Kriptomat is currently on a mission to list the top 20 coins in terms of market capitalization, and we are excited to announce that Ripple (XRP) and Stellar Lumens (XLM) will soon be added to our list of cryptocurrencies that can be bought directly with euro (EUR).
You can expect the official launch and announcement as early as February 2019!
As such, this is the perfect opportunity to take a closer look at the protocols behind Ripple and Stellar, two projects that share some similarities and a common history. Let’s jump right into it!
At their core, Stellar Lumens and Ripple are solving issues related to the outdated, slow, and expensive (cross-border) payment methods. In short, they are revolutionizing international payments and bringing it to the 21st century in terms of speed and usability.
For example, if you need to send money abroad, it can actually be faster if you personally travel with a suitcase of money instead of going through the current system which uses technology developed in the 1970s. This is one of the many areas where Ripple and Stellar are making improvements.
Ripple was founded in 2012, and it offers a digital payment network for financial transactions. It also provides a blockchain-based solution designed to facilitate cross-border payments between financial institutions. The XRP cryptocurrency acts as a bridge between fiat currencies and to save transaction costs by as much as 70%.
Due to differences of opinion, Jed McCaleb, one of the founding members, left Ripple and founded Stellar in 2014. The two platforms initially shared some code as Stellar was basically a fork of Ripple, but they are now based on completely different code bases.
Let’s continue with a brief overview of Ripple and XRP.
What are Ripple and XRP?
People often confuse Ripple and XRP as being one and the same thing. I believe that it is important to clarify this misconception. This is also one of the things we talked about with Ross D’Arcy, Ripple’s EU Sales Director, at the recent Shift Money Conference. So what is the main difference between Ripple and XRP?
Ripple is a technology company that provides solutions for sending money globally, whereas XRP is an independent digital asset. The XRP Ledger is the open source blockchain technology behind it.
XRP is not short for Ripple like BTC is short for Bitcoin. Ripple’s cryptocurrency is simply called XRP, but it is often mistakenly called Ripple. We are also guilty of doing this because everyone is so accustomed to saying that XRP is Ripple.
But it is important to understand the technical distinction between the two. In simple terms, Ripple is the company, and XRP is the currency. Ripple is owned by founders and investors, and XRP can be owned by anyone if they purchase it on an exchange.
Ripple is currently in partnership with over 100 banks around the world. Institutions like Japan’s SBI Holdings are already testing and using Ripple’s solutions.
How are Ripple and XRP related?
Ripple uses XRP and the XRP Ledger in its flagship product, called xRapid, which speeds up cross-border money transfers.
The XRP Ledger is an open-source cryptographic ledger and it cannot be owned by any single entity – it is independent of any one person or business, including Ripple.
“XRP is a key enabler of the Internet of Value — Ripple’s vision for making money move at the speed of digital information. XRP’s speed, transparency, and scalability help financial institutions move money like information moves today — in real time.” – Ripple
XRP has a fixed amount of 100 billion coins. Ripple owns about 50 billion XRP that is cryptographically locked up in something called an escrow. They are releasing up to 1 billion XRP each month in order to provide supply predictability. Read more about escrow here. A small amount of XRP is destroyed in each transaction, which means that the total supply of XRP will decrease over time.
- Ripple provides the most efficient solutions for sending money globally.
- XRP is a bridge currency that acts as a cross-border payment liquidity source for banks and payment providers, facilitating transactions between different fiat currencies.
What is Stellar Lumens?
Stellar also aims to offer fast and affordable cross-border transactions, but it uses a distributed payments network designed to connect banks, payment systems and people around the world. Stellar’s native asset, Lumen (XLM), is used to conduct transactions between different currencies.
The core concept behind Stellar is to move money reliably, faster, and at the lowest possible costs. Stellar uses standard nodes, delegated nodes, and servers, all distributed evenly in their network. As such, Stellar does away with the need for mining.
What is XLM?
Stellar lets individuals trade money directly with each other, using Lumens (XLM) as a medium. Lumens are the native asset of the Stellar network and they contribute to the ability to move money around the world and to conduct transactions between different currencies.
Lumen supply is predetermined by protocol-level rules. There were 100 billion XLM created in 2014, but the number is not fixed. Every year, there is a 1% inflation rate, but no one can create new XLM on their own.
Lumens also play a small anti-spam role as they are used for transaction fees on the Stellar network in order to prevent people from flooding the network (known as a DoS attack).
Key differences between Ripple and Stellar
Despite some similarities, Ripple and Stellar are ultimately built on separate philosophies and are focused on different markets.
Ripple is a privately-owned blockchain company that provides its services to other companies. It allows companies and banks to quickly make cost-effective international transfers and currency conversions, plus access a range of extra features.
Stellar is a nonprofit organization that allows individuals to make more cost-effective money transfers and currency transfers. Their goal is to enable a more inclusive global payment system. “Banking the unbanked” is a motto that you will often hear in relation to Stellar.
Ripple is focused on improving the efficiency of international transactions between banks, financial institutions, and other corporates, while Stellar has turned its attention to providing access to low-cost financial services for those in the developing world.
Ripple’s payment protocol uses a proof-of-correctness consensus based on majority validation. The mechanism is applied every few seconds by all nodes to maintain the agreement of the network.
Stellar’s payment protocol, Stellar Core, is based on the Stellar Consensus Protocol algorithm. According to Stellar, this provides a method of reaching consensus without relying on a closed system to accurately record financial transactions.
The biggest challenge facing Ripple and Stellar is whether they can achieve widespread adoption by the world’s banks, financial institutions, other major and minor corporations, and the general public.
But it is clear that Ripple and Stellar Lumens are building products that are solving real-world problems, which is why we cannot wait to offer XRP and XLM to our customers.
Stay tuned for more information!