The Digital Revolution of Money
It was September 13th, 1991, and I was 17 years old. Two days before, President George H.W. Bush had made his “New World Order” speech before Congress. The Gulf War was now old news. The patent by David Schwartz for a “multilevel distributed computer system” was already three years old. The first web page on the internet had been launched the month before, and everything was about to change. But not for the reasons I had anticipated.
The first high school dance of our senior year had just ended and large groups of us headed off to a house party. There we would smoke, drink, mix with other schools, and partake in the degenerate activities which were prohibited at the dance but expected from a generation raised on 1980’s fake synthesizer hopefulness and glam rock rebellion. Take On Me and The Sun Always Shines On TV by the band A-Ha being two of the rare exceptions.
Walking into the house on that particular night was like stepping into another world. There was a small local band set up in the corner of the living room. Teenagers were smashing around and banging into one another. No headbanging or Polo shirts. Just animalistic release. The sound was something I had never heard before. Somewhere in the deep recess of my mind, I felt a shift in the energy which surrounded me. It was a movement of culture. A modification of behavior. We could never step back into the world we had just left behind.
That was the first time I had ever heard Smells Like Teen Spirit by Nirvana. The band had done a great job. Each note pulled me into the new world and reverberated inside my subconscious caverns. Those hellish tunnels and caves of fear and desire. The place where the seeds of all regrets are planted. Sex pastel colors painted on rock. We all shared the moment. We all knew that a change had taken place.
We all have those moments in our lives that mark change. Even though change is a constant there are always those rare moments that resonate with each of us for our reasons. Then there are those which impact all of us. A generation of us. The coming of Nirvana and the cultural change in music marked such a generational transformation. Bundled together with the birth of the world wide web and the geopolitical changes which came after the formal collapse of the Soviet Union that December, the 1990’s foreshadowed the world to come.
Now, here we are in August of 2021. Thirty years later. I’m now 47 years old and we are once again on the precipice of great change. But this time music is boring – a regurgitation of past glories and new mindlessness. There are a few standouts, such as the Israeli singer-songwriter Asaf Avidan. The internet has taken over everything. Almost. War is disregarded as culturally irrelevant, like bones and old newspapers, and the United States, though still intact, is cannibalizing itself from within. The global response to COVID serves as a form of behavior modification that music could only dream of achieving, and David Schwartz has moved on from his early patent to co-develop the XRP Ledger and subsequently the Standard Custody institutional solution for digital assets.
In our midst, a revolution is taking place. It’s not like previous revolutions that overthrew monarchies, British rule, or revolutions that served ideological ends. Nor is it like the internet revolution. It’s unique in that it’s a digital revolution of money, and as with the famous painting “Liberty Leading the People” by Eugène Delacroix, this time it’s David Schwartz, and a wide list of generational programmers and developers, who are leading the digital asset space towards a transformation of money and a redefinition of human time and labor.
The XRP Ledger was launched in June of 2012. Since that time it has further developed to become the most advanced, open, fast, cost-effective, and decentralized blockchain ledger. The key features of the ledger are:
1. An open-source, permissionless, and decentralized platform.
2. The first major carbon-neutral blockchain and is inherently energy-efficient.
3. Any developer can join the #XRPCommunity and start building on it. No permission is required.
4. The XRPL has consistent performance with more than 63 million ledgers closed since inception.
5. The most important aspect of the ledger is that it is fast with cheap transactions, scalable, and the native asset XRP will soon become the most liquid asset in the world.
Most reading this are already aware of how great XRP and the ledger are, so we will focus on other characteristics of the revolution itself.
Wealth is the accumulation of human time and labor. Humans have created holding vessels for that wealth over time, such as sticks with markings on them, barter items like bread and chickens, gold, silver, commodities, houses, investment products, bonds, fiat currencies, and now digital assets. But unlike the other vessels, digital assets create a new opportunity where for the first time since the invention of agriculture, human time and labor now has a storage vessel that allows for a meaningful evolution of the human condition itself, wherever that evolution may take us.
Building up around the XRPL are a host of products and services which will lead the revolution in the years to come. Ripple, the company building payment and bridge services upon the ledger, has been developing profound solutions for cross-border payments, On-Demand Liquidity, and a method whereby central banks can mint Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs) directly on the ledger itself. David Schwartz, of both Ripple and Standard Custody, alongside the Ripple team, has even made it possible for central banks to use private ledgers which can bridge and interact with the main XRP Ledger.
The level of innovation is profound and growing by the day. Following the charge, many are building products and services to support the ledger. WietseWind of XRPL Labs, and his band of merry developers, have developed the XUMM Wallet which functions as the core wallet of the XRPL. XUMM is growing to be a tool like no other. Already it is years ahead of other products in the space. When you set up a XUMM wallet you are establishing your specific address on the XRP Ledger which provides self-custody of XRP and all assets which may be launched on the ledger through trust lines. The tools within XUMM allow you to utilize the functions built within the ledger itself.
Imagine WiestseWind and his team sitting around at their computers developing code like madmen while listening to Nirvana, answering community questions on Twitter, and starting families. This is sitcom material, folks.
