What is Ripple?

October 25, 2019 13:30 UTC
Reading time: 10 minutes

You may have already heard about cryptocurrencies such Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ether. Another cryptocurrency causing ripple effects throughout the digital currency market is Ripple. Although Ripple has its own currency, its value is perhaps most noticeable due to its ultra quick payment system.

This article reviews Ripple in detail, and explains the key aspects of this cryptocurrency. You will find out how Ripple works, what the main differences between Ripple and Bitcoin are, if you can mine Ripple, and much more!

Before we dive into that, let's start with the most basic question: What is Ripple? Ripple is considered to be a venture startup from San Francisco. It has engineered a payment system similar to Blockchain. It's a payment protocol that functions similarly to a payment system, a remittance network, and a currency exchange. It works with cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, and commodities.

Ripple allows clients to integrate the protocol into their own systems. The National Bank of Abu Dhabi has recently started to use the technology for some of its transactions, specifically for cross-border transactions. It allows its customers to transfer funds in real time. Ripple uses a similar blockchain known as Bitcoin, except that Ripple's cryptocurrency is called "Ripples". In terms of market capitalisation, Ripple is the third largest cryptocurrency – after Bitcoin and Ether.

What's the Abbreviation for Ripple?

The shortcut for Ripple is simply XRP. Ripple can also be paired to currency codes, like USD (US Dollar) and EUR (Euro). The Ripples vs the US Dollar currency pair name is, therefore: XRP/USD. In case you didn't already know, it's possible to trade Ripple (XRP/USD) on a risk-free demo trading account with Admiral Markets! Professional traders highly recommend trading with a demo account first, before transitioning to the live markets.

What's the Difference Between Ripple and Bitcoin?

Ripple is considered to be Bitcoin's biggest competitor, and there are certain advantages to this. Ripple doesn't depend on a single company for securing and managing its transaction database. Thus, there is no waiting for block confirmations. According to Market Mogul, there's a difference between the time to settle for Bitcoin and for Ripple.

The time to settle Bitcoin increased, reaching 168 minutes on March 27, 2017, whereas Ripple took an average of 3.7 seconds. The money transfers between Spain and Mexico were undertaken by the BBVA, and it was found out that Ripple needed only seconds, whereas a standard transfer would have taken four days to clear.

Both coins share many similar characteristics, and Ripple is similar to Bitcoin, bar a couple of differences:

  • Ripple offers faster settlement time
  • Ripple uses an iterative consensus process: Bitcoin uses the so-called 'mining' process
  • Currency vs Transaction network: Bitcoin is a decentralised digital currency, whereas Ripple is basically a transaction network that also contains a digital currency – Ripples

Can You Mine Ripple?

No, Ripple cannot be mined. Ripple began with a fixed numbers of Ripples (XRP), and has no expansion built into it, according the to the Ripple protocol rules. Therefore, no mining of new coins is required. The total number of XRP created is 100 billion, but the flow of XRP is controlled by Ripple.

This has received criticism from Bitcoin sympathisers, who praise Bitcoin from any centralised control over its creation or distribution. Ripple responded by announcing its intention to freeze 88% of its XRP assets, and sell one billion XRP every month. Both the freeze and the steady flow will allow traders and investors to count on a certain level of predictability with regard to its supply.

How Does Ripple Really Work?

Ripple emphasises their role in the 'global settlement network', which simply allows financial parties, such as banks, to lower their transaction costs. At the same time, Ripple also offers an enhanced service with direct and instant transactions. The image below shows how Ripple enables payments to across the globe.

ripple 1.png

Source: Cryptowiki

The payments are cryptographically secured and were designed to fit within the existing infrastructure of a bank. Ripple highlights the following as its four main features:

  1. Distribution: Banks can deal directly between each other with no middle contact
  2. Security: Transaction privacy
  3. Scalability: High levels of processing
  4. Interoperable: Capability to connect multiple networks with one another

The Ripple network basically allows payments to be completed quicker – almost instantaneously – cheaper, more securely, and with direct access. It's not surprising, therefore, that Ripple is being increasingly utilised by the banking sector, which hasn't capitalised as much on new technology compared to some other industry sectors.

Does Ripple Use Blockchain Technology?

Ripple uses a structure that processes payments in a similar fashion to the concept of blockchain. According to Ripple, it uses a "share ledger to process transactions [which allows it to] work cross-border and with any size payment." The Ripple currency XRP helps facilitate transactions between two parties, in case no direct exchange is possible. XRP has no counterparty risk, as it doesn't rely on a third party.

