Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency is one of the most valuable digital assets, consistently ranking among the ten dorminant crypto assets by market capitalization. At its peak, it was the highest-ranked altcoin. Despite its apparent drop in the rankings, XRP is still a highly sought-after cryptocurrency. In this guide, you will learn how to buy XRP, Ripple’s native crypto, why it matters and how it fits into the larger Ripple ecosystem to enable seamless global payments.
Ripple, as a company, predates the launch of Bitcoin, having been formed in 2004 by software developer Ryan Fugger, four years before Satoshi Nakamoto published the Bitcoin whitepaper. However, Ripple’s initial implementation was conventional, whereby a centralized organization maintained a transaction ledger.
In 2013, Ripple finally launched the XRP Ledger (XRPL), borrowing the decentralized ledger concept from Bitcoin. It also borrowed the use of a native cryptocurrency that facilitates value transfer within the network. The Ripple team named the currency XRP.
This guide will explain why most crypto investors choose to buy XRP, how you can join the fray, and which platforms support buying, selling, as well as trading the asset.
Before going any further, it’s worth pointing out that Ripple Labs Inc, the company behind Ripple, ran into regulatory headwinds in December 2020 when the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against it.
The case has not yet been concluded as of yet. However, Ripple’s lawyer is confident the SEC case will wrap in April 2022, and these developments might cause XRP to see a bullish narrative on price. Hence, we will also discuss further in this article how this lawsuit has affected Ripple and, by extension, the viability of investing in XRP coins.
What is Ripple?
Ripple (full company name is Ripple Labs) can be broken down into three constituent parts that comprise:
1. XRP blockchain ledger – an open-source public blockchain that is designed to process digital payments;
2. XRP cryptocurrency – the native digital asset that is used to transfer value within the XRP blockchain ledger;
3. Ripple – a money transfer network designed to enable cross-border payments (especially among banks) similar to how SWIFT works.
As a money transfer network, Ripple controls three disparate parts that together form the Ripple Network (RippleNet): xCurrent, xRapid, and xVia.
- xCurrent is Ripples global payment system that runs atop the InterLedger distributed ledger. You can think of xCurrent as Ripple’s answer to SWIFT, the giant interbank messaging and funds transfer system. xCurrent functions independent of the XRP asset allowing the transfer of multiple currencies, XRP being one of them. When XRP is sent through the InterLedger, using xCurrent, Ripple describes that as xRapid.
- xRapid is a liquidity solution allowing transacting parties to transfer varying currencies (fiat and XRP) between each other. When the sender wants to transfer, say, USD to a receiver in Japan, their funds will be converted into XRP coins, sent across to a receiving institution in Japan, where the counterparty will then receive the funds in the local currency (JPY) in less than five second.
- xVia is a payment interface that is designed to offer RippleNet users a more intuitive user experience. It’s like using a banking app without having to understand how the backend works.
How Does the XRP Ledger Work?
When the XRP tokens are sent from one wallet to another, they are transferred on the XRP ledger (XRPL), which is a blockchain network similar to Bitcoin in functionality. However, unlike Bitcoin, the XRPL does not use mining as a consensus mechanism.
The distributed ledger is managed by a group of independent pre-vetted transaction validators tasked with confirming debits and credits. Ripple calls this consensus mechanism the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol. It shares a lot with the increasingly popular proof of staking (PoS) mechanisms and, in particular, the Delegated PoS (dPoS) consensus mechanism.
All participating validators have to agree on a version of a ledger before it is permanently encoded to the blockchain, but the process is extremely efficient in that it only takes about four seconds to create each ledger on the XRP blockchain.
Pros and Cons of Using XRP
XRP is a cryptocurrency built to facilitate payments. To that effect, XRP users acquire some benefits and have to accept some network drawbacks, if any. Here are some of the pros and cons associated with making payments using XRP and using Ripple for global payments.
