The rapid growth of the cryptocurrency market in the last few years has seen the landscape grow to over 1500 “active” projects as listed on the crypto ranking marketplace coinmarketcap.com. However, of all these, three cryptocurrencies continue to lead the rest. Bitcoin (BTC) has been the top coin since inception and Ethereum (ETH) is the perennial challenger, with Ripple (XRP) sneaking up behind.
For a while in 2017, there was talk of a “flippening” happening- a possibility that Ethereum could replace Bitcoin at the top of the cryptocurrency dominance ladder. It didn’t happen then, and Bitcoin still dwarfs Ethereum in price value and global demand.
Will Bitcoin continue to dominate the market or one of Ethereum and Ripple can do enough to surpass it? The Bitcoin vs. Ethereum vs. Ripple debate or contest has always divided crypto faithful, especially since 2017 coming into 2018. The battle silently rages on, and one may want to ask which between Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP), is likely to cause an upset and beat Bitcoin first?
A comparison of the three leading cryptocurrencies cannot be pegged on prices and market dominance alone. Neither can it be about which coin has more visibility. In these two, Bitcoin leads with a market dominance of 36% and a cap of $154B as at May 1, 2018. Ethereum comes second with a market cap of $66B and Ripple trails by $34B against Ethereum. Price-wise BTC tops with $9000; ETH at $670 is second, and XRP $0.83 is third.
In terms of daily trading volumes, Bitcoin trumps the other two with $8.2 billion worth of BTC traded in 24 hours. Ethereum is second with $2.9 billion, and Ripple trails in the distant by $620 million. Judging by the above information, both challengers have a long way to go before they can threaten to overtake Bitcoin based on market fundamentals. Ethereum may appear in pole position, but other factors, including the unpredictability of the market may play against it.
So, if current price won’t be enough to determine which crypto reaches the peak first, what else should we look at? Bar the fears surrounding cryptocurrency’s future, other aspects that could help decide this contest are scalability, transaction speed, and mainstream adoption and acceptance. Before we look at how the head-to-head between Ethereum and Ripple, here is a summary of the three leading cryptocurrencies.
|Bitcoin (BTC)||Ethereum (ETH)||Ripple (XRP)|
|Developers||Has maintained a small number of core developers||Largest group of developers||Has a large group of developers|
|Transaction time||May take up to 1hour, depends on the fee paid||Takes about 2 and half minutes||Takes about 4 seconds|
|Average transaction cost||$10, can come down to about $4||$0.5||$0.004|
|Transactions per second||About 10||Between 15- 20||1,500|
|algorithm||Proof of work||Proof of work/ proof of stake||Consensus|
|Inflation||Coin supply will keep increasing to the 21 million cap by 2140||Inflationary – 0.2% -5% yearly.||Static/deflationary. Tiny coin burn every year + 55m XRP held by company|
|Coin supply limit||21 million||Indefinite supply||100 billion|
I’ll put scalability, fees, and transaction speed into one point and say that Ripple trumps both Bitcoin and Ethereum in this aspect. The three factors have played into the hands of Ripple and its intended target. Boasting of being capable of up to 1500 transactions per second and lowest fees puts XRP 100 steps ahead of ETH and even more ahead of BTC. Even though Ethereum is working on a number of solutions including sharding, the enterprise-ready nature of Ripple’s solutions makes it stand a better chance at global adoption than Ethereum.
The Ethereum vs. Ripple race to replace Bitcoin at the top may well be decided by the eventual adoption and acceptance by the global community. While Ethereum has comparisons to BTC in terms of being transactional, its utility token has given its platform a lot of room for growth. More than half of the dApps and smart contracts are developed on the EVM. Nevertheless, this dominance may be checked by the proliferation of similar platforms.
Ripple on the other hand has almost exclusively attracted the banking industry. Even though there are other blockchain platforms trying to disrupt the cross-border payments system, none of them has been warmly taken by banks and payment providers like XRP. The aggressive marketing strategies of the Ripple team have seen it amass the largest number of partnerships. The nature of Ripple’s governance has attracted banks, but earned criticism from cryptocurrency circles. If the entire banking system embraces XRP, then a possibility lingers of it emerging tops.
Though technically different, both Ethereum (ETH) and Ripple (XRP) have one thing in common; they want to be tops, ahead of Bitcoin. Ethereum won’t reach that level unless it solves its blockchain issues and sees off competition. Ripple can if it gets all banks onside, though constant questions about its token XRP being a security and the 55B XRP in escrow cast a shadow.
That leaves Bitcoin (BTC) as the king for now, and the real fight being who will be number two for the foreseeable future.