Ripple vs Bitcoin: What Makes Them So Different?

If you’re new to crypto currencies and alt coins in general, it’s easy to conflate different cryptos together and believe they are all the same in their function and technology. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. While Bitcoin is a forerunner in the crypto world, other cryptos are doing things that Bitcoin could never do and are serving different industries. One prime example is Ripple. Let’s examine what separates Ripple from Bitcoin and other crypto currencies.


One of the biggest characteristics of Bitcoin is its decentralized nature. And in this aspect, Bitcoin certainly is the epitome of decentralization. Coins aren’t owned by any one entity and the coin is completely in the control of the market. Ripple on the other hand, is anything but. As a matter of fact, Ripple is probably the one most centralized crypto out there. Ripple is owned by a private entity, and this facilitates things like upgrades for instance. Through its amendment system, developers can propose changes to the system, and if 80% or more support it for 2 weeks, the upgrade will be approved and enacted.


The end goal of Bitcoin is to be a decentralized coin “for the people”. Its application can be anything its users want it to be. Ripple, on the other hand, has a very specific goal. It was designed to provide an alternative to legacy money transfer systems and allow money transfer to become faster with less fees and overheads. This has led many to refer to Ripple as “the bank’s” cryptocurrency since fintech and financial institutions tend to gain the most from it.

Coin Reserve

While most Bitcoins are in the hand of actual owners, over one million of them are said to be held by Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin. While this is a substantial amount, it is still dismal compared to the 21 million Bitcoins available. On the other hand, 62% of all Ripple tokens are owned by the company, which has a cap of 200 billion. This allows for more control over the currency which may be exercised in the future if they feel the currency is becoming too volatile.

Transaction Fees and Times

This is where both crypto currencies are vastly different. Bitcoin has received some flack recently for its ridiculously slow transaction times and prohibitive fees, which limits mass adoption. Ripple, on the other hand, is banking on speed. As a matter of fact, the average fee for Bitcoin transactions is at a whopping $33 and the average transaction has a 70 minute clearance time. Ripple, on the other hand, can clear transactions in as little as 4 seconds due to its off ledger transaction system. As a matter of fact, these experts on cryptocurrency found it more suitable for everyday transactions than other alt coins.

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