Despite an astonishing recovery from 2018 lows, one cryptocurrency in the top 10 has failed to make any headway. XRP remains the only cryptocurrency in the top 10 to post losses for 2019 thus far at -23%.

XRP is the third-largest cryptocurrency after Bitcoin and Ethereum have had a rocky 2019 thus far, tumbling more than 20% this year. Despite wiping off some $3B on its market capitalization this year, Ripple’s cryptocurrency has retained its 3rd position amidst a skeptical market.

Ripple to Blame

One can easily place the blame on market forces, but Ripple’s terrible performance in 2019 can largely be blamed on its founders. Its founders and payment service providers hold around 75% of XRP tokens. Moreover, Co-founder Jed McCaleb, who no longer works at Ripple, has been dumping 500,000 XRP on the market daily.

The increasing level of XRP selling during the past three quarters has injected heavy pressure on the price, pushing it downward. Although this has been happening for some time, investors are, for some reason, only starting to take notice now. Ripple, however, justifies the dumping to fund ‘development purposes,’ but where the money is going is murky at best.

Ripple, in a statement to Bloomberg, said that “as a percentage of volume and the actual supply inflation rate were lower” for XRP than for Bitcoin or Ether. The company also claims that its sales are tied to exchange volumes and that they plan on lowering it in the coming quarter.

Aggressively Dumping on the Market

One of the issues is that Ripple has failed to be transparent about its supply-side.

In 2017, Ripple created an escrow service where it deposited its 55B XRP holdings. The company promised that it would have access to only 1B XRP monthly, and only sell them to institutional buyers. The rest would be locked up, or so the company claimed. However, according to Nic Carter, a co-founder of Coin Metrics, there are discrepancies are all over. Reported figures have differed from the actual XRP sold at least twice, he said.

The result has been something of a ‘supply shock.’ With the terms of the escrow not being clear from the start, no one is certain how much XRP is being dumped. This is in stark contrast to Bitcoin, which has a clear emission rate which is public and unchangeable.

Ripple’s dumping on the market has also accelerated this year, by all accounts. “Last quarter’s $251.5 million was up almost 50% from the $169.4 million sold in Q1,” Eric Turner of Messari told Bloomberg.

With Ripple’s ‘cross-border payment network’ now largely unremarkable, and many competitors like Facebook’s Libra and IBM World Wire stepping in, perhaps the company is scared it may be out-innovated into irrelevance. That would explain its absurd war chest, which has been overflowing with bounty as Ripple continues to offload its XRP onto the market at increasing levels.

Lucky for Ripple, however, it will take quite a shake-up for the cryptocurrency to be dethroned from the top 3 spot. Bitcoin Cash, 4th by market capitalization, is valued at about half of XRP’s $11.6B.

Do you agree that XRP’s exceptionally poor market performance in 2019 can be tied to the company aggressively dumping its token on the market? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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Anton Lucian

Raised in the U.S, Lucian graduated with a BA in economic history. An accomplished freelance journalist, he specializes in writing about the cryptocurrency space and the digital '4th industrial revolution' we find ourselves in. Email.

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