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How to Use This Price Tracker
Cryptocurrency pricing data can help investors find opportunities in the market and make more informed investment decisions. NextAdvisor’s price tracker shows historical price, trading volume, market capitalization, and other important metrics for investors, especially those who are just starting to dip their toes into crypto investing.
While everyday investors probably don’t need every last bell and whistle to make informed investment decisions, there are some generally applicable key crypto metrics and indicators worth considering:
Crypto Indicators and Metrics for Beginner Investors
Price: As with any investment, price is where it starts and ends for investors. Pricing is highly volatile in cryptocurrency, but viewed over time can give investors an idea of how a given coin’s value has gone up (or down) over time.
Market Capitalization: In general, the higher the value of the market cap the safer the investment. Market cap is the total value of a cryptocurrency, and is calculated by multiplying the price of the cryptocurrency with the number of coins in circulation. The amount of tokens or coins circulating can be viewed as an indicator of a coin’s demand.
Volume: Higher volume typically means a given cryptocurrency has more market liquidity, meaning more ability for investors to sell an investment when they want to realize a profit. It represents how much crypto is bought and sold over a period of time, typically 24 hours.
XRP was among the first cryptocurrencies to launch after bitcoin minted the crypto market in 2010, with an eye toward faster and cheaper crypto transactions.
In 2012, three developers hoping to improve upon bitcoin launched the XRP Ledger — a decentralized blockchain with its native cryptocurrency XRP. XRP functions as a blockchain-based alternative to SWIFT, the global messaging system that enables bank transactions.
Think of it like a kind of currency that would make it easier for banks and financial institutions to transfer money around the world. The developers, along with Chris Larsen, went on to form a company called Ripple Labs the same year, which was gifted 80 billion XRP.
“Inherently, the idea is for XRP to replace the SWIFT network for cross-border transactions,” says Yoni Medhin, a crypto mining expert and a member of the advisory board for investing firm Energy Funders.
While XRP has a market cap that places it in the top 10 for crypto, regulatory issues with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) have weighed on Ripple and XRP’s value. Ripple has been embroiled in a lawsuit brought by the SEC since 2020, making it the center of controversy in the crypto industry and difficult for investors in the United States to purchase XRP, according to Wendy O, a crypto expert and educator.
“The SEC is accusing them of offering unregistered securities, but they brought the suit somewhat late,” O says, referring to a lawsuit that revolves around the SEC’s view of XRP as a security, a view that’s at odds with Ripple’s claims that XRP is a currency.
How Does XRP Work?
Ripple describes itself as a global payments network and its native token XRP functions as a way to settle payments between financial institutions and digital asset exchanges. It gets rid of many of the transaction layers that result in higher fees, especially for international transactions.
“XRP enables financial transactions,” says Omar Qureshi, managing partner of High Tower Wealth Advisors. “You can view it as similar to MasterCard or Amex, although it’s not exactly the same.”
It’s important to note that Ripple and XRP are two different and totally independent entities, contrary to popular belief. Ripple is a San Francisco startup company that develops software that banks use to facilitate fast, global financial transactions, and the majority holder of cryptocurrency XRP.
Unlike bitcoin, which was released through a decentralized network of computers, XRP tokens were created and distributed by the founders of Ripple so that the company could build use cases around the digital asset. Basically, XRP powers the technology that Ripple is building.
What Gives XRP Its Value?
XRP is valuable for its ability to connect payments in a fast, cost-efficient way. According to Ripple’s website, you can send XRP from one digital wallet to another in just 3 to 5 seconds while paying minuscule fees.
But it has little utility beyond that, according to experts. There are also plenty of critics who say XRP doesn’t offer any real intrinsic value at all compared to other cryptocurrencies.
“It’s faster and cheaper than SWIFT, but why not just use a stablecoin?” Medhin says. “There’s some residual value on the backend of XRP, but it’s not the only blockchain that could be used for this.”
