There are thousands of cryptocurrencies, with more being added all the time. But one that’s rising in popularity is Ripple. More commonly referred to by its symbol XRP (Ripple is the company behind the crypto), it can be bought and sold easily on both crypto exchanges and through certain investment brokers.
If you’ve never purchased Ripple before, we’ll walk you through the process, including the mechanics of buying Ripple, as well as descriptions of the platforms where you can do it.
Table of Contents
What is Ripple?
Launched in 2013, Ripple has a current market capitalization of nearly $65 billion, making it one of the more prominent cryptocurrencies in existence.
Like most cryptocurrencies, Ripple fluctuates in price. Its price started at just a penny and stayed there until 2017. It reached a peak price of $3.84 on January 3, 2018. It’s been bouncing up and down ever since and most recently settled at $1.38.
The crypto is used by the XRP ledger and supports international currency exchange and remittances. You can convert them into US dollars, Japanese yen, Euros, Swiss francs, and any other currencies available on the network.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Due to action against Ripple Labs, Inc. by the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), trading in the crypto has been suspended on several exchanges since January 19, 2021. No updates have been provided as to exactly when the suspensions will end.
How to Buy Ripple
Choose a Crypto Exchange
To trade Ripple, or any other crypto, you’ll need to set up an account with a cryptocurrency exchange. Though there are a few investment brokers that will enable you to trade cryptos, they’re rare. In fact, none of the large established brokerages are on that shortlist. And you can forget about trading cryptos through banks. While a limited number of banks are gradually tiptoeing into the fringes of crypto, none will allow you to buy, sell and hold it the same way you can with US dollars.
The advantage of crypto exchanges is that they are almost exclusively dedicated to cryptocurrency. That means you can buy, sell and even trade crypto through the platform, or even store it there as well. Some even offer special features, like the ability to earn interest or additional income on your crypto holdings.
In selecting a crypto exchange, be sure you have one that offers the most features. For example, being able to access your crypto with an attached Visa debit card can be a real advantage. Also, be sure the exchange accommodates the specific cryptos you may want to invest in in the future, even beyond Ripple. You’ll want to be sure the exchange will provide room for you to grow in your crypto investing activities.
Select a Digital Wallet
While it may be possible to hold crypto directly on an exchange, it’s best to have what is known as a digital wallet. It’s designed specifically to hold virtual assets, like cryptocurrencies. Some exchanges provide a digital wallet, but it’s better if you have your own. That will give you greater control over the wallet and enable you to transfer your crypto assets from one exchange to another.
There are two versions of digital wallets, hot and cold. A hot wallet stores your crypto directly on your computer or mobile device. You’ll have access to your crypto anytime you’re connected to the Internet.
Cold storage is the more expensive of the two but is generally preferred because it’s more secure. You’ll hold your digital assets on physical media, like a thumb drive. That will enable you to store your assets offline, reducing the likelihood of hacking. But you’ll also be able to easily move your crypto from one device to another just by connecting the media to the device.
Fund Your Account
With Crypto exchanges, you can fund your account by linking a bank account or transferring crypto from one exchange to another.
A linked bank account is more convenient because you can move funds in and out at any time. But if you plan on transferring crypto from another exchange, you’ll need to have a personal digital wallet rather than one that exists only on another crypto exchange. Personal digital wallets are portable, while exchange-supplied wallets typically aren’t.
Trading crypto is similar to buying and selling stocks on a brokerage account. But the process can be a bit different, and even more so from one exchange to another.
Crypto trading happens entirely online. Much like trading stocks, you can set either a market order or a limit order. A market order means you’ll be buying or selling the crypto at the prevailing price. But a limit order is where you set the price at which you want the trade to take place. If the crypto never reaches that price, the exchange won’t complete the trade.
Also, make sure your account is fully funded before placing any trades. If it isn’t, the trade won’t be permitted.
You should also be aware that crypto exchanges are notorious for their lack of customer service. Most offer support only by email or live chat and only during limited hours. Make sure you understand the trading process before getting started. Practice with a small amount; that way, if you make a mistake, it won’t be a big one.
Where to Buy Ripple
Even though crypto has only been around for a little over a decade, the number of platforms where you can buy and sell digital currency is growing. In addition to crypto exchanges, those that will be listed below, it’s possible to buy and sell cryptocurrencies with a limited but growing number of investment brokers.
Alternatively, you can buy and sell Ripple on any of the following exchanges:
Kraken is rising quickly as one of the top crypto exchanges in the industry. The exchange was launched in 2011, making it one of the longer-established platforms. You can trade more than 50 cryptocurrencies, including Ripple.
