Ripple Beginner’s Guide (XRP)
The Basics everybody should know about Ripple (XRP)
Ripple Guide: Introduction to Ripple
Ripple has always been in the top five cryptocurrencies. Considered the banks favorite, Ripple was staying in the shadows of Bitcoin and Ethereum and was not talked about as much. But it is pretty different than most cryptocurrencies. With the recent big surge in price, Ripple is drawing all attention and is making people wonder: “Is this the future of banking?”
This Ripple Guide is intended to give you an introduction to Ripple and its network. For the most detailed explanation read their whitepaper. This guide is not intended as an investment guide, rather to inform the readers about the project, the company behind the project and the currency. If you are new to cryptocurrencies and you need to catch up, you can read our Bitcoin Guide or our detailed Ethereum Guide.
What is Ripple?
Ripple is a digital currency, with the acronym (XRP) and an open payment network created in 2012. The currency is specifically designed for financial institutions and payment providers. Also they are a profit generating company and a venture backed startup. The payment network is called RippleNet and it connects banks and other institutions through “gateways”, also allowing them to transfer money and assets through the network.
XRP offers payment providers and banks a reliable, on demand source of liquidity for cross-border payment. This allows financial institutions to source liquidity on demand, in real time without having to go through foreign transaction fees, thus creating a common standard for payments. Ripple provides global financial settlement solutions to ultimately enable the world to exchange value like it already exchanges information – giving rise to the Internet of Value (IoV).
Ripple’s solutions lower the total cost of settlements by enabling banks and financial institutions to transact directly, without correspondent banks, and with real time certainty of settlement. Ripple affords liquidity suppliers (banks and third party market makers) and liquidity takers (people and businesses who need payments) step-function improvement over how cross-border payments work today.
Banks around the world are partnering with Ripple to improve transaction costs and lay the foundation for the Internet of Value. All is aimed towards bringing value to businesses of all sizes:
- Global and large banks lower transaction and operational costs to increase wallet share.
- Small to mid-sized banks gain direct access to competitive liquidity to attract new customers.
- Third party market makers compete to provide liquidity for global payments.
- People and businesses enjoy faster and cheaper payment services with new visibility into tracking and delivery status.
How does Ripple work?
Ripple is designed to help and connect different payment systems together. To this day over 75 financial institutions work with Ripple. How does the system function? The Ledger is global and contains its own private blockchain. Through it banks and financial institutions can use “gateways” and join the Ripple network called RippleNet or Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP). Also the network works with currency exchanges.
Gateways are the businesses that link the XRP Ledger to the rest of the world. An existing online financial institution can expand and act as a gateway in the XRP Ledger. By doing this they gain several advantages and can use the ledger-related services as a new source of revenue. When a company joins the Ripple Transaction Protocol they can exchange large sums of money with other “gateways” at a much faster speed and with smaller costs.
The Ripple currency is a scalable digital asset and is used in the network for all transactions. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, like Bitcoin, that aim to replace the normal currencies, Ripple acts as a bridge between fiat currencies. They manage to do so by working with fiat currencies on more than 10 online exchanges.
The goal is to reduce the time and money needed for cross-border payment by using a global currency, also create and enable a global network of financial institutions using the Ripple network to lower all transaction costs. The bigger picture is to stop all money institutions from restricting cash flow with fees, processing and exchange charges and to “do for money what the internet has done to all other forms of information”.
All transactions occur and are recorded on the XRP Ledger, which is an open-source decentralized product that is supported by a community of trusted validators and a team of full-time engineers that actively develop and maintain the ledger. The processing time for transactions is only 4 seconds, which is a lot faster than Bitcoin’s few hour processing or Ethereum’s few minutes. Banks or other institutions systems take up to 5 days.
To protect the XRP Ledger from spam or attacks each transaction must destroy a small amount of Ripple tokens. Transaction cost is not paid to any party so it is destroyed forever. This makes XRP scarce and since no more new XRP can be created, this benefits the holders. Also Ripple can sustain over 1500 transactions per second 24/7 making it very reliable and fast. This number is also scaling so it will increase in the future and can scale to handle the same throughput as Visa (50 000 per second). For comparison bitcoin’s network theoretical maximum capacity is around 7 per second. This is already giving Bitcoin holders problems by increasing transaction time and costs dramatically.
The people behind Ripple
Ripple’s leaders bring decades of experience in technology, compliance and financial services. The CEO is Brad Garlinghouse. He was President of Consumer Applications at AOL. Ripple’s Board of Directors lend their deep experience in finance, policy and regulations.
How many XRP tokens will there be? The company has created 100 billion tokens. Just below 40% are currently released to the public. The rest will be put in escrow and released to the market gradually at a rate of 1 billion per month. This insures investors that the market will not be overflown with tokens, keeping the system healthy and preventing the price to plummet.
Is Ripple centralized?
Knowing the fact that Ripple is holding 60% of total circulation for now, it’s safe to say that the system is more centralized than other cryptocurrencies. The truth is that Ripple is a mix between centralized and decentralized. On its own this is not bad. Ripple’s CEO thinks that the system is decentralized because XRP will continue to work even if Ripple disappears. Ripple has released a decentralization strategy in May 2017.
Where can you buy and hold Ripple?
You can buy Ripple at almost all popular exchanges. For storage you can use online wallet providers like Gatehub or an offline hardware wallet. Online wallets bring some risks so for long term holders I recommend the use of hardware wallets. They are the most secure form of storage out there because they are offline. Example of this kind of wallet is the Ledger Nano S. For more information read which hardware wallets support Ripple.
Growth in 2017
In the beginning of 2017 Ripple’s price was 0.006$. As of writing this guide XRP’s price is over 3$ which is over 500 times growth in the year 2017. Investing 1000$ in the beginning of 2017 would mean, that they are now around 500 000$ and more. Knowing this fact, it’s safe to say that the token was a good investment for everyone who bought it in 2017. Does this mean that banks are catching up and buying ripple for their financial structure or did the army of investors figured out how valuable Ripple really is and are stocking up? 2018 will give us the answers to those questions and it sure is worth to keep a close eye on what’s happening with the project.
Unlike most cryptocurrencies that have no purpose or application, just have a limited supply and high demand, XRP is a digital asset with a clear purpose. Ripple’s goal is to help financial institutions do their job faster and cheaper. Some people see this as going against what cryptocurrencies stand for, that being a decentralized system that bypasses the financial institutions. The company created all coins and still holds a majority of the supply which makes the system somewhat centralized.
The company’s infrastructure sure makes sense for bigger institutions and banks and aims to help move larger amounts of money around the world faster and with smaller costs. Although all this is aimed at the banks and not the average person, they hope to affect normal people indirectly by helping banks and other financial institutions be up to date with the evolution of technology and lower their transaction costs. Ultimate goal is to stop the restrictions and obstacles of cash flow.
Should you invest? Well that is entirely up to you. So far the cryptocurrency has shown its potential and is living up to the hype. For sure 2017 was the best year for Ripple so far and we will be watching the charts closely. XRP brings a viable competition to the old financial system and can play a major role of changing the financial systems into a more up to date version, transferring large amounts of money and cryptocurrency adoption.
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