Ripple vs. Bitcoin: A Guide

Updated on January 7, 2024

At a Glance

  • Bitcoin and Ripple (XRP) are both cryptocurrencies but have distinct characteristics.
  • Bitcoin is widely known and used as a digital currency for goods and services payments, operating on a blockchain ledger with miners validating transactions.
  • Ripple is a remittance system and payment settlement network that uses the XRP cryptocurrency, focusing on international payments, remittances, and currency exchange.
  • Ripple offers faster and cheaper transactions compared to Bitcoin, and while Bitcoin has a capped supply of 21 million, Ripple has a supply of 100 billion XRP, with Ripple controlling the majority of tokens.

Most people on the planet know about Bitcoin, but to them, Bitcoin seems like the universal cryptocurrency. After all, it is the most popular one out there, and it only makes sense that this would be the first cryptocurrency anyone hears of. However, there are different options too, such as Ripple’s XRP. But if you’re new to crypto, it can be confusing to choose between Ripple vs. Bitcoin. So, what are the differences between the two?

Bitcoin vs. Ripple: Overview

Bitcoin is considered the market capitalization leader, as well as the leader when it comes to investor traction in general. Because it is worldwide known as one of the best cryptos, there are a lot of people using it.

Many want to diversify their portfolio, though, and for that to be possible, they must try different coins. Other options exist, with Ripple being one of them. It can be a great alternative for anyone looking to experiment with virtual coins. In July 2021, Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency was in 6th place when it came to market capitalization.

Bitcoin and XRP may both be cryptos, but they are different in certain aspects.

Comparing Ripple and Bitcoin

In order for you to choose between them, you have to understand them first. So, here are more details about these cryptocurrencies and their differences.

What Is Ripple?

Ripple is a remittance system, currency exchange, and payment settlement. It was made in order to allow people to transfer their assets more easily, whether they do it internationally or domestically.

The Ripple company is privately owned, and it managed to develop the cryptocurrency known as XRP. The crypto is not only pre-mined, but the method it uses is also simpler than the one used by Bitcoin.

Initially, the company was made as a peer-to-peer trust network. People in a network were able to open credit lines with others or make loans. Sadly, this wasn’t very successful, so in the end, it didn’t last for too long.

However, in 2012, Ripple turned into OpenCoin. This network allowed money transfers to happen. Financial services firms and large businesses were also acting as transaction counterparties.

In the same year, they launched XRP. 20 billion tokens went to the co-founders, while 80 billion went to the company. XRP was created in order to become an exchange intermediate mechanism between two networks or currencies. Later, in 2013, Open Coin turned into Ripple Labs.

It is important to note that Ripple and XRP are often used interchangeably in news reports. However, the two are different. XRP is the name of the currency, while Ripple is the name of the network and the company that owns it.

What Is Bitcoin?

Bitcoin is a blockchain ledger that allows the use of digital currency for services or goods payments. It is a digital currency, and one that has taken over the world a long time ago. To this day, it is still one of the most well-known and widely used currencies.

The network that bitcoin uses is based on the blockchain concept. All the time, miners are checking out transactions and then adding them to Bitcoin’s blockchain. Because they spend their time doing this and because they are able to compute enough power to validate the ledger, they receive BTC after transactions are validated.

What’s the Difference?

There are several differences between the two cryptocurrencies. One of them is the fact that the two have different circulation mechanisms. Bitcoins are supplied depending on the speed of the network and how difficult the mining algorithm is. When miners find them, they are added to the network. When it comes to XRP, though, there is a smart contract used to control their release. XRP decided to release about 1 million XRP every month, and the circulation is more than 50 billion currently. Then, every XRP portion that went unused will be shifted to an escrow account.

The two cryptos also validate transactions differently. The Ripple network has a mechanism with nodes that check how authentic a transaction is. This is done through a poll. Because of this, confirmations happen almost instantly, without having to wait for any authority. As a result, XRP remains decentralized and is more reliable.

On top of that, Bitcoin is more expensive than XRP and slower. It has a more complicated mining process, which makes everything take longer overall. Because of that, the transaction costs are also higher. XRP is faster and cheaper.

Key Differences

You have to understand both Ripple and Bitcoin properly before you pick one of the options. Below you will find some key differences between them.

Supply

Bitcoin has a supply of 21 million. Over 18 million are in circulation already. Meanwhile, Ripple has a 100 billion XRP supply. It was mined back when the cryptocurrency was launched. Out of this, 45 billion is in circulation currently.

