/ Ecosystem

Comparison of Crypto Choices: XRP Against Bitcoin and Ethereum



I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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Admit it - you've been there!  You have some fresh investment money from your latest paycheck, and you're wondering where to invest it in crypto-land.

Bitcoin has been gaining, but so has Ethereum and XRP.  Bitcoin Cash?  Iota? NEO? Maybe Monero or Dash?


How do you go about making your choices?  Are you in it for one or two days, hoping for a quick 10% gain?  Or perhaps you're looking for a swing trade or long-term "get it and forget it" type of investment to put on a freshly-purchased nano?

When looking for a swing or long-term trade, you should do a checklist comparison of the the coins you're considering.  It takes time.  It's tedious (believe me - I've done multiple checklist comparisons).  It requires objectivity and seeking out multiple opinions from a diverse set of people - if you're interested in obtaining an unbiased perspective.

If you're thinking of Bitcoin, Ethereum or XRP, you're in luck; I've done that comparison for you!

My Checklist

My checklist is based on the bullet-point list of factors that I included in my separate bog post here.

The Research

Without a doubt, this particular comparison involved the most research I've ever compiled for one topic.  I began it two days ago, and in my references I included the date and time for many of the specific items that change on a day-to-day (or minute-by-minute) basis.  This includes market capitalization amounts, volume, and network fees, among other points.

Subjective Items

While most of the checklist contains objective items and measurements, in any comparison worth its salt, some subjectivity is involved, and you'll see that in some of the categories.  I've attempted to provide context for these items as well within the list itself; I will also describe some of the high points later.

Without further ado....here is my checklist comparison:

comparison checklist

Surprising Items I Uncovered

Two items I think are worth noting that I uncovered that you may not know:
  • Ethereum is quite vulnerable to a 50% attack 14
  • JoelKatz contributed to Bitcoin Core code! 51
If you already knew these two items, then congratulations!  I had no idea prior to tracking down the sources for some of these entries.  When I'd done my earlier research, it was more informal; I guess when a writer is forced to methodically document sources, they end up learning some things that they might otherwise have missed!

My Comparison Summary

I'm an XRP investor - that is no secret, and it's due to the fact that I've done these types of comparisons starting in 2013 when I first learned about XRP and Ripple (the company).  I quickly became a fan of Ripple after learning about some of their team members and seeing the quality of the XRP Ledger for myself.  Despite my predisposition towards XRP and Ripple, I did not pull any punches in this comparison.

Am I still on board with XRP?  Yes; Enthusiastically!

Here's my summary of XRP's strong and weak points compared to Bitcoin and Ethereum:

XRP Areas Needing Improvement

Liquidity of Network (Volume)

While 29 worldwide exchanges is a huge number that puts XRP head and shoulders above other crypto-currencies and digital assets, I'd feel better at doubling this number in the next few months.

How much am I concerned?  Not appreciably, as most major exchanges carry XRP, and Ripple has made it clear that they are expanding into both China and India - two of the largest potential markets in the world.


Ripple has made great strides in diversification of its validator list, as I described in my blog here.  However, I think the vision has not yet been realized of a large number of RippleNet stakeholder organizations being trusted enough to be included in Ripple's default trusted nodes list.

How much am I concerned?  Not in the slightest.  While some competitors may harp on this point, I do not foresee any scenario where Ripple benefits from abuse of this current "highly trusted" status in the network.  Because of my analysis from a business risk standpoint, I am completely comfortable with this temporary transition to a fully decentralized network when it makes the most business sense.

By the way - in case any crypto-anarchists are snickering at this point - the XRP Ledger is decentralized despite Ripple's current status listing in the "default" trusted nodes list; anybody can switch this status and choose to trust other nodes as they wish, and even if Ripple (the company) disappeared tomorrow, the XRP Ledger would still exist.

XRP Strong Points

Number of Developers

Not only does Ripple exceed the number of developers for Ethereum and Bitcoin, but the composition of their staff is a who's who of cryptography, Javascript, Java, and decentralized architectures.  The names of the core development staff have true star power within the crypto community, and are adept at conveying complex topics in an understandable manner to the lay-people on the periphery of these topics.

Business Model to Fund Development

I didn't have another category, and in hindsight I probably should have; "business model to fund adoption." The two non-profits have resources and are funded by interested parties, and in the case of Ethereum, a substantial amount of Ether held in reserve.  But neither of these two can compare with the massive amount of XRP that Ripple has at its disposal to supercharge banking adoption.

Yes, most of this XRP will be locked up in a revolving escrow for the next thirty years, 49 but even so, the monthly release amount should be all that is required for Ripple to fund an unstoppable wave of worldwide adoption by banks, financial institutions, and trade platforms and exchanges.

Market Momentum

With the SWELL conference in October and the XRP Lockup happening sometime prior to year-end in 2017, the crypto market is reacting quite favorably to XRP, and sent the price soaring in late August - by over 70% in one day. 50

The SWELL Conference

Of course, when it comes to XRP, market momentum is not just measured by the crypto market response to XRP; it's measured by banking adoption numbers and by banking adoption progress generally.  Clearly, Ripple has shifted into high gear and is looking to add many new customers to their pipeline with the SWELL conference.

My only concern?  Is Ripple ready to scale quickly enough to meet the demand that the SWELL conference is about to generate?

