Ripple (XRP) – The Altcoin for Banking

Bitcoin is the first crypto to land in the digital world. However, did you know that Ripple is an older concept? Even though its coin XRP was released three years later, the concept of Ripple was designed back in 2004. Today is one of the most important crypto coins out there and has been involved in fierce competition—with Ethereum—for the second spot at CoinMarketCap.

what is ripple

What is Ripple?: All you need to know

Let’s define Ripple by using the actual words on their website:

“Built for enterprise use, XRP offers banks and payment providers a reliable, on-demand option to source liquidity for cross-border payments.”

But one can’t just limit to that bare definition. To understand Ripple and how XRP works, we need to dive deeper. Ripple is a real-time, global settlement network that modernizes cross-border payments. It connects banks, payment providers -such as corporations- and digital asset exchanges via RippleNet, the world’s first commercially operational blockchain network.

That’s a key feature on Ripple’s network: it is specially designed to power cross-border payment, aka, international transactions. Actually, Ripple Labs is the name of the company that implements and offers this type of solutions through a decentralised structure via blockchain. A cryptocurrency it’s not necessary for Ripple to be operational; nevertheless, ripples (XRP) empowers the transactions, making them even faster and cheaper.

Ripple goals

If you’ve been long enough in the crypto space, you might have heard people complaining that Ripple is too centralised. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Ripple is a well-established company with offices in San Francisco, New York, Sydney, India, Singapore and Luxembourg. It has a corporate organisation with partners, plans, and yes, it gets revenue from its business model. The vision of Ripple is competing with huge payment methods for cross-border transactions like SWIFT. Ripple Labs owns more than 60 % of the available xrps.

In the end, Ripple aims to provide one of the most effective and cheap systems for the financial world. “By joining Ripple’s growing and global network, financial institutions can process customer payments instantaneously, reliably and very cheaply. Banks and suppliers can use the digital currency XRP to reduce costs and access new financial markets. ” In short, it is a system created for banking, backed by a cryptocurrency that can lower the cost of transactions. That is why it has so many detractors, but many others think that this is rather positive and allows a more solid development of this project.

Ripple address, background and history

The organisation is headquartered in San Francisco (US) and has offices in New York, London, Sydney, India, Singapore and Luxembourg.

Ripple was originally conceived in 2004. After further development of the concept, a corporation named OpenCoin was founded in 2012. The Company developed the ripple protocol (RTXP) and the Ripple payment & exchange network in open-source code. The company name changed to Ripple Labs Inc. during 2013 and was subsequently rebranded and shortened to Ripple in 2015.

Ripple is a privately funded company with notable investors such as Google VenturesSeagate TechnologyAccenture, Bitcoin Opportunity Corp Standard Chartered.

The Company is governed by a board of directors, headed up by its CEO and supported by a management team, plus more than 150 staff members. Key skills include cryptographers, security experts, data scientists, compliance analysts, software developers, Silicon Valley and Wall Street veterans.d

Ripple received numerous awards during 2015 and 2016, notably from the World Economic ForumKPMG, Forbes and Fortune. The Company was also listed –during 2016- as the 8th most influential blockchain organization in the world.

Today, Ripple boasts more than 100 major institutional clients -and growing- notably major brands such as Standard CharteredWestpac, Credit Agricole, Bank of Tokyo Mitsubishi UFG and many more.

Use cases for Ripple technology

In the Digital Age consumers and businesses have increased demands for cross-border payments.

Currently, such payments require several intermediaries for execution between the sending and receiving banks. The longwinded process takes several days to complete, adding costs and risks.

By participating in the Ripple network, financial institutions can process their customers’ payments anywhere in the world instantly, reliably and cost-effectively.

The team behind Ripple

ripple team

As stated earlier, Ripple is a commercial brand and is structured as a big and solid company. That being said, it has a huge team comprised by professional in different fields. Its founders are no longer part of Ripple’s board members, Ryan Fugger, Chris Larsen or Jed McCaleb are referred as creators or founders. Larsen and McCaleb are among the richest people in the world, according to Forbes. Nowadays, the company is led by a dream team of professionals such as Brad Garlinghouse (Executive Director), David Schwartz (Director of Cryptography) or Stefan Thomas (Technical Director). You can tell this is a powerful lineup by looking at their strategies and all the goals that Ripple has achieved so far.

How does the Ripple blockchain work?

how does ripple work

The Ripple network offers three key solutions to customers.

xCurrent

xVia

Leverages Ripple technology for corporates, payment providers and banks who want to send payments across various networks using a standard interface.

