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Ripple vs. Ethereum

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Cryptocurrencies are on an upward trajectory, with awareness increasing steadily and some coins, like Bitcoin, now becoming a household word. When you look at market capitalization, Bitcoin is still the leader, making it difficult to avoid comparison with the crypto-juggernaut, but Ethereum and Ripple follow in total value with the second and third highest market caps.

Not bad for cryptocurrencies that are much younger and trade for a fraction of Bitcoin’s price.

If you’re interested in finding a broker, look no further than Benzinga’s picks for the best cryptocurrency brokers.

Best For
Crypto Trading
Overall Rating
Get started securely through eToro’s website
Best For
Crypto Trading
N/A
1 Minute Review

eToro, headquartered in Cyprus, England and Israel, has provided forex products and other CFD derivatives to retail clients since 2007. A major eToro plus is its social trading operations, including OpenBook, which allows new clients to copy trade the platform’s best performers. Its social trading features are top notch, but eToro loses points for its lack of tradable currency pairs and underwhelming research and customer service features

Best For
  • U.S.-based cryptocurrency traders
  • Social and copy traders
  • Simple user interface
  • Community engagement and following other traders
Pros
  • Expansive network of social trading features
  • Large client base for new traders to imitate
Cons
  • U.S. traders can only buy cryptocurrency
  • Only 15 cryptocurrency pairs available
Best For
Buying & selling Bitcoin
Overall Rating
get started securely through Robinhood’s website
Best For
New Investors
Overall Rating
try for free securely through Gemini Crypto’s website
Best For
New Investors
N/A
1 Minute Review

Gemini is a cryptocurrency exchange and custodian that offers investors access to 26 coins and tokens. Founded in the US, Gemini is expanding globally, in particular into Europe and Asia. Offerings include both major cryptocurrency projects like Bitcoin and Ethereum, and smaller altcoins like Orchid and 0x.

Gemini is 1 of the only brokers with multiple platform options based on skill level. New investors will love the streamlined interface of Gemini’s mobile and web apps, while advanced investors might appreciate all the tools that come with ActiveTrader. 

In addition to a host of platform choices, Gemini users also have access to insured hot wallets to store tokens without worrying about digital asset theft. Learn more about what Gemini can do for you in our review.

Best For
  • New investors looking for a simple mobile and web app
  • Experienced investors who need a more advanced platform with more tools
  • Users looking for a 1-stop-shop to buy, sell and store all of their coins
Pros
  • Easy and quick signups — can get started in as little as a few minutes
  • Multitude of platforms to accommodate traders of all skill levels
  • Hot wallets include insurance to protect your from theft and hacking attempts
Cons
  • Charges both a commission and a convenience fee for users buying and selling through the desktop or mobile app
Best For
Crypto Investing
Overall Rating
Get started securely through Coinbase’s website
Best For
Crypto Investing
N/A
1 Minute Review

Coinbase is one of the Internet’s largest cryptocurrency trading platforms. From Bitcoin to Litecoin or Basic Attention Token to Chainlink, Coinbase makes it exceptionally simple to buy and sell major cryptocurrency pairs. 

You can even earn cryptocurrency rewards through Coinbase’s unique Coinbase Earn feature. More advanced traders will love the Coinbase Pro platform, which offers more order types and enhanced functionality.

Though Coinbase doesn’t offer the most affordable pricing or the lowest fees, its simple platform is easy enough for complete beginners to master in as little as a single trade.

Best For
  • New cryptocurrency traders
  • Cryptocurrency traders interested in major pairs
  • Cryptocurrency traders interested in a simple platform
Pros
  • Simple platform is easy to operate
  • Comprehensive mobile app mirrors desktop functionality
  • Coinbase Earn feature rewards you with crypto for learning about available coins
Cons
  • Higher fees than competitors
Best For
Mobile Traders
Overall Rating
get started securely through Voyager’s website
Best For
Mobile Traders
N/A
1 Minute Review

Voyager is a leading name in the sphere of cryptocurrency investing, giving you access to over 50 tokens and coins. Buy, sell and swap assets using Voyager Crypto’s simple mobile platform available as a free download for iOS and Android users. 

When you invest through Voyager, you’ll pay nothing in commissions, which is a major benefit when compared to other cryptocurrency brokers. Voyager is also one of the only brokers we’ve seen that allows users to earn interest on their crypto investments. 

