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  1. Late last year, Xi Jinping gave a speech declaring that blockchain technology presented an important breakthrough on several key areas within China and that the government intended to utilize the technology. Xi Jinping claimed that the development of distributed ledger technology provided a pivotal moment in which it allowed the Chinese state to reform and improve the inefficiencies found within the Chinese financial market. Stating that “It is necessary to explore the application of ‘blockchain’ in people’s daily life, and actively promote the application of blockchain technology in the fields of education, employment, pension, data-driven poverty alleviation, medical health, anti-counterfeiting, food safety, public welfare, social assistance, etc”. (1) Xi’s speech was in stark contrast to China’s previous posture on blockchain technology, specifically on cryptocurrencies such as BTC. But the public statement displayed that the Chinese government had finally come to an understanding on the potential blockchain technology can provide to the state. Unfortunately, most crypto evangelists took the speech to mean that the Chinese market was opening itself to the publicly traded cryptocurrencies found in crypto exchanges. An appreciation in the total crypto market capitalization only reinforced this notion that China was simply going to adopt the current, open source blockchains present. Weeks passed and China’s historical stance on cryptocurrencies was further fortified when several crypto exchanges halted or ceased services amid speculation of a crackdown within the country. (2) A contradicting development to Xi’s previous speech earlier in the year. However, there has been collaboration and developments by the state in the background that would corroborate Xi’s statements. Financial Access 2020 The foundation was laid at the 2015 World Bank Group–IMF Spring meetings. These meetings resulted in the establishment of the Universal Financial Access 2020 (UFA2020) initiative. The World Bank Group along with both private and public sector partners, committed themselves to promote and enable global financial inclusion in a multi-year program. With the intentions of enabling individuals who are not currently connected to the financial system, to have access to a transaction account to store money while also being able to send and receive payments. Setting a goal of enabling one billion unfinanced individuals to gain access by 2020. Their approach being the development of a platform that has a biometric identity database, virtual payment addressing, and digital payment interoperability. (3) At the time, there were over 30 partners that committed towards the UFA2020 initiative. Participants that now include the likes of Alipay, Du Xiaoman Financial (Baidu), BBVA Microfinance Foundation, CFPA Microfinance, Confederation of West African Financial Institutions (CIF), MasterCard, Pakistan Microfinance Network, State Bank of India, VISA, etc. (4) With each of these partners doing independent projects or collaborations to meet the UFA2020’s target. One such program that was spawned from the UFA2020 initiative, was the Financial Inclusion Global Initiative (FIGI). A three-year program formed by the collaboration between the World Bank Group, the Committee on Payments and Market Infrastructure (CPMI), and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU). The program is funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (5) Their collective goal is “to support and accelerate the implementation of country-led reform actions to meet national financial inclusion targets, and ultimately the global ‘Universal Financial Access 2020’ goal”. (5) This subgroup plans to utilize the “work of the CPMI-World Bank Group Task Force on the Payment Aspects of Financial Inclusion (PAFI), the BMGF’s Level One Project, and the ITU Focus Group – Digital Financial Services, to deliver implementation solutions, deep topical analyses and practical investigations, working toward the goal of Universal Financial Access by 2020”. (5) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Level One Project is recognized by followers of Ripple due to the project’s development and intention of utilizing the Interledger Protocol to address interoperability between financial systems while helping lower the costs in developing inclusive payment platforms. Thru panels held at the FIGI symposiums, there is apparent dialogue and collaboration between the FIGI organization, the World Bank, and Ripple. (6) China The main purpose of the FIGI receiving grant money from the BMGF in 2017, was to accelerate financial inclusion in developing countries. With three countries being selected to be the focus of the initiative. Those countries being Mexico, Egypt, and China since they contain millions of unbanked individuals. (7) Ultimately, the development and progression of the initiative will be used as models for digital financial inclusion innovations around the globe. And regarding the selected countries, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) specifically requested support from the World Bank Group to aid in bridging the gap between the Chinese financial system and their citizens found in remote areas. (7) Interesting enough, the FIGI initiative aligned with other partnerships and projects in 2017. Partnerships that were composed of Ripple, Huawei, Mojaloop, etc. As some in the Ripple/XRP community might remember, officials from the PBOC visited the San Francisco Ripple offices in August 2017. (8) The community speculated on numerous possibilities