The Ripple API is a simple Application Programming Interface (API) which requires no software installation and enables users to seamlessly send payments globally -with transparency into the payment status- and with rich information, like invoices, attached.

xRapid

Key features of Ripple

  • The network is highly scalable and can handle around 1500 transactions per second, 24 hours a day, without interruptions.
  • A maximum supply of 99.9 billion ripples is set, that’s why the price is so low, but the market cap is one of the biggest in the cryptosphere.
  • Ripple Labs owns 60% of the XRP coins.
  • In order to store XRP in a native wallet, it is necessary to have a minimum of 20 XRP, knows as “reserve”. This avoids network overload and some other issues like DoS attacks.
  • Ripple (XRP) can’t be mined.
  • Which banks use Ripple? There are many banks that are already using Ripple solutions, e.g., Santander, SBI Group, MoneyGram.
  • In 2017, XRP price soared more than 50,000 %, according to CoinMarketCap data.

Ripple & XRP: not to be confused!

They are not the same thing! Ripple is the system, exchange and network created by Ripple Labs, while XRP is the digital asset that empowers that network. People has always had an issue with people associating it with the XRP cryptocurrency. For a long time, developments on the Ripple network have always had an effect on the price of the XRP cryptocurrency.

Users will be forgiven for not differentiating the two. First of all, both the network which was built to make cross-border transfers easier uses the same logo as the XRP cryptocurrency.

In any case, coins like XRP are usually associated with the network that they power, the same way we associate Ether with the Ethereum network. In fact for the latter, people often mislabel the token as Ethereum.

So why is Ripple uncomfortable with people associating it with XRP? After all, isn’t XRP part and parcel of its products range? In the past, adoption of products from the Ripple Labs have in one way or another affected XRP prices. One of these instances was when the xRapid technology was adopted by Santander, Europe’s largest bank for cross border transfers. This led to a spike in the price of Ripple.

Another instance was when UAE exchange adopted the xCurrent technology which also resulted in XRP surging. As we can see from these patterns, investors have come to associate holding XRP as somehow equivalent to having shares in the company. This assumption is of course false.

Exchanges where XRP can be traded

Price of XRP coin

XRP is not a Ripple stock, but Ripple’s digital currency. Whereas stocks are traded at a stock exchange, virtual money is traded at a cryptocurrency exchange. Ripple XRP can be traded at a growing number of crypto exchanges such as Bitstamp, Kraken, and Binance, to name a few. Now, what about if you want to trade XRP per se. Is there a place to long and short Ripple? If you want to use crypto as base-currency, you have solid alternatives as BitMEX and Bitfinex.

Also, due to its popularity, Ripple is available at many regulated and reliable brokers, for example, eToro and 24Option. If you decide to use a broker, you won’t get real XRPs; instead, you will invest in derivatives like CFDs (Contract For Difference) or futures. To find more, visit our guide: How to Buy Ripple.

How to store XRP

There are many wallets available for Ripple, starting from its native one. In order to choose one, please assess your expectations and needs. Some of the XRP wallets are very simple to set up and use, but some users look for reliability and secure alternatives (e.g., Trezor and Ledger Nano). Please note: in most software wallets, you must hold 20 XRP to open an operative ripple wallet.

Ripple faucets

To stimulate interest and promote use, many cryptocurrencies run faucets, which is effectively giving away free, minuscule amounts of the crypto.

Ripple ran a faucet during 2013 to encourage more people to use Ripple accounts and start trading the XRP cryptocurrency. The Company distributed a small amount of XRP to more than 25,000 beta users who had to join a mailing list.

A Ripple Faucet still exists today at the following website address: http://ripplefaucet.info/  To earn free Ripple XRP, a Ripple wallet is required and you are required to solve captcha riddles.

Ripple reviews and opinions

“Ripple has already gained a significant following…the payment network that supports it has the potential to change the way business is done globally.” – 10TopTenReviews

“Ripple’s big selling point is the low cost of making a transaction—users pay a small fee to send money but significantly less than with other forms of money transfer.” – MIT Technology Review

“Among investors, Ripple is one the most divisive cryptocurrencies around – it’s either loved or despised, both with equal passion.” – coindesk

More about Ripple

Final words on Ripple

Cryptocurrencies are building a decentralised universe, but in some cases, corporate approaches are necessary for a project to boost. Ripple has proved its potential more than once before. Partnerships are growing significantly and plans are going forward, and Ripple solutions might become a standard for banks in the future. If those institutions open to the use of XRP as a better alternative for cross-border transactions, Ripple could be massive in the future. However, it’s still a high-risk investment and you should manage risk appropriately.

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