Whilst it has been a traumatic year for cryptos overall, 2018 has arguably been a major breakthrough year for Ripple.
With the release of its xRapid platform in September and announcements that the product has been in trial with a number of high profile players in the payments industry – including Western Union and Mercury FX – it had appeared that Ripple was making serious inroads in a bid to emerge as a strong international brand.
And consequently, the prospects for XRP, the digital asset which underwrites liquidity within the xRapid ecosystem, also appeared strong as it marked a major milestone in its bid to achieve the Holy Grail of crypto: mass adoption.
However, whilst Ripple’s total number of partnerships is thought to stand at just over 160, according to one tracking tool, the number of formal commercial deployments is thought to stand at around 75 according to sources which quote Ripple’s own development team.
This falls short of the 200 quoted by former CEO of Ripple, Chris Larsen, who felt that achieving such a number “would allow Ripple’s product range to reach critical mass” within the banking world and that this would consequently engender the kind of network effect that gives rise to organic growth.
However, even here, the claim – whilst potentially valid – appears limited to the Ripple brand. Of Ripple’s three products – xCurrent, xRapid and xVia – only one of these exclusively leverages XRP (xRapid). And whilst xCurrent can leverage XRP as its intermediary currency for cross-border payments, it is rarely employed to that effect.
“XRP still has some way to go to reach critical mass,” states crypto-market analyst Ali Yazbek, “but despite the fact that there is still some work to do, it does at least appear to be leading the pack. 2019 will make for an interesting year.”