Ripple

Ripple has announced that it is donating $29 million to popular teaching fundraising site DonorsChoose.org to help bring teachers classroom dreams come true.

DonorsChoose is a nonprofit organization that uses crowdfunding to help public school students and their teachers so that students in every community have the experiences they need for a great education.

Now, in a bid to help the educational establishment reach its goals across America, San Francisco-based Ripple has announced that it is giving students and teachers across the country their #bestschoolday. This means that the company has pledged to pay over 35,000 classroom requests on the DonorsChoose website.

Making the announcement in a YouTube video, Monica Long, senior vice president of marketing at Ripple, along with Charles Best, founder of DonorsChoose, explained that this was a chance for Ripple to thank the teachers who helped them get to where they are in their careers today.

After sending an email to Chris Larsen, founder of Ripple, Best thought his request for donations would be shunned. However, according to Long, the idea behind DonorsChoose resonated with the team. As Ripple is about making payments faster, inclusive, and more accessible to people around the world, so too is DonorsChoose making education more accessible and inclusive for students.

Responding to the announcement, Best said:

“The teachers behind these projects work with more than a million students who are now going to get materials and experiences that they need to learn. I do not believe there has ever been a day when this many classroom dreams came true.”

The funding by the company, the single biggest cryptocurrency donation to a charity, was under tight wraps in the lead up to the announcement. While there have been large donations that funded every request in a state or city, this is the first time that all requests on the website have been funded by one organization.

Converting the XRP tokens into dollars, DonorsChoose will now be able to fulfil requests such as buying lab coats for science students, insect kits, new school furniture such as chairs and desks, sports equipment, musical equipment, and coding cards to get students on the path to learning about code work, to name a few.

Having reached over 27.5 million students, with nearly 1.5 million projects funded since DonorsChoose started in 2000, the organization has gone from a one-man band to a charity with offices in New York and San Francisco working at helping teachers and donors connect.

Featured image from Shutterstock.

In February 2018, San Francisco-based blockchain startup Ripple, which focuses on providing a fast and secure global payment system, has added five new customers in the banking and remittance (money transfer) sectors. The banks are Itaú Unibanco – the largest private bank in Brazil – and IndusInd of India. The remittance providers are Zip Remit of Canada, InstaReM of Singapore and Beetech of Brazil.

Ripple Strengthens Reach to Emerging Markets

These financial institutions are joining more than 100 companies already connected to RippleNet, Ripple’s decentralized global network of banks and payment providers. These businesses will increase RippleNet’s service to emerging global markets, where almost 90 percent of people under 30 reside.

“Now, RippleNet members will be able to process a large number of payouts in Southeast Asian countries through InstaReM’s secure rails,” Prajit Nanu, co-founder and CEO of InstaReM, said.

A Feb. 21 press release states that Ripple’s use of blockchain technology can offer customers lower costs and transfer times, which can be especially helpful in developing countries “where financial flexibility is limited.”

Patrick Griffin, head of business development at Ripple, believes blockchain can deliver a payment system that works in favor of, not against, individuals in emerging markets, “Whether it’s a teacher in the U.S. sending money home to his family in Brazil or a small-business owner in India trying to move money to open up a second store in another country.”

Ripple Releases Dual Academic Papers for Review

Also on Feb. 21, Ripple announced that its research and development team published two new academic papers for peer review, one on the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol, and one introducing Cobalt, a new asynchronous consensus algorithm. These are the first peer-reviewed academic papers released by Ripple.

Ripple’s XRP is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency in February 2018, by its market cap of about $38 billion. XRP’s price is about $0.97 as of the 21.

moneygram

MoneyGram, the world’s second-largest money transfer service, has announced that it will adopt Ripple’s XRP token in an open-ended pilot program designed to increase the efficiency of international payments.

The Dallas-based firm, second in size only to Western Union, announced on Thursday that it will pilot the use of XRP in its internal payment flows.

The partnership will see MoneyGram adopt xRapid, Ripple’s on-demand liquidity product, which uses XRP to settle cross-border payments in real time at a much lower cost than using legacy payment systems.

