Ripple is inspired by some of the design concepts of Bitcoin, the world's first decentralized cryptocurrency, but with several attempts at improvement. A decentralized cryptocurrency keeps track of all transactions by all addresses on a peer-to-peer shared record. One of Ripple's innovations is extremely low transaction fees and extremely fast transaction times, through a system of trusted nodes. Ripple is traded on bitni.com.
Blockchain based cryptocurrencies like Ripple work by grouping transactions together in data blocks, then linking the blocks cryptographically. The chain of blocks is stored across a network of nodes run by Ripple Labs, and distributed as peer-to-peer shared files. Quantities of Ripple are stored at addresses, cryptographic sequences paired with a private key used to spend the amount at the address. The user's wallet keeps track of all their Ripple addresses and adds up the balance.
Ripple was created by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb as an attempt to technically improve Bitcoin, reducing transaction times to a few seconds instead of 10 minutes, by replacing computationally expensive proof of work with a system of trusted nodes. Ripple is maintained by Ripple Labs, and the software is open source, so anyone can improve it.
Ripple is used for anything money is used for - buying, selling, donations. But Ripple can also be used for even more things than fiat currency: A means of accepting donations or facilitating commerce that cannot be shut down by governments or the banking system. Also storing up wealth that cannot be confiscated.
Ripple has more value than Fiat Currency because it's more useful: It's anonymous, decentralized, irreversible, cannot be devalued, cannot be confiscated, can be sent over the internet to anywhere in the world in minutes. Things that are very useful and scarce tend to be valuable. One reason Ripple has value because it fulfills all of the requirements of money: Store of Value, Medium of Exchange, Unit of Account.
All the Ripple that will supposedly ever exist was created at it's beginning - 100 billion. The designers were very conscious of hyperinflation from fiat currencies, and wanted a currency with a ruthlessly fixed supply. Not only that, but a little bit of Ripple is destroyed in each transaction process. This makes Ripple a deflationary currency.
An Ripple transaction is a transfer of value from one address to another. Unlike Bitcoin, which moves value by spending previously unspent transactions, Ripple doesn't have a blockchain which requires solving computational hashes to add new blocks. A transaction is created by a user on their Ripple client software, then broadcast out to all the other nodes and becomes part of the XRP Ledger.
The XRP Ledger is a public record of all transactions by all addresses. However, an address is just a number - it doesn't reveal anything about the identity of the one using it, like a street address can. As long as this number is never linked to an identity, the Ripple user is safe. There is no way to "trace" a Ripple address to the person using it - unless they leave clues connecting their Ripple address to their physical identity. bitni.com has maximum anonymity - we don't ask for personal details.
Traditional cryptocurrency mining is the computational process of adding new blocks to the blockchain. New transactions are grouped together in a block. New blocks must cryptographically connect to previous blocks with a proof-of-work hash function. Ripple doesn't have a blockchain, but something both similar and different called an XRP Ledger. The Ledger is a record of all transactions like the blockchain, but rather than validation by anyone who performs the proof of work, transactions are validated by trusted nodes. All Ripple coins were created at it's beginning.
Ripple was not designed to be taxed. If no one reports their Ripple gains, there is no way an authoritarian regime can know who gained what. However, centralized exchanges with accounts and IDs do report their user's Ripple balance to tax authorities. If you want privacy from authoritarian regimes, you need an accountless exchange that doesn't ask for your ID - bitni.com is the best exchange in this regard.
Ripple ATMs allow a customer to buy Ripple by inserting physical cash, like a vending machine, or send Ripple to receive physical cash. (The former are called "1 way" ATMs and the latter are called "2 way".) If the Ripple ATM is from a trusted manufacturer and operator, it should be safe to use. Different Ripple ATMs have differing AML/KYC requirements.
Ripple has scaled to handle millions of transactions per month. Ripple is software, and it can evolve to scale - the code can be modified with better algorithms and the network then upgrades to the more advanced version. Ripple attempts to improve on Bitcoin to solve scaling issues, by processing transactions every few seconds instead of 10 minutes.
Anyone who knows the private key can move the coins from an address. If the private key is not known, it's not possible to spend the coins at an address. Ripple stored in the wallets of a centralized exchange can be stolen - it happens all the time. At a Non-custodial exchange like bitni.com, you are in charge of your wallet at all times.
If Ripple network could be hacked, it would have probably already happened. The ledger is decentralized across many independent nodes - the more nodes on the network, the higher the security. If any one node is compromised, it will not compromise the others. However, centralized Ripple exchanges are hacked all the time! That's why you need a non-custodial exchange like bitni.com.
The data of all Ripple transactions is stored in a public XRP Ledger distributed as peer-to-peer shared files. Each node has a complete copy of all transactions ever made - the XRP Ledger. So the transactions are stored in the cloud - not on a centralized server, but on many independent nodes. Each user's Ripple balance is also kept track of in their wallet.
A Ripple wallet stores all of the user's Ripple addresses. The sum value of all of the addresses in a wallet is automatically added up - this is the total balance of a wallet. Centralized exchanges store the user's wallet, which is risky. Non-custodial exchanges like bitni.com do NOT store user's wallets, which is much safer.