- Fast transaction settlement speeds – ledgers on the XRP blockchain are created every three to five seconds. Ripple claims that the XRP ledger can typically perform at 1,500 transactions per second (TPS) with the capability of scaling up to 65,000 TPS. In comparison, Bitcoin and Ethereum’s settlement speeds are ~5 TPS and ~15 TPS, respectively.
- Distributed – the XRP Ledger is maintained by more than 150 independent entities, including financial institutions, universities, and exchanges. These entities are distributed around the world. It’s worth noting that Ripple does control some nodes, and according to the company, that number is less than 10.
- Cost-effective – network fees on the XRP ledger can get as low as $0.0003. It is cheaper than using some of the other main blockchain networks such as Bitcoin or Ethereum, and it’s even cheaper than traditional payment services such as Western Union.
- Eco-friendly – Ripple’s XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol that utilizes multiple independent transaction validators to confirm transactions and create ledgers uses negligible energy resources, which makes it more conducive to the environment.
- Growing adoption – Ripple’s RippleNet technology has been slowly gaining traction as more traditional financial institutions adopt it, which gives it the stamp of approval and encourages other entities to adopt it. If Ripple becomes the preferred cross-border payment and settlement channel, the perceived value of XRP is expected to grow.
- Stiff competition – Ripple has opted to compete in the highly saturated financial payments fields against big players such as SWIFT. Even within the cryptocurrency scene, it is facing stiff competition from blockchain projects such as Stellar (XLM). Also, while competition may not be a bad thing, it’s worth noting that Ripple only partially depends on XRP. It is possible that some of the other Ripple entities may succeed but not XRP, the cryptocurrency.
- Regulatory uncertainty – Since December 2020, Ripple has been embroiled in a legal battle against the US SEC, which claims that the company may have violated the US Securities and Exchange Act by selling XRP tokens in the domestic market. If Ripple loses this case, the result could be detrimental to the existence of both Ripple, the XRP Ledger, and XRP.
Despite these drawbacks, Ripple and XRP bring a lot to the financial payments space. As an investor, you may find uses for XRP, including speculation, or using it as a channel for value transfer. If that’s the case, read on to find out how to invest in XRP and start using Ripple.
How to buy Ripple’s XRP? (Step-by-Step)
There are five simple steps to buying XRP coins. They are:
- Find a crypto exchange that supports buying and selling XRP;
- Create an account;
- Define an XRP investment strategy;
- Fund your crypto exchange account;
- Buy XRP.
Let’s consider each step in more detail.
Step 1 – Where to Buy XRP | Crypto exchanges that sell XRP
Despite XRP’s popular reputation within the cryptocurrency space, it’s surprising that few US-based exchanges support it thanks to its ongoing legal battle with the SEC. Immediately following the announcement from the SEC that it was going after Ripple and two of its executives, most exchanges delisted XRP, including Coinbase, one of the largest crypto exchanges that prides itself in being compliant in several US states.
Even though XRP is undergoing a legal battle, it is still legal to purchase in the US and in several other jurisdictions across the world. Plus, there are still a number of credible crypto exchanges through which you can acquire some XRP. Here are four of the best crypto exchanges that currently support XRP trades.
In the United States:
Uphold is a New York-based multi-asset company with cryptocurrency as one of its supported products. There are more than seventy cryptocurrencies available for purchase on its platform, and XRP is one of them. Below, we highlight a step-by-step guide on how you can use Uphold to purchase your first XRP coins.
Kraken is among the oldest cryptocurrency exchanges in existence, having been launched in 2013. The platform is based in San Francisco, California, and offers its crypto-related services across the world and in several states within the US. With Kraken, you may not be able to trade XRP, but you can buy the coin and send it off the platform.
The rest of the World:
Binance is the leading cryptocurrency exchange by daily trading volume with a global appeal. The worldwide version, which happens to support XRP trades, is not available to US-based residents. The version of Binance that is available to US residents has limited support for digital assets, and XRP is not among the few cryptocurrencies on offer. If you have access to Binance.com, you can buy, sell, trade, store and lend XRP within the exchange.
