It turns out, you can launch crypto tokens on Ripple's XRP Ledger, and a small group of coders are seeking to be among the first to do it.
Stepping back, that might seem strange on multiple levels. For one, there's XRP Ledger's association with Ripple, the San Francisco startup that has largely tried to distance itself from cryptocurrency, mostly focusing on offering distributed ledger tech to some of the world's largest financial firms. Second, there's the fact that XRP Ledger, while open-source, isn't exactly known as a platform.
But while ethereum has been the go-to blockchain for entrepreneurs that want to launch cryptocurrencies, it turns out that lately, a significant number of token issuers have been looking for alternatives. And for Allvor, a small Brazil-based company focused on streamlining digital payments, the XRP Ledger is proving an attractive option for running what it hopes will be a significant token-based business.
And they couldn't be more excited.
"The XRP Ledger, which is developed by Ripple Company, is the best and most efficient distributed database technology ever made," according to Allvor's white paper, which reads more like a fanzine for the technology.
According to the company, XRP Ledger's main selling point is its speed, but there are several other reasons why they think Ripple's distributed ledger is the perfect place for crypto tokens.
Still, Ripple seems less thrilled about the idea. In statements, the company sought to emphasize that by nature it can't prevent even exotic uses of its technology due to its open, public codebase.
According to a Ripple spokesperson:
"XRP Ledger is open-source and a decentralized platform, so people can build whatever they want, but Ripple isn't interested in promoting or supporting ICOs on the ledger."
And that unenthused response might lead to issues down the line.
An opt-in airdrop
For one, Allvor understands that to succeed in its mission of streamlining e-commerce it needs a system that does more than just settle transactions.
It'll need a system that integrates with merchant's logistics, customer management and marketing software. As such, it's launching a token called "ALV" and building a platform that the token interacts with.
"The ideal would be if a merchant of any size could install the software or plugin that makes the ALV payment feasible within 10 minutes," said Cleyton Domingues, the co-founder of Allvor and a longtime staffer in Brazil's economy ministry. "Our challenge will be to develop the software that makes the integration possible."
Yet, the company, which doesn't have investors but instead has bootstrapped the project itself, remains unfazed, primarily because its executive believes XRP Ledger already offers a variety of benefits.
For example, Allvor's white paper says that the ledger's "hybrid payment gateways" technology will allow them to more easily set up a truly global system.
And since users of the ledger have to set up "trust channels" with people they'd like to transact with, users will feel like they have more control over what crypto tokens they receive. This is particularly important since recently both retail and institutional investors have lamented the spammy nature of token airdrops, whereby issuers seed users with tokens merely based on the amount of another token - like ether - they have.
But Ripple's system means that users will have to opt-in to receive tokens.
Allvor is creating 100 billion ALV tokens - with 5 percent being sent to current XRP holders (if they opt-in) based on the amount they held as of March 27.
Not the first
Still, investors may be wary of entering a market that's challenging to exit.
Despite XRP's recent surge in popularity (it's now the third largest by market cap), Ripple executives have struggled to entice major U.S. exchanges, like Coinbase and Gemini, to list its native cryptocurrency, according to Bloomberg.
Yet, Jon Holmquist, an industry entrepreneur and founder of the Bitcoin Black Friday movement, said that might not matter since Ripple's protocol is designed to work as a decentralized exchange of sorts, capable of representing all kinds of assets.
And Holmquist should know - he was actually the first to launch a token on Ripple in June 2017.
Through the ICO, Holmquist earned $1,500 in XRP, but after about a month, he decided to refund investor's money to steer clear of the regulatory hammer, following guidance put out by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on The DAO.
"I think a lot of ICOs are hesitant to be the first ones," Holmquist told CoinDesk.
That said, he expects more entrepreneurs to see the benefits of the XRP Ledger for token issuance even despite the lukewarm reception the concept has received.
And there's plenty of untapped potential, he said, adding:
"I think the Ripple community is very strong. You can tap into the network with investors sitting on XRP and nothing to do with it."
Ripple coins image via Shutterstock