The growth of popularity in cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum has been unprecedented. A recent article detailed the meteoric rise of value of Bitcoin ($100 in 2010 would be worth), and has sparked a sort of explosion in cryptocurrency interest in the general market. Because of the security of blockchain technology, cryptocurrencies are suddenly becoming a stylish investment for private and corporate investors alike. One of the many smaller startups, Ripple, began their own cryptocurrency called Ripple XRP which has suddenly increased in value 40 times this year.
The company is just recently formed and yet, inexplicably, is in possession of 61% of all available XRP $16 billion worth of currency (100 million XRP, with a current value around $26 million). This should be a shocking thing to most investors, since the company has far less value in real business, and yet is suddenly in possession of a huge amount of cash. In fact, if that cash is factored into their overall valuation, it puts them at number 5 on the list of largest startups behind household names like Uber and Airbnb.
The company is built around a system that allows for real-time transactions on a payment network. They’ve grown slowly in terms of business model, but the cryptocurrency windfall makes things tricky for the startup. The danger for investors is that the company may one day decide to divest itself of its XRP holdings and flood the market, thereby decimating the value of the currency.
The company is trying to make some policy statements to protect the currency value. They’ve ensured investors that they will not flood the market, and have laid out a plan for the divesting process, which should take some time, keeping the currency value stable. They’ve stated that they will put 55 billion of its currency into escrow and will release up to 1 billion every month onto the market. Of course the early investors in the company are excited about the massive potential gains, but sustainability will remain key.
Ripple’s business has grown substantially, especially in recent months, and large scale enterprise clientele are starting to take notice. BBVA, Bank of America, and UBS are customers, and the smoothness of fiscal transactions that the company provides is making others take notice. Ripple is bullish about the possibilities of providing a framework for using cryptocurrency in the real world. They’re drawing attention from big name clients and are working on a pilot program that would allow customers to use cryptocurrency in realtime transactions. They’re really the only company who is doing something like this at this point.
The current circumstance for Ripple is a bittersweet one. It is representative of the power of cryptocurrency in the marketplace, and the company is poised to do some amazing things with this sort of cash horde. At the same time, the days are tenuous as investors watch the highly volatile currency with nail-biting concern. If the crypto craze continues, Ripple may be an excellent choice for financial institutions and private investors, alike.