on why Ripple was being visited by PBOC officials but there was no disclosed explanation of the meeting between Ripple and the PBOC. But looking at other announcements from 2017 chronologically, some perspective on the PBOC and Ripple meeting can be gained. First, the PBOC sought guidance and help by the World Bank Group to foster financial inclusion innovation within the country. The FIGI under the UFA2020 initiative, choose China to be one of the three countries focused on fostering innovation early 2017. In August 2017, the PBOC visited the Ripple offices in San Francisco. Two months later, BMGF and Ripple’s collaboration and development on Mojaloop was publicized. (9) Yet one aspect of the announcement on Mojaloop that was overlooked was that four mobile systems companies were brought to help develop an Open API for mobile money interoperability. Those companies being Ericsson, Telepin, Mahindra Comviva, and Huawei. (10) And with a document from the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) on “Digital Currency including Digital Fiat Currency”, we know that the Mojaloop API was designed by the four mobile companies that included Huawei. (11) Huawei and the BMGF have also been collaborating on promoting interoperability and financial inclusion since the previous year. Late 2016, Huawei announced partnership with the Gates Foundation on the Level One Project. (12) With the partnership focusing on developing “scalable, low-cost, interoperable and fraud resistant payment systems will be based on open Application Programming Interfaces (API’s) and help people in the world’s poorest regions improve their lives and build sustainable futures by connecting them with digitally based financial tools and services”. (12) Coincidentally occurring right when the Mojaloop API was being developed in the same Level One Project. Nonetheless, the Mojaloop API seems to be both an innovation and solution both Huawei and the BMGF sought to develop in their partnership. We know that the BMGF and Bill Gates himself, have been aware since 2016 ,of the potential revolution the Interledger Protocol can bring to the financial system1d. With Bill Gates even recognizing how Ripple’s technology can move money across countries efficiently and cheaply. (13) Although Ripple’s known involvement in China is thru LianLian Pay and some possible penetration thru third parties such as AirWallex, there appears to be a potential utilization of the Mojaloop API thru Huawei in FIGI’s project within China. This can potentially explain why Ripple expanded into China with the opening of offices in the country. (14) Outside FIGI Outside of FIGI’s scope in China, there are other developments with UFA2020 affiliates forming and investing in projects that could leverage the Interledger Protocol. A recent example involves a group of Ripple investors and partners raising capital for Currencycloud. Currencycloud is a UK startup that has developed remittance APIs that allows any financial business to integrate money transfer services thru Currencycloud’s platform. A duo of Ripple shareholders in SBI and Siam Commercial Bank participated in the Series E round for the UK startup. But interesting enough, VISA and the World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation also partook in the series round. (15) Two key members of the UFA2020 initiative. These investors intend to promote and utilize Currencycloud’s API for cross-border payments. While VISA has also entered a partnership with the UK startup. Thrugh the partnership, VISA plans to expand and improve their services by using Currencycloud’s platform. (16) Yet Currencycloud has another notable partnership with the Ripple associate, DWOLLA. DWOLLA is not only known for sharing a seat with Ripple on the US Faster Payments Council but more importantly, for their collaboration in developing the Mojaloop platform. (17) DWOLLA will be leveraging the UK startup’s platform to expand their network for coverage on 38 currencies in 180 countries. (16) And on a final note, Currenycloud has an impressive group of clients that includes The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. (16) Furgther adding another affiliate to the assortment of UFA2020 and Ripple partners involved with Currencycloud. (16) Looking at announcements or projects through the perspective of promoting and expanding the Universal Financial Access 2020 initiative, one can conceivably see the purpose and structure of collaborations done by Ripple associates to possibly promote adoption of the Interledger Protocol. 1. https://medium.com/@mablejiang/xi-jinpings-speech-at-the-18th-collective-study-of-the-chinese-political-bureau-of-the-central-1219730677b2 2. https://cointelegraph.com/news/china-5-crypto-exchanges-halt-or-shut-services-amid-perceived-crackdown 3. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/financialinclusion/brief/achieving-universal-financial-access-by-2020 4. https://ufa.worldbank.org/en/partners 5. https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/financialinclusion/brief/figi 6. https://twitter.com/DougMPearce/status/936176649963388928?s=20 7. https://www.devex.com/news/3-model-countries-selected-for-a-new-financial-inclusion-initiative-90778 8. https://twitter.com/Ripple/status/902201846592184320?ref_src=twsrc^tfw|twcamp^tweetembed|twterm^902201846592184320&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fcointelegraph.com%2Fnews%2Fripple-talks-with-peoples-bank-of-china-key-to-chinese-blockchain-market 9. https://ripple.com/insights/news/ripple-the-gates-foundation-team-up-to-level-the-economic-playing-field-for-the-poor/ 10. