Ripple is one of the most controversial cryptocurrencies on the market.

For new investors, it might seem like a great buy. After all, it is a top 10 coin by market cap since 2013. However, the future of Ripple cryptocurrency might be in jeopardy as of late.

While Ripple failed to make any significant headlines during 2020, the last few months have been a bit of an emotional rollercoaster for XRP supporters. Facing increasing amounts of controversy, the XRP failed to follow the rest of the cryptocurrency market into the current bull run.

In this article, we give you a “heads up” on the latest events and what this means for the future of XRP. To this end, we analyze the fundamentals of XRP, and investigate recent events which might affect the Ripple cryptocurrency future.

To wrap things up, we share our objective opinion on the future of Ripple,  following some fundamental, sentiment, and technical analysis.

Short introduction to XRP

A short introduction to the XRP token will help you understand the ramifications of recent happenings into the future of Ripple cryptocurrency.

Launched in 2012 as OpenCoin, Ripple is the company behind the Ripplenet payment network. The company created this technology with the goal to provide a cheaper and faster alternative for money transfers for financial institutions.

The XRP token has two main uses: 

  • to be used as payment for services provided by the network. 
  • be exchanged for its value as a “wildcard” currency.  

While Satoshi created Bitcoin as an alternative to our financial system, Ripple aims to bridge the traditional banking system with blockchain technology. The following video explains it best:

The unique properties of Ripple

The controversial nature of Ripple is a result of the polarity that XRP has created within the crypto community over the years. While some claim that the project’s features give it a unique edge, others see a constructed breakdown of decentralization:

  • Absence of blockchain – unlike most cryptocurrencies, Ripple doesn’t rely on a blockchain to verify its transactions. Instead, a unique node list (UNL) of trusted servers uses a patented Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm (RPCA) to validate changes in the ledger.
  • The supply of XRP tokens – All XRP tokens were pre-mined, with 100 billion tokens minted in advance of the network launch. The Ripple company periodically releases tokens into circulation from an escrow, and sells them on the crypto markets.
  • Private company – the Ripple cryptocurrency is a commercial enterprise that has total control of the network and the release of the tokens. The company decides on the trusted nodes on the network and Ripple owns 20% of the nodes.

Controversies behind the Ripple cryptocurrency

The aforementioned properties have had both their supporters and detractors. The following chapter will underline the repercussions that these have had on the future of Ripple cryptocurrency.

Centralization

The Ripple company has sacrificed the decentralization of its network to increase transaction speed. The highly centralized network of 35 trusted nodes can reach consensus between 3 to 5 seconds. This allows for extremely fast transactions on and improved scaling of the network to ensure the long-term growth of Ripple.

However, this also means that the network is entirely at the mercy of the company behind it. In addition to directly owning 20% of the nodes, Ripple decides who can enter this tight circle of validators. They can easily censor or limit access to the network to its users.

This has been met by heavy criticism by the crypto community. Many don’t even consider Ripple to be a “real cryptocurrency” because of this blatant infringement on cryptocurrencies’ core property.

With that being said, not all of the actors in the financial ecosystem consider this centralization to be a negative point. On the contrary, it has made Ripple very popular with financial institutions and Bitcoin skeptics, who still prefer working in a tight-controlled financial environment.

Initial distribution and Jed McCaleb’s “dumps”

We mentioned previously that the entire supply of XRP tokens was premined, held in escrow, and intermittently sold to the public to fund Ripple’s activities.

However, there’s one glaring issue with the initial distribution of the XRP tokens. No one really knows exactly how the company distributed the tokens within the founding team.

For instance, Jed McCaleb, as one of the co-founders of XRP is said to have been compensated with more than 9 billion XRP for his work. After leaving Ripple, he has been continuously selling large quantities of XRP tokens on the market.

 In 2020 he sold over $400 million worth of XRP and $69 million in January 2021 alone.

Additionally, according to Investopedia, other Ripple executives are also in possession of large amounts of XRP, equating to billions of dollars in holdings.

This high concentration of XRP tokens between a small number of individuals makes it difficult to predict the supply of tokens on the market. If any of these investors decide to unload a massive quantity of XRP onto the market, it could impact the price negatively in the short term.

With that said, McCaleb’s continuous sell-offs haven’t phased XRP’s price in a significant manner until now. This shows us that there’s still a high demand for XRP tokens on the markets from both institutional and retail investors.

The SEC vs Ripple Lawsuits

Because of its centralized nature, Ripple has come across some legal issues as well.

Last December, the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Ripple Labs and two of its co-founders.

Why did the SEC file a complaint against Ripple?

As we mentioned previously, the company has sold XRP tokens at regular intervals to fund its activities. To the height of $1.3 billion dollars, to be exact.

The SEC claims this to be a breach of regulations, as Ripple offered the XRP tokens as an investment opportunity to the public. As such, the XRP token should be considered a security. Meaning, it must be registered with the relevant government body before being released to investors.

As a result, every exchange that sells XRP was suddenly at risk of breaching US law.