The Future for XRP

What does the future hold in store for the one company that is quickly becoming regarded as the "Google" of crypto?  The history of silicon valley has numerous examples of what can happen to a quickly growing start-up that's suddenly realized the potential of its visionary business model.  Going public?  Takeover?  While these might be distracting to your comparison of investment choices, do not discount them.  I predict that 2018 will see some dramatic changes in banking techno-architecture from Ripple, and I also foresee an immense amount of publicity and all that goes with it.

My honest advice to anybody that hasn't done so already?  Add some XRP to your portfolio, and do it quickly. xrp


  1. https://coinmarketcap.com/ (Snapshot taken on 9-6-2017 @ approximately 2pm CST)
  2. http://bitcointicker.co/networkstats/ (6 blocks for final settlement)
  3. https://ethereum.stackexchange.com/questions/319/what-number-of-confirmations-is-considered-secure-in-ethereum
  4. https://etherscan.io/chart/blocktime (12 blocks X 24 second average block time on Sept 5, 2017)
  5. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/
  6. https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/bitcoin-transactionfees.html (Average transaction fee on 9-5-2017)
  7. https://bitinfocharts.com/comparison/ethereum-transactionfees.html (Average transaction fee on 9-5-2017)
  8. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/ (Snapshot on 9-6-2017 @ 3 pm CST)
  9. https://blockchain.info/charts/transactions-per-second (Snapshot on 9-6-2017)
  10. https://ethstats.net/ (verified < 15 TPS on 9-6-2017 @ 3:10 pm)
  11. https://ripple.com/xrp/
  12. https://blog.iqoption.com/en/three-countries-with-the-largest-number-of-bitcoin-miners/
  13. https://blockchain.info/pools
  14. https://etherchain.org/statistics/miners (2 mining pools “f2pool” and “ethermine” control approximately 50% of the network)
  15. https://ripple.com/insights/how-we-are-further-decentralizing-the-ripple-consensus-ledger-rcl-to-bolster-robustness-for-enterprise-use/
  16. Wikipedia entries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethereum , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(payment_protocol)
  17. https://blockchain.info/charts/my-wallet-n-users (Snapshot on 9-6-2017 @ 9:20 pm CST)
  18. https://etherscan.io/accounts (Snapshot on 9-6-2017 @ 9:00 pm CST)
  19. https://xrpcharts.ripple.com/#/accounts (Snapshot on 9-6-2017 @ 9:27 pm CST)
  20. Wikipedia entries: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethereum , https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(payment_protocol)
  21. https://github.com/interledgerjs/ilp-plugin-bitcoin-paychan
  22. https://github.com/interledgerjs/ilp-plugin-ethereum
  23. Payment Channels: https://github.com/ripple/ilp-plugin-xrp-paychan, Escrow: https://github.com/ripple/ilp-plugin-xrp-escrow , ILP-enablement on XRP: https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-continues-to-bring-internet-of-value-to-life-new-features-increase-transaction-throughput-to-same-level-as-visa/
  24. https://coinmarketcap.com/exchanges/volume/24-hour/all/
  25. https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/1qlpaj/can_someone_explain_if_bitcoins_source_code_can/
  26. https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/69ue34/does_anyone_know_how_the_bitcoin_core_developers/
  27. https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/who-funds-bitcoin-core-development-how-the-industry-supports-bitcoin-s-reference-client-1459967859/
  28. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethereum (indicates foundation is funding developers. Follow-up link also indicates foundation developers are continuing to make updates)
  29. https://blog.ethereum.org/author/ethereum-team/
  30. https://ripple.com/build/amendments/
  31. https://ripple.com/insights/how-we-are-further-decentralizing-the-ripple-consensus-ledger-rcl-to-bolster-robustness-for-enterprise-use/ (Amendment voting process will necessarily be as decentralized as the voting that takes place during consensus – no more and no less)
  32. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bitcoin_Foundation
  33. https://github.com/pmlaw/The-Bitcoin-Foundation-Legal-Repo/tree/master/Bylaws
  34. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethereum
  35. https://www.ethereum.org/foundation
  36. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(company)
  37. https://bitcoincore.org/en/team/
  38. https://bitcoin.org/en/development
  39. https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/graphs/contributors?from=2016-06-01&to=2017-06-01&type=c
  40. https://github.com/orgs/ethereum/people
  41. https://ethereum.stackexchange.com/questions/467/what-are-the-roles-of-ethdev-ethcore-and-the-ethereum-foundation
  42. https://youtu.be/w4jq4frE5v4 (slide #4)
  43. https://bitcoinmagazine.com/articles/who-funds-bitcoin-core-development-how-the-industry-supports-bitcoin-s-reference-client-1459967859/
  44. http://www.trustnodes.com/2017/05/25/ethereum-foundation-now-richest-blockchain-company-assets-nearly-200-millions
  45. https://blog.ethereum.org/2016/01/07/2394/
  46. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ripple_(company)#Business_model
  47. https://ripple.com/xrp/market-performance/
  48. https://coinmarketcap.com/ (Snapshot on 9-7-2017 @ 11:07 am CST)
  49. XRP escrow and supply announcement: https://ripple.com/insights/ripple-to-place-55-billion-xrp-in-escrow-to-ensure-certainty-into-total-xrp-supply/
  50. http://fortune.com/2017/08/23/ripple/
  51. https://github.com/bitcoin/bitcoin/graphs/contributors

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I blog about Ripple & XRP. FULL DISCLOSURE: All views are my own. I do not work for Ripple; I am not a professional financial analyst, and the majority of my crypto holdings are XRP.

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