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HiTech
6 minutes read

Ripple Vs. Bitcoin: What Is the Difference?

By Jonathan Tarud
By Jonathan Tarud
HiTech
6 minutes read

If you are interested in digital currency, you have likely come across the debate Ripple vs. Bitcoin. There is a lot of consumer and business interest in blockchain, distributed ledger, and decentralized digital currency technology. Bitcoin is still the most famous example of blockchain technology in terms of public attention. However, interest has been growing for other FinTech advancements, such as Ripple’s XRP.

If you find cryptocurrency and blockchain confusing, you are not alone. However, these topics are less complicated and confusing than they may seem on the surface. In this post, we are going to compare and contrast Ripple and Bitcoin. Along the way, we will explain some of the vital HiTech concepts driving these two virtual currencies. 

Ripple Vs. Bitcoin: Understanding the Technology 

There are several critical differences between Ripple and Bitcoin, but before we get into the specifics of those differences, we need to first cover the underlying technology driving these two. Bitcoin is powered by blockchain technology. The blockchain is a public ledger that all network participants share. Every transaction is public. 

The distributed ledger ensures that the data cannot be altered or manipulated because it exists in thousands of different locations. Therefore, should the information of one copy of the ledger be exploited, it doesn’t affect the rest of the copies, and the incorrect data is quickly rectified to match the other copies. 

Ripple uses a consensus ledger instead of blockchain to validate transactions. The consensus ledger is also distributed amongst thousands of computers to ensure no single point of failure. In addition, Ripple utilizes a highly vetted network of validators. These participating validation nodes verify all transactions by participating in a poll. Even if one node is compromised, the other nodes will override it in the polling process to ensure all transactions are accurate and valid. 

Ripple Vs. Bitcoin: The Differences 

Now that we have a better understanding of the technology driving Ripple and Bitcoin, we can take a closer look at the major differences between them. The main points of difference we will compare are:

  • Use
  • Supply
  • Transaction cost and speed
  • Underlying Philosophy 

Use 

Bitcoin was the first and is still the most famous and valuable digital currency on the market. Bitcoin was designed to be a currency with no central authority controlling its supply and no third-party involvement. Today, people can use Bitcoin globally to pay for goods and services. Bitcoin has also served as a lucrative investment opportunity for crypto traders. 

There are even Bitcoin ATMs in many locations where users can buy and send cryptocurrency to the crypto wallet of their choice. However, Bitcoin ATMs do not disperse cash the way a traditional ATM does. 

Ripple is not a cryptocurrency but a network, and it has its own digital currency, XRP tokens. Ripple is used primarily as a way to make international payments and exchange currencies. Currently, most settlement systems use the US dollar as a common currency when converting between currencies. Not only does this cost a lot of money in exchange fees, but it also takes time for transactions to process between banks. 

Instead of converting all transactions to US dollars, Ripple converts all transactions to XRP tokens. As a result, international transactions can be completed far quicker and for far less using the Ripple Network. This has led major international banks from the US to Japan to use the Ripple Network to conduct international transactions. 

XRP tokens can be used to buy goods and services depending on the vendor, but it is not as widely accepted as a form of payment as Bitcoin. 

Supply

XRP tokens are controlled by Ripple Labs, and are released regularly on a set schedule. Currently, there are over 50 billion XRP tokens in circulation, but Ripple created 100 billion tokens when they launched the Ripple Network. So, in theory, Ripple could always create and release more tokens as they see fit.

Bitcoin, on the other hand, has a capped supply. The cap on Bitcoin supply is 21 million coins. Bitcoin is not controlled by a central entity or contributed to by third-party companies. Instead, Bitcoins are mined by powerful computers solving complex algorithms. In simple terms, Bitcoins are awarded to computers that contribute resources to maintain the blockchain network

Transaction Cost and Speed

The major criticisms of Bitcoin revolve around the cost and speeds associated with transactions. Bitcoin mining involves a lot of computational power. As a result, Bitcoin transactions take roughly ten minutes on average to complete, and these transactions have high transaction costs. 

In addition, new criticisms of Bitcoin and the amount of computing power it requires have emerged regarding energy consumption and global warming. Bitcoin mining requires a lot of resources, and this requires a lot of energy, which contributes to pollution and greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere. 

The Ripple Network is much faster and far cheaper than Bitcoin. Ripple is faster than the current SWIFT system used to process international transactions. Transactions on the Ripple Network are often completed in seconds, and the associated fees are minimal. 

Underlying Philosophy

Bitcoin and Ripple differ fundamentally in philosophy. Instead of focusing time and effort on transaction speeds and costs, Bitcoin is rigorously dedicated to ensuring freedom from censorship and avoiding centralization. Ripple can offer faster speeds and lower costs because a centralized entity controls it. While Bitcoin is trying to completely transform the global financial system, Ripple is trying to provide a better service than SWIFT to the existing system. 

The long-term vision of Bitcoin and Ripple might be very different, but both of these entities are fundamentally changing the way we think about financial transactions. 

Final Thoughts 

Bitcoin and Ripple are both valuable. It is good to understand what capabilities both provide your business. You might want to start accepting Bitcoin or XRP tokens as payment, or you may consider investing in these cryptocurrencies. If you conduct a lot of international business, Ripple might be something your company wants to look into in more detail. If you need help understanding cryptocurrency, blockchain, and all of the latest information surrounding Ripple vs. Bitcoin, reach out to an app development partner

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