Ripple is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies in the market. It currently stands in third place, after Bitcoin and Ethereum.
You're probably wondering what is Ripple and why is it so popular? You don’t need to look any further as I'll cover both of these questions in this guide.
I will provide you with a complete overview of Ripple coin, its pros and cons, features, current value, and so on. By the end of this guide, you will also get to know more about Ripple's security features - one of the most important aspects that you should always take into consideration!
Before getting to know more about Ripple coin, you should know that it's crucial to buy XRP from reliable cryptocurrency exchanges, such as Coinbase, or choose an even easier way and purchase it via Simplex - fraud-free payment processing that allows you to buy crypto with a credit card. Also, store it in safe crypto wallets, such as Ledger Nano S.
So, let’s get started!
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- Fast transactions
- Capable team
- Piloted by many large institutions
- Focused on large corporations
Table of Contents
An Introduction to Ripple
The first thing you need to know is that Ripple is a cryptocurrency focused on solving the problems related to international payment transfers.
To be more precise, Ripple is a platform for a global system of payments, settlements, and exchange. XRP is the cryptocurrency that is exchanged on this platform to facilitate transactions.
Ripple was released in 2012 by Ripple Labs Inc. with just one thing in mind — to provide one frictionless experience to send money globally using the power of blockchain.
So, Ripple is different from both Bitcoin and Ethereum. While Bitcoin is just a digital currency, Ethereum is a platform for developing smart contracts. Ripple, however, is a new payment infrastructure targeted towards international financial transactions.
XRP creation and circulation is another exceptional aspect that you should be aware of. When it comes to the majority of cryptocurrencies, new coins are created via the process called “mining". Well, that’s not the case with Ripple coin. All 100 billion XRP were created right when Ripple started.
What’s even more surprising is that Ripple labs hold about 55 billion XRPs itself. Needless to say, this is quite an unusual situation as the focus is usually on decentralization. and
So, now that you know what is Ripple, let’s find out what its main purpose is.
What Does Ripple Coin Aim to Achieve?
Technologies have progressed so much that things like self-driving cars became a reality. But one sector which has failed to progress much is international payment transfers.
International payment transfers experience two major issues:
1. They’re expensive
If you've made a cross-border payment, you should be aware of the expensive fees that come with it. High-street banks are typically the worst for such payments, however, even services such as PayPal offer relatively high fees - it costs about 2.9% to make an international payment with PayPal.
On top of these charges, customers lose money when currency conversion takes place.
2. They're slow
In the age of the internet where everything is instant, international transactions can take anywhere between days to weeks. There is no specific reason for this other than the fact that financial institutions do not wish to upgrade their technology — awful excuse!
In this process, financial institutions manage to make a lot of money, however, customers are suffering. Ripple aims to change that and make international transfers instant and cheap.
Since Ripple's launch back in 2012, the company has been working toward solving this problem and has been able to generate a lot of interest from investors. Let’s take a look at the historical performance of Ripple XRP.
Ripple Coin Historical Performance
Ripple coin is one of the oldest cryptocurrencies, but it was not always so popular. As you can see in the snapshot below, it was only in April 2017 that Ripple’s price started increasing.
That’s right! It’s a return of 55,2%!
Like many other cryptocurrencies, Ripple coin experienced a huge crash in 2018. There was a slight price increase in the end of the same year, however, it wasn't that significant. Currently, Ripple's price is only $0.29, so you can only expect that it will go up once again.
Ripple is still in third place based on the market cap. That’s because of the on-ground work they are doing in terms of developing technology and building industry partnerships.
Let’s talk about how Ripple is being used in the real world.
How to Use Ripple?
Unlike Bitcoin that aims to remove banks as intermediaries, Ripple is widely used by banks to make international payments faster, cheaper and more transparent.
Ripple for Banks and Financial Institutions
Currently, banks use Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) to facilitate cross-border payments in a secured manner. SWIFT is basically a messaging network that securely transmits payment orders from one bank to another.
10,000 SWIFT member institutions send approximately 24 million messages on the network every day. Point to note here is that SWIFT itself does not hold any money or accounts for the banks. It is just a communication channel, but a very important one as a large amount of international trade relies on it.
The problem with SWIFT is that it has not changed much since its inception in 1974. So, Ripple is trying to make the change that SWIFT failed to do and can be considered as a direct competitor to SWIFT.
