What is Ripple? The ultimate guide to XRP

Ripple is a fast money transfer network and cryptocurrency. Read why it has enjoyed steady growth, and how to buy.

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Ripple coin
The Ripple network has been accepted by several banks as a legitimate money transfer system, and the currency (XRP) offers a range of useful features. It’s a bit more complicated than most cryptocurrencies, though.

This guide goes through what Ripple is, how XRP works, what to consider before trading and where to buy.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade.

What is Ripple?

Icon Symbol Initial release date Algorithm type Max. supply
XRP 2012 Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA) 100 billion XRP

The goal of Ripple is to be a global settlement network, a platform to allow anyone to transfer money in any currency to any currency in a matter of seconds. This is an ambitious goal meant to eliminate the use of older systems like Western Union or SWIFT.

How does Ripple work?

Consider this scenario: Alice and Bob need to send some money to each other. Alice uses Jamaican dollars (JMD) to conduct her business, while Bob operates in Bangladeshi taka (BDT).

While it might not be evident to end users, the process behind Alice sending Bob money involves converting the JMD to a common currency like USD, then transferring the money between Alice’s bank and Bob’s. Finally, the USD in Bob’s bank is converted back to BDT.

This incurs a lot of fees at every exchange and wastes a lot of time. The Ripple network and currency aim to fix this problem.

The alternative Ripple proposes is the use of XRP as a common currency underlying all money transfers between different currencies (USD is currently the most common currency). Not only are transaction fees much lower to convert from one currency to XRP and back, but transfers take a maximum of 4 seconds to execute and verify.

Quite a few global banks have already started embracing Ripple as it saves them a lot of money in the long run by avoiding exchange fees.

How to buy Ripple

You might consider the following Ripple brokers and Ripple exchanges. All of the following let you buy, sell or trade XRP, although their value for money and convenience might vary.

Name Product Deposit methods Fiat Currencies Supported Cryptocurrencies
Bank transfer (ACH)
Cash
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
AUD, USD, GBP, EUR, JPY, SGD, HKD & 40+ more
BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, ETC, LTC, XLM, ADA, NEO, TRX & 210+ more
Buy and hold 28+ cryptocurrencies and more than 50 different fiat currencies in this all-in-one wallet and exchange app.
Cash
Credit card
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
USD, EUR
BTC, ETH, ETC, BCH, LTC, ADA, QTUM, XRP
Buy coins like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Ripple, Litecoin and Bitcoin Cash with credit card.
Credit card
Debit card
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, ETH, XMR, ZEC, DASH, XRP, ETC, LTC, DOGE, XLM,1ST, ADX, AMP, ANT, BAT, & 75+ more
Access competitive crypto-to-crypto exchange rates for more than 35 cryptocurrencies on this global exchange.
Cryptocurrency
Bank Wire
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY
BTC, BCH, BTG, IQ, TRX, GNT, AVT, DASH, DATA, EDO & 140+ more
Cryptocurrencies are a highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Spot trade all of the major cryptos on this full-featured exchange and margin trading platform.
Bank transfer (ACH)
Credit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Faster Payments Service
USD, EUR, RUB, GBP & 125+ more
BTC, BTG, BCH, LTC, DASH, ETH, XRP, ZEC & 3+ more
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Use your USD, EUR or RUB to buy and sell cryptocurrency at competitive exchange rates and with high maximums for verified accounts.
Cash
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
PayPal
Western Union
AUD, USD, EUR, GBP, CAD, CNY & 50+ more
BTC
Connect with bitcoin buyers and sellers through this peer-to-peer marketplace that accepts cash, credit and more than 300 other payment methods.
Credit card
Debit card
PayPal
Wire transfer
Local Online Banking
EUR, GBP, NZD, USD, AUD, CAD, HKD, SGD, CHF, NOK, ZAR, JPY, SEK, CNH, TRY, RUB, HUF, MXN, PLN
BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, DASH, LTC, ETC, ADA, MIOTA, XLM, EOS, NEO, TRX, ZEC, BNB, XTZ
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk. 75% of retail investor accounts lose money when trading CFDs with this provider. You should consider whether you can afford to take the high risk of losing your money.

Copy the trades of leading cryptocurrency investors on this unique social investment platform.
Cryptocurrency
BTC, XBT, ADA, BCH, EOS, ETH, LTC, XRP
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Trade cryptocurrency derivatives with high liquidity for bitcoin spot and futures, and up to 100% leverage on margin trading.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, XRP, BCH, ETH, NEB, XVG, TRX, NEBL, ETH, NEO & 140+ more
Trade an extensive range of reputable coins on this world-renowned exchange, popular for its high liquidity and multi-language support.

