform that allows for international home purchases. It is essentially AirBnb for foreign investors, but operates in a much more efficient manner.

Harbor fulfills a more niche function by helping list real estate and private equity assets in an SEC compliant manner. There is huge value in adding liquidity to these assets, and the ability to resell them adds even more liquidity. However, current regulations prevent the trading of these security tokens, if at least for the time being.

Finally, you have a company like Ubitquity that focuses on the record-keeping aspect of real estate, which is probably where the most inefficiencies are. The innovation here is simple: humans make errors, blockchain doesn’t. It also can’t be incentivized to commit fraud and works as an AI solution to much of the problems in the space.

What’s the Hold Up?

Right now, one of the biggest holdups is the nascent stage of the technology. No one can decide upon the proper consensus protocol, and that has slowed down its chances of being accepted by the industry-at-large anytime soon.

Processing speed is also a common objection that needs to be faced before a scalable solution begins implementation.

It is expected that the real estate industry will adopt blockchain technology in accordance with their clients’ needs. Whether occupiers or investors have adopted it will have a huge effect on their decisions to adopt it. Based on past experience, banks and insurers are likely to be some of the first to adopt the technology.

Analysts in both the technology and real estate industry tend to agree that it is reasonable to expect widespread adoption within a decade, with many more individual applications being formulated  along the way.

As an investor, the best course of action is to investigate the individual use cases, and make a decision based on which one you believe will have the strongest future in each space.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Blockchain Utilitarianism: Solutions People Can Use

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Mainstream blockchain adoption is on the lips of many pundits and analysts due to the proliferation of token-investment.

For example, one in five university students in the US have been reported to hold either Bitcoin or another currency as of August 2018; whilst simultaneously there has been an incremental convergence of government and big industry with blockchain.

These are unions between traditional power-holders, and innovators within a new sector: with the demands of business being satisfied thanks to vast institutional funding and support.

Whilst these relationships present a potentially positive future for each party, they do not speak to the utilitarian value that crypto can offer to the average person – rather than its value as a currency alone.

For that reason, we have decided to present four of our favourite new projects which are seeking to offer solutions that have value derived from real people can do with them, rather than other machines or protocol.

#1. Blockfolio

Cryptocurrency portfolio management solutions are a competitive sector. Beyond ‘top 10’ clickbait lists, even a browse of community resources like Reddit result in a vast assortment of threads featuring individuals asking, “what is the best portfolio management software?”

Blockfolio (founded in 2014) is one of the most well-known offerings in the space and has amassed several million users. The company made headlines mid-October due to having raised a $11.5 million in Series A funding led by famed crypto hedge fund Pantera Capital.

Key features include support for tracking over 6,000 cryptocurrencies, over 300 exchanges as well as multiple portfolio capabilities. Another feature that has helped the project stand out from the pack is “Blockfolio Signal”, which is a feature that allows crypto teams to broadcast update messages to their communities.

Notable teams on-boarded amongst the 100+ actively utilizing the Signal beta platform so far include Ethereum Classic, Augur, 0x, Monero, and Dash.

#2. BitMart

BitMart is a cryptocurrency exchange which this writer has been following for some time. They have made bold attempt at implementing a community token-voting investment system, and one that has otherwise received dire controversy due to failed attempts by rivals – alongside a lack of community evidence to fully verify their integrity.

According to CoinMarketCap, Bitmart ranks at number 15th on the list of ‘Top 100 Cryptocurrency Exchanges by Trade Volume (adjusted)’.

Since last I wrote on the company, the response to ‘Mission X’ has been largely positive – with the team having established valuable partnerships with a wide range of tokens.

Though the consensus (like for many blockchain projects at present) is yet to be fully confirmed, BitMart has been pushing forwards nevertheless – with frequent detailed statistical reports being released on a weekly basis. Two of their most recent releases are fully-featured iOS and Android based apps – featuring highly accessible user interfaces and support services.

These mobile applications incorporate many of the core features present in its bigger desktop cousin, with the added functionality of push notifications and instant updates for the market as well as your chosen coin. Another appealing aspect of BitMart is their ‘Investment Lab’, a fundraising hub for new ERC-20, NEP-5 and Stellar Smart Contract tokens.

‘Investment Lab’ is intrinsically linked to the BMX market, which is an OTC exchange where investors can purchase and trade different fiat and crypto-assets. In fact, the site boasts 53 trading pairs at present with all new listings being thoroughly verified by an in-house coin review team

#3. Ares Tech

From arcade-machines, to home consoles and smartphone apps: video-games have had a long and storied history with digital currencies.

It began as the exchange of pocket change in return for ‘credits’ which could be exchanged for a round of play and has since become ubiquitous across all forms of interactive entertainment. More recent examples include ‘points’, and these are used to purchase from a library intellectual property and services. See Xbox Live, and ‘Free-to-play’ business models, as well as purchasable digital games.

The problem is that the market leading service platforms which facilitate these purchases are centralized (Steam, Xbox, etc), and the currency is complete non-fungible in most cases to comply with various legislation. The only exception for this is gambling.

Another symptom of a select handful of platform-holders is a monopolisation of hardware and software distribution and licensing rights, resulting in astronomical fees and barriers to entry for independent creators.

Ares Tech claims to have identified and created a solution for the disparate nature of ‘social game’ development in particular, producing a unified set of tools. Use and adoption of this framework will (if according to plan) allow for interoperability between different software titles. User data for example, and profile assets could be used to log-in to multiple games whilst protecting the participants data through blockchain storage and encryption.

It will be open source and with all games to be published on GitHub. Ares promises to allow for the browsing and management of assets and currencies in one unified interface and include BTC and ETH with protocols: ERC20, ERC233, ERC721, and ERC998.

