As Bitcoin went from something so cheap and insignificant to taking the number two spot in the category of global news of 2017, the world’s attention to cryptocurrencies is getting more intense. With thousands of new ICOs and coins emerging, people started to look for alternative coins that could be “the next Bitcoin” – in the sense of having their value multiplied by hundreds or even thousands. One of these hopes would be Ripple.

Whereas Bitcoin was launched in 2009 to be an alternative global currency that proposes solutions to the problems of government-controlled, real-world fiat currencies, Ripple was actually a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS) network that would also enable its users to perform currency exchanges and remittances. Ripple itself was released in 2012 by the Ripple company – as opposed to Bitcoin, that was released under the authority of no central figure. A quick, arguable summary is clear then: since Ripple was founded by a company, it doesn’t provide much decentralization when compared to Bitcoin. We’ll see further below as to what makes these two crypto assets different.

Note: all prices and market caps are from CoinMarketCap (hereafter referred to as CMC) as of June 26th, 2018.

Prices

Bitcoin’s current price is around $6,233.71, while Ripple is sitting conveniently at around $0.480901. From the moment that Bitcoin was actively traded and listed on CMC, it has gone up from its starting value of $135.3 on Apr 28th, 2013, much higher than its initial price. Its lowest  price was $65.53 on July 5th, 2013, while its highest price was at a whopping figure of around $20,089 on December 17th, 2017. As for Ripple, it hit rock bottom figure exactly at $0.002802 on July 7th, 2014, only to shoot up to hit the ceiling at $3.49 on January 7th, 2018. Ripple started its journey on CMC at a price of $0.005874 on August 4th, 2013.

Market Caps

As the pioneering cryptocurrency that also brought with it Blockchain technology, Bitcoin has always taken the number one spot in terms of market cap. When it comes to Ripple, though, it started insignificantly around $46 million, dropping to the $24 million area before hitting the record high of $130 billion. Ripple is now still standing strong in the third position on CMC for its market cap, trailing behind Ethereum and Bitcoin, with a figure of $18.8 billion.

Token Supplies

As a global currency, Bitcoin was developed to have a limited number of total supply, capping it at 21 million, among which around 17.1 million of them are currently in circulation. It is in contrast to Ripple, which has a total supply of 99.9 billion, with its current circulating supply at around 39.2 billion coins.

Models

Bitcoin was built on the premise of mining, which means people can “mine” to get Bitcoins. By mining, this is actually people setting up high-powered machines and computers that work 24/7, trying to resolve hashes and algorithms in the Bitcoin network to complete a block of transactions. After a block is completed, the miners will then get a reward in the form of a certain amount of Bitcoin (currently at 12.5 BTC/block mined). Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hash function, which implements the proof-of-work scheme – this means that people mining Bitcoin will run a lot of trial-and-error processes when their supercomputers are solving the hashes and algorithms involved. This is different than Ripple, which cannot be mined, since the coins are issued by the Ripple company, and they are not using a blockchain, but rather, simply a distributed public ledger. One can only get Ripple coins by buying them from crypto marketplaces.

Intended Functions

As spoken briefly in the beginning of this article, Bitcoin was developed on the idea of having a decentralized global currency. It aims to bring solutions to the problems of our current fiat (like USD, GBP, or IDR, etc) currencies: mainly slow transaction processes, high transaction fees, lack of privacy, devaluation & inflation, etc. Since Bitcoin is under no central authority/bank, there would be no one who really keeps a close eye on its users (which is changing now with regulations and KYC – Know Your Customer). Bitcoin transfers are done through its blockchain, which simply tells the public that a certain wallet address (in the form of basically an unreadable hash) transfers x amount of money (Bitcoin) to another wallet address. Within its public blockchain, miners are making their computers work to “read” your wallet’s hashes and signatures, resolving its algorithms, therefore providing you with confirmations that you really are transferring money. Since the whole confirmation process involves a lot of sophisticated computers, it can be faster and more efficient than manual confirmations done by bank employees. The fees are also more controlled because you can set it up yourself, and it’s usually cheaper at non-peak times.

While Bitcoin might seem like its making banks its enemies, Ripple provides a different approach: it has partnered with banks around the world, one of the most recent being Santander bank. Ripple focuses on making its RTGS payment system more efficient and faster. Ripple also helps its users that want to do currency exchanges and remittances, hence why Ripple keeps a close relationship with banks as it improves – instead of competing with them.

Changes

As both Bitcoin and Ripple are products of technology, changes and upgrades are inevitable. Bitcoin has had multiple “forks”, which are basically new coins that try to improve its technology, with the most valuable fork being Bitcoin Cash. Ripple, on the other hand, always improves their source code, with the latest 1.0.0 stable version released on May 15th, 2018.

Adoption

Both crypto assets are getting widely adopted these days. Bitcoin, for example, has had Indonesia legally accepting it as a tradeable commodity, making it a more sought-after asset in one of the countries with the biggest population counts in the world. As for Ripple, aside from the 100 partners that the company has, Amazon is also contemplating to adopt its technology.

Latest News

Bitcoin is expected to see new developments going on soon to improve its technicalities such as transaction times. Ripple has also had encouraging news regarding implementing the Cobalt algorithm, one of the main aims is to increase stability.

Even with all the recent talks about cryptocurrencies being dead, we hope that they are here to stay. History has proven that technology is always developing, and cryptocurrencies are its products. That said, we are embracing their bright future and have developed a digital wallet app, where you can store and use Bitcoin & Ripple, along with a few other cryptocurrencies that we support as well. Check out our main website at bcmy.io and also download  the app for free.