Ripple XRP network is being used and tested by financial institutions and banks to send and settle international payments in a more efficient manner. It is already backed by over 100 financial institutions from all over the world which includes names like American Express, Santander, Standard Chartered and others.
Other Ripple Partnerships
Banks are not the only beneficiaries of Ripple. Coinone, one of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges in South Korea, has entered a partnership with Ripple. It will use Ripple’s product called xCurrent for launching “Cross” (a new global remittance service).
Ripple is also expected to enter partnerships with 5 more organizations in the near future — RationalFX, MoneyMatch, FairFX, UniPAY, and Exchange4Free. They will use Ripple’s xVia product for facilitating remittances and wire transfers.
UPDATE 2020: Ripple is already partnering with all of the above-mentioned companies.
As you can see, Ripple coin is making a lot of progress with strategic partnerships and is being accepted by a large variety of organizations.
So, Ripple protocol sounds highly beneficial as far as international payments are concerned. However, there's something that makes many people uncomfortable. You can find out all about it in the further section.
Can Ripple be Abused?
The initial idea of cryptocurrencies was to eliminate centralized agencies, such as banks, and create a truly decentralized system. Well, Ripple Labs Inc, the company behind Ripple XRP itself holds more than half of the total 100 billion XRP that will ever exist.
This leads to some of the same old problems that centralization carries. One entity, Ripple Labs, in this case, becomes too powerful. A lot of concerns have been raised about this issue, but the CEO of Ripple has a different view.
Ripple is not centralized. To be clear, if Ripple disappeared today, XRP would continue to function. To me, that’s the most important measure of whether something is decentralized.
Ripple CEO, Brad Garlinghouse
Ripple’s team has been responsive to such concerns and has come out with a decentralization strategy. In December 2017, Ripple placed 55 billion Ripple XRP in a cryptographically-secured escrow account to make sure that there are XRP supplies at any given time.
A contract has also been put in place that now releases 1 billion XRP into the market each month. That way, Ripple Labs does not have the power of flooding the market with XRPs if it wanted to. So, I would say that the risk of Ripple coin being centralized has reduced visibly.
Now that you know what Ripple is and how it is being used, let’s find answers to other important questions surrounding Ripple.
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Is Ripple Secure?
To answer this question, we first need to understand how it works.
By now, you should understand that Ripple is not a regular cryptocurrency like Bitcoin or Litecoin. There are a few advantages that XRP offers:
✓ Low transaction fees
✓ The fast transaction speed of about 4-5 seconds
Having this information in mind, let’s see how Ripple transaction works. Let's assume Kate from the U.S. wants to transfer funds to Carl who lives in Germany. Assuming that both their banks are on the Ripple network, the transaction would go through the following steps.
Step 1: Kate initiates the transfer of $500.
Step 2: Ripple’s messenger will verify the basic account information of Kate and Carl through the originating bank and beneficiary bank.
Step 3: Next, nodes on the Ripple network verify that there are enough funds available for sending the payment. As you can see in the snapshot below, after successful verification, Ripple settles the payment.
It's important to note that in most other cryptocurrencies this step is performed by a decentralized network of nodes. These nodes are called miners because along with verifying the transaction, they also mine the new coins of that cryptocurrency.
However, all the coins have already been released in the case of Ripple coin, eliminating the need for mining. So, nodes that verify Ripple transactions are known as validators.
Also, these validators are approved and appointed by Ripple Labs. Whereas, anyone can become a node in the case of other cryptocurrencies.
This is another reason why Ripple has been labeled as ‘centralized’.
Step 4: Upon successful verification, payment confirmation is sent to both Kate and Carl.
This whole process, which could take days through a regular channel, gets completed in only a few seconds.
So, is this process secure?
Most cryptocurrencies are based on blockchain technology, which is considered to be very secure when built well. Although Ripple is built on something similar, it is not a blockchain technology.
Ripple is instead based on its own form of DLT (Distributed Ledger Technology). It is an open-source protocol, hosting a shared and public ledger, using a consensus mechanism to ensure security. It’s easy to see the similarities.
The security is provided by the validators that are regularly comparing their transaction records before coming to an agreement. This way they can make sure that the same money is not spent at two or more places (also known as double spending).
