Cryptocurrency Ripple is off to a fast start in 2018.
The value of XRP rose rapidly at the end of last year and is running hot in early January. In fact, the chart of the previous seven days shows a substantial increase in price as the company, founder, and protocol have all been receiving a ton of mainstream press coverage.
From $1.79 per coin on December 30, 2017, XRP is now trading for over $3 each during the first week of January. The result of all this trading and firming of price has been that its market cap is now second largest in the world, behind on the reigning champ Bitcoin.
Naturally, the rise and rise of Ripple is not making fans of alternative cryptos happy. In fact, there’s a ton of grumbling about how the price is way too high and is unsustainable. In the world of crypto, both are possible and only time will tell.
Bitcoin’s Limitations Create a Massive Opportunity
By now you’re probably aware of Bitcoin’s two primary problems for widespread adoption. First, transactions are taking a long time, and secondly, the fees are significant. The history of Bitcoin shows people almost always sell the virtues of fast sending times and low costs. In fact, many pundits sold Bitcoin by claiming it was “the democratization of money.” Not only that, they were fond of saying, it will help the little guy level the playing field. However, now that a cryptocurrency gold rush is in full swing, the average person is still a long way off from ending their relationships with central bankers.
Ripple, on the other hand, took a much different approach to its cryptocurrency than Bitcoin. For a long time, a debate raged on about whether Ripple was centralized or decentralized since a central controlling corporation ran the whole thing, and you can’t get much more “central” than that. Ripple was one cryptocurrency that was planning on appealing to the institutions who now control the money supply, so it was crucial that they were on the same page. That means regulatory compliance for anti-money laundering on Know Your Customer (KYC.) Ceo Brad Garlinghouse sought to put to bed the rumors of centralization with a post on Quora where said that if Ripple disappears, XRP will continue to function.
Ripple Solves a Problem for Financial Institutions
Ultimately, Ripple is going to a massive industry where they know their customers and their expectations. Banks and other large-scale financial institutions must comply with an array of regulations. For them, dealing with a company gives them a higher degree of trust. It appears that approach is paying off and now Ripple has an inroad to the world’s money supply. xRapid may be just what the financial institutions are looking for in technology. Payment processors, many of which handle more cross-border transactions than ever before, are looking for cheaper alternatives. According to Ripple and Garlinghouse, he has spoken with banks and payment processors who are considering using xRapid for liquidity.
The Battle for the Liquidity Market Heats Up
It’s fair to say that this market will be a hot contest for many cryptocurrencies, including Bitcoin with their Lightning Network. Where Ripple seems to have an advantage is in their corporate structure and their specialization in the financial sector. However, there’s certainly nothing stopping Bitcoin or other alternatives to go after the same market. In fact, there’s no question that this area will remain a battlefield for years. Right now, Ripple has the edge, and they’re making the most of their position. The company is generating a ton of interest and investment, and that may not slow down anytime soon. For long-term holders of XRP, that’s excellent news. If the momentum XRP has now carried on through the year, a lunar landing is unavoidable.