Blockchain start-up Ripple, whose digital currency has seen huge volatility this year, is investing in a blockchain-focused fund to encourage the next great technology app built using its software.
Ripple, which owns about 60 billion of the 100 billion ripple, or XRP, tokens ever created, said Wednesday that it would invest $25 million of that digital currency into the fund for early-stage investments.
The company’s aim is to bankroll “clever” entrepreneurs who can find additional uses for Ripple’s blockchain technology, a company representative said Wednesday.
“We want smart people and smart entrepreneurs, who can solve a problem using XRP,” Cory Johnson, chief market strategist at Ripple, told CNBC in an interview Wednesday. “There’s money sitting there to be used.”
As of now, Ripple’s technology is mostly applied to real-time transaction settlements for banks. The company has announced partnerships with U.S. money transfer giants MoneyGram and Western Union as well as American Express and Santander.
Johnson compared the potential for Ripple’s technology to iPhone software, which ended up facilitating some of the most valuable private start ups in the world.
Ripple’s cryptocurrency, which hit a record high of $3.84 in January, has pulled back significantly to around 49 cents as of Wednesday, according to CoinMarketCap.com. It rose nearly 1 percent shortly after Wednesday’s announcement.
Ripple’s market cap based on the digital currency’s price alone is close to $29.4 billion.
“A lot of people are going to develop things using XRP and because it sits on our balance sheet, it will be helpful to us from a valuation standpoint,” Johnson said. “If somebody starts the next Uber, or Instagram or Salesforce using XRP, that would be great for us.”
This is the first fund Ripple has contributed to but it won’t be the last, Johnson said.
The Blockchain Capital contribution was made in XRP, not U.S. dollars. But Johnson said the company is not looking to offload its cryptocurrency, and that $25 million is tiny when compared to the rest of Ripple’s balance sheet.