What Is Ripple?

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What Is Ripple?

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So, what exactly is Ripple?

Ripple is the name given to one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, but this is not actually correct. Officially, Ripple is an open-source platform protocol which facilitates rapid transactions at a relatively lower cost. This platform, known as RippleNet, is used around the world by various financial institutions. It is powered by the XRP coin, which is often referred also as Ripple cryptocurrency.

XRP

XRP is the token used to transfer funds through the Ripple Network. It acts as a go-between for cryptocurrency exchanges and traditional, fiat exchanges. As a result, the coin is extremely versatile, used in currency conversions and transfers. It allows banks and other institutions to benefit from transaction costs of as little as $0.00001.

RippleNet

RippleNet is the name given to a network of forward-thinking banks and other payment institutions which have adopted new technology to send and receive frictionless payments. The platform makes it easy for currency trades to take place and is extremely cost-effective. In fact, most transactions are not completely free solely to prevent cyber hacks such as DDos attacks.

Who invented Ripple?

The Ripple network and the XRP token trace back their roots to 2004 when the protocol and a functioning prototype were developed. In 2013, Jed McCaleb, creator of the EDonkey network, gathered investors to back the creation of the Ripple Labs. One of these investors was Chris Larsen, an angel investor who, at the time, was considered to be the richest man in the industry.

Having co-founded several crypto startups, including Mt. Gox, Stellar, and Overnet, McCaleb had the necessary skills to pull off such an ambitious project. Larsen, together with a growing number of venture capital funds and angel investors, injected $96 million into the project by September 2016.

Why was it invented?

Ripple was created as a solution to convert currencies that are not normally converted directly. As a result, banks and financial institutions in various countries need to use a common currency, normally the US Dollar or Euro, as a common currency. As a result, exchanging one currency for another would involve two conversions and therefore, two conversion commissions. This cost, combined by the time taken to complete the transaction, provided the ideal situation to warrant the creation of Ripple.

How does Ripple differ from traditional currencies?

XRP vs Traditional Currencies

There are several ways in which Ripple differs from traditional currencies, oftentimes referred to as fiat currencies. These include:

  • Decentralisation
  • Anonymity
  • Portability

Decentralisation

As a cryptocurrency, XRP is a decentralised currency which is not, officially, under the control of any single entity. Traditional fiat currencies are managed by central banks or other government-appointed institutions. These entities regulate the value of the currency through several measures including fiscal policies. Ripple, on the other hand, exists on the open market and derives its value from supply and demand on different exchanges.

Almost since Ripple came to exist, questions have been asked about its decentralised nature. The company which created XRP owns around 60 million of the 100 million tokens in circulation. As a result, one entity does not have overwhelming control to supply coins to the market, thus stemming potential price appreciation.

Anonymity

Cryptocurrency networks have a reputation for being open and transparent, and this is true to a certain extent. The Ripple ledger is publically accessible, however, it is not possible to identify the identities of the individuals involved in a transaction. While the public addresses are available, the names, fixed addresses and identification details are not. As a result, XRP and other cryptocurrencies are popular forms of payment at online casinos and similar platforms.

Portability

XRP exists solely in the digital world, and as such, is easily available and accessible wherever you are in the world. When you store your coins on XRP wallets you are essentially storing a code which links particular coins or fractions of coins to your private address. As a result, even if a wallet is lost or stolen you can still retrieve your funds by providing entering the necessary passcode and safety details into your new Ripple wallet.

Ripple and Blockchain

The network upon which Ripple exists varies in several ways to the traditional Blockchain. Instead of the common mining process, XRP makes use of a distributed consensus mechanism which is powered by a network of servers. These servers use polling to decide whether a transaction is valid. With a majority agreeing that it is valid, the transaction is authenticated and added to the ledger. This process requires substantially less energy than Proof of Work (PoW) and can, therefore, be cheaper and faster.

Ripple and Bitcoin

Ripple vs Bitcoin

Bitcoin, the world’s first and largest cryptocurrency, was created as an alternative means to pay for products and services. Ripple was designed to facilitate payment settling and currency conversions. The Ripple network, supported by the XRP token, provide an improved remittance system ideal for banks and other payment providers. The cryptocurrency is considered to be more stable than Bitcoin, however, it is not commonly used to pay for products and services online.

As a result, whilst Bitcoin and similar cryptocurrencies are used as alternatives to traditional currencies, such as the EUR and USD, XRP competes with payment systems, such as SWIFT.

Is Ripple legal?

Due, in part, to its adoption by banks and financial institutions, Ripple is sometimes viewed as being more legitimate than other cryptocurrencies. Since the currency does not exist within any defined national borders it can be traded freely from one country to another. Most countries around the world allow cryptocurrencies to be traded or used for online payments, however some limit or outright ban them. When trading XRP you must inform yourself about your country’s crypto tax policies and any other regulatory requirements.

Where can you buy Ripple?

5/5

As one of the world’s most popular cryptocurrencies, there are several ways to buy Ripple, whether online or in person. By far, the most convenient and preferred way to buy XRP is through a cryptocurrency exchange. Another popular option is to use an XRP ATM. The least popular option is to meet a seller in person to pay by cash or cheque.

