XRP investors were surprised to hear Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse drop a bombshell comment during the World Economic Forum in Davos regarding the company potentially listing on the public markets in the near future. This comment came close on the heels of news regarding the company raising a whopping $200 million from private investors, as well as reports regarding their Q4 XRP token sales being the smallest seen in nearly three years.
Although it remains unclear as to what implications a Ripple public listing could have on XRP, investors in the embattled token don’t seem to be too enthused about the news. During a discussion at the Wall Street Journal’s “Journal House” panel in Davos Switzerland, the Ripple CEO made the comments regarding engaging in a public listing in the near future, telling the panel host that Ripple won’t be the first nor the last to go public, but that they will be on the “leading side” of blockchain companies being listed. He said, as reported by Asheesh Birla, the SVP of Product at Ripple:
“In the next 12 months, you’ll see IPOs in the crypto/blockchain space. We’re not going to be the first and we’re not going to be the last, but I expect us to be on the leading side… it’s a natural evolution for our company.”
This is certainly notable news, as it signals that the company’s recent $200m Series-C private capital raise might be their last round of fundraising before they undergo an initial public offering.
XRP has long been critiqued as simply a fundraising mechanism for Ripple, and the latest news regarding the company’s potential IPO has led some analysts and investors to note that the company may not need to build utility around XRP after they list on the public markets. Cantering Clark, a popular cryptocurrency analyst on Twitter, called Garlinghouse’s recent comments the “ultimate fade” on investors in the embattled token. He facetiously noted:
“[Brad Garlinghouse] just pulled the ultimate fade on $XRP holders… Oh, uh guys, yeah we are actually going to IPO now, and offer shares that carry equity..so,…uh….about those coins. (Obsolete)”
Of course, there’s no guarantee that a public listing will impact Ripple’s eagerness to build utility around the XRP token, but it will make it much easier for them to operate without having to add value to the XRP ecosystem.
Ripple Settlements Soon To Come To Japanese ATMs
Ripple partner and investor, SBI Holdings, announced plans to integrate Ripple-powered settlements across ATMs in Japan. The news was revealed in SBI’s latest financial report, announcing a plan to integrate the Ripple-powered settlements platform MoneyTap with ATMs run by various banks across Japan. The integration is intended to provide consumers with easier access to funds at ATMs regardless of their banking affiliation.
SBI claims that integrating MoneyTap will also allow banks to reduce the costs incurred through operating an ATMs, stating:
“Currently, each bank has an ATM with its own bank app, but with a common web app, the same ATM may be used as its own jointly operated multi-bank ATM.”
MoneyTap launched in October 2019 on iOS and Android, facilitating instant money transfers via QR Code or phone number. During September 2019, SBI chief executive and Ripple board member Yoshitaka Kitao stated that the firm was planning to utilize XRP for remittance in the future.
In other news regarding Ripple adoption, self-described digital asset bank Sygnum has launched support for XRP trading, custody, and credit services. Sygnum co-founder, Mathias Imbach, stated that he has been impressed by Ripple’s global traction — emphasizing that more than 300 financial institutions have joined the RippleNet payments network. “The company’s XRP-based solutions address the pain points of the fast-growing USD 700 billion global remittance market,” added Imbach. Despite Ripple gaining payment market share, XRP has ranked among the weakest performing crypto assets year-to-date among the top ten by capitalization.
Ripple Slammed With Another Lawsuit Alleging XRP Security Laws Violations
Attorneys for a company called Bitcoin Manipulation Abatement LLC have filed a lawsuit in a U.S. federal district court alleging Ripple misled investors and sold XRP as unregistered security in violation of federal law. According to court documents filed May 1, the mysterious entity with little online presence accused Ripple and its Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Brad Garlinghouse of raising more than a billion dollars through the sale and marketing of XRP as an unregistered security.
…in order to drive demand for and thereby increase profits from the sale of XRP, Defendants have made a litany of false and misleading statements regarding XRP in violation of California’s securities laws, and false advertising and unfair competition laws.”
Bitcoin Manipulation Abatement LLC seeks to “recover damages” and “obtain other relief” related to the alleged violations. The same firm also filed a $150 million lawsuit against crypto derivatives exchange FTX in November 2019 which was subsequently dismissed one month later. High profile members of the crypto community like Binance CEO Changpeng Zhao expressed his thoughts on the lawsuit claims, calling them “very far fetched”.
The firm has faced its fair share of legal action, whether short-lived or not, over its XRP token, currently the third most valuable by market cap. A class-action lawsuit brought in May 2018 — and currently moving forward — by attorneys for XRP investor Bradley Sostack has similar allegations of deceiving investors and violating securities laws. While Sostack does seek damages and compensation for legal costs, one of his stated goals was the recognition of XRP as a security. However, an amendment filed on March 25 suggested he was hedging his bets on the possibility the court may not acknowledge it as such. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has not yet taken a position on the matter.
MoneyGram Says There Has Been A ‘Quiet Quarter’ For Ripple Partnership
During an earnings call for Q1 2020, MoneyGram chairman and chief executive, Alexander Holmes, revealed that it was a “quiet quarter” regarding the firm’s partnership with blockchain payments company Ripple (XRP). Ripple first announced its “strategic partnership” with the Nasdaq-listed money transfer company during June 2019. The partnership’s initial term was set at two years, with Ripple providing a capital commitment of up to $50 million over 24 months in exchange equity. The announcement was also slated to see Ripple act as MoneyGram’s “key partner for cross-border payment and foreign exchange settlement using digital assets.”
Despite Ripple drumming up high expectations for the partnership, MoneyGram’s CEO stated that Q1 2020 was “quiet” in terms of Ripple’s services. “I would say it was a little bit of a relatively quiet quarter, in the sense of really pushing anything particularly new into the market or expanding the service.” “We did a lot of that in the back half of last year, and really got going on a number of new corridors for that service,” Holmes noted.
Despite expressing happiness with the deal thus far, Holmes’ comments indicate that Ripple is still yet to solidify its services or target market:
“We continue to flex with them as they continue to expand the service and move some things around, and really figure out what they want, the product to look and feel like, and how they want to take that to various markets. So I think it’ll change over time. I think the results of what we’re doing will vary by quarter and by month.”
“But, yes, it’s been a good partnership, and definitely pleased with what we’ve been doing,” he added.
Looking forward, Holmes expects that the partnership will generate revenues from experiments into “new services and new corridors.“ Holmes’ comments come shortly after Robert Lisv, the CEO of major U.S.-Latin American remittance provider and Ripple partner, Intermex, revealed that the firms’ partnership will not see Ripple’s technology utilized in its core markets.
“So, you won’t really see us leveraging Ripple in our core markets. I think it will bring us more growth in newer markets in places where we’re exploring going into ancillary products,” he stated during Intermex’s March earnings call. Lisv’s remarks directly contradicted Ripple’s Feb. 5 press release announcing the partnership, which claimed that the deal would “enabl[e] faster cross-border payments between the U.S. and Mexico.”
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