Though the broker could do more to improve its customer service, it’s an excellent option for beginner investors and seasoned professionals alike.

Best For
  • Cryptocurrency investors looking for a wide selection of supported projects.
  • Investors who prefer mobile trading.
  • Anyone interested in earning interest on their crypto investments.
Pros
  • Simple, straightforward and intuitive mobile platform
  • Wealth of investment opportunities
  • Allows users to earn interest on select crypto investments
Cons
  • Only available for mobile users — no desktop platform
  • Limited routes to contact customer service team
Best For
No or Low Fees
Overall Rating
get started securely through BlockFi’s website
Best For
No or Low Fees
N/A
1 Minute Review

Maybe you think cryptocurrency is the future, or perhaps you were swept up in the initial waves of Bitcoin. BlockFi may be your next step if you’re ready to evolve as a crypto investor.

Whether you’re a native crypto user or curious enough to start investing, BlockFi seeks to bring institutional-grade financial products to crypto markets that often face restricted access. It strives to bring clients low-cost, simple applications designed to maximize the potential of crypto assets. Learn more in our BlockFi review.

Best For
  • Crypto native clients. You own Bitcoin now. You’re the friend who fills in the blanks when conversation turns to cryptocurrency, and you devour crypto literacy content like it’s your job (and maybe it is). BlockFi’s platform can help take your crypto assets to the next level.
  • Crypto fringe clients. If you’ve dabbled in buying alternative assets like crypto or know enough to be interested, BlockFi can help you take the next step.
  • Crypto curious clients. If you’re both intrigued by bitcoin and the type of person who obsessively learns everything you can about things you’re new to, BlockFi’s crypto asset platform might be the entry point you’re looking for.
Pros
  • Mostly fee-free platform
  • Market-best interest rates
  • Earn interest, trade and borrow from a centralized hub using the BlockFi app
Cons
  • Mostly restricted to those with a base knowledge of cryptocurrency
  • No dedicated relationship with an investment advisor, so best for those who have a solid handle on crypto trading
Best For
High Spending Limits
Overall Rating
get started securely through Coinmama’s website
Best For
High Spending Limits
N/A
1 Minute Review

Coinmama prioritizes convenience, security, and efficiency in its cryptocurrency exchange. Customers buy and sell directly with the company, so orders fill instantly and without any hassle. 

While you’ll need to get a crypto wallet from another company, the ability to buy and sell seamlessly and securely through Coinmama’s platform makes crypto trading easy and safe.

Best For
  • Crypto traders who want instant transactions and immediate access to their crypto
  • Buyers who want to buy coins with a credit or debit card
Pros
  • Fills orders and sends your coins in minutes
  • Wide variety of payment options accepted
  • Generous loyalty program that provides serious discounts to qualifying customers
  • Fast and friendly customer service
Cons
  • 3rd-party crypto wallet required to actually receive your coins.
Best For
DeFi Swap
Overall Rating
Get started securely through crypto.com’s website

XRP
$1.42

What is Ripple?

Ripple is both a company and a cryptocurrency. Ripple the company, doing business as Ripple Labs, Inc., provides global payment solutions — a faster and less expensive way to transfer money anywhere in the world.

Ripple coin, which trades as XRP, is the cryptocurrency used with some of the company’s payment systems. The company describes XRP as 1,000 times faster and 1,000 times cheaper than a Bitcoin transaction.

Notably, XRP transactions are also much less expensive than traditional methods of transferring money and allow transfers to be completed in seconds as opposed to hours or even days for traditional bank transactions.

Ripple (the company) has formed partnerships with over a hundred banks to use its xCurrent payment settlement system, which settles cash transactions with nearly real-time efficiency. In early 2018, the company announced that MoneyGram, one of the world’s largest money transfer companies, will be using XRP in its payment flows.

Western Union will also be incorporating Ripple’s xRapid solution, which uses the XRP cryptocurrency to settle transactions.

Ethereum
$2,116.42

What is Ethereum?

Ethereum finds its roots in Bitcoin. Bitcoin was born during the financial crisis of 2008 and sought to answer a need for a currency that didn’t require a bank. The network became the bank, with each node (computer server) holding the full ledger of Bitcoin transactions.

By decentralizing, no bank is required for sending money. Ethereum uses a blockchain structure, similar to Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies — but then adds to its functionality by introducing the ability for the currency to be more than just a store of value or a way to transfer value. Ethereum can hold programs and “smart contracts” on its blockchain as well, providing applications that live on the blockchain or a set of rules for individual transactions.