Cryptocurrency Exchanges

Often seen as the backbone of the cryptocurrency industry, cryptocurrency exchanges are a vital cog as they facilitate the conversion of traditional currencies into crypto. There are literally thousands of exchanges on the web, but only a few hundred are considered to be reputable, reliable, and safe. Different exchanges support different currencies and payment methods, so before opening an account you need to make sure that the platform lets you buy Ripple.

Changelly is a safe and popular exchange commonly used to buy XRP. Available to users across the world, the centralised exchange provides competitive conversion rates and supports several major coins. You can buy Ripple with a debit or credit card instantly, or use another cryptocurrency to get hold of XRP. Unlike regulated exchanges, Changelly does not require users to submit documentation to verify their accounts, allowing you to buy Ripple anonymously.

ATMs

Over 3,000 XRP ATMs exist around the world and allow you to exchange cash for XRP. These machines provide a convenient and anonymous way to buy the cryptocurrency instantly. Depending on the ATM, you may be required to provide your XRP wallet address or might be given a paper wallet instead.

Face to face purchase

You can find XRP sellers in your area on various online forums. Whilst some of these sellers might accept online payment methods, such as PayPal, others may require you to meet in person in order to pay by cash or cheque. This type of transaction carries risks and you should be aware that buyers can fall victim to scams.

How much is Ripple worth?

As with any currency, whether traditional or crypto, the value of XRP fluctuates constantly as it is traded around the world. The coin is currently ranked 4th largest, with a total market cap of just over $8.3 billion. At the time of writing, the average value of 1 XRP is equal to $0.188524. This, however, does not mean that the coin is sold for this price across exchanges, with individual platforms selling the coin at a value based upon their algorithms.

What can you buy with Ripple?

Although not originally designed as a payment currency, XRP’s popularity and growth mean that it is accepted by online merchants across the world. Thousands of stores accept this cryptocurrency since it translates into faster, cheaper, and safer transactions for them. In addition, unlike traditional debit or credit card payments, accepting Ripple eliminates the risk of chargebacks or fraudulent transactions.

The international nature of the cryptocurrency combined with its decentralised structure made it a natural currency for online casinos. Several casinos will reward you with exclusive bonuses if you opt to deposit XRP instead of traditional currencies.

Beyond the gambling industry, everyone from retail to tourism and professional services is getting in on the cryptocurrency bandwagon. As a result, you can use XRP to pay for your next holiday, buy your next outdoor clothes and even engage a professional logo designer. Through several partnerships and developments, accepting XRP payments online has become extremely easy, and this has allowed small businesses and freelancers to start accepting this alternative payment method.

Selling your XRP

Sell Ripple

Just like buying XRP, selling your cryptocurrency is easy through the various online exchanges available. Apart from Changelly, platforms such as Coinbase and CEX.io let you sell your XRP coins in exchange for another currency. You can choose to sell the coin for another cryptocurrency or opt to receive a traditional currency instead.

When using brokerage services offered by these and other exchanges you will be provided with the value of your coins before accepting to proceed with the sale. In addition, brokerage services make selling XRP coins fast and convenient.

Is Ripple available worldwide?

Since Ripple is a decentralised cryptocurrency which is not controlled by any national authority, it exists worldwide via the Internet. As a result, you can buy and sell XRP wherever you are located, but you must be aware of the region’s regulations regarding the use and sale of digital tokens.

Is Ripple safe?

The short answer to this question is Yes! The coin has been adopted by several banks and financial institutions which have evaluated the coin’s structure and deemed it sufficiently safe for the transfer of billions of dollars each day. Moreover, Ripple’s consensus mechanism coupled with its distributed network of servers and nodes protects the ledger from tampering or unauthorised transactions.

The advantages and disadvantages of Ripple

Ripple is often seen as the cryptocurrency which will revolutionise banking and improve cross-border payments. To a certain extent, the coin has already achieved this goal, since it allows participating banks to transfer funds at a faster speed and lower cost than the SWIFT system. Apart from such institutions, and increasing number of individuals is investing in XRP, whether to make online purchases or to use as a tradeable asset.

When comparing Ripple with Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, XRP coins are pre-mined, and this means that you cannot mine new coins and receive rewards. In addition, the fact that Ripple owns a majority number of XRP coins means that the coin’s decentralised nature is put into question.

Concluding thoughts

One day we could look back at XRP as the coin responsible for convincing banks and financial institutions that cryptocurrencies are a better form of traditional currencies. It is difficult to say exactly when this might happen, but in the meantime, the coin continues to garner support but is also cause for disagreements on its independence from Ripple.

How can I buy Ripple?

There are several ways to buy XRP, but the safest and most convenient is to use a reputable cryptocurrency exchange.

Can I mine XRP?

No, XRP coins are pre-mined and already in circulation.

Where can I store Ripple?

Ripple can be stored safely in cryptocurrency wallets which support this cryptocurrency.

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