US residents: US-based users have been restricted from Binance since June 2019.
UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading services, Binance offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
Cryptocurrency
Express Polish Post Office 24/7
Wire transfer
GBP bank transfers
USD, EUR, PLN, GBP
BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, TRX, LTC, DASH, XMR, XLM, OMG & 20+ more
This Polish-based exchange offers a variety of accessible payment methods, including Express Polish Post Office 24/7 service and Express DotPay.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, EOS, XVG, LTC, ADA, MIOTA, TRX, NEO, DASH, XMR, XEM, VET, ETC, ICX, QTUM, OMG, & 70+ more
Buy and trade 100+ cryptocurrencies on this global cryptocurrency exchange.
ShapeShift Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, BCH, BTG, ETH, ETC, FUN, 1ST, ANT, BAT, BNT, BLK, CVC, CLAM, DASH, DCR, DGB, DNT, GAME & 29+ more
Quickly swap between more than 40 cryptocurrency assets or use your credit card to instantly buy bitcoin.
Exmo Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Payeer
Perfect Money
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
USD, EUR, RUB, PLN, UAH
BTC, BCH, ETH, ETC, XRP, KICK, DASH, WAVES, ZEC, XMR, LTC, DOGE, USDT, ADA, INK
A UK-based cryptocurrency platform that provides buyers with a wide variety of payment options.
AdvCash
Cryptocurrency
Payeer
Perfect Money
USD, RUB
BTC, BTG, DASH, ETH, LTC, DOGE, WAVES, LSK, BCC, TRX & 1400 + more
Pay in USD, RUB or trade crypto to crypto at this Russian-based cryptocurrency exchange with hundreds of coins listed.
Bank transfer
Credit card
Debit card
GBP, EUR
BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP
Buy and sell bitcoin in GBP or EUR with credit card, debit card and bank transfer payment options.
HitBTC Multi-currency Exchange
HitBTC Multi-currency Exchange
Bank transfer (SEPA)
SWIFT
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, ETH, XRP, DASH, ZEC, DCN, DOGE, TRX, BCN, XDN, XEM, LTC, BTG, NXT, CAPP, LSK, STORM, ARDR, ETC & 190+ more
Buy crypto with fiat (USD/EUR) and trade over 150 other digital assets on this Europe-based exchange platform.
Huobi Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, ETH, HT, LTC, PAI, BCH, XRP, DASH, IOST, EOS, TRX, ETC, OCN, ONT, ELF, ABT, CMT, ELA, & 78+ more
Huobi is a digital currency exchange that allows its users to trade more than 190 cryptocurrency pairs.
Cryptocurrency
-
BTC, XMR, DAG, ETH, XRP, EOS, LTC, TRX, NEO, ONT & 100+ more
Browse a variety of coin offerings in one of the largest multi-cryptocurrency exchanges and pay in cryptocurrency.
Blueshyft
BPAY
Cryptocurrency
PayID
AUD
BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, ZEC, USDC, BAT, ZRX
CoinJar offers a simple way to buy, sell or trade cryptocurrency with AUD. Enjoy free and instant deposits, flat 1% fees and free withdrawals to your bank account.
BPAY
Cryptocurrency
POLi
AUD
BTC, ETH, LTC, XRP, ZEC, USDC, ZRX, BAT
Owned by the founders of the CoinJar platform, CoinJar Exchange is an advanced digital currency exchange suited for experienced traders.
Poloniex Digital Asset Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Bank Wire
-
BTC, ETH, XRP, DOGE, XLM, ETC, STRAT, LTC, SC, DGB & 40+ more
Trade various coins through a global crypto to crypto exchange based in the US.
Electronic Funds Transfer
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
USD, EUR, GBP, JPY, CAD
BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, EOS, LTC, ADA, XLM, DASH, XMR & 15+ more
Buy, sell and trade a range of digital currencies on this high-liquidity exchange – suitable for beginners right through to advanced traders.

UK residents: In addition to normal crypto trading, Kraken offers margin lending. As this is a regulated activity which they are not authorised to offer in the UK, we advise you not to use this service. If you're interested in margin trading, see authorised providers.
Bittrex Digital Currency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
USD
BTC, ETH, XVG, SC, XRP, DOGE, STRAT, XMR, ADA, OMG & 220+ more
Buy from one of the largest cryptocurrency exchanges with a selection of over 190+ cryptocurrencies and 3 USD pairings.
Bitstamp Cryptocurrency Exchange
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Wire transfer
USD, EUR
BTC, BCH, LTC, ETH, XRP
A global cryptocurrency exchange that facilitates crypto to fiat transactions, where you can use EUR or USD to buy bitcoin and popular altcoins.
Bithumb Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
Wire transfer
KRW
BTC, ETH, XRP, BCH, LTC, EOS, BSV, XLM, TRX, XMR & 90+ more
A global platform where users can make KRW and cryptocurrency deposits to purchase up to 15 popular cryptocurrencies.
OKEx Cryptocurrency Exchange
Bank transfer
Cryptocurrency
WeChat
USD, CNY
BTC, ETH, LTC, EOS, TRX, ETC, BCH, TRUE, XRP, ABT & 130+ more
Listing over 100 cryptocurrencies, OKEx offers its users a variety of payment methods and coins to choose from.
Gate.io Cryptocurrency Exchange
Cryptocurrency
-
BCH, EOS, TRX, ONT, ETH, BTC, BTM, AE, OCN, ADA, IHT, XRP, ETC, NAS, LTC, & over 117+ more
Cryptocurrency
Bank transfer (SEPA)
SWIFT
Wire transfer
Faster Payments Service
GBP, EUR, USD, CAD, SGD, AUD, JPY, MXN
BTC, ETH, BCH, XRP, LTC, EOS, XLM, USDT, ADA, XMR, TRX and 50+ more
BC Bitcoin is a UK-based cryptocurrency brokerage that buys and sells more than 100 different cryptocurrencies.
Liquid Cryptocurrency Exchange & Margin Trading
Liquid Cryptocurrency Exchange & Margin Trading
Credit card
Cryptocurrency
Debit card
Bank transfer (SEPA)
Swapforex
AUD, EUR, JPY, USD, SGD
BTC, CRPT, ETH, XRP, BCH, NEO, QTUM, QASH, ETN, LIKE, EARTH, MRK, and 40+ more
Disclaimer: Highly volatile investment product. Your capital is at risk.
Liquid is a unified, globally-sourced trading platform that bridges the worlds of fiat and crypto.