KuCoin is a Singapore-based, highly regulated crypto exchange with operations covering close to 200 countries. The exchange offers trading, brokerage, staking, hot storage, lending, and early-stage project investment to its more than ten million users, and one of its supported digital assets is XRP.
Note: For a comprehensive list of credible and class-leading digital asset trading platforms, read our guide on the Best Cryptocurrency Trading Platforms.
Step 2. Create an account
If this is your first time interacting with cryptocurrency assets, you might want to create an account with your preferred choice of digital asset trading exchange. This step can be broken down into a few smaller stages that are:
- Sign up – provide your email address, name, phone number, username, and password. Try to use a password generator to create a unique password, which should help you secure your online trading account.
- Verify your identity – all centralized cryptocurrency exchanges now require their users to provide personally identifiable information for two reasons: to comply with global KYC (know your customer) regulations and to increase your account’s security. If you prefer not to provide your identity information, you can opt to use decentralized exchanges (DEXes), but few of these support XRP trading.
Plus, DEXes typically only support crypto-to-crypto trades meaning you have to use another asset to acquire XRP, and you will have to buy it from a centralized platform anyway.
Most centralized platforms offer a tiered identity verification process where the more you transact, the more ID details they will demand of you. For instance, with Binance, the minimum ID verification level involves just submitting your name, providing your country of residence and date of birth.
The second tier involves uploading a copy of your identity document and performing the selfie test while the third and final stage involves the submission of proof of residence using documents such as bank statements or utility bills.
Once you are done with the account setup stage, you are now ready to fund your account, but before doing that, you might want to first review your XRP investment strategy.
Step 3 – Plan your XRP investment strategy
An investment strategy is essential for every investor, whether you are investing in precious metals, stocks, early-stage companies, or even crypto. An investment plan helps you decide what you will buy, how often, and the quantity of that asset to buy.
Additionally, you will also have to define your goals in order to know why you are investing in any particular asset and when you will exit your position. Effectively, your investment strategy will include three things:
- Your investment philosophy;
- Your investment goals; and
- Your investment particulars (which asset to buy, when, and why).
A typical example of an XRP buying plan is:
- Goal: Double my investment
- Asset: XRP
- How much of asset to buy: $10,000 worth of XRP
- Investment strategy: Dollar-cost averaging
- Duration of investment: 1 year or as soon as ROI is achieved (100% ROI)
Note: Read more about investment strategies on our ‘Cryptocurrency Trading for Beginners’ guide, where we highlight the various types of strategies ideal for a crypto investor.
Step 4 – Fund your online account
Different trading platforms will support various payment methods according to their user’s needs. One platform may allow its users to deposit and withdraw using a particular channel, while another will not support that channel altogether.
Before choosing an ideal crypto trading exchange, you need to consider which payment options they support and whether those options work for you. Most platforms, however, allow their users to make deposits or direct purchases using debit/credit cards. Other common payment methods are:
- Bank transfers
- Wire transfers
- SEPA deposits
- SWIFT transfers
- Crypto deposits
Different funding channels attract varying transaction fees, and payments settle after varying durations. Typically, using credit/debit cards is the most expensive method, but it’s also the fastest and most direct, in that you do not have to deposit to your account, but rather you can buy XRP directly. The funds from your account are deducted by the exchange, which then deposits an equivalent amount of the desired asset in your account.
Bank transfers and SWIFT deposits are typically cheaper than most other options, but they are also the slowest, normally taking 3-5 business days to settle. Crypto deposits offer the right compromise between speed and cost and sometimes, depending on the asset being deposited, can be the cheapest and fastest route to funding your exchange account.
Step 5 – Buy XRP Coins
If you opted for the instant purchase using debit cards, you are probably ready for the next step. However, if you opted to transfer funds from your bank account, you may have to wait a few days for the funds to reflect on your online account. Once they do, proceed to the next step, which is making the investment.
The various cryptocurrency exchanges will have different processes on how to purchase XRP, and because of that, we will give you an example step-by-step guide on how to buy XRP on Uphold. You may have to tinker a little bit with your favorite platform to figure out the process, but once you have gone through the other steps outlined above, buying should be simple.
