Ripple has created waves by launching its digital token XRP which is highly valuable. In fact, the value of XRP is only behind Bitcoin and Ether in the current market.
Ripple however is still growing and finding ways to upgrade itself with the help of Blockchain technology. It has now struck in a new direction to become the Amazon of the cryptocurrency world, using its platform to support activities far beyond the original cross-border payments system it hoped to build.
The popularity of XRP has driven the value of its coin up. Ripple is also still sitting on about 55% of the total supply, worth around $16 billion at current prices — far overshadowing its underlying technology business.
As a result, the value of the company is tied “mainly to the XRP, with an option on a small software business”, said one former executive.
Ripple’s original aim, to build a more efficient, wholesale cross-border payment system, has made slow headway with the banks that were the original target for the technology. Santander invested in Ripple in 2015, and recently chose not to use XRP at the heart of an ambitious new international payment network — a sign that even some of Ripple’s strongest backers do not yet see a use for its core technology.
Cedric Menager, the network’s chief executive, suggested that XRP was not actively traded in enough markets yet to support Santander’s needs. The bank wanted to “give the best [user experience] as quickly as possible and also operate in as many currencies and corridors as possible from the beginning,” he said.
Ripple said that Santander was still using some of its software in the payments service and was “one of our largest and most important customers”. The company also claims a high growth rate for the XRP facility at the heart of its system, though it does not provide absolute figures, and also says many banks are using some elements of its software.
Many observers say Ripple was always facing an uphill battle in trying to win over the banks, which have already invested heavily in current technology and benefit from the current system.