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How XRP Compares to BTC and ETH

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Because independent digital assets are uniquely universal and enable fast settlement finality, they can be applied to interbank settlement use cases to make liquidity provisioning less expensive and more scalable.

Although they have many differences, independent digital assets like bitcoin (BTC), ether (ETH) and Ripple’s XRP are lauded for these key benefits:

  • Distributed validation with a cryptographic guarantee of settlement.

  • Increased settlement speed and reduced settlement risk.

  • The immutability and auditability of transactions.

However, not all digital assets are created equal. BTC and ETH, in particular, may rank highest in market capitalization but are simply not designed to support the diversity of institutional use cases and the scale that global interbank settlements require.

This article discusses the advantages and disadvantages of these popular digital assets, in comparison to XRP, across three different categories: global reach, governance and settlement speed.


As independent digital assets, BTC, ETH and XRP all enable global reach and accessibility with fast settlement. Unlike digital assets issued by financial institutions and central banks, global accessibility of independent digital assets is not limited for geopolitical or competitive reasons. Moreover, because they’re not backed by cash, they don’t create liabilities as a bank-issued digital asset does.


Governance of bitcoin and ether remains unstable, as the BTC supply, transaction validation and protocol are controlled by a few mining pools, and Ethereum experienced a fork in the aftermath of the DAO hack. Bitcoin also suffers from misaligned incentives as miners and users dispute block sizes to meet scalability needs. In contrast, the Ripple Consensus Ledger has proven governance with institutional validators run by MIT, Microsoft and leading global banks. In fact, 23 million ledgers have closed with no major issues.


BTC settlement takes up to 60 minutes or longer, a period in which a payment can fail due to lack of confirmation by miners, creating further exposure and risk. ETH faces a similar problem, but settles faster than BTC (five minutes on average). Ripple, on the other hand, relies on a consensus mechanism without mining, enabling the most efficient settlement in just five seconds with XRP.


In the world of interbank settlement, Ripple and XRP create unprecedented cost-efficiency and global reach, making use cases like low-value corporate disbursements and retail remittances not just possible but profitable. XRP stands apart from other independent digital assets, such as bitcoin and ether, with its proven governance and fast settlement speed.

Banks can realize cost savings beyond 60 percent with XRP. Download our whitepaper “The Cost-Cutting Case for Banks” to read more about implementing Ripple for cross-currency payments and using XRP in FX flows.

For individuals who want to learn more about buying and trading XRP, please visit How to Buy XRP. If you are an institution interested in purchasing XRP or providing liquidity on Ripple, please contact us.

Disclaimer: Any person or entity that buys and sells XRP does so at their own risk and such actions are completely the decision of that person or entity. Like any asset, the price of XRP can both rise and fall and anyone buying or trading XRP should understand that the price of XRP will fluctuate.

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