But what happens when one validator decides to go against the consensus? In such a situation, the validator who disagrees needs to digitally sign it and inform the other validators.
Other validators can then listen to this validator and replace it if it turns out to be malicious. This way they can still continue to maintain the security of the system and avoid delays caused by a disagreeing validator.
While Ripple coin does seem to be secure, its technology is still in a very early stage and would need a continuous upgrade to fulfill its objective, especially from the security perspective.
Also, if you're concerned about security, choose a safe wallet to keep it. One of the recommended options is Ledger Nano S. What is more, you can purchase it on Coinbase - a reliable cryptocurrency exchange platform, or choose an easier option and buy it via Simplex - secure payment processing that allows you to buy cryptocurrencies with credit cards.
By now you must have a fair idea about what is Ripple, how it works, who are its users are and so on. Let’s summarize this guide with a list of pros and cons of Ripple coin.
✓ Transaction fees
The cost of a standard transaction on the Ripple protocol is about 0.00001 XRP. The cost of 1 XRP is currently around $0.29. That means the transaction fee is so cheap that it’s practically free!
As I said before, there are no miners of Ripple coin. So, who gets the fee? No one!
In this unique mechanism, the XRP that is used for paying fees is destroyed.
This means that the number of XRPs are reducing day by day. This also implies that the value of the XRPs that remains is expected to increase in the future.
✓ Transaction speed
Ripple transactions are faster compared to traditional payment methods. The snapshot below reveals the whole truth about Ripple's performance in terms of transaction speed.
As mentioned earlier, Ripple is being piloted by many large financial institutions and payment apps. This is one of the key reasons that Ripple is a favorite among investors.
Ripple is being led by a very capable team with a good mix of experience and expertise. In such a young industry where things are not yet clearly defined, a good team can really make a difference.
One of the main reasons why Ripple has been criticized the most is centralization. Ripple Labs controls the majority stake of XRP. In addition to that, Ripple Labs is also the entity that approves the validators for the network.
Also, the founders gave themselves around 20 billion XRPs at the time of its release.
Critics say that it is not in the spirit of the basic philosophy of cryptocurrencies, which has decentralization at its core.
✗ Focused on large corporations
We saw that many large corporations are already using Ripple to reduce their costs and provide a better service. That said, Ripple doesn’t currently have much to offer to an end consumer like you and me.
Most of the offerings of Ripple have been designed with banks and payment providers in mind. You won’t personally see much change in sending or receiving payments anytime soon.
The international payment transfer is an attractive industry for cryptocurrencies. So, Ripple has to face its competitors - Stellar (XLM), that is targeting the same area.
In fact, Stellar has also managed to find a spot within the top 10 cryptocurrencies with a market capitalization of $10.78 billion.
Another competitive disadvantage for Ripple is that you cannot buy Ripple on Coinbase, despite it being one of the most popular cryptocurrencies! The ability to buy Ripple on Coinbase would certainly generate a lot of hype and make it easier for beginners to get involved.
UPDATE 2020: You can now purchase Ripple and multiple other coins on Coinbase in a few easy steps! Considering the fact that Coinbase is one of the most reliable cryptocurrency exchange platforms, that's amazing news!
Since we already covered the most important aspects regarding Ripple coin, it's time to move to the conclusions.
Ripple is a cryptocurrency focused on solving the problems related to cross-border money transfers. It's already being used by many large banks and financial institutions.
The biggest issue when it comes to Ripple is centralization. Fortunately, Ripple Labs has started taking action to ‘decentralize’ Ripple.
If you want to buy Ripple, I'd recommend choosing Coinbase which's one of the most reliable crypto exchange platforms. Also, it's important to note that you should never keep huge amounts of Ripple in hot storage, you should choose cold wallets, such as Ledger Nano S, instead.
Follow these simple steps to get Ripple:
1. Get a reliable crypto wallet that supports Ripple (Ledger Nano S or Trezor).
2. Set up a Ripple account.
3. Sign up to Coinbase.
4. Purchase Ripple with fiat currencies.
5. Send your Ripple coins to Ledger Nano S or Trezor.
Choose an easier way, purchase Ripple via Simplex and transfer your coins to a reliable crypto wallet.
I hope that this article on Ripple coin was helpful and you managed to find all the needed information.
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