Bitcoin is the uncontested king of cryptocurrency. Out of the €200 Billion, Bitcoin’s market cap represents a full 53%. This might lead you to think that Bitcoin will always be #1, but some blockchain analysts aren’t so sure.
Ripple may have the clearest path to overtaking the world’s first cryptocurrency. A powerful payment network in its own right, Ripple already has the institutional support and community enthusiasm that could pull it to the top of the heap. However, Bitcoin continues to break new ground the world over. Let’s examine the similarities and differences between these two world-leading digital currencies.
Bitcoin and Ripple: Similarities
Bitcoin and Ripple can both be used as money. There are various vendors and service providers who accept both coins as payment for their products.
Bitcoin and Ripple are both traded against all other cryptocurrencies on crypto exchanges. Both acquire value according to what investors are willing to pay for them on these exchanges.
Both cryptocurrencies allow cross-border transactions. Both networks make these financial transfers quickly and at a very low cost to users. They are also already widely used by individuals and institutions.
Bitcoin and Ripple: Differences
Despite their similarities, Bitcoin and Ripple are actually very different. For one, the former is a blockchain, but Ripple doesn’t use a blockchain at all! Bitcoin is a decentralized ledger system, while Ripple’s technological infrastructure uses validating servers and other “centralized” mechanisms.
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, but Ripple isn’t meant to be used as currency (even though some vendors accept it for payments). Ripple allows people to convert assets like gold into fiat money, for purchases or transfers, often across borders. Ripple XRP isn’t the currency itself; it’s a token that facilitates these transactions.
Bitcoin is mined, and many tokens are still locked away, unmined. Ripple’s 100,000,000,000 supply was created all at once, at Ripple’s founding in 2012. Ripple Labs retains billions of Ripple tokens, and uses them to fund development and operations. No one “owns” Bitcoin in this way, and development is performed by various companies and individuals around the world.
One of the reasons to buy Ripple is that it is used by banks and other institutions, while Bitcoin is primarily used by individuals.
As you can see, Ripple and Bitcoin are pretty different. There’s no way to know if one platform will prove more useful to the world in the long run. Nonetheless, if any coin can beat Bitcoin, Ripple can.
Featured image source: Flickr