The second largest cryptocurrency, XRP, distinguished from its largest holder, Ripple Inc.
The past year has seen the phrase “the difference between Ripple and XRP” explained across different cryptocurrency communities to give new investors the real perspective. Lawyers, judges, authors, crypto fanatics and the non-fanatics as well. Chris Larsen, former CEO and current chairman of Ripple alongside the current CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, have both voiced strongly that Ripple Inc. and XRP are different entities. The topic has become a cliché and confusing to most new investors as some exchanges and ranking websites such as Coinmarketcap remain insistent on gluing the two as a single entity, Ripple Inc.
This article offers clarity on the singularity theory placed on the blockchain company, Ripple Inc. and the independent digital asset, XRP. These are the main points investors need to understand to effectively differentiate the two:
- The relationship between Ripple and XRP
- The management and control of the entity
- Functionality and uses
- The ownership of both Ripple and XRP
We discuss these points in detail below.
Table of Contents
Defining Ripple and XRP
Ripple Inc. is a technological company that offers financial institutions such as banks efficient solutions and platforms to send money globally. The company was founded in early 2012 and later in the year released the Ripple platform, real-time gross settlement system, fiat currency exchange and remittance network.
XRP, on the other hand, is a digital asset created on the XRP Ledger, an open source blockchain that is decentralized. XRP can be traded and sold on exchanges as an independent asset from Ripple Inc.
Note: XRP is not a security hence holding the digital asset does not entitle you to share on Ripple Inc. as is with stocks.
The relationship between Ripple and XRP
Ripple Inc. and XRP, however, share a unique relationship as compared to other company – digital asset relationships. Ripple owns 60 billion XRP tokens of the total ~100 billion maximum supply. While most companies release a huge chunk of their coins for a public or private sale, Ripple top executive, Brad, claims the founder of XRP released the tokens to Ripple Inc. as a gift. Ripple has a total of 55 million XRP tokens in lock up in an escrow for future use. The current circulation stands at 41 billion XRP, Ripple representing 12% of the total circulating number of XRP.
Ripple Inc. team developed the xRapid feature on their platforms which integrates the XRP Ledger and XRP. The xRapid feature allows users on Ripple to minimize their liquidity costs and facilitate payments around the world using local currencies in real time. The figure below explains the use of the xRapid further.
The xRapid system in action (Image: Ripple.com)
Despite Ripple Inc. being the most active user of the open source XRP Ledger, it does not own the system nor can any single entity own the distributed ledger. This nullifies the recurrent argument that XRP is centralized due to the influence of Ripple Inc.
The management and control of Ripple and XRP
Ripple is a registered U.S tech company that is led by a board of directors, founders and other shareholders of the company. The management of the company is determined by the preceding list of persons who have total control of the functions and running of the company. These are the people responsible for the success of failure of Ripple.
XRP, on the other hand, is not managed by any specific entity. The digital asset is managed by a community of XRP holders who also determine the future success rate of the digital asset. The community also develop and create solutions on the XRP Ledger at will.
Functionality and uses
As explained before Ripple Inc. is a technology company that offers its users’ payment solutions to send money globally in real time. Ripple offers the xVia, xCurrent and xRapid features on its RippleNET platform to financial institutions. Banks and remittance offices require instant cross border systems to lower their cost of transactions. With over 100 banks joining the RippleNET movement as per December 2018, the future looks bright for Ripple Inc.
List of banks connected to Ripple technologies
XRP was created for the use by enterprises to ease liquidity squeezes. The digital asset is available for anyone to use, buy and trade. XRP is available at cryptocurrency exchanges and peer-to-peer exchanges for the market to buy and trade. Unlike Ripple Inc.’s RippleNET that is only available to financial institutions, XRP is for all.
Who owns Ripple and XRP?
The two co-founders, Brad Garlinghouse and Chris Larsen own the largest shares of the San Francisco based company. Chris owns 17% stake in Ripple while adding a further 5.19 billion XRP in his coffers while Brad owns 6.3% stake in the company. The huge ownership of XRP combined with the rapid rise in the price of XRP to above $3 USD in early 2018 placed Chris as the 15th richest American according to Forbes.
Chris Larsen (left) and Brad Garlinghouse (right) Image: Forbes
XRP is simply owned by anybody who has a wallet and can buy the digital asset. Despite the huge ownership of XRP, Chris, Brad, and Ripple do not have exclusive rights XRP.
The two entities have long been misinterpreted and misrepresented on exchanges, articles and other sources of information. In as much as these ‘trusted’ sources like Coinmarketcap stile write Ripple (XRP) to name the digital asset, XRP and Ripple are mutually exclusive. Furthermore, in light of the recent legal battles that Ripple is facing in proving XRP is not a security, correct naming is key to differentiating the asset to the technology company.
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