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/Media-Center/Press-Releases/2017/10/Bill-Melinda-Gates-Foundation-Releases-Open-Source-Software-to-Expand-Access-to-Financial-Services 11. https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/focusgroups/dfc/Documents/FGDFC-O-003.pdf 12. http://carrier.huawei.com/minisite/software/mobile-money/foundation.html 13. https://ripple.com/insights/why-bill-gates-believes-2016-will-be-the-year-of-financial-inclusion/ 14. https://www.asiacryptotoday.com/ripple-plan-expansion-to-shanghai-china 15. https://techcrunch.com/2020/01/26/currencycloud-nabs-80m-from-visa-world-bank-group-and-more-for-its-cross-border-payments-api/ 16. https://www.currencycloud.com/company/clients/ 17. https://modusbox.com/announcing-mojaloop-io-an-open-source-software-platform-for-financial-inclusion-to-uplift-the-worlds-poor/
  2. Kevin Chou, CEO of Forte Labs, gave a very good overview of his gaming background, 100-million dollar partnership with Ripple (i.e. xPring), and announced 2 of 15 gaming partnerships in the Forte pipeline (Disruptor Beam & Other Ocean). Keven also mentioned that he expected the1st gaming partnership to go live on the Forte platform December 9th, 2019, which would be today. I have scoured the Internet to see if any announcements had been made regarding the first go-live partner. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find any announcements in this regard. However, keep in mind that this interview happened back in November, it is highly likely that the go-live date could've most likely change. Overall, a very insightful and bullish interview in my opinnion!!
  3. Saw this posted on Reddit. I didn't see anyone post a link here. Very interesting discussion by Stefan Thomas about ILP + COIL
  4. The Gates Foundation and Ripple's formation of Mojaloop was to address the current financial system's inadequacies on providing services to individuals living below the poverty line and in remote areas of their respective countries. Mojaloop makes use of Ripple's Interledger Protocol to bridge mobile wallets to current digital financial services. Currently, the complexity and costs associated with developing digital financial services for new markets is daunting for banks to overtake. Further complicating the issue, making these new services interoperable with one another requires mass coordination between multiple parties on a grand-scale. Mojaloop provides financial providers, governments and mobile network operators a simplified and economical option for developing new inclusive payments platforms. https://ripple.com/insights/news/ripple-the-gates-foundation-team-up-to-level-the-economic-playing-field-for-the-poor/ Along with with the Gates Foundation and Ripple, Dwolla, ModusBox, Software Group and Crosslake Technologies contributed to the Mojaloop project. For Dwolla this isn't the first project they've crossed paths with Ripple on. Several years ago, both companies were developing and trialing the "Shift Card" alongside Shift (ShiftPayments). Whether or not there was any direct collaboration is unknown but Ripple did help in the development of the Shift Card, while the card is integrated into the Dwolla network. https://techcrunch.com/2014/08/12/shift-is-developing-a-debit-card-that-lets-you-spend-digital-currency-loyalty-points-and-regular-money/ https://techcrunch.com/2015/11/20/coinbase-partners-with-shift-payments-to-issue-bitcoin-debit-card/ https://gomedici.com/shift-payments-launches-new-mobile-app-to-track-payments-and-dwolla-balance/ More recently, Dwolla has been collaborating with startups to build solutions on tracking assets on the blockchain between the fintech ecosystem and traditional financial system. https://www.coindesk.com/dwolla-returns-blockchain-not-bitcoin/ Dwolla and Ripple also find themselves converging in another area of innovation, the FED's Faster Payment Task Force. Established in 2015, the FED's Faster Payments Task Force is responsible for multiple objectives with one being the assessment of alternative approaches for faster payment capabilities in the United States. Several hundred of stakeholders consisting of banks, regulators, and technology companies were gathered to create a guideline to modernize the U.S. payments infrastructure. The Task Force ultimately established a long-term target for new solutions to meet market needs by 2020. These needs pertaining to speed, efficiency, governance, and etc. Both Ripple and Dwolla submitted proposals on addressing the current issues the U.S. payment infrastructure faces. Ripple: https://ripple.com/insights/federal-reserve-task-force-ripple-improves-speed-transparency-global-payments/ Dwolla proposing it's payment platform utilizing it's API: https://www.forbes.com/sites/tomgroenfeldt/2017/01/25/feds-faster-payments-task-force-should-seek-implementation-in-three-years-dwolla/#1514dfa26088 Along with their proposals, Dwolla and Ripple (thru Ryan Zagone) were elected to the Federal Reserve’s Faster Payments Task Force Steering Committee. A committee to guide the members of the Task Force to obtain their long-term goals. https://fedpaymentsimprovement.org/faster-payments/about-the-task-force/roster/ This proximity is bound to lead to collaboration to address and meet the Faster Payments Task Force long-term goals for modernizing the U.S. Payment Infrastructure. I do know one thing. One of Dwolla's investors, Ashton Kutcher, seems to be a fan of Ripple currently. https://www.cnbc.com/id/47021465 (obligatory mention: Greg Kidd's GlobaliD is integrated with Dwolla's network) EDIT Ashton Kutcher reinforcing his support for Ripple.
