The world of cryptocurrency is rapidly evolving. And for the beginner crypto investor, or anyone who’s interested in learning to invest in crypto, it can be easy to confuse Ripple, Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other popular cryptocurrencies.
But not all cryptos are the same — there are different types of cryptocurrency, and there are distinct features and background info that investors might want to know about Ripple (XRP) before they consider investing. Creating a foundational understanding of this crypto, including how it works and ultimately how to buy Ripple, is critical to making sure investors are making a wise decision.
This piece will walk enterprising investors through the basics, and explain how to buy XRP in just a few easy steps.
Ripple: A Quick Primer
Unlike Bitcoin, a cryptocurrency that more or less is used as a currency, Ripple (often abbreviated as “XRP”) actually refers to a couple of different things.
Ripple Labs is actually a company that runs an open-source payments platform which allows for cheap and fast digital transactions worldwide. Essentially, it takes the backbone of the financial system and puts it on rocket skates, moving money around more efficiently than by traditional means.
XRP, the cryptocurrency, is sold and managed by Ripple (the company). Unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum XRP is not built on blockchain technology. Instead, it was created by a private, for-profit company for the purpose of conducting transactions.
For that reason, XRP is actually more suited to businesses and corporations rather than for individual investors, or to be used as a currency. But that doesn’t mean that XRP can’t be bought and sold.
Ripple XRP Price
The current XRP price (at the time of publication) is $0.474494. It reached an all-time high of $3.8419 in January 2018, and dropped as low as $.0041 in November 2015.
How to Buy Ripple
Investors hoping to buy Ripple XRP need to jump through a few hoops. While some exchanges have suspended XRP trading as of the end of 2020 (as a result of an SEC investigation that we’ll address in the “XRP Trading: Risks and Considerations” section), it can still be purchased on a number of crypto exchanges.
1. Choose an Exchange
Buying cryptocurrency is, at a basic level, just exchanging U.S. dollars for the desired crypto. That’s why investors will need to choose an exchange on which to buy Ripple XRP.
Not all crypto exchanges allow users to purchase XRP on their platforms. Those that do include Coinmama, Changelly, and Kraken among others. Once you find an exchange that you like, register for an account.
2. Fund Your Account
Once an exchange has been chosen, investors will need to fund their accounts. It’s essentially the same as signing up for an investment account with a broker so that you can buy and sell stocks.
Connect a bank account to the exchange (once all of the necessary hurdles have been cleared and the account is verified), and transfer money into the exchange. Be aware, too, that some exchanges have limits on how much investors can deposit. Also, different exchanges will have different rules regarding what types of transfers they’ll accept—some will only let users wire money, for example, while others will allow transfers from a debit card.
Take these things into consideration to make sure funding an account isn’t too much of a pain in the neck. By this stage, investors will be ready to start buying Ripple XRP.
3. Buy XRP
With a funded exchange account, the final step is to simply buy XRP on the exchange. Each exchange will likely have a different process, but it should be a relatively simple process to exchange U.S. dollars for XRP.
The process of buying XRP is more or less the same as purchasing a stock in a brokerage account. Look up XRP, and commence trading—it shouldn’t be much more difficult than that.
Once the trade has commenced, it may be wise to transfer the acquired XRP into a digital wallet for safekeeping.
XRP Trading: Risks and Considerations
Perhaps the most important thing Ripple investors should know is that in December 2020, the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a complaint against Ripple Labs (the company that manages XRP). In the complaint, the SEC classifies XRP as a security rather than a cryptocurrency. Since Ripple Labs has sold 14.6 billion units of XRP at a value of nearly $1.4 billion, the SEC stepped in to say that XRP should have been registered as a security. Because it was not, that means that investors never received the pertinent information they needed to make sure they were making a wise investment.
SEC Investigation Fallout
The SEC’s complaint creates an existential threat to Ripple and XRP, causing some exchanges to halt XRP trading on their platforms, and some investors to dump their holdings. While it’s unclear what, exactly, will happen next as a result of the complaint, it’s these types of actions by government regulators that all crypto investors should be aware of.
XRP investors should also be aware of the financial ramifications of owning cryptocurrency. They may owe taxes for crypto holdings, depending on their trading and transaction activity. Cryptocurrencies are viewed as “property” by the IRS , which means that there may be associated tax liabilities.
There may also be fees associated with investing in XRP. Those fees will largely depend on an individual’s bank, and the exchange they use to purchase XRP and other cryptos. Again, investors will need to do their research to know exactly what they may be on the hook for.
Finally, keep in mind that cryptocurrencies of all types tend to be highly volatile assets. That means that they can lose or gain value rapidly, and can be inherently riskier than other types of investments. Crypto is still an emerging and evolving asset, and speculative investors’ furious trading can create wild price swings. The point is this: Investors looking to buy XRP are assuming a certain level of risk.
Even investors who do their homework regarding Ripple (or XRP—people use both terms to refer to the cryptocurrency) can’t shield themselves from all of the risks associated with crypto investing. While there is plenty to review—from SEC complaints to rules and crypto regulations—crypto investors should always be on their toes, making informed investment decisions.
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