Control of Coin Issuance

XRP is controlled fully by Ripple. Occasionally, some amounts are sent to the market. Not only are there 45 billion XRP circulating at the moment, but Ripple also holds 55% of the tokens right now.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, is mined by only performing a computational math problem. There is no organization controlling the supply. Still, the supply is capped at 21 million.

Transaction Speed

When it comes to transaction speeds, it is worth bringing up the fact that XRP is the fastest one. Ripple’s transactions are fast, and because of that, the cost is also low. There are fast remittances, payment settlements, and currency exchanges. It only takes a matter of seconds until XRP transactions are confirmed.

Conversely, Bitcoin is more of a decentralized digital currency. Its focus is on censorship and centralization resistance rather than speeds, so it tends to be way slower in comparison.

Technology

Ripple relies on a consensus ledger, as well as a network of validators or validating servers. Ripple is the one picking the validators, and they are the ones allowing the transaction validation process to occur. Bitcoin, on the other hand, uses blockchain technology. This is a shared public ledger where all confirmed transactions are included. This also includes the mining concept that allows the validation of the transactions.

Uses

Bitcoin is a currency with no central authority or a third-party having control over its demand and supply. As such, it can serve multiple purposes. People can use it to pay for various services, whether it’s booking hotels or purchasing certain goods.

Ripple focuses on international payments, remittances, and currency exchange. Ripple allows people to transfer money abroad and exchange currency way quicker, and it is cheaper as well. This is what it relies on.

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Conclusion

Ripple and Bitcoin are both amazing options depending on what you’re looking for in terms of cryptocurrency. Bitcoin is more popular but has a more limited supply, while XRP comes in a higher supply, and it is faster and cheaper as well.

In the end, both can be great for different purposes, so you need to make your selection based on that. All you have to do is consider the differences and decide on the more convenient currency.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What is Ripple and Bitcoin?

Ripple and Bitcoin are both cryptocurrencies, but they have different underlying technologies and purposes. Ripple is a digital payment protocol designed for fast and low-cost international money transfers, while Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency used for peer-to-peer transactions.

How does Ripple differ from Bitcoin?

Ripple differs from Bitcoin in several ways. While Bitcoin operates on a decentralized network, Ripple relies on a consensus algorithm and a network of trusted validators. Additionally, Ripple aims to facilitate seamless cross-border transactions, while Bitcoin focuses on being a store of value and a medium of exchange.

How do Ripple and Bitcoin achieve consensus?

Ripple achieves consensus through a consensus algorithm known as the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA). Bitcoin, on the other hand, achieves consensus through a proof-of-work algorithm, where miners compete to solve complex mathematical problems.

Are Ripple and Bitcoin open-source?

Yes, both Ripple and Bitcoin are open-source projects. This means that their source code is publicly available, allowing developers to review, modify, and contribute to the projects.

Can Ripple and Bitcoin be used for everyday transactions?

Bitcoin is widely accepted as a form of payment by various merchants and businesses. However, Ripple is primarily focused on facilitating transactions between financial institutions and banks, rather than everyday consumer transactions.

What is the transaction speed of Ripple and Bitcoin?

Ripple is known for its fast transaction speed, with the ability to process thousands of transactions per second. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a slower transaction speed due to its proof-of-work consensus mechanism.

Are Ripple and Bitcoin secure?

Both Ripple and Bitcoin utilize cryptographic techniques to ensure the security of transactions. However, it’s important to note that the security of any cryptocurrency also depends on the effective implementation of best practices by users and the overall network infrastructure.

Can Ripple and Bitcoin be used for investment purposes?

Many individuals view both Ripple and Bitcoin as investment opportunities. However, it’s essential to conduct thorough research and consider the risks associated with investing in cryptocurrencies before making any investment decisions.

How do Ripple and Bitcoin handle scalability?

Ripple’s consensus algorithm allows for high scalability, making it capable of handling a large number of transactions. Bitcoin, on the other hand, has faced challenges with scalability due to its block size limit and the increasing number of transactions.

Are Ripple and Bitcoin regulated?

The regulatory status of Ripple and Bitcoin varies across different countries. Some countries have implemented regulations or guidelines for cryptocurrencies, while others are still in the process of formulating their approach. It’s important to comply with the relevant regulations and laws of your jurisdiction when using or investing in cryptocurrencies.

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Frank Gogol

I’m a firm believer that information is the key to financial freedom. On the Stilt Blog, I write about the complex topics — like finance, immigration, and technology — to help immigrants make the most of their lives in the U.S. Our content and brand have been featured in Forbes, TechCrunch, VentureBeat, and more.