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What makes XRP special?

XRP, the cryptocurrency created by Ripple Labs, has emerged as one of the most popular and widely used digital assets over the past few years. There are several key factors that set XRP apart from other major cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Speed and Scalability

One of the main advantages of XRP is that it is incredibly fast. XRP transactions take just 3-5 seconds on average to complete, compared to Bitcoin which takes around 10 minutes per transaction. This makes XRP much more practical for real-world use cases that require quick payments and transfers.

In addition, XRP is highly scalable. It can currently handle around 1,500 transactions per second (TPS), but the network has the capability to scale up to 50,000 TPS. This is significantly higher than Bitcoin’s 7 TPS and Ethereum’s 15 TPS. The XRP Ledger uses a consensus algorithm called the XRP Ledger Consensus Protocol which allows for fast and scalable throughput.

Low Transaction Fees

Sending and receiving XRP is very inexpensive, typically costing just a fraction of a penny per transaction. This is because there are no mining fees associated with XRP transactions, unlike with Bitcoin where fees are paid to miners. The low transaction costs make XRP useful for micropayments, remittances, and other use cases where fees need to be minimized.

Fixed Supply

When the XRP Ledger began, 100 billion XRP were created, and no more XRP can be mined or created. This provides certainty about the total possible XRP supply that will ever exist. Currently about 48 billion XRP are in circulation, with the rest held by Ripple Labs to help maintain stability and act as further incentive for the growth of the XRP ecosystem.

Decentralized Network

The XRP Ledger operates as a decentralized blockchain network. While Ripple Labs created XRP and works on its development, they do not fully control the XRP Ledger. Anyone can run a validator node on the network and participate in validating transactions.

The network uses a consensus mechanism that requires agreement between a minimum of 80% of UNL nodes to confirm transactions. This ensures no single entity can control the XRP Ledger.

Use Cases

XRP is designed to be used specifically for cross-border payments and currency transfers. Its speed, scalability, and low transaction costs make it very well suited for this purpose. Some of the key use cases include:

  • International money transfers
  • Currency trades
  • Facilitating global e-commerce
  • Liquidity provider between currency pairs

Major financial institutions like American Express and SBI Remit are already using ODL (On-Demand Liquidity) which utilizes XRP to facilitate cross-border payments. As XRP adoption grows, its use cases will likely continue expanding.

Development Team

Ripple Labs employs a large team of developers and researchers who are constantly working on improvements and enhancements to the XRP Ledger and associated technologies. Having a dedicated team provides assurance that ongoing development will help XRP stay cutting-edge and competitive.

Some of Ripple’s key innovations include:

  • ILP – Interledger Protocol allows connecting different ledgers/blockchains
  • xCurrent – Enterprise software for banks to instantly settle cross-border payments
  • xRapid – Financial institutions can use XRP for on-demand liquidity and low-cost transfers

Adoption by Financial Institutions

As mentioned earlier, many major banks and financial companies have started using Ripple’s technologies that leverage XRP. Some notable examples include:

Company Use of XRP or Ripple Technology
Santander Uses xCurrent to enable same-day cross-border transfers
American Express Uses xRapid and XRP for instant blockchain-based payments
SBI Remit Leverages ODL and XRP for payments from Japan
MoneyGram Partnered with Ripple to use XRP for transferring funds
Axis Bank Utilizes Ripple’s blockchain solutions for cross-border transfers

This major adoption by banks and remittance providers gives validity to XRP as a settlement instrument.


XRP has accumulated significant liquidity over the years on digital asset exchanges. It trades billions of dollars in volume daily across 100+ exchanges worldwide.

The high liquidity makes it easy for financial institutions to access and use XRP for transfers without significantly impacting the market price.

Top XRP Exchange Volumes

Exchange 24hr XRP Volume
Binance $700 million
Huobi Global $300 million
OKEx $200 million

Store of Value Potential

While XRP is designed for utility purposes, it has also attracted investors who believe it can become a good store of value over long term. Some key factors contributing to this include:

  • Fixed supply – no inflation since no new XRP is created
  • Support by large financial institutions provides stability
  • Liquidity makes it attractive to institutional investors
  • Being traded on major crypto exchanges allows investors easy access

As adoption continues growing, XRP’s price may keep appreciating, making it an appealing investment asset. However, being a utility coin first and foremost means XRP’s value depends largely on its usefulness.

Downsides and Criticisms

While XRP has many positive attributes, there are also some downsides and criticisms to consider:

  • Centralized origins – created by a single company which retains a lot of control
  • Lack of mining – some criticize XRP for not being decentralized enough since nodes cannot mine it
  • Legal issues – Ripple Labs faced lawsuits alleging XRP was an unregistered security
  • Competition – networks like Stellar could offer similar speed and low fees

However, the XRP Ledger is now decentralized with multiple validators while Ripple aims to distribute XRP widely. There is also ample community development on XRP now.


XRP presents a unique mix of features that have helped it become one of the biggest cryptocurrencies. The blazing transaction speeds, microscopic fees, and rapidly growing real-world utility for cross-border transfers continue to set XRP apart. For anyone looking for a digital asset that goes far beyond just a store of value, XRP warrants a close look.

With Ripple Labs accelerating the development and promotion of technologies leveraging XRP, and more financial institutions adopting these solutions, XRP remains one of the most interesting cryptocurrencies for both utility and investment purposes. Going forward, its major challenge will be competing with other networks that offer similar capabilities and maintaining growth in the face of legal pressures.