If 2017 was the year of the Bitcoin, 2018 could be the year for Ripple. Bitcoin became a household name last year with a meteoric ascent of over 1,600% to a peak of around $20,000. What Ripple has done in comparison in the last month alone simply overshadows it.
Ripple’s XRP token has made astronomical gains of 1,350% since the same time last month and is now attracting the attention of mainstream media such as The Wall Street Journal. It has firmly secured the spot of second most popular cryptocurrency by market capacity and is currently worth $116 billion, a rise from a paltry $200 million in March last year.
Despite reaching a record high of $1,075 yesterday, Ethereum still could not regain its position above Ripple and remains in the third spot. In the first few days of 2018 Ripple rallied to an all-time high of $3.84, jumping 74% in just three days. Taking an entire year into consideration XRP’s performance has been simply monumental with a 38,000% increase in value.
The surprising twist is that Ripple goes against the general philosophy of a decentralized digital currency free from intervention or regulation by states or central banks. The XRP altcoin is centralized around a profit-driven corporation based in San Francisco. It stands to reason then that the company that owns it (along with a stashed premine) can manipulate and control the price and supply of the coin.
For this reason, many crypto traders have shunned XRP in spite of a number of high profile banking partnerships that have been recently announced. However, there has still been enough investment to push the once $0.005 crypto coin to giddying heights. This indicates that the majority of investors at the moment are doing it for pure profits and not any other altruistic ideologies that the original creators of Bitcoin may have envisaged for the future of money.
3 of the top 5 global money transfer companies plan to use XRP in payment flows in 2018. Even more in the pipeline. https://t.co/5JOlxe20Ur
— Ripple (@Ripple) January 5, 2018
In a number of media reports, company chief Brad Garlinghouse has extolled the virtues of Ripple;
The reason why XRP is unique is, it settles in three seconds so I’m not taking risks on kind of volatile where bitcoin take hours. We’re about a thousand times faster than bitcoin and a thousand times cheaper than bitcoin to settle a transaction. A lot for the speculation that’s gone on about XRP lately is people realising bitcoin is not going to be the kind of panacea of all things blockchain we once thought it would be.
According to Garlinghouse over a hundred banks worldwide are already using the Ripple blockchain and more are set to follow he told CNBC;
I think the vast majority of banks, like 99.9 percent of banks, actually are paying other banks, the global money sender banks like JP Morgan or Citibank to make those settlements. A lot of the banks are very excited about democratising how these global payments flow.
Whether you love it or hate it Ripple (technology) cannot be ignored. It has shown the entire industry what the blockchain can really do, albeit still in a centralized way. Maybe Ripple is the stepping stone between slow and archaic monetary transfer systems and a truly decentralized global cryptocurrency. Either way, it is bound to get bigger.
[Disclaimer: the author of this article is a holder of Ripple (XRP).]
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Images courtesy of Shutterstock and Twitter/@Ripple.