Ripple’s long-anticipated xRapid service has finally launched. The announcement was made at the Swell Conference, which took place in San Francisco this week. xRapid will be launched with Mercury Fx, Cuallix, and Catalyst Corporate Federal Credit.

A Pivotal Moment in Ripple’s History

The launch represents a key moment for Ripple and the cryptocurrency world alike. Up until now, there has been an often murky line between Ripple’s operations and Ripple’s digital currency, XRP, with investors sometimes struggling to separate the two. However, there is a key distinction between the two, as confirmed by recent comments that Ripple gave to CNBC. Prior to the launch of xRapid, movements in XRP have been simply speculation as none of its other services have anything to do with XRP.

For example, Ripple’s service xVia recently announced that it is operating in 40 countries in six continents. xVia facilitates high-speed payments via RippleNet but has nothing to do with XRP. Despite this, XRP surged on the announcement, as seen from the price chart below taken from earlier this month.

Screen Shot 2018 10 03 at 12.25.46

The market capitalization for XRP is more than $21 billion currently, and it is the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Back in January, the market capitalization was briefly over $140 billion. Can you imagine a publicly listed company having a market capitalization of $21 billion prior to launching a product?

Screen Shot 2018 10 03 at 12.28.05

Another important thing for investors to bear in mind is that the Ripple company owns 60% of the tokens in existence. There are 100 billion XRP tokens in total. Well-known cryptocurrency figure WhalePanda makes his thoughts known on Twitter.

XRP’s Future

The launch of xRapid represents an important step for the digital currency XRP. Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, noted in an interview with Fortune that he believes it is time for the industry to mature and become “less dependent on speculative trading and more dependent solving real problems for real customers.”

The future for XRP remains uncertain. It will surely remain a speculative instrument for the foreseeable future but may mature as the xRapid service progresses, and investors can value it more according to the share it captures of the international remittance market. The legal status of XRP also remains uncertain for the foreseeable future. Whether XRP is deemed a security or not will have a big impact on its future. If deemed a security, the adoption of the project is likely to be far more challenging, and those selling XRP may be subject to severe penalties.

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