Exchanges are the link between the old world of banking and the new world of crypto-currencies; they play a vital role in supporting the growing Bitcoin economy. If Bitcoin hopes to continue rapidly gaining new users it needs this bridge between the old and new systems to be up and functioning. While Bitcoin is in no way dependant on a link to the traditional banking system, its smooth transition into mainstream use certainly is.
Unfortunately these bridges which make up the exchange market are concentrated and often broken. This leads to concerns over reliability and security, which can cause market panic and extreme volatility. As Bitcoin enters the mainstream a wave of new businesses, services and software developers have recently dedicated their efforts to solving this problem. Their task will not be easy, and the while the exchange rate has seen some recent stability, there is a long way to go before obtaining bitcoins can be called user friendly and reliable.
Out very soon, the new version of Ripple has has undergone a dramatic renovation.
Ripple was created by Ryan Fugger in 2006 as a trust network where people can grant each other credit, and anyone can ‘be their own bank’. The project has since been acquired by a team of developers including Mt. Gox creator Jed McCaleb. Ryan’s trust network is still there, but it is now one feature of a much expanded system.
The new features of the soon to be open source software include the possibility for a decentralized currency exchange, a p2p transaction network, “Gateways” for bringing other currencies into the system, and Ripples (XRP), a new digital currency.
I’ve been hearing a lot about the new version of Ripple, both excitement and criticism. while I have yet to read up on the specifics of the version due to out this month, I am both intrigued by the possibility of decentralized exchange and concerned with developer Ryan Fugger’s original goal for Ripple as ‘debt money without artificially imposed scarcity.’ I can’t imagine unlimited debt money as a serious competitor to Bitcoin, however, the IEEE seems to disagree with me. In the below review they speak with Ripple’s developers and beta testers.
“Within a few weeks, a new option will be available: a system called Ripple, which allows individuals to create credit and disburse it to people within a peer-to-peer social network. The project could be used to implement what many Bitcoiners have been asking for—a decentralized currency exchange. But if the more-ambitious parts of the design pan out, the credit created in Ripple could itself become a new form of digital currency and the first formidable competition for Bitcoin.”
Monetas is building software for a decentralized financial and legal system that is less dependent on traditional bankers and lawyers.
The business’ founders, Chris Odom (Fellow Traveler) and Johann Gevers aim to make this ‘financial system 2.0’ possible by developing commercial versions of the Open Transactions digital finance library. This software will allow digital finance entrepreneurs to startup micropayment services, financial markets, community currencies, escrow services, and many others all without depending on the traditional banking or legal system.
Johann, Monetas’ CEO, recently shared with me his thoughts on finance, his belief in decentralized systems and his plans for Monetas.