Millions of people everywhere in the world use Ripple for all the same things as any other money is used for - buying, selling, and donations - and the number of users is growing rapidly. Anyone needing to transfer wealth internationally, especially outside the grasp of authoritarian regimes, for ridiculously low cost, will find Ripple useful if they are not already using it. Ripple is also used as an investment and a hedge against inflation.
Many merchants, especially online, accept cryptocurrencies as payment. Charities like Wikipedia accept donations in crypto. Web Hosts and Domain registrars often accept crypto. Large brick and mortar stores are starting to accept crypto payment. Some local restaurants are also coming on board. bitni.com accepts Ripple to convert to other currencies, of course.
The reason why a cryptocurrency is the future can be summed up in 3 words: Because it's better. Ripple is a huge improvement over fiat currency. It is also an improvement over precious metals - they can't be wired over the internet. If central banks continue destroying the value of fiat currencies, cryptocurrencies will become even more important to the future of money.
If Ripple were going to crash to zero, it would have probably done it already. There have been wild price swings - because it's new and there's a lot of speculation, like the internet when it first came out. But there are wild price swings with other commodities like oil. Ripple's low after it's all-time high of several dollars is still several cents. For Ripple to crash to $0, demand would need to be zero or supply would need to be infinite - a highly unlikely scenerio.
The Original Bitcoin has gone from pennies to thousands and thousands of dollars in less than a decade, utterly blown away the stock market, even gold and other precious metals, and far outperformed pretty much any other investment. While Ripple has not reached Bitcoin's high, it has performed relatively well, going from a fraction of a penny to several dollars at it's high - a pretty good investment.
Exchanges are where Ripple is bought and sold, however there are several types: Centralized Exchanges store the user's coins like a bank and require ID. Decentralized Exchanges (DEX) facilitate peer-to-peer buying and selling between users - and these can be done locally in-person or online. Non-Custodial exchanges like bitni.com are a quick and easy way of swapping cryptocurrencies without signing up.
Many Centralized exchanges have rigorous requirements for identification, such as uploading a scan of passport or other government documents. Decentralized exchanges usually have less stringent requirements for identification, especially if the transaction is in-person. Non-custodial exchange bitni.com does not require identification for crypto-to-crypto swaps. If you want Ripple without SSN, you've come to the right place.
KYC stands for Know Your Customer. Many regimes have become increasingly authoritarian towards cryptocurrency and seek to crack down on anonymous trading, by requiring the customer to upload documents proving their identity. Many exchanges have caved in to the pressure and now have KYC policies. Centralized exchanges almost always have KYC, some Decentralized exchanges do as well. bitni.com does not require KYC for crypto-to-crypto swaps.
In many ways, Ripple is technically superior to Bitcoin. It has much faster transaction times. It has rediculously low transaction fees. However, Ripple doesn't have the massive publicity that Bitcoin has (not all of Bitcoin's publicity is good, but apparently there's no such thing as bad publicity). And that's why Bitcoin is priced much higher. Many more people know about Bitcoin than Ripple. However, that can change, as Ripple could become more widely known in the future. Bitcoin is also fully decentralized, whereas Ripple is maintained by Ripple Labs.
Most Ripple trading is done by buying and selling coins directly by individual investors. However, there are cryptocurrency funds listed on stock markets. A Cryptocurrency Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) holds assets in single cryptocurrencies or a basket of them. It may be more convenient to buy into one basket fund instead of manually managing dozens of different cryptos and their respective wallets. In the case of Ripple, it is probable some Cryptocurrency ETFs are holding it.
Tens, Hundreds, or even thousands for a Ripple coin may seem speculative, but Ripple's high is already several dollars. Ripple started out at practically nothing and rose in a parabolic curve to it's high 500 times higher than the starting price. $10 is only three times higher than the all time high. If the long term trend continues, Ripple could reach new highs orders of magnitude greater.
A traditional blockchain cryptocurrency generates new blocks in time intervals, each new block connected to the previous. Each block holds a limited number of transactions, and a certain number of blocks must be connected for the transaction to be secure. Ripple is different, using a ledger maintained by trusted nodes instead of a fully decentralized peer-to-peer network. Because of this, Ripple's transaction time is only about 5 seconds.
A traditional blockchain cryptocurrency can include a transaction on the latest block in the blockchain. However, in a totally decentralized system, a transaction is not irreversible until a certain number of blocks are added ahead of it on the blockchain, when the network has reached a consensus. Ripple transactions are irreversible from the start, because only trusted nodes are allowed to processes them. Thus, there is no "number of confirmations" to wait for - it is near instantaneous.
A Ripple transaction fee is the cost of having transaction data included in the XRP ledger permanent record, which fluctuates under market supply and demand. The average Ripple fee is about a fraction of a penny. Lots of factors affect transaction fees, such as the cost of electricity, the hardware capacity of nodes, the number of simultaneous transactions competing to be included in the ledger.