Ripple, or XRP, is both a protocol and a cryptocurrency. As a protocol, it is designed to facilitate inter-bank foreign exchange transactions. Ripple is designed to allow banks to send money to each other without a central counterparty and it’s based on the open source Interledger protocol. Ripple is also designed to allow integration with payment providers.
As a cryptocurrency, Ripple is currently fourth in terms of market capitalization: it appears fourth after Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Bitcoin Cash. It’s current value, at time of writing, is US$0.77. In terms of trading history, the past year has brought some volatility with significant price spikes and drops.
How is Ripple Different
Ripple is designed for speed and scale – the network handles 1,500 transactions per second and payments get settled within four seconds. Compare that to the 3-6 transactions per second for bitcoin and payment settlement of bitcoin of an hour.
Unlike other cryptocurrencies, you cannot mine Ripple. The supply of Ripple was created when Ripple hit the market in 2012. While some Ripple is in circulation, about 38 billion Ripple, 55 billion Ripple is held in escrow for release at a future time. As a result, the only way to get Ripple is to buy it from an exchange.
How to buy Ripple
The following exchanges support Ripple, or XRP: Bitstamp, Kraken, GateHub and Changelly. In most cases you can exchange US dollars for Ripple, however, you can also exchange bitcoin for Ripple. Moreover, you’ll have to be verified by the exchange before you can by XRP – verification often involves uploading some form of identity documents. You may be required to make a bank transfer if you want to fund using US dollars and fees may apply – the individual exchanges provide you with all of the details. Changelly allows you to buy Ripple using a credit card.
In terms of wallets, you have several options. The most secure option is to use a hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S which supports Ripple. We discuss the Ledger Nano S in detail in another article about Hardware Wallets. In addition, there are no per-transaction costs when using a hardware wallet.
Coinpayments allows you to transfer between coins yet it also provides you with a Ripple wallet. The site accepts over 90 altcoins and charges a fee of 0.5% for transfers between altcoins. The fee gets changed only when you perform a transaction so there’s no fee to store your Ripple in their wallet. Withdrawals from the wallet are free too, unless you’re using it as a method of payment.
GateHub is an exchange yet it also provides a Ripple wallet. The advantage of having your wallet with an exchange is that you can easily view the value of your Ripple in US dollars. GateHub also sends you an email whenever you spend or transfer Ripple to help you keep up to date on your transaction.
Rippex is a decentralized exchange that also offers a Ripple wallet. The website is in Brazil, yet everything is in English. Be aware that Rippex asks you for identity documents when signing up. Because it is a decentralized exchange, you’re responsible for maintaining the private keys for your wallet and help with a forgotten password is not available. See our Decentralized Exchange article for details about how a decentralized exchange works.
This article introduced the Ripple cryptocurrency, explained how it’s different from Bitcoin, and explained how you can store Ripple.