Ripple is the most likely cryptocurrency to be adopted formally by networks such as VISA and MasterCard as well as central banks.
With the price at around $2.45 this would mark a staggering 165 per cent price increase that would otherwise seem unlikely if ripple had not already seen a 35,000 per cent price surge in 2017 alone.
Ethereum only needs to rise 132 per cent from its current price to surpass bitcoin, but ripple has far more coins in circulation.
With bitcoin‘s dominance slipping and alternative cryptocurrencies seeing big price leaps, it is not inconceivable that either ethereum or ripple could claim the top spot in terms of market cap soon.
Ripple’s emergence follows a pattern in tech innovation whereby the ‘fast-follow’ technology that pivots on the original design goes on to win mainstream adoption over the true innovator. The move from Mp3 players to iPods; smartphones to iPhones being the most often cited example.
With ripple currently enjoying life in the hype-cycle that bitcoin enjoyed at the end of 2017, crypto investor and consultant Jason Grant told Express.co.uk that although he does not believe ripple to be in competition with bitcoin – prices could soon rise if mainstream finance begins adopting the underlying blockchain tech.
Bitcoin is facing stiff competition from mainstream-friendly rivals
Mr Grant said: “Ripple is the most likely cryptocurrency to be adopted formally by networks such as VISA and MasterCard as well as central banks.
“Ripple is a defacto ‘crypto fiat’. As such ripple isn’t a competition to Bitcoin but serving almost a completely different purpose. Ripple price can reach as far as $100 at some point if ripple is formally adopted by VISA.”
The investor says that predictions of ripple price around $10 by the end of 2018, “are not insane”, adding that it depends on adoption by banks, especially central banks as well as payment networks.
Addressing the concern that ripple is merely the next-cab-off-the-crypto-rank, Oliver Isaacs, an authority on cryptocurrency investing told Express.co.uk: “Ripple (XRP) is one of the rare companies in the cryptocurrency sphere already bringing in revenue and working with real clients; not to forget the fact that they could potentially become the leaders in tackling a trillion dollar industry.
“At the moment, it takes between 2 and 5 business days to transfer funds from one bank to another, whereas Ripple can process these transactions in seconds flat, and for a fraction of the cost.”
Will crypto be adopted by major financial institutions
And transaction speed seems to be one of the challenges before we are ever likely to see bitcoin-like technology in a mainstream banking system.
The problem for bitcoin is that it can only handle less than 15 transactions a second, while ripple’s XRP ledger can handle more than 1500 transactions a second.
Iqbal Gandham, MD of eToro, says that using blockchain technology, ripple will allow banks, payment providers and businesses to improve their cross-border payments and expand into new markets, increase payment volume, lower foreign exchange costs, and provide faster settlement times for their customers.
Mr Gandham said: “The recent rally in XRP’s price could be attributed to the expansion of Ripple’s global network, which now consists of more than 100 customers and over 75 commercial deployments. From American Express to Santander and Standard Chartered, Ripple’s adoption by financial institutions is on the rise – which has strengthened the demand for XRP.
Bitcoin feeling the snip
However, according to Mr Gandham Ripple remains controversial in the cryptocurrency community as it operates very differently from peers such as bitcoin. Ripple is owned by Ripple Labs and centralised there, in direct opposition to one of the basic tenets of cryptocurrencies.
Ripple HQ could in theory flood the market with XRP and the cryptocurrency community would not be able to stop this.
Once linked to major banks and credit card processing systems – what would then stop the digital currency from becoming pegged and therefore centralised to the mainstream finance world, and ignoring the very problem bitcoin tried to solve?
Richard Asquith, VP at Avalara told Express.co.uk that Ripple’s boom is a “sideshow”, and is built of reinvestment from bitcoin gains.
He said: “It’s a 1999 dotcom bubble rerun – think lastminute.com float in 2000.”
Mr Asquith says that Central Banks will start issuing their own digital currencies in the next 12-18 months.
He said: “They want to control regulation and their own national money supply to ensure asset inflation isn’t building outside of their control in ‘private currencies’ like bitcoin.”