Trying to place value on XRP is also difficult because of the lawsuit, Qureshi points out. “The SEC lawsuit weighs on the price, and it’s hard to say what it should be,” he says. “XRP is enabling financial transactions, so look at whether the activity on the network is increasing or decreasing,” Qureshi says. “But the question is: does XRP have a future?”
For now, the main thing holding XRP afloat is the investors and community that believe XRP will emerge victorious from its SEC lawsuit and be widely adopted for cross-border transactions.
XRP Market Cap
XRP’s market capitalization has seen a huge range recently, from about $200 million to more than $130 billion. The exact number is found by multiplying the current number of coins in existence — nearly 48 billion — with its price at a given time. As XRP’s price fluctuates, which it does frequently, so too does its market capitalization. In the past few weeks, XRP’s price has ranged from 32 cents to $1.80, which translates into a significant range in market capitalization:
$0.32 x $48 billion = $ 15.4 billion
$1 x $48 billion = $48 billion
$1.80 x $48 billion = $86.4 billion
How to Buy XRP
You can’t buy XRP on popular centralized U.S. cryptocurrency exchanges, like Coinbase and Gemini, without jumping through hoops. With limitations on buying XRP at centralized exchanges, you may have to get creative.
In order to buy XRP with U.S. dollars, you might need to search for a decentralized cryptocurrency exchange (DEX) that allows you to swap other crypto for XRP, or that allows you to use U.S. dollars to make your purchase. In some cases, you can buy a U.S. dollar stablecoin — like Tether (USDT) or U.S. Dollar Coin (USDC) — and then trade your stablecoin for XRP. You may also be able to still find it on lesser-known exchanges such as Uphold, or you can make your purchase outside the U.S.
Do your research and proceed with caution before using a DEX or any other obscure exchange outside the U.S. Some experts warn that these exchanges are susceptible to scams, and can also involve more advanced trading techniques that might not be appropriate for beginner crypto investors. If you’re determined to buy XRP, our step-by-step guide can help you navigate the process.
Additionally, experts recommend holding less than 5% of your investment portfolio in crypto. Before investing in any risky alternative assets like XRP, prioritize building your emergency fund, paying off high-interest debt, and investing in a traditional retirement plan.
XRP Price History
XRP first launched in 2012 with a price of right around $0.0056, and its price didn’t breach $1 until late 2017.
“XRP has never had a very high price,” O says. “It did benefit from the excitement around cryptocurrencies toward the end of 2017 and into 2018.”
Part of the reason XRP peaked at just about $3.37 in January 2018 was because of the overall excitement around cryptocurrency at the time. Everyone was interested in cryptocurrency and the blockchain technology powering it. This was also around the time that saw bitcoin’s first big spike. In January, when XRP was peaking, bitcoin was right around $15,000. At the time, XRP had become the third most valuable cryptocurrency after bitcoin and ether.
However, XRP’s price rally didn’t hold for more than a few days and it fell back down to 30 cents by the end of 2018. Between 2019 and the start of 2021, XRP stayed below the $1 mark. It again gained ground with the rest of the crypto market around April 2021 and surpassed $1.50. Today, though, XRP is at around 30 cents as investors have largely retreated from risky assets due to broader macroeconomic uncertainty, like rising interest rates and inflation and a shaky stock market.
“Everything is down right now,” O says. “It’s impossible to say what will happen later with XRP, but for now everything is down and likely will remain down for some time.”
XRP vs. Bitcoin
Bitcoin and XRP are similar in that they both offer ways to send money, but XRP is faster and cheaper way to settle financial transactions than bitcoin, making it better for financial institutions who want to leverage its technology. Additionally, bitcoin is now seen as more of a store of value than an effective way to send payments.
“Bitcoin is likely to just continue to be seen as a store of value at this point,” Qureshi says. “It used to have value in its function to send payments to other people, but it’s unwieldy and slow now.”
From an investment perspective, experts say bitcoin is likely to remain the main store of value in the digital asset space, while XRP is likely to continue its enable cheap and fast transactions and may potentially expand its technology to bigger financial institutions.
However, Medhin says it’ll be an uphill battle for XRP before it’s considered at the same playing field as bitcoin in…