  5. Hi, As I understand it, interledger protocol is supposed to connect ledgers (whether blockchains or banks), allowing for the seamless transfer of value. I understand that many financial institutions are using interledger by adopting ripplenet. Still, I am confused why there does not seem to be any consumer facing applications that employ interledger. For example, why are there no applications that allow you to send money from the Ethereum ledger to the Bitcoin ledger nearly for free using the protocol? Or are there such applications I am simply not aware of? This is especially perplexing given that interledger is supposed to facilitate nearly free transfers between blockchains. In addition, the system is open source, public and readily available through API's. A second question: can you embed ILP payments into smart contracts? Can a smart contract hold dollars in escrow and promise to pay them out through the interledger? I haven't thought this through very carefully, but basically - is ILP smart contract enabled? Let me know if you have any thoughts on either of these items. Thank you!
  6. Microsoft demonstrates how to use the new PaymentRequest API (a @w3c standard, soon available in all major browsers) https://mobile.twitter.com/ahopebailie/status/955381835411939328
  7. I followed this tutorial "https://github.com/interledgerjs/ilp-kit#environment-variables" and "https://github.com/sappenin/ilpkit-google-cloud/tree/master/ilpkit-gce-single" to install ILP Kit on google compute engine, and everything ran fine till i tried running "sudo ./start.sh" and everything ran successfully till i get an error saying "Unhandled promise rejection (rejection id: 1): Error: Unable to connect to account", i have tried running my head to figure out what is wrong but i haven't been able to. My public_uri in my env.list file is http://35.185.16.56/ which displays the image in the screenshot. I also tried making a post request using the documentation on interledgerjs.github.io, "ilp-kit-api" I tried sending something like this, "Post user curl -X POST -H "Content-Type: application/json" -d '{ "password": "alice" }' http://35.185.16.56/api/users/admin'", and i get a statusMessage: 'Not Found' response, Is there anyway i can get an head start to what might have gone wrong during the installation?
  8. Instead of building another walled garden, Ripple has chosen to connect the world's payment systems together. They will succeed with XRP and ILP working together! In this blog entry, I discuss what some have come to realize intuitively; that Ripple has a visionary strategy compared to other competitors (like R3, e.g.) Instead of building an island where everybody has to jump on, they enable banks to continue using their own preferred ledgers and integrating with ILP. If banks then wish to save even more money, Ripple is now nearing the point when those banks can flip a switch and start adding XRP liquidity. I discuss those points in the blog; Hope you enjoy the read & as always, please feel free to share on any other media (and thank you in advance for doing so!) My blog announcements on other media: Twitter Reddit Bitcointalk - alt coin sub forum Bitcointalk - XRP speculation thread
  9. https://xrphodor.wordpress.com/2017/07/11/the-interledger-protocol-a-bigger-pie-for-everybody/ This is my latest blog; I'm doing two things with this entry: Explaining XRP, its history and function Connecting why its good for XRP Leave comments and let me know if you like / dislike it, and feel free to share it as much as you want on other media! Reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/Ripple/comments/6mmku0/the_interledger_protocol_a_bigger_pie_for/ Twitter: https://twitter.com/Hodor7777/status/884783605217730561
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