Ripple vs Bitcoin: Which Crypto Should You Buy in 2021

Last Updated July 23rd 2021
19 Min Read

XRP vs BTC: Which One Should Be In Your Portfolio?

Ripple and Bitcoin may already be in your investment portfolio. But which one has the better investment in 2021 and beyond?

Curious to know the difference between Ripple and Bitcoin? You have landed in the right place. In this article, Ripple vs Bitcoin: Which crypto should you buy in 2021, we are going to distinguish between these two popular Digital coins.

Big things are expected from the crypto market in 2021, as major public figures and financial firms continue to embrace digital currency, and with price increases predicted almost universally for the top ten tokens, there has never been a more attractive time to invest in cryptocurrency.

Ripple vs Bitcoin — A Comparison Between XRP and BTC

Anyone new to crypto investing might find themselves a little confused as to where to put their money - especially given the sheer number of tokens currently available. However, most investors need only concern themselves with the top-tier cryptos - and two mainstays in any investment portfolio are always likely to be Bitcoin and/or Ripple. 

But how do the two cryptocurrencies measure up against each other? Most people are aware of Bitcoin as the market leader, but does that make it the best cryptocurrency to invest in 2021? In the following article, we take a closer look at both XRP and BTC to see which one offers the most promising returns in the year ahead. 

So is Ripple a better investment than Bitcoin? Is it too late to invest in Bitcoin? Should you invest in Bitcoin and Ripple at the same time? 

And, perhaps most importantly, what is the difference between Bitcoin and Ripple? 

Find it out in our detailed Ripple vs Bitcoin comparison guide.

If you want to buy Bitcoin or Ripple quickly and easily check out eToro Exchange!

The Contenders: Ripple vs Bitcoin

First off, if you’re wondering which crypto to invest in 2021 then both Ripple and Bitcoin are certainly worth considering. However, each coin brings something very different to the table and any would-be investor needs to be aware of the key differences between the two in order to effectively manage their expectations. 

Bitcoin vs Ripple: What Are The Key Differences Between Them

Here are the most important ways the two assets differ:

Background

Bitcoin is without a doubt the most famous cryptocurrency in existence - and also by far the biggest in terms of market capitalisation. In fact, it was Bitcoin that put cryptocurrency and blockchain on the map when it launched back in 2009. The origins of BTC are somewhat mysterious, as no one really knows the true identity of the author of the original Bitcoin whitepaper: Satoshi Nakamoto. But this certainly hasn’t hampered the rise of the world’s biggest digital currency. 

After initial fanfare, things went quiet on Bitcoin for a few years until 2013, when the price of BTC suddenly surged and those who chose to invest in Bitcoin found themselves in a very enviable position - having seen returns of several hundred per cent. 

It’s ongoing popularity and position as the market leader means that most investors will look to buy Bitcoin in 2021 and it is often the first crypto new investors choose to put their money into - and with good reason. 

Read More: What Is Bitcoin? A Beginner's Guide

Ripple is a very different beast from Bitcoin. In fact, Ripple is actually the name of the parent company behind XRP, rather than the name of the token itself, though the two are often used interchangeably. There is also some controversy over whether XRP is actually truly decentralized or not. Whilst the founders of the protocol insist that it is, ultimately Ripple Labs Inc runs the show, which the crypto community claims is counterintuitive to true decentralization. 

Another key thing to be aware of is that XRP’s primary purpose differs from that of Bitcoin.  Ripple was developed with banks and larger institutions in mind. The idea was to present a system that would replace existing cross-border payment solutions, such as the current industry standard, SWIFT. Naturally, this means the XRP’s price potential is intrinsically linked to its adoption by major financial institutions. 

Anyone looking to buy Ripple in 2021 should also be aware of the SEC lawsuit that hit the firm at the end of 2020, wherein the US regulatory body ruled that XRP must be traded as an asset rather than a currency - a decision which hit XRP prices in a big way. However, this certainly doesn’t mean that it’s not a good idea to invest in Ripple - especially as prices are currently on the low side. 

Read Also: A Beginner’s Guide to Ripple and Tips for Investing in XRP

Transactions and Speed

An important distinction between cryptocurrencies is often linked to how their underlying blockchain deals with transactions. Whilst you don’t need to understand the finer technicalities per se, anyone looking to invest in Bitcoin should at least be aware of the fundamentals. 

