Read our guide to buying, selling and trading Ripple in the United States.
Ripple is a payment network (RippleNet) and a cryptocurrency (XRP). RippleNet is designed to connect major banks and other large financial institutions and allow them to send fast, secure and affordable transactions all over the world.
XRP is the currency used for all transactions in the Ripple payment network. One of the top five cryptocurrencies in the world in terms of market capitalization, XRP is widely traded on a range of global exchanges.
To find out how the Ripple network works and how you can buy XRP, keep reading.
Where to buy XRP in the United States
XRP is available on an extensive range of cryptocurrency exchanges, including the following:
A step-by-step guide to buying XRP
If you want to buy XRP, here’s an example of how to do it:
Step 1. Register for an account with an exchange that allows you to buy XRP
XRP is listed on a wide range of exchanges, so search for an exchange that offers your desired XRP pairings. You can then register for an account by supplying your email address and setting up a password.
At this stage of the process, some exchanges will allow you to start trading right away. However, other exchanges will need further information to satisfy Know Your Customer (KYC) requirements, in which case you’ll have to provide your name, contact information and proof of ID.
Before depositing any funds, you should also enable two-factor authentication on your account for increased security.
Step 2. Deposit funds into your account
Many cryptocurrency exchanges don’t allow you to exchange US dollars (USD) or other fiat currency for XRP. If this is the case on the platform you choose, you’ll need to first use your USD to acquire a crypto that’s listed in a currency pairing with XRP, such as Ether (ETH) or bitcoin (BTC), and then exchange it for XRP.
Step 3. Buy XRP
Click through to the markets or exchange section on your trading platform and search for the currency pairing you want, such as BTC/XRP.
Follow the links to buy XRP and enter the desired purchase amount in either XRP or the currency you’re trading with. Before finalizing the order, make sure you review the full details of the transaction and any fees that apply.
How to sell XRP
The process for selling XRP is quite similar to the buying process outlined in step 3. Just remember to look for the sell XRP option and enter the specifics of your transaction. In addition, make sure you’re aware that XRP may not be listed in a pairing with your chosen currency, so you may need to first exchange it for a widely-traded crypto before you can acquire the coins or tokens you want.
Which wallets can I use to hold XRP?
While you do have the option of storing your XRP holdings on a cryptocurrency exchange, this is usually not recommended due to the security risks involved. Instead, it’s usually safer to move your XRP into a secure wallet for storage. There are several wallets compatible with XRP, including the following:
- Ledger Nano S (hardware wallet)
- Toast Wallet (mobile and desktop wallet)
- GateHub (online wallet)
How Ripple works
Launched in 2012 by Ripple Labs, Ripple aims to facilitate global financial transactions by providing an enterprise-grade blockchain solution for global payments. RippleNet is designed to connect banks, payment providers, digital-asset exchanges and corporate entities to allow for real-time payments anywhere in the world.
Ripple is built on a distributed ledger network that requires various parties to participate in validating transactions. This network is made up of private blockchains, called gateways, which financial institutions, companies and governments use to access RippleNet.
XRP is the currency used in the payment network for all transactions. Transactions through the Ripple network can be processed within four seconds. It’s also designed to be scalable, making it capable of processing 1,500 transactions per second. This, combined with low transaction fees (currently set at a minimum of 0.00001 XRP per transaction), has seen Ripple strike up partnerships with more than 100 financial institutions.
It offers three main solutions for banks and other corporate entities:
- xRapid uses XRP to provide on-demand liquidity to payment providers, thereby minimizing liquidity costs.
- xCurrent is a messaging system that allows banks to instantly settle cross-border payments with end-to-end tracking.
- xVia is a standard payments interface for corporate entities, payment providers and banks that want to send transactions across various networks.
Key things to consider if you’re thinking about buying XRP
Cryptocurrencies are complicated and speculative, not to mention known for their volatility. With this in mind, you’ll need to carefully research any cryptocurrency before you buy and assess all the risks involved with these digital assets.
If you’re thinking of purchasing XRP, consider the following factors first:
- Supply. According to CoinMarketCap at the time of writing (February 20, 2018), the circulating supply of Ripple was 39,009,215,838 XRP out of a total supply of 99,992,725,510 XRP.
- Distribution. The total Ripple supply of 100 billion XRP has already been created. Less than 40 billion of those are in circulation, with a large portion held by Ripple Labs. However, in May 2017, Ripple pledged to lock up 55 billion XRP in 55 smart contracts, essentially putting those funds in escrow. Each month, a contract releases 1 billion XRP into the market. This move was designed to combat fears that Ripple Labs could drive down the price of XRP by instantly releasing all its holdings onto the market.
- Availability. You can buy and sell XRP on a wide range of cryptocurrency exchanges. Not only does this provide increased credibility to the cryptocurrency, but the fact that it’s relatively easy to access may also drive up demand.
- Coinbase rumors. Rumors have also been circulating in 2018 that popular cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase would soon be adding XRP. When Bitcoin Cash was added to Coinbase in December last year, this prompted a substantial price rise.
- 20 XRP reservation fee. To fund an XRP wallet address, you’ll need to send a reserve requirement of 20 XRP.
- Adoption. A number of big players in the global financial industry have either introduced or are in the process of testing Ripple’s systems with their own operations. For example, at the time of writing, Western Union was testing Ripple’s xRapid, which is designed to minimize liquidity costs for payment providers, while China’s LianLian International has signed up to Ripple’s xCurrent system, and Saudi Arabia’s central bank has launched a Ripple pilot. Other big names that have partnered with Ripple include MoneyGram, Mercury FX, IDT, Cuallix, Santander, UniCredit, UBS and Standard Chartered.
- Mainstream press. The news of these big corporate partnerships, coupled with the growth in the market capitalization and trading volume of XRP, has seen it receive increased mainstream press coverage in recent times. This has resulted in more attention for XRP.
- Criticisms. Critics of Ripple have pointed out that by working with banks and financial institutions to improve cross-border payments, it goes against a number of the principles cryptocurrencies are meant to stand for. As Ripple is not mined and has been criticized for being overly centralized, some have claimed that it is not actually a “real” cryptocurrency.
- Other factors that affect the price. Speculative trading, regulatory changes and the potential widespread adoption of Ripple technology can all impact the price of XRP.
Consider all these factors and any other potential risks before deciding whether you should buy XRP.