First, let’s make clear there’s a difference between Ripple the company and XRP (CCC:XRP-USD), which is the cryptocurrency that Ripple has engineered.
Ripple created the crypto but also built a platform for blockchain-like confirmation of transactions on RippleNet, a payment platform focused on quick, cross-border transactions.
XRP is the cryptocurrency that’s designed for RippleNet. And it, like other cryptos has had quite a year.
But as newer crypto investors now understand with the rise and fall of Bitcoin (CCC:BTC-USD) and others in recent days, the crypto market isn’t for the faint of heart, or the FOMO investors that don’t understand what they’re buying.
The other day I walked by a handful of college-aged kids that were talking excitedly about their Robinhood accounts with hefty $40 balances. While I applaud their interest in the markets at such a young age, I can’t help but feel like Wall Street is luring them in like Hansel and Gretel, since no one is helping with educating them; just entertaining them and making it “fun” to place their bets.
Wall Street loves dumb money. It’s easier to take.
This behavior isn’t new. Every bull market top has this kind of behavior; the demographics just differ. In the dotcom boom, brokers were telling their older clients to dump their safe utility stocks and buy dotcoms – the rallying cry was, “Growth is the new income!”
Now it’s new investors who want in on this ride. And cryptos are very attractive to digitally native generations. As the old saying goes, don’t fight the tape. Here’s the scoop on XRP – if you care.
There are some significant differences that actually make XRP a very interesting choice if you’re looking into cryptos.
XRP Is Already Mined
BTC is basically set up like a precious metal. We’ll use gold as an example. There are a limited number of coins to be mined – 21 billion – and the more that are mined, the more difficult it is to find the others.
At this point, some studies claim it takes as much energy to mine one BTC as it does to mine an ounce of gold. And that’s rising.
XRP on the other hand released its 100 billion coins upon its launch. That creates more stability since the quantity is already available. It doesn’t need massive data farms to mine XRP. It’s exchange ready.
That means XRP is a much greener alternative and in the long run that could be important to Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) investors. Also, as we’ve seen in China recently, as nations begin to launch their own digital currencies, they’re shutting down big crypto mining operations to weaken competition.
XRP was also designed to facilitate cross-border transactions that happen at an institutional level where speed is important.
BTC (and others) has a decentralized transaction confirmation process using the blockchain. It takes up to an hour for a transaction to move through the process. This has been a key sticking point to BTC’s ability to function as a global method of payment because its protocols focus on decentralization over speed.
Because XRP doesn’t have mining involved in its transaction process – which affects pricing. It has 35 “validators,” and six of these are within Ripple. Because XRP has a more centralized system of confirmation, it can confirm a trade in 3-5 seconds each time the transaction list is updated.
This is what makes it especially valuable to institutions. Sitting around for an hour to confirm big cross-border payments means you’re losing that time to put those assets to work in other ways, especially if you multiply those transactions across time and volume.
Two other pieces that can affect your interest in XRP are that while BTC is an open blockchain platform, XRP is a proprietary blockchain-like platform owned and operated by RippleNet.
BTC, like gold, is priced by the open market. XRP is priced similar to a borderless currency.
Like other cryptos, XRP has popped and dropped since April. I still consider it very early days for cryptos, but XRP has a good business plan, and if you’re going to buy with some fun money for the long term, it’s worth a gamble.
On the date of publication, GS Early did not have (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in this article. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer, subject to the InvestorPlace.com Publishing Guidelines.
GS Early has been an award-winning financial writer and editor for nearly three decades, working with many of the leading financial editors and publishers during that time. He’s seen a few things and heard plenty.