Ripple’s XRP is currently the world’s third most valuable cryptocurrency and has a market capitalization of $60.5 billion. In the last year, this previously little known cryptocurrency has stormed the cryptocurrency market, ousting Litecoin from the third spot and growing more than 36,000%.
So what is Ripple?
Ripple is a “real-time gross settlement” (RTGS) system, an exchange as well as a payment network. So before we go any further, let’s understand what a “real-time gross settlement” system is. Really simply put, it’s a system to transfer funds from one bank to another in real time. RTGS systems are used for high-value transfers that need – and get – immediate clearances.
Ripple’s cryptocurrency is being used in the financial industry by banks and other finance organizations. It is believed to be cheaper and safer than other cryptocurrencies – including bitcoin.
Ripple’s cash flows are positive and it has a reserve of XRP that are released to the market periodically.
How is Ripple different from other traditional cryptocurrencies?
Firstly, it doesn’t use the blockchain protocol like the other cryptos do. It uses a common ledger that a network of independent servers manage. All transactions are constantly compared and validated by all the servers. These servers can belong to anyone – individuals or banks, it doesn’t matter. With blockchain networks, each transaction has to be verified using a complicated process. This means that transactions times are long. And when there is a heavy volume of transactions, the entire network slows down. Right now, bitcoin takes about 4 hours to verify a transaction. Ripple takes 3.6 seconds.
Secondly, Ripple is designed to handle huge volumes. Since its release, the network has handled more than 35 million transactions – without any issues. The Ripple network can handle up to 1,500 transactions per second. The company is planning to upscale this to the Visa level of 50,000 transactions per second. In contrast, the bitcoin blockchain is only able to safely handle 3 to 6 transactions per second and Ethereum can handle about 15.
Thirdly, Ripple is not “mined” the way bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin and many other cryptocurrencies are. The XPR was issued when Ripple was launched, just like a traditional company issues stocks when it goes public. The company issued 100 billion XRP at its inception with no more allowed according to the protocol’s rules.
Where is Ripple right now?
At the beginning of 2017, the XRP cryptocurrency was trading at $0.006 a token. On January 4, the cryptocurrency rose to an all-time high of $3.84. This surge in XRP’s price shot it up to third place in terms of market value, in effect pushing Litecoin down to 5th place.
However, after that, due to the panic selling of all cryptocurrencies triggered by the threat of clampdowns by China, South Korea and Russia, the XRP plunged to $0.8771 on January 17 this year. The entire cryptocurrency market lost about 43% of its market cap in this time.
However, since it’s lowest since last year, Ripple is leading the cryptocurrency comeback, surging 75% to trade at $1.57 at the time of writing this article.
Bitcoin and Litecoin, on the other hand, while going up, haven’t had as much success as Ripple. Bitcoin went up 9.72% on January 20 after a steep nosedive to below $10,000 on January 17, but investors are still worried about the cryptocurrency’s ability grow further. Litecoin had a slightly better recovery, going up about 12.94% after the January 17 drop, but is struggling to break through the critical resistance levels.
Why is Ripple Beating Bitcoin as well as Litecoin?
A part of the reason why Ripple is doing so well is because the entire cryptocurrency market is booming. Pretty much every cryptocurrency is on the rise thanks to crypto-fever.
Additionally, a single XRP is a lot more affordable than the other top currencies, making it an attractive buy for many investors who want in on the cryptocurrency market.
A larger part of why Ripple has skyrocketed is also because of the milestones the company has reached in the last one year. The company has licensed its technology to 100 banks as of October 2017. In November, Ripple closed a deal with tech guru, Michael Arrington, who announced that his soon to be launched $100 million hedge fund was to be valued in XRP.
CNN reported that the only two cryptocurrencies that have been positive this year are Ripple and Ethereum. And that if XRP continues to rise, then it needs to grow only 164% to reach $6.57. This is the magic figure when Ripple will beat Bitcoin as the world’s most valuable cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization.
Ether and XRP are already jostling for second place and many analysts are predicting that Ripple will overtake Ether by the end of 2018.