How to Buy Ripple (XRP)
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Ripple is a crypto payments company whose founders created XRP, its native token. XRP and the blockchain it runs on, the XRP Ledger, are billed as a better way to send money across borders. While the traditional process can take days to complete, XRP international transactions can be settled in seconds — and usually for a fraction of the cost.
XRP’s future is made uncertain, in part, by an ongoing U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission lawsuit filed in December 2020. The SEC alleges XRP is an unregistered security that was offered to retail investors by Ripple.
Like any crypto, XRP is a higher-risk investment. Since it was created in 2012, it has experienced volatility that makes its future value hard to predict.
» Learn more: What is cryptocurrency?
How to buy XRP
1. Decide whether to invest in XRP
The value of any cryptocurrency can change quickly, and that’s been the story with XRP, as well. If you decide to move forward with an XRP purchase, it’s good to consider its likelihood of long-term growth. Right now, the token is among the top ten largest cryptocurrencies by market capitalization.
Innovative. XRP aims to provide a platform for cross-border payments that is faster and more cost efficient. With reduced settlement time and lower costs per transaction, XRP presents itself as a better option for exchanging currency between countries for both individuals and institutions.
Fast. According to Ripple’s website, the XRP ledger routinely handles upwards of 1,500 transactions per second (tps). Comparatively, larger and more popular cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin (7 tps) or Ethereum (30 tps) are much slower.
Affordable. In recent months, the price of XRP has been hovering at just under 40 cents per token, making it one of the cheapest options for investors looking to buy popular cryptocurrencies.
Low. Transaction fees for other cryptocurrencies can be quite expensive, but XRP’s average cost per transaction has consistently been a small fraction of a penny, making it one of the more cost-friendly blockchain networks available.
SEC lawsuit. The SEC alleges XRP is an unregistered security that was offered to retail investors by Ripple.
An SEC complaint filed in December 2020 alleges that XRP was an unregistered security and that the company’s sale of XRP violated federal securities law.
Ripple has denied the allegations, saying XRP is a virtual currency, not a security, which means it doesn’t fall under the same rules requiring registration.
The lawsuit had immediate effects on the coin’s price, as well as its availability; Coinbase suspended trading of XRP on its crypto exchange in January 2021 following the allegations. Without knowing the outcome of the case, the coin’s future is in limbo. As of December 2022 the case is still ongoing.
2. Find a place to buy XRP
XRP is traded worldwide, so there are various options if you want to buy it. Centralized exchanges are a common destination for crypto buyers. They’re easier to navigate than decentralized exchanges but can be at higher risk of hacking since they’re managed by a central entity. XRP can be purchased on the following centralized exchanges:
Decentralized exchanges, including peer-to-peer transactions, can be cheaper but more difficult to navigate for new buyers since they require more technical experience. They’re less likely to be hacked, though, since there’s no single entity to attack. Decentralized exchanges like Uniswap, PancakeSwap and IDEX can be used to purchase or trade for XRP.
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3. Decide how to pay for XRP
Typically, you can buy cryptocurrencies with cash or crypto.
Cash: Most exchanges accept fiat currencies like U.S. dollars. Platforms differ in how they operate, including what currencies they support, so it’s good to look closely at the one you decide to use. Some require a minimum deposit, support a limited set of fiat currencies, or charge a conversion fee on deposited cash.
Platforms also differ in how you can add cash to your account, but some common methods are Automated Clear House, or ACH, transactions from banks, wire transfers and debit cards.
You may see an option to buy crypto with a credit card. But using high-interest debt this way can be especially risky. If your crypto investments lose value and you can’t pay back your principal, you could be saddled with expensive interest payments.
Cryptocurrency: If you already own cryptocurrency, you could trade some of your existing assets for XRP. Such a maneuver would be an option if you want to own multiple cryptocurrencies without investing more cash.
However, some exchanges don’t accept all cryptocurrencies — and some cryptocurrencies can’t be traded with one another — so be aware of those limitations as you prepare to buy. Additionally, exchanges charge different fees depending on what you’re buying and how.
4. Purchase and store your XRP
After investing in a cryptocurrency like XRP, the last thing you want is to lose your tokens. Deciding where to store your crypto is a vital step in the process.
Using an exchange: This can be a straightforward and simple way to store your cryptocurrency because it outsources management to a third party. However, exchanges also can be a risky option, since they’re susceptible to hacking or technical failures that could cost you your assets. FTX and FTX.US, for example, crashed and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, leaving investors without access to funds. For an additional layer of security, you might want to consider using a digital wallet.
» Learn more: Best exchanges to store your cryptocurrency
Using your own wallet: Storing crypto yourself can be a way to prevent losing your assets to hackers or other unfortunate events outside your control. But it requires you to keep careful track of private keys — long strings of letters and numbers, like a password — that prove your ownership of cryptocurrencies. If you lose track of those, or someone else gets ahold of them, your assets can’t be recovered.
When deciding on a wallet for your cryptocurrency, it’s important to check that it will work with the XRP network, as well as the exchange you plan to use. Once you’ve confirmed they’re compatible, you have a choice of two kinds of wallets.
Hot wallets: These are digital wallets, including web-based, mobile and desktop options. Because they’re connected in some form to the internet, they’re easy to use. However, that same feature can make them vulnerable to hacking.
Cold wallets: These are not connected to the internet until you’re initiating a transaction. That can make them less convenient to use but much more secure. Because a cold wallet is a physical piece of hardware, it can’t be accessed by an unauthorized person unless it’s in their possession.
» Learn more: How to choose a crypto wallet