#4. MenloOne

MenloOne is an open-source framework which aims to streamline the development process for decentralized applications (DApps) and resolve pre-existing constraints that are conducive to poor user-experience, performance and security.

Their latest news is the release of their first DApp to be built using their framework, entitled ‘Block Overflow’. It acts as a use-case and potential precursor to their MVP which apes ‘Stack Overflow’ which is a well-known Q/A website aimed at the software development community.

The proposed hook is that the problem-solving process will be expedited by offering user queries as bounties with time-sensitive rewards. Block Overflow also utilises the ‘Townhall’ communication layer which was created to attribute token-based user rewards (as per the team’s technical roadmap).

With a strong team and whitepaper there, team has a strong chance is a strong chance that the team is poised for success in the accomplishment of their ambitious and disruptive goals.

Founder and CEO Matt Nolan is also known for his position as a speaker and resident at TED as well as having previously worked at blue-chip companies like JP Morgan and IBM; whilst COO David Dawson is a veteran engineer formerly of Microsoft where he worked on flagship projects such as Windows, Xbox and Office.

This project was brought to this writers’ attention when it was listed in articles such as a recent Forbes list comprising the ‘Top 10 New Blockchain Companies to Watch For in 2018’ – alongside the likes of Gameflip.

#5. Unification

Singapore based Unification is one such project and hopes to carry the torch of a blockchain based ‘sovereign identity.’ This is a concept that numerous “ICO’s” have tried and failed out, mainly because the predecessors have attempted to outreach to consumers directly or asked “DApps” to build within their proprietary walled garden.

Unification is doing it a little differently, focusing on the decentralized UVCID identity protocol and instead of asking companies to build from scratch – they are integrating with existing enterprises through a structured outreach program to non-blockchain based apps and enterprises.

It exists in a diametric opposition to the status quo – in which users submit their information to separate platforms (from market leaders like Facebook and Twitter, to smaller businesses, and e-commerce merchants like Amazon). What’s more, the storage of this information has been proven to be less than secure in many examples – with an opaque representation of statistics to customers, and absolute anonymity.

For example, you would be more likely to see the Unification team at CES or Mobile World Congress bringing over the uninitiated than to be meeting with the same people over and over again at the same crypto conference. This outwardly looking enterprise model is refreshing and indicative of our industry evolving past the initial speculative bubble into building toolkits for practical applications.

Earlier this year Unification debuted the prototype demo of its flagship product: an interface called ‘BABEL’ is aimed at businesses and utilises a C++ smart contract protocol to standardize interoperable data into a single and unified format which can be used on any participating platform. It also allows for the integration of existing mainstream applications and decentralized apps (DApps).

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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Crypto Miner Bitfury May Pursue an IPO in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong

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In what could be a blockbuster deal for the European equity markets, crypto mining hardware maker Bitfury is the latest blockchain startup to be considering an IPO. The company is “weighing strategic options,” among which is a public listing in Amsterdam, London or Hong Kong, according to a report in Bloomberg.

Bitfury would reportedly fetch a valuation of between $3 billion and $5 billion and could become a listed company in 2019 or later. Bitfury generated sales of approximately $450 million in the 12-month period leading up to March 2018.

An IPO is not the only option on the table, as Bitfury could also issue debt or selling a minority stake, but they are already engaging investment banks as possible underwriters of the deal, according to the Bloomberg report. If they decide to pursue a public listing, Bitfury would be joining the likes of huge crypto mining company Bitmain, which has already filed for an IPO in Hong Kong. Bitmain controls much of the crypto mining market and could raise as much as $3 billion in an IPO.

IPO Trend

Clearly, there is a trend unfolding among bitcoin miners to raise funds in the equity markets. It’s less than an ideal time to be making a public debut with neither stocks nor crypto prices at their best. Nonetheless, crypto IPOs would give the market the opportunity to gauge institutional investor interest in this space amid much speculation that they are ready to come off the sidelines. It remains unclear how investors would respond to crypto stocks considering the bitcoin price has lost more than half its value this year.

But it’s not just crypto miners eyeing the public markets. CNBC crypto market host Ran NeuNer is reporting that U.S.-based cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase plans to announce an IPO as early as today. Coinbase management has hinted at a public listing before. A year ago, Coinbase COO Asiff Hirji said that an IPO was the “most obvious path for Coinbase.”

It’s also possible that the rise of crypto-fueled IPOs could be the tide to lift all boats, as more exposure for the blockchain and leading crypto companies only stands to benefit the industry. If Coinbase decides to pursue an IPO in the U.S., it would give Wall Street investors a way to gain exposure to a regulated crypto security as long as a formal regulatory framework remains elusive.

Meanwhile, many signs are pointing to a breakout in the bitcoin price after what has been a subdued October with modest volatility, suggesting that speculators are out and the bottom is in, Bloomberg analysis suggests.

Featured image courtesy of Shutterstock

Important: Never invest (trade with) money you can't afford to comfortably lose. Always do your own research and due diligence before placing a trade. Read our Terms & Conditions here. Trade recommendations and analysis are written by our analysts which might have different opinions. Read my 6 Golden Steps to Financial Freedom here. Best regards, Jonas Borchgrevink.

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4.6 stars on average, based on 70 rated postsGerelyn has been covering ICOs and the cryptocurrency market since mid-2017. She's also reported on fintech more broadly in addition to asset management, having previously specialized in institutional investing. She owns some BTC and ETH.




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Hacked.com and its team members have pledged to reject any form of advertisement or sponsorships from 3rd parties. We will always be neutral and we strive towards a fully unbiased view on all topics. Whenever an author has a conflicting interest, that should be clearly stated in the post itself with a disclaimer. If you suspect that one of our team members are biased, please notify me immediately at jonas.borchgrevink(at)hacked.com.

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