Blockchain & Crypto · Business

The Beginner’s Guide to Ripple: A Quick Read

Initially written for a now-defunct cryptocurrency media website.

Name: Ripple.

Symbol: XRP.

Supported Exchanges: Coinbase, Binance, CEX.io, CoinSpot, Changelly, Bittrex, Poloniex, ShapeShift, Kraken, Coinmama, YoBit.net, LocalBitcoins.

Since its spectacular rise in 2017, Ripple had risen to the top rankings. The banks love it, the network is slowly growing, and more people are talking about it. For the average person however, seeing XRP on the boards may have left you with a couple questions.

Unlike other cryptocurrencies, this is not one of those money-making schemes that result in greedy profits. Ripple serves a purpose: to help enable better transactions. This might be slightly daunting to you, which is why I’m here to help!

In case you don’t know what it’s about, here’s an introduction for you:

XRP: What is it?

Ripple is a decentralised global payments blockchain system. Sounds like a mouthful, doesn’t it? Let’s break it down:

Have you ever tried to transfer money across multiple banks? If you have had experience doing third party transfers, through traditional bank payment systems such as SWIFT or Western Union (I’m sure we’ve all been there!), you might have noticed some disadvantages. There can be high transaction costs, slow processing times (overseas transfers can take 3-5 days!) as well as room or human error. This is partly because the current global payments industry has solely been on said traditional technology systems moving trillions of dollars every year. Why would there be a need to innovate when things are working fine?

In this day and age, there has been an increase in alternative payment systems that serve the public better, whether it meant cheaper services or faster transaction times. The flaws of current large-scale payment systems meant that in an effort to innovate, banks are looking at blockchain technology as the next stepping stone to provide services. Noticing this demand, Ripple was created to combat these, and do more.

How is it different?

Ripple, highly regarded by banks recently (citing names like Westpac and Standard Chartered), was made for the sole purpose of moving fiat currencies, collaborating with them as opposed to replacing them like the usual cryptocurrency. This is all done with their created network RippleNet, which allows connectivity through different payment networks regardless of their differences. As long as there are fiat currencies involved, Ripple could help it in various ways!

It is good to note that there is a total of 100 billion XRP – already mined and ready to deploy. Though the coins are deployed over time (controlled amounts are released every month), this means that unlike other conventional cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin, you won’t find value in mining this one. You can save that mining rig for something else now!

Compared to the big names like Bitcoin, Ripple is faster and cheaper when it comes to transaction fees, going up to 4 seconds faster than it. This is partially influenced by the growing adoption of Bitcoin by the mass public, as more and more people are buying into the big coin.

Who made it?

Having multiple offices all around the world, Ripple is going global. Their presence can be found in San Francisco, London, New York, India, Sydney, Luxembourg, and Singapore.

If you’d like to have a look at some of the minds behind Ripple, have a look below:

  1. Brad Garlinghouse – The CEO and a member of the Board of Directors, Brad had previously served in multiple high-level positions across various fields (file collaboration services, the VoIP industry, etc.).
  2. Asheesh Birla – an entrepreneur by heart, Asheesh is the current SVP of Product, having joined in 2013 to lead development. A leader and active speaker in the blockchain space, he has had previous experience working in Thomson-Reuters.
  3. Patrick Griffin – previously an equity trader covering telecoms, technology and media, Patrick is currently the SVP of Strategy Growth.  He has had experience in business development and sales for Jumio, an internet identity and payments company.
  4. David Schwartz – Known better to the online community as ‘JoelKatz’, David is the Chief Cryptographer at Ripple. Previously he had developed cloud storage and enterprise messaging systems for the National Security Agency and CNN.

I could provide an overview of the full team, but for more information it would be better to check out their company profile!

Why should I consider Ripple?

Ripple serves a specific purpose: to create an effective system that enables the transaction of fiat currencies. As opposed to replacing them, this cryptocurrency is an addition, complementary to the currencies that are running the world today.

For the risk-averse, taking a big dive into the world of cryptocurrency can be a scary thought. Fiat currencies still have a large role to play in many nations and industries, while cryptocurrencies are currently in their infancy stage. Unlike some investment drives, coins aren’t pegged to physical commodities and that may be one of the many factors that are included when a coin’s price rises and drops all of a sudden. What with many scam coins running rampant nowadays, tread carefully when looking into a coin! For Ripple specifically, the advantage for fiat currencies may be a good thing to consider.

For those who prefer to look at who is supporting this coin, check out their website to see some of the big players who support Ripple: other than the above names mentioned, others include the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ (MUFG) and American Express. You can rest assured that these large institutions would have done their due diligence before advocating for Ripple, and if you trust these brands enough then you may have your answer!

Here is something else to note: All of the XRP is already mined and undergoing controlled release. That means that in essence, Ripple is centralised as compared to other cryptocurrencies. As they control the release, XRP goes to Ripple the company first, before distributing it out onto the network. As an update, coins are locked into smart contracts to address this. However, if the level of decentralisation is something you consider to be a very important aspect of your investing decisions, this is something to consider.

Overall, Ripple is a blockchain network that enables faster fiat currency transactions, and is highly favoured by multiple financial institutions. Is that aspect something you would consider investing in? How long would you hold XRP for? Would you use their services? Let me know what else we should consider before taking a look at Ripple, I’ll be keeping up to date on this exciting coin!

Disclaimer: The contents in this article should not be taken as financial advice. Please conduct your own research before making your own investing decisions. Investment carries risk.

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