Ripple has turned the tables on financial activism by directly targeting banks and helping them to instantly and cheaply affect worldwide transfer of money. They have effectively force-fed an incentive that has slowly turned pro-establishment financial institutions to embrace blockchain technology by showing them a better way of doing what they do. Buying and holding XRP is an investment in and of itself in the long run since its traffic, (and hence demand) has been growing.
Ripple confirms transactions in under 4 seconds, and it handles more than 10,000 transactions per second, giving it a huge edge over Bitcoin (which does less than 7 transactions per second) and many other altcoins.
As Ripple continues to appeal to larger banks, XRP continues to gain traction. The blockchain holds the third largest market capitalization amongst cryptos (~ $8 billion), after Bitcoin and Ethereum. The dream of having XRP as a global reserve for money one day is fleeting, but would be ideal for early adopters.
Ripple has a few drawbacks that you should keep in mind:
- The company has concentrated on targeting banks exclusively, and this is a turn-off for many early adopters of blockchain technology. In fact, Jed McCaleb left Ripple in 2013 as mentioned earlier, and forked out Stellar, which retained the functionalities for daily life use similar to the original Ripple.
- Ripple, the company, has more than 60% of XRP, and even though the likelihood of a massive sell-off is minimal, they have the magical 51% advantage and hence control the blockchain.
- Since ripple is pre-mined, there exist little or no incentives for common nodes to work in the network, which then leaves the corporates like banks to provide the validator nodes. Since only a few nodes are needed to run the network, it's not really distributed.
- Ripple is a cryptocurrency, and no matter how promising its business model is, it comes with the same risks as any other cryptocurrency, so you are advised to invest only what you are prepared to lose.