Compare up to 4 providers

How is Ripple different from bitcoin?

The Ripple coin and the Ripple Network have been built with slightly different purposes in mind, and it’s worth considering whether they provide advantages over bitcoin.

Fast and cheap

Ripple transaction processing only takes four seconds since it’s significantly less active compared to bitcoin. This has the added bonus of cheaper transaction fees, whereas the price for bitcoin transactions has been on the rise lately as more people adopt the platform.

Mining-free

All the 100 billion XRP that it’s possible to use on the platform already exist. While they’re not all on the market – a few are released into the market every month to avoid flooding – there is no use mining as there is nothing of value to be added, unlike in more traditional cryptocurrencies.

XRP in escrow

In May 2017, Ripple pledged to lock up 55 billion XRP in 55 different smart contracts, essentially putting billions of dollars in escrow. Each month, a contract then releases 1 billion XRP into the market.

The primary motivator for this move was the fear that Ripple would suddenly reduce the price of the coin by releasing the billions of XRP that it’s holding onto the market.

The move to lock up XRP will mimic the effect of mining as seen in other currencies like bitcoin, with the goal of keeping XRP steadily growing.

Bank acceptance

The Ripple platform and coin being accepted by banks gives the process legitimacy and, at least from an investor’s standpoint, can be a little more reassuring. This is not the case with bitcoin and other currencies as they are seen as competition by the banks.

Today’s Ripple price

1
0
Updated: 06 Dec 2019 00:37:14 UTC

Where can I use Ripple?

XRP is still a long way from being as widely accepted as coins such as bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum. It was never the goal to use Ripple as a payment method. Instead the aim has always been to use XRP to grease the wheels, in order to make fiat money transfers easier, faster and more secure.

However, there are still some merchants that accept Ripple. You can find a list here on the XRP forums.

Using Ripple to transfer money

Transferring money with Ripple works like any other cryptocurrency:

  1. Have some XRP available in your wallet. XRP wallets are the same as, for example, bitcoin wallets. Buy XRP on an exchange and then transfer them to your wallet.
  2. Scan or enter the recipient’s address. Whether they provide you with the hashed wallet address or a QR code, just follow the simple instructions on your wallet of choice and you’ll be done in no time.
  3. Enter the amount and send. The transaction should be verified in a few seconds and you’re done.

Other ways to get Ripple

Unless you’re a bank willing to invest into the Ripple platform, and because there is no mining allowed on Ripple, there are only two major ways to make money from it.

Get paid in Ripple

Anyone who decides to get paid in XRP will see the coin sitting in their wallets, but will also be helping the currency gain legitimacy and wider use. Ripple will benefit from any merchant accepting the currency.

Purchase Ripple

While the Ripple platform might not be easily accessible to traders, anyone can find a way to buy XRP. As more and more merchants and banks adopt the platform, it’s possible its price will increase too.

What to watch out for

As much as some people love Ripple and see it as the next generation of cryptocurrencies, there are also some who have concerns over privacy and centralization.

  • Privacy concerns

Cryptocurrency has always been considered the poster child of privacy and anonymity. Ripple’s decision to market their platform exclusively to banks has been a cause of concern for some users who worry about big brother keeping an eye on their transactions.

  • Centralization

Ripple’s platform is extremely centralized whereas most cryptocurrencies aim to be as decentralized as possible. The reason for this is that Ripple owns the vast majority of the coins available on the platform while currencies like bitcoin allow anyone to mine and acquire coins. The move to lock coins inside smart contracts was a step in the right direction to fix this issue, but every time the coins are released they first go to Ripple to do with them as it pleases.

What’s next for Ripple?

The company behind Ripple plans, as a priority, to improve the lack of decentralization from which the platform is currently suffering. By adding more trusted validator nodes, the company plans to shake off the image that it’s just another central bank controlling the Ripple currency.

With that said, the future of Ripple appears to depend entirely on the adoption of the platform by banks and that’s where the focus of the people behind Ripple probably needs to be. As more banks join the network, the price of XRP will no doubt continue to rise, driving more people to the coin and enticing banks to join the platform.

Frequently asked questions

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Image sources: Shutterstock, CoinMarketCap
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