“The payments problem doesn’t just affect banks, it also affects companies like MoneyGram, which help people get money to the ones they care about,” said Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple. “By using a digital asset like XRP that settles in three seconds or less, our clients can move money as quickly as information.”

“Ripple is at the forefront of blockchain technology and we look forward to piloting xRapid,” said Alex Holmes, chief executive officer of MoneyGram, in a press release. “We’re hopeful it will increase efficiency and improve services to MoneyGram’s customers.”

Although a number of banks and financial institutions — including household names like American Express — have conducted blockchain trials using RippleNet, the company’s enterprise blockchain, they have shied away from integrating XRP.

Consequently, many critics had stated that the ripple price’s recent rally — which saw the value of XRP soar nearly 30,000 percent in 2017 — was unwarranted relative to actual XRP adoption.

Though perhaps not complete vindication of XRP, MoneyGram’s announcement should make at least a minor dent in that narrative, a dent that could deepen if Ripple’s recent claim that at least three major money transfer firms will adopt XRP in 2018 is borne out.

“And to be clear,” Garlinghouse added today in a tweet, the “MoneyGram announcement is one step in a marathon ahead to truly make XRP the global liquidity solution for payment providers and banks.”

Though Ripple has not confirmed it publicly, this announcement could be the first fruit from the $300 million RippleNet Accelerator Program, which the company launched last quarter to spur XRP adoption among financial institutions. Through the program, institutions can receive rebates and incentives to integrate XRP into their payment systems, making pilot program’s such as MoneyGram’s much more attractive.

The ripple price traded up on the news, briefly rising as high as $2.25 before pulling back to a present level of $2.08

Featured Image from Flickr/Mike Mozart

coinbase

The Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) prices have each raced to an all time high as the two cryptocurrency heavyweights vie for the silver podium in the cryptocurrency market cap rankings.

Ethereum and Ripple Vie for Second Place in the Market Cap Rankings

Long thought to be the cryptocurrency with the best chance to supplant bitcoin as the cryptoasset king, Ethereum boasted the second largest market cap for the vast majority of 2017 (Ripple briefly achieved that mark in May, while bitcoin cash held it for a fleeting moment in November).

ethereum price
Legend: Ethereum (Purple), Ripple (Blue), Bitcoin Cash (Green) | Source: CoinMarketCap

However, in December the Ripple price entered a meteoric ascent that only seemed to intensify as time passed, and on Dec. 29 Ripple unseated Ethereum as the second most valuable cryptocurrency.

Ethereum reclaimed that position for a brief period on Jan. 2, but Ripple quickly resumed its rally and moved back into second before the end of the day.

Ethereum, Ripple Prices Race to All-Time Highs as Competition Intensifies

At this point, the competition really began to heat up as both cryptocurrencies set multiple all-time highs during mid-week trading.

On Thursday, the Ripple price reached as high as $3.53 on Bittrex, raising its circulating market cap to $148.9 billion and making Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen the eighth-richest person in the world — at least on paper.

ripple price
Source: TradingView

Ripple’s dramatic rally accompanied several partnership announcements involving banks and credit card issuers in South Korea and Japan.

Nevertheless, these blockchain trials do not involve the XRP currency itself, making the pace of the rally somewhat inexplicable, although its continuation is likely the product of the mainstream coverage it has received in the financial press — particularly at a time when the bitcoin price has been more or less stagnant

The Ethereum price, meanwhile, touched the historic $1,000 checkpoint on Coinbase, briefly lifting its market cap to a new all-time high of $101.1 billion, making it just the third cryptocurrency to achieve a $100 billion market cap.

ethereum price
Source: TradingView

Ethereum’s move is likely tied to the recent announcement that Casper, a consensus algorithm that will enable the network to transition to proof-of-stake (PoS), had entered alpha testing.

By the time of writing, both Ripple and Ethereum had ebbed significantly from their high-water marks, reducing their market caps to $124.3 billion and $99.4 billion, respectively, according to the BlockExplorer Market Cap Index.

The jostle for cryptocurrency’s silver podium, however, remains as heated as ever.

Featured Image from Pexels

This article was written with contributions from Isaac Rockett.