Alternatives to Bitcoin: Everything you need to know about Ripple cryptocurrency

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Unless you have been hidden under a rock, you must surely be aware that cryptocurrencies are becoming the must-have form of capital.

The latest one to become popular is Ripple, and has experienced a rapid rise in value, drawing the attention of serious investors.

So what is Ripple?

It was launched back in 2012 so is nothing new and is controlled by one firm – Ripple, unlike Bitcoin which can be ‘mined’.

It has connections with major banks such as UBS, the Bank of America and Santander.

How much is Ripple worth?

Also known as XRP, it is currently worth $1.20, cheap when you think Bitcoin has recently been priced over US$17,000. It has risen in value from $0.23 in December 2017, so its value has gone up ten-fold.

Why the spike?

Several financial service companies in Japan and South Korea and this is thought to be the main reason.

The cryptocurrency is attractive to these firms due to its relatively low transaction fees, according to Mr Stephen Powaga, head of research at Blockchain Momentum.

Payments using ripple can also be settled in just four seconds. In comparison, bitcoin transactions usually take around an hour to complete.

Risks with Ripple

It is controlled by just one company and 30 billion Ripple are in circulation already with a further billion being released each month.

Speaking to CNN, Mr Powaga said: “It’s somewhat concerning for me because if they chose to release them as quickly as possible, within a little over four years, you’d see more than a doubling of supply of ripple.

“I’m not certain that some of the newer market participants are fully appreciating the potential for inflation.”

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