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Ripple (XRP) is raising two opposing reactions on social media - wild enthusiasm and readiness to invest, as well as total distrust. Some believe a displacement of Bitcoin by Ripple will in fact damage the freedom and independence of cryptocurrency holders. With a very probable addition of XRP to Coinbase, XRP may gain greater backing. And yet the project has a troubling side, where newbie retail investors would buy alongside with deep-pocketed financial holders. 

Five Reasons Ripple is Not Like the Rest of the Pack

Some of the warnings revolve around Ripple having potentially centralized tools to control the money supply, almost in the manner of a central bank: 

Chris Larsen, XRP Billionaire

The founders of Ripple also hold enough XRP coins, outside of the lockdown program, to swerve the market. At the moment, Chris Larsen has around 5.19 billion XRP coins, valued at more than $15 billion and rising, putting him on the list of the top 100 richest billionaires. 

The Ripple Lockdown Fund

The Ripple project also has 55 billion XRP coins in escrow, with a scheme to release up to 1 billion coins per month on the free market. There is an additional holding reserved for free distribution for testing purposes by banking entities. 

Some believe the ascent of XRP may be the end of Bitcoin where other altcoins failed to even make a dent in Bitcoin's reputation. 

Top Whale Wallets

Since Ripple does not have a blockchain like Bitcoin, it's a bit more difficult to scour the ledger for a wealth distribution. But at the moment, there are very few new small Ripple wallets. Most of the coins, already significantly appreciated, are held in large wallets. Up to 13% of wallets hold more than 1 billion in XRP. Because of the low price of the coin, XRP is still concentrated in a few hands. So the up and coming entrance of small retail investors may spread the wealth, or it may hurt the newcomers who buy at a much higher price.

Less than 2,000 accounts hold vast storages of XRP coins. At the same time, there are hundreds of thousands of small addresses with up to 100 XRP. At least initially, this unbalanced picture of old accidental "Whales" and newcomers with a few coins may create a risk for small-scale buyers just entering the world of cryptocurrencies.

In the case of XRP, buying in may mean some upside gains as trading intensifies, with the most bullish predictions seeing $25 per XRP in 2018. But it is best not to over-invest in XRP, as the technology's application is still unclear and there may be a deep correction from all-time highs.