When Bitcoin emerged in 2009 with the introduction of blockchain technology it was the dawn of the cryptocurrency era. Bitcoin was considered the king of the cryptocurrency and rightly dominated a small but slowly flourishing market. In recent years there has been an explosion of ICO (Initial Coin Offerings – similar to a share prospectus), and along with that came several challengers to Bitcoin’s market dominance. There have been a number of contenders to that prestigious crown, with many different and innovative platforms. Ethereum is probably the one to get the closest to the crown, then Litecoin who also experienced a steady growth, but there is one that is the most interesting of them all. Ripple is probably one the unique coins on the market today. It offers a much more centralized feel in a largely decentralized space.
- What is Ripple?
Ripple was originally released in 2012 as a follow up to Ripplepay. It is designed to be a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) and serve as a currency exchange. As opposed to Bitcoin, Ripple is not about energy consumption as a proof of work. It uses a network of independently validating servers that pose as a ledger where these servers continuously monitor transaction records. These servers can be anyone’s property, from banks to individual users. Ripple’s integrity is based on an agreement process between those validating servers that operate on a shared public database.
XRP, a Ripple protocol token, is planned to allow direct and prompt money transfer between two consenting parties. With the help of Ripple, you can exchange any type of currency from regular fiat currency to even airline miles. The best thing about Ripple is that they claim that the mentioned exchange is executed without fees and a lag time in the transfer process that are common features of traditional banking. They even say that it is possible to avoid cryptocurrency transactions via exchanges.
- Who Is Behind Ripple?
Jed McCaleb, formerly employed at Mt. Gox, a cryptocurrency giant that handles the majority of global Bitcoin exchanges, and Chris Larsen who was a co-founder and CEO of the E-LOAN, an online financial company, joined forces and created “OpenCoin” (Should not be confused with OpenCoin.org, which is developing an open-source version of an electronic cash system), a company responsible for introducing Ripple protocol to the cryptocurrency community. With the team of developers that also have Bitcoin background, they hit the ground running and managed to gather funding from Andreessen Horowitz, FF Angel IV, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Vast Ventures and the Bitcoin Opportunity Fund.
- What Is Ripple Used For?
As we already said, Ripple protocol is used to execute rapid and direct transactions of any currency. Put that together with the fact that opposing to other cryptocurrencies that use blockchain technology and are entirely decentralized and lack any control, Ripple’s transactions are handled by and controlled by the regulatory financial institutions and Ripple Labs. Those financial institutions are regular banks like Santander like American Express that back this cryptocurrency and have a hand in its operations and growth.
The XRP token itself, however, seems to have a very small influence. Ripple even planned to discontinue XRP until the whole crypto-craze took off in 2016. The token is used entirely independent of the Ripple protocol. This actually means that banks do not need XRP to transfer any currency which is a fact that small investors need to keep in mind when planning to buy the token.
- Can You Mine Ripple?
Unlike other, well-known tokens, XRP is not possible to mine. The company that created it issued a number of 100 billion XRP at the beginning and remained the only entity that is able to generate further XRP. Being that every XRP used in a transaction is being eliminated and unable to be used ever again, it is a fair assumption that as the XRP community grows, the token will decrease in numbers and therefore become more valuable. On the other hand, no one can forbid the company to issue another 100 billion.
- Is Ripple a good investment?
The rise of the XRP value should be attributed to the enlargement of the worldwide Ripple network. As more financial institutions follow the lead of the likes of Santander and American Express, the bigger is the demand for the coin. Some predictions are that 2017 was the trial year for Ripple and that in the coming year the cryptocurrency will experience some important implementations by major Financial Institutions. This will certainly result in a short-term growth in value. Though, no one can predict what will happen in the long run since Ripple has practically only just commenced its crypto-career.
As you can see, Ripple really poses a unique presence in the ever-growing cryptocurrency world. As we said, it provides a centralized feel in a largely decentralized space and shows a great potential to change the traditional currency transaction process as we know it. On the other hand, like any other newly discovered cryptocurrency, Ripple’s future cannot be predicted with any dose of certainty. Especially when you take in mind the unpredictability of the XRP. At the end, time will tell what is the final reach of this interesting crypto.
The authors currently do not hold any Ripple coin and make no recommendation whether or not you should invest in Ripple or any other Altcoins. Information provided is designed to give you some insight into the Ripple cryptocurrency that may assist you in formulating your own opinions.