Ripple, a provider of blockchain solutions for the payments industry, has launched a new investment initiative to build an ecosystem around XRP cryptocurrency.
The initiative, dubbed Zpring, will ‘invest in, incubate, acquire and provide grants to companies and projects run by proven entrepreneurs’ according a statement by Ripple.
In return, it will bring entrepreneurs and their businesses over to XRP, both the cryptocurrency and the smart ledger, to build an ecosystem. XRP is the world’s third-largest cryptocurrency, behind only bitcoin and Ethereum, with a total ‘coin market cap’ of $28.7bn according to Coinmarketcap.com. Ripple says it doesn’t control or own XRP, despite having 60% of all tokens.
“At Ripple, we will continue to use XRP to help financial institutions remove friction from global payments,” the company said in a statement. “However, the characteristics of XRP and the XRP Ledger – superior speed, scalability and stability — make it perfect for entrepreneurs looking to solve problems across identity, trade finance, gaming and virtual goods, provenance, real estate, insurance, digital media and many other industries.
Xpring has already offered support to Scooter Braun, founder of SB Projects, who is ‘pursuing several endeavours’ that will use XRP to improve artists’ ability to monetise and manage their content.
It has also supported Stefan Thomas, inventor of the Interledger Protocol (ILP), creator of BitcoinJS, co-founder of TxtBear, who just launched a new venture Coil to use XRP and the Interledger Protocol (ILP) for various micropayments applications.
Thomas McLeod, serial entrepreneur, co-founder and CEO of Omni, will soon integrate XRP as a currency into Omni’s marketplace.
Ripple also recently invested $25m in Blockchain Capital’s latest fund. Using XRP, it backed Blockchain Capital Parallel IV LP Fund, which is the first fund to accept capital calls in digital assets and focuses entirely on the development of the blockchain space.
The enterprise blockchain provider has also hired Ethan Beard, formerly director of Facebook’s developer network and an ex-EIR at Greylock Partners, to lead Xpring and more broadly Ripple’s developer program.
“I love helping startups leverage new technologies and developments to grow. At Facebook, we saw companies in areas like gaming, music, and news use our platform to become big businesses, said Ethan Beard, SVP at Ripple. “Blockchain and digital assets have the ability to solve important problems and XRP – with it’s speed, scalability and demonstrated real-world use case – is a great tool for startups and entrepreneurs to build businesses around.”
In February, Ripple formed an agreement with Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority to support the use of xCurrent. The agreement supports banks in the country with exploring the use of Ripple’s cross-border payments technology. The two groups have already created a pilot program which will aid the use training and management of xCurrent.
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