While Bitcoin may be the most popular form of cryptocurrency on the market, there are other digital currencies making a name for themselves. Ethereum and Litecoin are two cryptocurrencies which have rivaled Bitcoin for quite some time. However, Ripple is another digital currency which is starting to be a big player in the market. It’s value spiked in the last few weeks and is continuing on an upward trend. It is still worth considerably less than Bitcoin, but it is gaining newfound attention.

Ripple (Ripple XRP) was launched in 2012 to enable global financial transactions. Ripple’s goal is to connect the thousands of different banking ledger systems into one consolidated system and reduce the need for banking institutions to park massive amounts of capital in order to facilitate transactions. What sets Ripple apart from the other digital currencies its current use with well-known banking institutions. Some of the companies that use Ripple include Santander, Bank of America, and UBS. The technology for Ripple has also been adopted by countries like Japan and South Korea which has aided in the increase in its value. These companies believe that it offers better prices and is more secure than other digital currencies, including Bitcoin. The Ripple Network allows users to send, receive, and hold any currency in a decentralized way.

An interesting fact about Ripple is that it has been around for much longer than Bitcoin. While Ripple was officially launched in 2012, the idea for it was conceived in 2004. It was created to be the go-to cryptocurrency for banks and global money transfers. The creators of Ripple describe it as the “fastest and most scalable digital asset” for real-time payments anywhere in the world. Ripple XRP is both a transaction network and a crypto token all in one.

The real appeal of Ripple XRP comes in its liquidity. Digital assets can be used to fund liquidity and Ripple is in a position to capitalize on that for banks. While Bitcoin takes four hours to settle a transaction, Ripple XRP only takes 3.6 seconds, according to Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse. Bitcoin’s rise in popularity has also played a role in the increased interest in Ripple. Due to the increased general appeal of cryptocurrency, investors are constantly seeking other options that will bring forth profits. Last year, Ripple’s value increased by over 7,000% with its market cap increasing by 7,700%.

Currently, Ripple is worth $2.60 with a market cap of over $100 billion, according to CoinMarketCap. It was worth only twenty-five cents this past December. With Ripple starting to make a significant impact in the cryptocurrency market, 2018 is sure to be a big year. Bitcoin is certainly leading the way, but we are definitely seeing other forms of digital currency setting themselves up to be serious competition.