Within the last week, the biggest names in cryptocurrency have fluctuated enough to cause several market scares. However, through nearly all of the gains and losses in value, one cryptocurrency has remained surprisingly constant -- Ripple. While its value of $2.39 (at the time of this writing) doesn't have nearly the same impressive weight as bitcoin's $15,000+ range, Ripple (XRP) climbed 55.9 percent in recent days.
According to CoinMarketCap, this rise puts ripple as the second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Ripple had a cap of $86.3 billion, which surpassed Ethereum's $73 billion.
With a market capitalization of $247 billion, bitcoin still remains the largest cryptocurrency by a significant margin. According to CoinMarketCap, bitcoin makes up 41 percent of the total cryptocurrency market cap. Ripple, however, pulls a respectable 12.5 percent.
December has proven to be an excellent month for Ripple's XRP. Earlier in the month, it surged more than 90 percent in less than a day. That growth took its value to $0.87 after investors heard the news that Ripple finished its cryptographic lockup of XRP tokens.
Ripple also made gains during the confusion of several South Korean announcements, rising to $1.24 while other cryptocurrencies took larger hits. XRP's value nearly hit $1.50 after Tokyo-based SBI Ripple Asia announced they were figuring out a way to use ledger technology for a payment system involving cards.
What is Ripple?
The San Francisco-based start-up has made headlines within the last week for its sheer constancy. But what is it, what makes it different, and where is it headed?
"It's the fastest and most scalable digital asset, enabling real-time global payments anywhere in the world," according to Ripple's website. "Built for enterprise use, XRP offers banks and payment providers a reliable, on-demand option to source liquidity for cross-border payments."
The website also notes that payments are settled in a matter of seconds. Ethereum, by comparison, comes in at two minutes or longer, and bitcoin payments are settled in the matter of an hour or more.
The company claims it has more than 100 banks and other financial institutions around the world using its systems, with most of those financial bodies being located in South Korea and Japan.
Investors of XRP have eyed Ripple as a more stable alternative to the mania surrounding bitcoin. In a LinkedIn post, one Ripple investor named Archimedes Sapitula noted that "fear, uncertainty and doubt" cause investors to either get bored in XRP or avoid the risk of potential loss.
"Honestly, the problem with these panic sells is everyone is looking at the 24 hour/one week chart when they should be looking at it from a longer perspective of at least 3 months. XRP is following the SAME trend as any great coin does, it pumps and then stabilizes out at about the halfway point between the all time high and the price before the pump. Everyone wants their coin to be +287937360% every day otherwise they have no faith in it. Don't be a panic seller, otherwise you'll be a panic buyer. Number one way a beginner loses money."