Who Invented Ripple?

It's thought that Ripple was founded by Ryan Fugger, but has seen a great deal of development since its initial creation. The growth of Ripple began in 2004, when the creation of 'RipplePay' was established by Ryan Fugger. In 2011, the system was redesigned, making it faster and much more energy-efficient compared with Bitcoin. In 2012, 'OpenCoin', Inc. was formed.

Shortly after, the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) was developed based on Fugger's concepts. The protocol is able to circumnavigate the fees and waiting times of the traditional correspondent banking system. Since 2012, Ripple has been also focused on expanding into the banking market.

What is Ripple Backed by?

Ripple operates independently of any central bank, in a similar fashion to other cryptocurrencies, such as Bitcoin, Ether, and Litecoin. This is a major difference compared to such well-known currencies as the US Dollar and the Euro. These currencies are circulated and printed in the US and the EU by their respective central banks.

Ripple decides the flow of XRP, which is set at one billion XRP every month. However, contrary to the "fiat currencies", like USD and EUR, Ripple has a maximum supply of 100 billion XRP, which are available according to the Ripple protocol.

What Are the Risks of Trading Ripple?

As with any financial asset, there is a risk that the price will move up and down. Ripple is subject to market fluctuations, such as demand and supply. The price fluctuation, however, is what allows traders to trade. Considering the wide acceptance of Ripple as a financial network by major financial firms and banks, it seems unlikely that any major disruptions will take place in the intermediate future.

Last but not least, each Ripple account is required to have a small reserve of 20 XRP, with a transaction fee of 0.00001 XRP for each trade. These actions are implemented to combat hackers who want to overload the network. But, all in all, these costs are effectively very low.

Is Ripple Legal?

The answer is yes. Regulations will vary on a country-by-country basis, but you can expect to see national financial regulators interested in Ripple, and other virtual currencies, potentially along with regional regulators at a sub-country level. Additionally, Ripple has re-focussed on XRP markets, and Japan has already voted on a law normalising and regulating such digital currencies as BTC and XRP.

Is Ripple Safe to Trade?

Yes, it is just as safe to trade as Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, or any other commodity for that matter but also comes with associated risks. Here's the chart that shows money flow into Ripple, trading volume by exchange, and total volume over time.

Source: Cryptocompare.com - XRP/USD 1 month Total Volume - June 2017

What does Ripple's Future Look Like?

In 2017, Ripple (XRPUSD) caught the attention of many investors as its network is much quicker in terms of processing payments, while announcing major global partnerships:

  • 60 institutions around the world, including such famous firms as UBS, RBC, UniCredit, and Santander.
  • 40% of Japanese banks will be connected to Ripple.
  • RBS and BAML will use Ripple for both retail and commercial payment services.
  • The National Bank of Abu Dhabi uses Ripple for international transactions.

These events helped Ripple (XRPUSD) surge higher from 0.1000 at the beginning of 2017 to a high of 3.3381 by the end of 2017, as its price chart shows below:

Source: Admiral Markets MT5 Supreme Edition, XRPUSD, Weekly - Data range: from May 15, 2016, to May 27, 2019, accessed on May 27, 2019, at 8:32 pm BST. - Please note: Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results.

However, after reaching its all time high, Ripple's price crashed in 2018 all the way back down to a 2018 low of just 0.2448. All the positive news surrounding Ripple was not enough to escape the great cryptocurrency crash of 2018.

While the cryptocurrency could once again regain its strength, there are significant headwinds facing the cryptocurrency market with more established companies like Facebook creating their digital coins.

The future is uncertain for Ripple which means using the right trading products for cryptocurrencies is important. By trading on cryptocurrency CFDs, traders can go long and short on Ripple - and other cryptocurrencies - depending on their view.

Trade CFDs on Ripple With Admiral Markets

Stay tuned for more exciting information and analysis on Ripple... but why wait? You know it's now possible to trade CFDs on Ripple with a Admiral Markets demo trading account, as well as with the MetaTrader 4 and MetaTrader 5 trading platforms, so why not give it a go today? Practice makes perfect!


  1. The Market Mogul
  2. Cryptowiki
  3. Ibid.
  4. Ripple
  5. CryptoCompare
  6. Coindesk

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