What is Ripple and why is it being hyped as the 'next Bitcoin'?
"Ripple just might be the catalyst in making cryptocurrency more mainstream."
The world was abuzz with Bitcoin in 2017, with investors making a tidy sum during its unprecedented peak in December.
However, following a disastrous drop of 50% shortly after, it seems that the Bitcoin bubble well and truly burst.
So with this change, people are looking around to see what might be the next game-changing cryptocurrency, but more importantly, what is the one that does not have the same levels of volatility as Bitcoin.
One possible answer is Ripple which is trading below $1 and has a market cap of $35.5 billion.
What is important to mention here is that this is not Bitcoin. For anybody still eager to replicate the unprecedented success of those early investors, that ship has sailed.
In a similar pattern to most cryptocurrencies, Ripple experienced a sudden peak in early January 2018, trading just below $3.50 before plummeting just a few days later.
Trading under the symbol XRP, Ripple is a real-time gross settlement, money exchange, and remittance network built on the blockchain, i.e. the technology that enables the existence of cryptocurrency. Widely recognised as the fastest and most scalable digital asset enabling global payments, it is seen as one potential way of making the opaque world of cryptocurrencies more stable.
The company behind Ripple, also called Ripple, aims to build on the decentralised digital currency pioneered by Bitcoin and "to do for money what the internet has done for information," and thus set money free from institutional bureaucracies.
While both scalability and stability set Ripple apart from other Blockchain projects, it's the lightening speed in which it takes to transfer funds that is truly Ripple's greatest unique selling point. Payments that take days with traditional systems, an hour with Bitcoin, or several minutes with Ethereum can be completed in just four seconds with Ripple.
Speaking to Forbes, Craig Cole of CryptoMaps is one of the experts who believes that Ripple is on the cusp of something big.
"Ripple just might be the catalyst in making cryptocurrency more mainstream,” says Cole.
"Its faster transaction speeds and lower fees make it easier for financial systems to embrace the virtual currency, which is partly why Ripple's value has increased dramatically just this year.
"Ripple is helping financial institutions save money and it is only expected to become even more prevalent in payment flows. The virtual currency is certainly on the rise and has the potential to be the first token to truly disrupt an industry, and if it does, expect XRP to reach Bitcoin-like levels of ubiquity in the near future."
Ripple was, quite interestingly, not designed to compete with the hugely popular Bitcoin, but to compliment it. The Ripple network's purpose is to allow the seamless transfer of any currency, including bitcoin.
The company has also gained investments from major venture capital groups like Andreessen Horowitz and Lightspeed Venture Partners. In other words, the big players are taking Ripple very seriously.
However, the aim of the game is risk – with a number of cryptocoin investors losing a huge amount of their investment depending on a market that is largely unregulated and highly speculative.