If a week is a long time in politics, it’s even more so for the cryptocurrency markets.
Like a ruthless board game, your luck can change in a matter of minutes, if not seconds.
Bitcoin investors found that out in the past few weeks. They saw their investment reach above $19,000 per unit before falling below $13,000.
It looks like the magic spell that ensured bitcoin’s value could only go up is breaking. And so investors are now taking a closer look at rival currencies.
Ethereum has been benefitting from bitcoin’s woes, going from $450 to almost $1,200. But the ‘hottest’ cryptocurrency at the moment must be ripple.
In a matter of weeks, ripple went from $0.25 to $3.83. It’s now dropped back a bit, to $2.62, but ripple bulls are encouraged by recent events.
If bitcoin is the king of cryptocurrencies, ripple has got to be the crown prince.
A lot of cryptocurrency investors are convinced ripple will become bigger than bitcoin. The question is ‘when’ not ‘if’.
With all this ripple buzz going on it may be worth asking: is ripple the new bitcoin? Could it become even bigger?
On a Friday in December I took the night tube home from central London.
I had attended the office Christmas party and since I’m not really an Uber user and the night bus takes forever, I much preferred the night tube.
The night tube is always lively and I kind of enjoy listening to other people’s drunken conversations.
The group of people next to me were discussing their bitcoin investments.
How much they’d made already, how high it would still get, and how they intended to spend their winnings.
They weren’t City boys either. Just people my age who had taken a chance, which (if they weren’t boasting) had paid off.
I guess we can really start calling something mainstream once it finds its way into night tube conversations!
All through the rest of December I couldn’t escape the topic. Friends and family members surprised me when they told me they had invested in cryptocurrencies as well.
Over the Christmas holidays people were eager to discuss it with me. In my group of friends ripple won the title of most favoured crypto.
I noticed ripple was being written about a lot and I started wondering if this new crypto hype was based on something (good).
Ripple has stood out in the cryptocurrency markets because it’s looked much better organised and funded compared to many of its peers.
Banks started to become interested. It created high hopes as ripple seemed destined to become the cryptocurrency to bridge the gap between old world and new world money.
But things moved slowly for ripple. Many early investors had expected much more, much faster to happen with the crypto from San Francisco.
“I expected ripple to be worth $1 plus within weeks of first buying it,” says our in-house crypto expert John Duncan.
“I never imagined that it would take four years for it to achieve that.”
Four years may not be particularly long in the investment world, but it is when it comes to cryptocurrencies.
Ripple threatened to become the Theo Walcott of the crypto markets. Eternally promising but never quite living up to expectations.
That may be changing now.
Fulfilling its promise
Perhaps ripple has proved to be a slow burner because the spotlight has almost exclusively been on bitcoin.
I’m not convinced bitcoin is the best cryptocurrency out there, but it was the one people talked about last year.
The investment case for potentially better crypto coins may well have been snowed under because of the focus on bitcoin.
That same media attention may now be the reason ripple has been doing so well in the past couple of weeks.
As soon as bitcoin was knocked off its pedestal, the media started looking for the next top cryptocurrency coin. Their search led them to ripple.
“For the last two to three weeks, ripple has started to fulfil its early promise at long last.”
Though John Duncan is quite bullish about ripple, he seems to be in two minds.
That’s because investors face a dilemma. They’d now have to buy ripple at around its highest ever price. And remember it took this cryptocurrency four years to breach the $1 mark.
At the same time waiting for its price to come down first is risky too. John reckons it’s quite possible ripple won’t drop back down to $1 or less.
So if you managed to snap up some ripple at 20 cents or less, then John urges you to hold on to it.
“I think it could be a very valuable altcoin of the future.”
John believes ripple is a perfect example of why it’s worth investing a bit of money in cryptocurrencies.
People who bought ripple in the summer of 2015 have seen it go up 14,000% since then. It’s hard to think of a different asset class that offers people similar returns.
“I guess you could say that here is the strange and beautiful thing about crypto.
“Providing you are on one that makes sense, has a story, has a solid project and a team willing to make it happen and continue to work on it then you can, literally, become a millionaire from one crypto held at the right time for the right amount of time.”