You can start investing with as little as $10, but minimum investment amounts are based on the crypto itself. For example, the minimum trade amount for Bitcoin is 0.0001 Bitcoin. The minimum for Ripple is 5 XRP.
One of the features we like about Kraken is the ability to stake cryptos for additional income. The platform enables you to earn staking rewards of up to 7% per year, depending on which crypto you work with. Unfortunately, staking is not available with Ripple on Kraken.
Kraken also provides margin trading, similar to the way you can trade stocks with funds borrowed from an investment broker. And while investment brokers will typically offer no more than twice the cash equity in your account, Kraken allows up to 5X your equity for margin trading.
There’s one other area where Kraken excels, and that’s customer support. They offer live chat on a 24/7 basis – a rarity among crypto exchanges – and it makes Kraken a natural choice for anyone who believes they may need more direct support.
However, one downside with Kraken is that you will need your own digital wallet to trade on the exchange. Kraken is one of the few crypto exchanges that doesn’t offer digital wallets.
Coinbase is one of the most popular crypto exchanges and a common source of crypto-related information even in the mainstream financial media. You can open an account and begin trading with as little as $2.
There are plenty of reasons for the popularity of Coinbase.
First, they maintain FDIC insurance on up to $250,000 in US cash deposits held on the exchange. Second, they offer nearly 70 cryptocurrencies, including Ripple. That’s one of the largest selections provided by any exchange.
The third is Coinbase Earn. It enables you to earn additional crypto just by completing courses on individual cryptocurrencies. And like other exchanges, they also provide crypto staking to earn extra income.
But what may be the most compelling reason to use Coinbase is the ability to spend and convert your crypto right on the exchange. You can quickly and easily convert your crypto into US dollars, which is even easier since they offer a stablecoin tied to the dollar. But they also offer a Visa debit card, allowing you to spend against your crypto balance.
Coinbase also supports buying and selling non-fungible tokens, or NFTs. These are a relatively new type of digital asset based on digital art. Digital artists create unique work, which can trade just like cryptocurrencies. The practice has become more popular as certain NFTs have seen significant increases in recent years.
Coinbase does provide a digital wallet, though you are free to use your own if you prefer.
Binance.US is the US version of the international Binance crypto exchange but explicitly created for US-based citizens. They offer trading in more than 30 cryptocurrencies, including Ripple, and you can open an account and begin trading with as little as $10. They also provide the ability to deal in NFTs, much like Coinbase does.
Despite the small minimum initial investment, Binance.US offers low fees for high-volume traders, which favors larger investors.
Binance.US offers its own stablecoin, BUSD. This type of crypto, though it lacks speculative price increases, is readily convertible into US dollars. This makes for higher liquidity for your account balance on the platform.
They also offer a Visa debit card with cashback rewards as high as 8%. However, that’s the top rewards level. Exactly how much cash back you’ll earn will depend on what you purchase and with which merchant you buy.
Crypto.com offers one of the largest selections of cryptocurrencies of any exchange in the world. You can trade in more than 90 cryptos, including Ripple. As one of the largest crypto exchanges in the world, it has more than 10 million users worldwide, and has added NFT trades to its investment mix.
Crypto.com doesn’t have a minimum initial investment requirement. But like Kraken, minimum trade balances are based on specific crypto amounts.
Part of the appeal of Crypto.com is that it’s currently the only crypto exchange offering insurance coverage on your crypto holdings. They have $360 million in insurance to protect cryptocurrency stored on the exchange. The exchange also offers its own stablecoin.
But perhaps the biggest attraction of Crypto.com is that they pay interest on crypto balances. They’re currently paying up to 8.5% on cryptocurrencies but as much as 14% on stablecoin balances.
Crypto.com provides a cashback Visa debit card. The cashback rewards, which range between 1% and 8%, are based on your account balance. The standard reward is 1%, but it can be as high as 8% if you have an account balance of at least $400,000.
Final Thoughts on Ripple Cryptocurrency
Except for stablecoins, the value of all cryptocurrencies – including Ripple – fluctuates wildly. That means there is risk associated with investing in these digital assets. Ripple is no more or less volatile than other cryptos, but trading is limited (or unavailable) due to the action by the SEC.
But when the trading ban ends, Ripple could become one of the more interesting plays in the crypto space. Stay alert to changes in the status of the crypto since things tend to play out quickly in the crypto universe.