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RIPPLE TOPS LIST OF BLOCKCHAIN CAPITAL RAISERS IN 2019

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RIPPLE TOPS LIST OF BLOCKCHAIN CAPITAL RAISERS IN 2019

RIPPLE RAISES $200 MILLION AT A VALUATION OF $10B

Ripple secured $200 million in a Series C round from investors like SBI Group, Tetragon Financial Group, and Routee 66 Ventures. The blockchain firm led by Brad Garlinghouse was valued at $10 billion at the time.

The investment round helped the XRP issuer to top the list of blockchain firms by the amount of funds secured last year. Ripple plans to use the funds for talent hiring, opening new offices overseas, and enhancing balance sheet flexibility.

Ripple was followed by Figure Technologies in the list of largest funding rounds. The latter raised $103 million to support the expansion of its blockchain-based platform Provenance. Figure uses the platform to help users get home equity loans within minutes.

Digital Asset and PeerNova came next with $35 million and $31 million, respectively. The former intends to fund developer community project related to its Digital Asset Modelling Language (DAML), which is used to faster asset settlement. Elsewhere, PeerNova is eyeing expansion of its technology that helps financial institutions handle their data workflows.

INVESTMENT TO BLOCKCHAIN FIRMS DECLINED IN 2019

Even though blockchain has gone mainstream, 2019 was not as successful for specialised startups as the previous year in terms of raised funds.

According to CB Insights, total equity funding to blockchain startups dropped more than 30% last year compared to 2018. Mentions of blockchain in public earning reports also declined. Ripple’s $200 million wouldn’t have even made the top 3.

The research authors suggest that the reason for the decline is that many startups are still trying to figure out product market fit.

In the last quarter of 2019, blockchain firms raised a combined $785 million across 164 deals, down 36% compared to the same period in the previous year.

In 2018, blockchain giants like Bitmain and Coinbase had great contribution, being among the top two fundraisers with $400M and $321M, respectively. Ripple raised only half of the amount secured by Bitmain.

Ripple news

A Ripple Dev Speaks About A Method to Increase Privacy Using ‘Blinded Tags’

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A Ripple Dev Speaks About A Method to Increase Privacy Using ‘Blinded Tags’
A Ripple Dev Speaks About A Method to Increase Privacy Using ‘Blinded Tags’

Nik Bougalis, a cryptographer, software engineer and lead of the C++ team at Ripple, has published a proposed method for enhancing the privacy of transactions on the XRP ledger. In his Github post on March 30, Bougalis focused on the destination tags that are assigned to transactions made between wallets provided by exchanges or third-party providers — also known as hosted wallets. Bougalis argued that these destination tags present a potential privacy risk for users, which could be overcome through his proposed system of “blinded tags.”

Any transaction made between hosted wallets on the XRP ledger involves two types of tag: a source tag, which indicates to which user has initiated the transaction, and a destination tag, which indicates to whom the transacted funds are to be sent. On a cryptocurrency exchange, the source tag (i.e. wallet address) can remain constant or variable (depending on users’ individual choice), but the exchange generates a unique destination tag for each transaction. Destination tags, in their current form, are unsigned 32-bit integers — meaning that there exists over 4 billion possible unique combinations that can be used to create each tag. 

At present, these 4+ billion combinations are sufficient to enable exchanges to generate a unique destination tag for each user — and perhaps for the foreseeable future, Bougalis says. Yet the issue is not the finitude of possible combinations, but rather the privacy challenges that destination tags pose, as an attacker could feasibly correlate transactions by isolating the “{ address, tag } pair as a unique address corresponding to a single customer.” One way to surmount this problem would be to use a system of so-called “blinded tags” — tags that are, in Bougalis’ outline, “mutated in such a way that it is meaningful only to the sender and the recipient of a transaction, but appears random to everyone else.” The method proposed by Bougalis is intended, he says, to be “secure, minimal, and performant”:

“Ideally, it should be possible to implement tag blinding as a single function call that does not noticeably increase the time necessary to assemble a transaction. Similarly, using a blinded tag should not make it significantly harder for the intended recipient to process a transaction.”

Last spring, Ripple’s Xpring joined the firm behind privacy-focused altcoin Zcash (ZEC) to invest in Bolt Labs — a crypto payments startup aiming to develop a more anonymous second-layer protocol that could be added to existing cryptocurrency networks.

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A Change In The Ripple Class-Action Brings Up The Question – Is XRP a Security?

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A Change In The Ripple Class-Action Brings Up The Question Is XRP a Security
A Change In The Ripple Class-Action Brings Up The Question - Is XRP a Security?

An amendment to the class-action lawsuit against Ripple, filed March 25, included additional claims of false advertising and unfair competition, “under the alternative theory that XRP is not a security.” The disgruntled investors’ sixth and seventh claims for relief would appear to be a direct hedge in the event that the judge rules against the original suit suggesting that XRP was illegally sold as an unregistered security.

The filing included two additional claims for relief, in relation to alleged false advertising and unfair competition, both in violation of the California Business and Professions Code. These additional claims for relief both state that they are being brought “under the alternative theory that XRP is not a security.” The claims act as a hedge for the possibility of the judge ruling that this is the case. As it has been previously reported, the amended filing also included the additional claim that Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, was touting XRP to prospective investors while silently liquidating his holdings.

Bittrex.com - XRP (BTC-XRP)

The long-running lawsuit was originally filed back in November 2018, although after much legal wrangling, it was only given the go-ahead to finally proceed in February this year. Ripple’s motion for the case to be dismissed was only partially granted by the District Court judge, allowing the allegation that the XRP token was sold as an unregistered security to move forward. However, the claims which the judge did see fit to throw out included those of false advertising, and violation of California state law. The amended claims of false advertising and violation of state law are virtually identical in essence, other than relying on the theory that XRP is not a security.

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Ripple Says Stablecoins Could Be Built On XRP Ledger

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Ripple Says Stablecoins Could Be Built On XRP Ledger
Ripple Says Stablecoins Could Be Built On XRP Ledger

Blockchain-based financial services network RippleNet provides a safe, convenient, and easy-to-use wallet for holders of the cryptocurrency XRP, and the features to their system’s ledger may be expanding. RippleNet has been developed significantly since it was created in 2012. The system’s users have long had the ability to perform transactions on a decentralized ledger. Soon they may be able to take advantage of a feature on the network which would allow them to mint asset-backed tokens like stablecoins on the XRP ledger.

According to a video released by Ripple last month, Chief Technology Officer (CTO) David Schwartz said he was working on adding new features to the company’s crypto ledger. In addition to “core consensus improvements,” the CTO stood by past statements in not further developing one of the more common features of blockchain:

“Proof-of-Work is kind of a technological dead-end.”

One feature Ripple may be unveiling would allow third parties to launch other third-party cryptocurrencies on the XRP system. The details of this feature have yet to be announced, but Schwartz mentioned it could be used to introduce fixed-value tokens like stablecoins to the ledger:

“One of the features that I think is very exciting is a feature that would allow people to launch — well, stablecoins are the obvious use case, but it’s not just stablecoins — it’s essentially assets pegged to some external value.”

Other blockchain-based networks have been able to let their users run stablecoins. However, Schwartz teased the Ripple feature as particularly interesting, because “the liquidity is guaranteed by the ledger mechanics.” The number of companies in other countries joining the network and adopting Ripple’s technology has increased. With business picking up, Ripple has invested heavily in other transmission networks like MoneyGram. Focusing on developing this feature, rather than others, may break even more new ground.

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