Through its Swarm functionality, Ethereum can also hold information, distribute cloud storage where no single node can read your data and your storage isn’t reliant on a single storage provider.

Ethereum’s ability to expand its functionality in ways we haven’t yet imagined is part of what has made it so popular in such a short amount of time. It’s not just another alternative currency, and if adoption rates continue, it could prove to be a disruptive technology. Ether is the internal network currency for Ethereum, although the currency is often instead referred to as Ethereum, making the term Ethereum a broad term that might describe the network and technology or the currency.

Similarities Between Ripple and Ethereum

Unless you want to explore the inner workings of blockchains, there are more differences between Ripple and Ethereum than there are meaningful similarities. The two currencies serve different goals, with Ripple aimed primarily at banks and large corporations that need to transfer money, whereas Ethereum is as much a platform for decentralized applications as it is a currency.

Both coins are in the top three cryptocurrencies in regard to market cap. Currently, Ethereum boasts a $60 billion market cap, while Ripple’s total market value is $26 billion. Both currencies have more than doubled their market cap in the past 12 months.

Smart contract support

Ripple Labs has its own open source project for smart contracts, called “Codius”, which aims to interact with any type of cryptocurrency. Ethereum supports smart contracts natively, while the Codius project from Ripple labs aims to add the ability to attach smart contracts to any cryptocurrency. 

Differences Between Ripple and Ethereum

Ripple is centralized — at least for supply

The debate continues about whether Ripple is centralized or decentralized. In regard to supply, there is no debate. Ripple Labs created the entire Ripple supply and can flood the market with XRP, however unlikely that might be in the short term. Ripple supporters say such concerns shouldn’t worry investors. 

Validation of Ripple transactions, on the other hand, promises to be more decentralized than some other cryptocurrencies as time goes on due to the consolidation of the hashing power that validates blockchain transactions for Bitcoin, Ethereum, and others placing more control over those currencies in fewer hands.

Ethereum is decentralized

For now, it’s fair to call Ethereum a decentralized currency. No single authority controls the supply or transaction verifications. The system, however, falls short of a true democracy because as the difficulty of mining increases, it requires more resources and specialized hardware and hashing power is increasingly represented by fewer mining pools.

Ethereum can be mined

This makes Ethereum an expanding supply, currently based on “Proof of Work” (PoW), which requires miners to solve encrypted codes to add transactions to the blockchain. Ethereum is transitioning to a “Proof of Stake” (PoS) system that requires miners to own a qualifying amount of Ethereum to mine more Ethereum. With the change from PoW to PoS, mining difficulty will change as well, opening opportunities for mining to more people and wresting control away from the larger mining pools.

Ripple is a fixed supply — but Ripple Labs holds uncirculated Ripple in escrow

 A small amount of Ripple is destroyed with each transaction, making Ripple a shrinking supply — albeit by minuscule amounts relative to the overall supply, which includes the Ripple still held in escrow. One hundred billion Ripple coins exist, with about 38 billion of those in circulation.

Ethereum on Coinbase

Building a position in Ethereum is easy. Ethereum can be purchased with a credit or debit card as one of a handful of coins available on Coinbase and GDAX, Coinbase’s trading platform. Ripple is available through some smaller exchanges, some of which require Bitcoin or Ethereum to purchase Ripple. Purchasing Ripple isn’t quite as straightforward as purchasing Ethereum, but active cryptocurrency investors shouldn’t find any difficulty in navigating transactions.

Final Thoughts

Both Ripple and Ethereum share enthusiastic markets, with investors propelling the value of the cryptocurrencies from relative obscurity into the top three of all cryptocurrencies. For ease and inconvenience of transactions, it’s hard to beat Ethereum and its easy access on exchanges such as Coinbase.

Ethereum is also available through many brokerage accounts  — albeit at a steep premium — using Grayscale’s Ethereum Classic Investment Trust (ETCG). Ripple remains attractive as well, having backed down from its exuberant highs and maintaining a comparatively stable price range of about $0.60 to $0.70 per coin in recent weeks.

No ETF for Ripple exists yet, but if the currency continues to show promise, it’s likely that XRP will find its way into an investment vehicle as well at some point.

Looking to learn more about cryptocurrency? Check out Benzinga’s guides to the best cryptocurrency exchangehow to trade cryptocurrency and best cryptocurrency wallets.

Try Gemini

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