Ripple recently overtook Ethereum to become the second-largest digital currency, leaving many to ask: what’s the difference between Ripple and Bitcoin? The most notable, of course, is the value of each token.

One Bitcoin now costs about $12,000 while Ripples hover around the $3 mark. But don’t let that fool you. Although they’re both digital currencies, underneath the surface, Bitcoin and Ripple have significant differences. Let’s find out.

Governance Structures

The first difference between the two lies in their ownership structures. While one is centralized, the other is highly decentralized. Let’s start with Bitcoin. Who owns it? An online community does – not any one individual – thanks to the digital currency being open source.

This decentralized structure holds the key to Bitcoin’s rapid growth as well as to its problems. For instance, the community owning Bitcoin jointly decides on any major changes to the currency.

As you can imagine, with this, many decision makers, consensus and updates are slow in coming. Worse still, they’re harder to implement. About half of the currency’s mining power must be diverted to support the changes.

On the other hand, a private company owns Ripple, so it creates and implements updates quickly. In fact, when 80% of the developers support an amendment for a fortnight, the rest adopt it, and it comes into effect.

Intended Purpose

Bitcoins developers designed it as a peer-to-peer currency much like your normal currency. So you can use it however you like. In contrast, Ripple’s developers designed a payment system for large international transactions but with a twist. Unlike other currencies, these transactions were not limited to digital and fiat currency but also included commodities.

For this reason, Ripple stands out in the digital currency space, leaving many to wonder whether it’s a real cryptocurrency or, in fact, a payment system. Yet it’s both. To supplement its payment network, the company has created its own digital currency – Ripples.


The most notable difference between the two currencies is size. At the beginning of 2018, Bitcoin, the industry leader, had $276 billion worth of coins in circulation. Close behind in second place was Ripple at $120 billion. Between them, these two currencies control 51% of the digital currency market.

Surprisingly, however, Bitcoin circulates 16 million coins compared to Ripples 38 billion. This explain the high value of each Bitcoin – an astonishing $16, 426 each while Ripples trade at $3.12. But instead of this lower price being a disadvantage, it makes Ripples more affordable. If you’re interested in buying this currency you can check Cryptoheads and their detailed guide on buying ripple.

Transaction Fees and Time

While Ripple charges a fraction of a cent as fees, Bitcoin charges up to $27 for each transaction but for a reason. You can pay a miner to rush your Bitcoin transaction, thus, inflating the transaction price. Ripple can also perform much more transactions in a shorter amount of time.

As demonstrated, Bitcoin and Ripple differ in many ways. They have different governance structures, purposes, market value, reserve coin size, fees, and transaction time. So, if you were interested in investing in either, we suggest you study them both in detail and choose which one looks like a more valuable asset to you.