Cryptocurrency investors were left scratching their heads on Tuesday evening with no positive news on Coinbase’s implementation of Ripple (XRP). It was hoped that the details of a potential partnership would surface on CNBC’s Fast Money show last night, whereby both Asiff Hirji (Coinbase president) and Brad Garlinghouse (Ripple CEO) made an appearance. However, Ripple holders did not get the green light that they were looking for, with Hirii not discussing the potential listing at all. On the contrary, the official Coinbase Twitter account instead tweeted that they had made “no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase”, no doubt frustrating those that were hoping for confirmation on the rumors.
Speculation on the Ripple (XRP) listing has created a wave of market activity over the past few weeks. With XRP struggling to regain the unprecedented momentum it experienced in late 2017, the coin finally broke the $1 mark on 21 February. However, its biggest gain of the New Year was in the 48 hours preceding last night’s CNBC show, which saw XRP increase by just under 20% to $1.08. Such market optimism has since retreated, with XRP valued at $0.90 at the time of writing. Nevertheless, not all is bleak for Ripple investors, with separate news breaking this morning on the implementation of its coin with the Bitit marketplace.
Bitit have been operating within the blockchain space since 2014, with international presence in both the online and retail sectors. The Bitit marketplace allows users to purchase certain cryptocurrencies with a credit card online, or alternatively with cash in any of its 150,000 stores. XRP has now joined this elite rank of coins. This has significantly closed the gap between real world fiat and access to Ripple, allowing consumers in more than 50 nations to buy its coin with ease. Although it could be argued that Coinbase are by far the more dominant exchange, at least in terms of global reputation and trading volume, the Bitit partnership signals that they may have missed a trick by not getting in there first. Moreover, unlike Coinbase – who demand vast amounts of documentation just to get started, Bitit allows consumers to purchase up to $30 weekly without hassle, further increased to $600 weekly once an application has been approved.
So what was it that got everyone’s tails wagging over the Coinbase partnership? Well the exchange recently announced that it was to incrementally employ an additional 500 members of staff, aiming to complete this process by May. It begun its human capital investment on 5 March 2018, by bringing an extra 90 new employees in to its office. Market speculators were adamant that this was in response to the Coinbase president’s hint that the exchange would be adding additional coins to its platform in early 2018. This was further amplified when it was leaked that both Hirji of Coinbase and Garlinghouse of Ripple would be jointly appearing on the CNBC Fast Money show. Although the news never surfaced, this does not mean that it will not eventually happen. Various commentators believe that Coinbase do not want to inject the market with short-term volatility, and as a result are keeping their cards close to their chest. Such viewpoints could be warranted, as the exchange offers just four coins on their platform, indicating that the management team are happy to run a steady ship.
Nevertheless, Ripple holders should not get over reliant on the Coinbase partnership, as March 2018 has already installed great confidence in the potentialities of its underlying technology. We explained earlier in the week how global banking institution Santander Group had recently announced that it would be trialing Ripple’s xCurrent protocol across four different countries, with more to follow if the project is a success. Although the xCurrent distributed ledger does not use XRP as its underlying fuel, it indicates that the developers have the potential to broker deals with major organizations. Further good news also broke earlier today, with Bloomberg announcing that Ripple would be partnering with 61 Japanese banks, allowing account holders to settle fiat money transfers instantly. This is one of Ripple’s greatest deals to date, and will initially begin with three of the banks testing the BETA version. The Ripple backed app will facilitate instant bank-to-bank transfers, something that is not readily available in Japan.
To conclude, although the price of Ripple (XRP) has subsequently suffered with the failure of any concrete confirmation on its Coinbase listing, the aforementioned partnerships could result in a new injection of investor appetite. The next few days of trading will be interesting. Will the market rightly respond to the Bitit and Japanese banking partnership, helping XRP edge closer to the $1 mark, or will they still be dwelling on Coinbase’s loss?