What is Ripple, and how does the system compare to Bitcoin?

3 Answers 3


This is answered in the official wiki:

Like Bitcoin:

  • ripple is a distributed peer-to-peer payment network
  • ripple transactions are irreversible, sent over the Internet, and counterfeit proof
  • ripple uses the same underlying cryptography as Bitcoin
  • ripple has multi-signature support
  • ripple has low to no transaction fees
  • ripple servers can be run by anyone

Unlike Bitcoin:

  • ripple can send any currency
  • ripple can automatically exchange currencies
  • ripple transactions are fully confirmed in seconds
  • ripple allows nicknames and gravatar icons for accounts
  • ripple's reference client is a Firefox and Chrome add on
  • ripple has no block chain download, clients are ready in seconds
  • ripple has no mining or direct monetary reward for running a ripple server
  • ripple has no currency risk as people can hold whatever fiat they want
  • ripple solves the double spending problem with consensus instead of proof-of-work
  • 3
    I wish that there were more technical details. How did they get around proof-of-work? How did they get around block chain download?
    – Eyal
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 8:51
  • @Eyal I've linked the wiki, did you try to search there for details?
    – o0'.
    Commented May 4, 2013 at 9:08

Ripple is trying to replace SWIFT, the protocol for inter-bank transfers. To me it makes sense because, those systems are (according to my understanding) quite antiquated. So blockchain hype has provided the impetus for banks to consider trying something new such as Ripple. It was started by the guy who created MtGox.

Bitcoin is a mechanism for exchanging value online between any two (or more) persons who have accounts and something to trade.


There's nothing in common, essentially. Ripple is a simulacrum of Bitcoin repeating some of its external features, adding naive stuff like gravatars and missing the basics: immutability, independence from human factor, and any appeal to general public which is needed for any social-engineering tool to take off.


  • 1
    Linked article is by answerer and doesn't mention Ripple…
    – Murch
    Commented Oct 30, 2016 at 11:43
  • 1
    1) It's not accurate to say that Bitcoin is independent from human factors - for example, who decides whether a softfork is implemented? Humans. 2) Why is Bitcoin's colored coin system better than Ripple's asset issuance system?
    – Nick ODell
    Commented Oct 31, 2016 at 19:55

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.