How to Buy XRP on Uphold (Step-by-Step)
This section assumes that you are using Uphold and that you have created an account, verified your identity, and funded it. Otherwise, you could opt to use the instant purchase feature of buying using a debit card.
1. Access your Uphold account.
Visit Uphold and sign in to your account using your username and password.
2. Provide transaction details.
Once you log in to Uphold, you will only focus on the right-most column where the exchange has its transaction form.
If you are using the mobile app, just tap on the transaction icon in the middle of the bottom navigation, which should load the transaction wizard.
Click (or tap) the down arrow within the [From] field. This way, you will specify to Uphold where you intend to source the funds to buy your XRP.
The exchange will load a list of available funding options, including using a bank account, credit card, assets held within your Uphold account, or even transferring crypto from an external wallet to Uphold.
Click on the [+] icon next to either bank or Credit Card to connect a bank account or credit/debit card, respectively.
The box highlighted below the credit card box shows the available crypto networks from which you can transfer digital assets to Uphold. In our case, we have already added a bank account, so we will select that, which will close the dialogue box.
Next, click the [To] field to specify which asset you intend to purchase. Uphold will load up a list of available assets that you can buy. You can use the search box to search for XRP or click the [Cryptocurrencies] filter just below the search box, then select XRP from the list.
Now that you have specified the asset you want to buy and your payment method. Fill in the amount to purchase on the middlebox with the fiat currency selected or by specifying how many XRP coins you wish to buy.
Whichever figure you provide, Uphold will automatically convert and fill in the appropriate amount in the corresponding form field. If you provide the fiat amount you wish to spend, the exchange will automatically fill in the amount of XRP coins you will get.
Click the [Preview Deposit] button to confirm your transaction.
3. Confirm and authorize the purchase.
The last step will involve you checking the transaction details and confirming that they are correct. In the confirmation screen, Uphold will provide the purchase rate for each XRP, and the terms of the sale. Read through each statement, then click the [Confirm Deposit] button below.
Depending on the chosen deposit or funding method, your XRP will be credited to your account immediately or after a predetermined period.
That is it! That is the simple process of buying XRP on Uphold exchange.
Ripple is peddling an innovative technology, and despite running into headwinds with the US SEC, the company still continues to champion easier and more convenient ways to make international payments. As we have discussed in this guide, Ripple’s XRP ledger and the XRP cryptocurrency offer several benefits to their users, such as fast confirmation times, cheap costs, and eco-friendliness.
We had also outlined a simple step-by-step process to acquire XRP from Uphold, one of the few exchanges that still allow its users to buy XRP. Most other exchanges offer a similar process to buy crypto, but the details may vary. You can tinker with your chosen platform to figure out the process or contact the official customer support for help.
Disclaimer: The content on this site should not be considered investment advice. Investing is speculative. When investing, your capital is at risk.
Frequently Asked Questions on How to Buy Ripple (XRP)
What is XRP?
XRP is the native cryptocurrency used on the XRP-Ledger blockchain. The asset is used for value transfer within the network, similar to how Bitcoins (BTC) are used within the Bitcoin network or Ether (ETH) within the Ethereum blockchain.
What is the difference between XRP and Ripple?
It is worth differentiating between XRP and Ripple because the two entities are not the same, and often people wrongly use these terms interchangeably. Ripple is the fintech company that is developing a payment settlement system called RippleNet, while XRP is a cryptocurrency native to the XRP Ledger blockchain. Ripple does make use of XRP within the RippleNet, but the cryptocurrency is not essential to the functioning of the company.
What is XRP used for?
XRP is a value transfer token. It can be sent and received by counterparties in a transaction at fast speeds and cheaply. Investors can also buy, sell or trade the asset for a profit (i.e., speculate on its value).
What are the benefits of using XRP?
The XRP ledger has several benefits, which include fast settlement times (~4 seconds), cheap transaction fees, and eco-friendliness due to the use of the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol that is similar to the Delegated PoS consensus mechanism used by staking networks.