The consequences of the complaint

It didn’t take long for cryptocurrency exchanges to react to the SEC announcement. Within a week, three major actors, Crypto.com, Coinbase, and OKCoin, chose to delist the XRP token from their offerings.

These delistings resulted in a sharp price decline, with XRP registering more than 70% losses within a couple of weeks. An unfortunate timing, as this happened when Ripple was finally gaining some upwards momentum in the markets.

Ripple’s response

The company stands firmly behind its opinion that the SEC mischaracterizes XRP as a security. To support this, they underline the multiple usages of XRP on Ripplenet.

Furthermore, the company claims that the SEC did not provide sufficient notice that XRP sales were in violation of the law.

The latest development in this saga came on March the 3rd. Larsen and Garlinghouse filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit, claiming “regulatory overreach, plain and simple”.

Future of Ripple cryptocurrency

Even with a looming lawsuit with the SEC, the XRP price has been recovering in the past few months. There is a number of reasons why many investors consider the future of Ripple cryptocurrency to be bright, despite recent circumstances.

XRP “Army” – community strength

If there’s one thing that can ensure the success of a cryptocurrency, it’s the community that supports it. In a market mostly driven by retail investors, the people that adhere to the idea are paramount to its success.

Known more commonly as the XRP army, this million-strong community comprised of early adopters has been successfully promoting the payment platform on every social media imaginable.

Furthermore, they have also mobilized on multiple occurrences to defend it from fake news and to rebuke naysayers. Distinguished by their sheer volume and impeccable organization, the XRP army has been successful at thwarting FUD over the years.

Just recently, the community coordinated a buy-and-hold effort in an attempt to reverse the negative trend set by the SEC lawsuit. And while some warned against this action, hinting at a pump-and-dump scheme, the price was pushed upwards by 200% at the peak of the pump.

A serious -50% correction followed, but the operation can be still considered a success, by reversing the trend and putting XRP in bullish momentum.

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All-in-all, we can conclude that the XRP community is a determining factor of the future of Ripple cryptocurrency.

Great partnerships and applications

It’s an undeniable fact that Ripple’s product is greatly appreciated by financial institutions.

Throughout the years, Ripple has gathered an increasing number of institutional partnerships, with some outstanding names such as Santander, American Express, and Moneygram.

Furthermore, SWIFT, the current standard used for international transfers between banks is extremely costly, slow, and prone to errors. If Ripplenet were to replace SWIFT, this could bode extremely well for the future of Ripple cryptocurrency.

Additionally, two major updates and developments are in the works that could empower XRP in the markets:

  • The Flare Network – an independent bridging network that allows the connection between different blockchains such as Ethereum and the Ripple ledger. This technology would allow XRP to be used in smart contracts. Worth noting is that the November price hike was mainly fueled by the anticipated airdrop of the Spark token for XRP holders.
  • Ripple has been actively working on building a private ledger for building central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). With recent surveys showing 80% of central banks looking into CBDCs, it is clear that the future of Ripple is going in the right direction.

A possible positive outcome from the SEC lawsuit

While the SEC lawsuit can be considered as a serious setback, there could be a positive outcome from the whole ordeal.

Depending on the depth of their case, the SEC could settle for a fine or a “slap on the wrist” like it recently did with Tether.  Conversely, in case the lawsuit is dropped or goes in Ripple’s favor, it would set a precedent and discard XRP as a security once and for all.

Either way, the negative sentiment surrounding these regulation woes will finally get scrapped. This could allow XRP prices to enter another bullish cycle and reach above the $1 mark quickly thereafter.

Future of XRP based on Technical Analysis

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While still lagging behind the rest of the market, the coin was showing some excellent technicals until the SEC lawsuit announcement.

Unfortunately, the positive momentum was stopped short. However, XRP has already recovered mostly all of its lost value following the event. If it manages to mimic the rest of the market’s performance, we could see it making some extraordinary gains. Following this pattern, XRP could reach as far as its all-time-high of $3 by the end of the summer of 2021.

Summary

Ripple has been through some tough times during this bull run. While the other top 10 cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in value in the past few months, XRP has dropped down 4 spots regarding its market cap position. 

In this article we talked about some of the unique properties of Ripple and the controversies they raise, mainly:

  • Its centralization, compared to other cryptocurrencies.  
  • Its non-transparent token distribution. 
  • Regulation issues and an upcoming lawsuit filed by the SEC. 

But despite these issues, we also underlined some core strengths that can have a positive impact on the future of Ripple cryptocurrency, such as:

  • The strength of its community. 
  • Real-world use cases and partnerships. 
  • Strong price action technicals 

All in all, Ripple might not be as exciting to invest in as in some of the newer cryptocurrency projects. However, it has become clear that the cryptocurrency ecosystem will not replace our current financial environment, but instead, coexist with it.

As such, Ripple remains a powerhouse in the cryptocurrency market. Especially considering the continuous support from financial institutions and its involvement with upcoming CBDCs.