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OPINION

Palau turns to Ripple as stablecoins extend their reach

The smallest countries are among the quickest to reposition themselves amid the great digital disruption.

Ripple-coin-world-map-Reuters-960.jpg
Photo: Reuters

It is all too rare that the dateline ‘San Francisco and Ngerulmud’ appears at the head of a press release, but these are unusual times. An exception came last week when Ripple partnered with the Republic of Palau to “explore the country’s first national digital currency and its use cases with the XRP Ledger”.

Well, why not? In an era in which El Salvador wants to build a bitcoin city powered by the Conchagua volcano, nothing is off the table. And one can understand why the smallest countries are among the quickest to look for a way to reposition themselves amid great digital disruption.

Palau, fundamentally, has two goals: to become a country anchored on financial innovation and to remain above the rising sea. Consequently, one of the reasons it chose XRP Ledger is because it is carbon neutral and, the release says, “120,000x more energy-efficient than proof-of-work blockchains” – by which it presumably means bitcoin. Good luck to them.

Early bird

In the more developed Pacific nations, Tony Richards, the head of payments policy at the Reserve Bank of Australia, gave an interesting speech on crypto and stablecoins in November, among whose revelations was the news that he has been invested in crypto since June 2014.

“After