Going by market capitalization, Ripple (XRP) is the third largest cryptocurrency out there, behind Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). The Ripple protocol launched in 2012, providing network users with a means of transferring any amount of money, no matter how small or large, between two entities. By making use of a common ledger, maintained and validated by a network of independent servers which constantly compares transaction records, Ripple is able to keep its costs down. This means that Ripple doesn’t have the intensive energy and proof-of-work requirements that have made Bitcoin unattractive for many.
One of the many things which sets Ripple apart from other coins on this list is the fact that the value of the underlying token, XRP, is secondary to the value of the network. Ripple had initially planned to phase their token out, but changed their minds when the entire cryptocurrency sphere was catapulted to stratospheric new heights in 2016. However, if Ripple is able to achieve its goal of $6.57 / XRP, it will overtake even Bitcoin’s market cap.
Rumours of Ripple’s imminent listing on Coinbase caused the value of XRP to soar, before Coinbase themselves poured water over the rumours, affirming that they had no intention of listing any new assets, including XRP, in the near future. Some have also criticised Ripple for its centralised nature, believing that this runs counter to the basic principles of blockchain technology.
Ripple will ultimately stand or fall depending upon how widely used and well received it is by banks and other payment processors. While a number of institutions, banks, and other payment providers have expressed an interest in using Ripple, they have so far been non-commital.