One of the little-known functions built within XUMM is the ability to import other XRPL accounts and merge those accounts. With every XRP account which is established the ledger takes a reserve of 20 XRP. This 20 XRP is still yours and most are returned upon the deleting of the account. Most of us who have been around for enough years have started numerous XRP accounts across different platforms and wallets. Each time a 20 XRP reserve is taken. This can end up being a lot of XRP locked in reserve.
Just a few days ago I decided to play around with these functions within XUMM and imported a whole whack of other accounts. Of course, you need to have the seed phrases or secret numbers for those accounts to import them. Assuming you do, then you can then use the Account Merge xApp within XUMM to merge those accounts and reclaim 15 of the 20 XRP which was taken on reserve. The ledger uses 5 XRP to delete an account.
Just recently a company called Ark Plate launched which offers a product made of stainless steel to store your XUMM secret numbers safely and securely. It’s waterproof, fireproof, hackproof, and permanent. I love seeing this kind of innovation develop around the XRPL and services like XUMM and go out of my to support where I can. Check them out at www.arkplate.com or on Twitter at @ARK_PLATE.
The Flare Network is another innovation that leveraged the accounts on the XRP Ledger to launch its network. Those holding XRP on a snapshot date of December 12, 2020, will receive a predetermined amount of the Flare Networks native asset called Spark.
Building on the Flare Network is Flare Finance which will be offering a suite of decentralized financial products, such as loans, yield farming, insurance, a decentralized exchange, and a host of growing products and services.
Both Flare Network and Flare Finance are now expecting to launch sometime in October 2021. Getting this right at the start is critical for a successful launch.
Over the next few weeks, a Flare testnet will launch called Songbird. Those receiving Spark will also receive the Songbird token. Any product or service that wants to be on Flare Network will have to be successful on Songbird first. This means that the Songbird network will be critical to the success of the mainnet and the SGB token will continue to grow in value and function after launch.
CasinoCoin is another digital asset that has recently migrated from its own network onto the XRP Ledger. CSC is meant to provide fast and secure solutions for the regulated gaming industry with both players and operators in mind. Capitalizing on the speed and scalability of the XRPL, CasinoCoin has now positioned itself to dominant the online gaming industry before eventually moving onto the world of brick-and-mortar casinos.
Since migrating to the XRPL the CasinoCoin token, called CSC, has been listed on several digital asset exchanges, with additional listings on some top 15 exchanges imminent in the coming weeks and months. This is a vital step for CasinoCoin as exchanges expand liquidity. Amongst this timeline, the CasinoCoin Lobby xApp will be launching on XUMM. The Lobby is the platform on which online casinos can launch their services and utilize the speed, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of the CSC digital asset.
Those with an existing XUMM account can set up a CSC trust line for 5 XRP and exchange XRP directly for CSC within the XUMM wallet, as it uses the built-in XRP Ledger decentralized exchange function. You can also connect your XUMM wallet directly to the decentralized exchange using the XRP Tool Kit or Sologenic.
CasinoCoin is also a member of the Flare Finance family of digital assets.
Envision a world where you have an official CBDC wallet or private wallets sanctioned by the government, such as XUMM, where you can frictionlessly and seamlessly transfer value between a CBDC and the XRP Ledger, while using all the products and services built upon, or associated with, the XRPL, such as Flare Finance, CasinoCoin, and the soon to be released first stablecoin launched on the XRPL called Aurei.
Each day there are more and more digital assets launched on the XRP Ledger. It’s a growing ecosystem. A Cambrian explosion of digital assets. Some of the more recent assets to launch on the ledger are HADA, HADALITE, NERIAN, IGC, XTK, ELS, GIGCOIN, and XGOLD.
This represents only a small sampling of the XRP Ledger and its associated family of digital assets and products and services. When added to the growth in the overall digital asset space there is little doubt that a revolution has begun.
Just think about it. David Schwartz filed the patent for a multilevel distributed computer system three years before the launch of the first web page. Look at the impact the internet has had on the world. Now imagine the impact the digital revolution of money will have on the world. It can redefine what it means to be human. It can redefine what a bank is. Humans become banks.
Change happens constantly. Time moves, the wind blows, plants grow and seasons change. As we move into the world of 2022 anything is possible. Major nations could collapse, borders could shift, new technology will be introduced, there could be more war, there could be more peace, or a synthetic consciousness could be introduced. How many of us even recognize the change as it’s happening? How many understand what is about to happen?
It’s been said that Kurt Cobain of Nirvana just randomly made up the lyrics for Smells Like Teen Spirit. Just threw words together that rhymed, such as the verse “A mulatto, an albino, a mosquito, my libido”. Often our subconscious minds patch words and events together that on the surface don’t appear to have any meaning at all. Past, present, and future flow in and out of the subconscious. What did Kurt see? How did those words come to be formed? Perhaps we’ll never know.
Though Kurt Cobain didn’t live long to see the world he helped create, his efforts lived on in the music of others. Even in this blog. We keep stepping forward until we can’t step any further, but hopefully, our steps provide a path to others. That is what everyone in the digital asset space is doing – providing a path forward for others.
Some of us will be here longer than others. That’s okay. Where will I be at 77? How will my behavior be modified? What world will I live in? Pastel colors painted on rock.
The revolution has begun.
Now we can never step back into the world we just left behind. - JC