A colleague commented to me recently: if you’re ever explaining Bitcoin to someone and they’re getting it, start talking about Ripple, just to confuse them again.
Of course, this was in jest. But, there can be some confusion about Ripple and how it operates. Ripple, just like Bitcoin, is an open-source consensus network and ledger. It achieves consensus every few seconds, making it much faster than Bitcoin. The network creates lines of trust to trade assets between people who are comfortable with each other’s default risk.
XRP is the native currency of the network and the only native asset. It exists for a variety of network functions, not least of which is to combat spam.
‘Gateways’ are real world organisations that allow people to get real world assets, like cash, into and out of the Ripple network. Arguably the best feature is that you can trade absolutely any asset that you like through the network.
The system is interesting and it works. However, as of now, there are very few companies using it.
One of the first companies to operate a gateway is Ripple Singapore. They are the first Ripple gateway in Asia, with Bitstamp being the most well known gateway in Europe.
Ripple Singapore offers trading in precious metals through the Ripple network. The bullion is housed in Singapore. This is the first asset they’re focused on applying to the network. Bullion can be traded into and out of other assets quickly and easily.
Now that the service has been operational for a little while we were pleased to ask the company’s James Cox a few questions about the service.
Why did you decide to use Ripple over other available network technologies?
Ripple seems like the most versatile of all Fintech solutions. Ripple is a math based value exchange, in which any user can exchange any item of value, with anyone, anywhere, anytime, basically for free in 5 seconds.
Right now I believe that makes Ripple unique. I honestly think having a Ripple address will be as normal as having an email address in 5 years time.
You launched the platform a few weeks ago. How has it been performing? Has there been much interest?
We launched in January 2014. We have over 200 trust lines and our customers have bought gold, silver and platinum. They all seem to be trading on Ripple at a premium to the Comex. This is understandable because anyone who buys physical gold and silver knows that you will have to pay a premium. However, the physical price varies a great deal country to country. Ripple is a great way for Chinese and Indian people to buy gold at Singapore prices.
Why are you operating this service out of Singapore?
Ripple is all about Trust. We started off with some basic questions: Historically, what are the most trusted sources of value? What is the safest jurisdiction in the world? We believe it is Singapore.
Its government is transparent and pro business. Singapore is also the financial hub of dynamic South East Asia, and there is huge demand for physical gold and silver in Asia.
What advantages does your service offer clients over other bullion dealers?
Our advantages are that people can hold Investment Grade Bullion in their online wallet and pay their bills in whichever currency a merchant requires – either digital or fiat. Our other advantages include:
0% Vault Fee.
0% Sales Tax.
0% Capital Gains Tax in Singapore.
0.2% Transaction Fee.
100% Backed Investment Grade Bullion.
Private vaulting in one of the world’s safest jurisdictions.
What are your plans for the future, in relation to working with both Ripple and other similar technologies?
Our goal is simply to expand our user base at the moment. This is a great service – the benefits of the long term store of value and the latest in exchange and payment systems makes this super convenient.
Ripple Labs are also working on a great deal of smart contract services. We look forward to providing these options to our users.