Sagar Sarbhai is not a household name. Not even a cryptocurrency name. As Head of Regulatory Relations for Asia-Pacific and the Middle East, his role at Ripple Labs is senior enough to merit attention, but not C-level stuff.
In an interview with CNBC he dropped a clanger: “I am very confident that in the next one month or so you will see some good news coming in where we launch the product live in production,” he said, regarding xRapid.
xRapid is a product that Ripple Labs says will reduce costs and offer on-demand liquidity for banks – and it will use the cryptocurrency token they developed, XRP, as an intermediary asset. Banks could still use Ripple’s xCurrent product however, which does not depend on XRP.
Following this hint, a spokesperson at Ripple Labs said there isn’t an official commercial timeline for the release of the product.
As the editor of a news publication, a good portion of my day is spent glancing around my array of monitors. Through a process of osmosis, the comings and goings of the crypto world ooze their way into my consciousness – and although I may not be great at predicting green candles, I’m pretty good with red flags.
For the last week or so, I’ve seen story after story after story appear in certain crypto media that are known to accept paid contributions. These stories have three things in common: they are uniformly positive about XRP prospects, they offer no context or alternative perspective, and they are upvoted immediately in a pattern inconsistent with other stories.
Positive stories about Bitcoin may see a few thumbs-up. Dogecoin’s recent rise got a little attention. But throw in a ridiculous headline like “Is XRP Considered To Be The Next Bitcoin?” and the news aggregators light up like a Christmas tree.
While Ripple Labs itself may have nothing whatsoever to do with planting stories or encouraging bot-driven sentiment, the plethora of media that will accept paid stories unquestioningly – and inject them directly into a newsfeed that’s carried by major crypto resources – must surely influence investor confidence. And for as little as $299, any investor with a bag of XRP and a keyboard could help move the market.
When Crypto Briefing’s Andrew Macdonald wrote a critique of XRP last week, he was banned from the Ripple Telegram group for sharing it. When I shared that post on the Ripple subreddit, I was immediately banned for 30 days. The article was a scholarly and intelligent assessment of the steps that Ripple Labs has taken to distance themselves from the XRP token – in all likelihood, with the intention of helping the token avoid being designated a security by the SEC.
Cryptocurrency isn’t completely divorced from reality. When negative sentiment is suppressed, and positive sentiment is boosted in a way that makes no sense, the red flags fly high.
There is an alternative explanation for the XRP token’s Flippening: there’s already a deal in place with the SEC, to group the token in with ETH and BTC as an asset that has ‘become decentralized’ enough to merit escaping designation as a security.
In which case, as is so often the case, someone simply knows something we don’t – and they’re going make a killing.
Whether XRP deserves its current market capitalization or not, one thing I am sure of: I will never hold a token which needs censorship and an army of boosters to sustain its price.
The author is not invested in XRP but holds other digital assets.
The opinion expressed here does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Crypto Briefing as an entity, or other members of the Crypto Briefing staff.