Bitcoin uses something called the proof-of-work protocol, in which miners are used to verify transactions contained in blocks. The mining is performed by high-powered computers on Bitcoin’s network that solve complex equations. In doing so, they are rewarded with new BTC, as well as making the bitcoin payment network trustworthy and secure by verifying transaction information. Further info can be found in our explanation of crypto mining

It takes roughly ten minutes for a new block to be created and verified on the Bitcoin network. To put this in real terms, this equates to around 5 individual transactions per second, which may sound impressive, but this compares to Visa’s 1,700 per second. In fact, the transaction rate of Bitcoin has long been seen as its biggest weakness and several altcoins came into being specifically to address this issue.

Ripple validates transactions in a different way to the Bitcoin network. Instead of mining, Ripple uses a consensus ledger and series of approved network servers to validate transactions. This makes XRP transactions considerably quicker and less resource-intensive than those of Bitcoin. 

In real-world terms, XRP can effectively deliver 1,500 transactions per second. Transaction costs are also significantly lower on the Ripple network, which is somewhat essential if XRP is going to appeal to banks.

In addition to a more efficient transaction protocol, the Ripple blockchain can also handle a number of different assets, which is something Bitcoin cannot match. Effectively, it is the utility and potential of the system that makes it worthwhile to invest in Ripple. Whilst it may lack some key fundamentals of a traditional cryptocurrency, potential investors should bear in mind it has a markedly different objective than most.

Supply and Demand

Anyone who knows anything about trading and investment knows it’s all about supply and demand - and that’s true whether you want to invest in Bitcoin, gold or any other asset. If you are seriously planning to buy Bitcoin in 2021, you may already be wondering how BTC can have any real value, if coins can simply be generated on the network.

The answer is actually fairly simple. The supply of Bitcoin is capped at 21 million BTC. In addition to this, Bitcoin mining has an in-built deflationary supply mechanism, which is more commonly known as halving. Halving, as the name suggests, reduces the BTC reward that miners receive by half and thus limits the total supply released into the Bitcoin ecosystem. 

As a point of note when it comes to the demand side of things, online payments giant PayPal has recently added support for Bitcoin, opening up the world of cryptocurrency to its 330 million or so users. It is conceivable that if these users all chose to buy Bitcoin in 2021, there wouldn’t be enough BTC to go around. 

Just as with Bitcoin, anyone looking to invest in Ripple will want to know about the stock-flow model. Once again, things are very different between the two cryptocurrencies. A significant proportion of XRP is held in escrow by Ripple Labs. The company then releases up to 1 billion tokens (out of an estimated 100 billion total supply) every month to support business activities on the network.  Any unused tokens are then placed back into escrow. 

The monthly release of XRP is facilitated via a smart contract on the network, the protocol ensures that there will be no possibility of misuse due to an oversupply of XRP tokens in the network, and even under this system, it will take many years before all the coins are in circulation. However, the approach has garnered much criticism from the crypto community - especially as the firm behind XRP holds such a large proportion of the currency. 

Once again anyone looking to invest in Ripple must bear in mind the intention behind XRP. The primary use for the altcoin is to act as a base currency for the transfer of other assets, rather than a direct peer-to-peer payment system. As such, it has never fit with the usual stock-to-flow model and likely never will. 

XRP vs BTC: Which Is The Better Investment?

Looking at a few technical aspects of each cryptocurrency is always advisable and can often shed some light on which market forces are likely to have the biggest impact on a particular token, but they only tell us part of the story. Ultimately, there are plenty of innovative cryptocurrencies on the market which have failed to make any significant headway as investment vehicles. 

When weighing up whether to invest in Bitcoin or invest in Ripple, the best way to build an accurate prediction is by considering a variety of factors. Firstly, a look at previous price movements is essential when making a future analysis.  Of course, many leading platforms have already conducted their own technical analysis, which we will consider below.

It’s also worth listening to financial industry experts and prominent investors. When major players decide to invest in Bitcoin or buy Ripple in 2021, it is always a good indicator and in some cases, can be enough to drive prices up in itself. 

Ripple Vs Bitcoin - Key Differences

Bitcoin vs Ripple: Price History

The only concrete information we have with regards to analysing price movement is a token’s history - anything else is simply conjecture. Before making an investment, consideration should be given to each token’s previous price movement.

BTC

Bitcoin’s price history has been nothing short of miraculous. From its early days trading at a few cents, there was a steady stream of forward-thinking industry insiders looking to invest in Bitcoin. BTC reached parity with the US dollar in 2011 and since then its growth has been stratospheric. Between 2011 and 2013 Bitcoin’s price climbed as high as $1,242 - which inevitably led to a surge in mainstream traders looking to invest in Bitcoin. 

The price of BTC hit an all-time record of $19,783.06 in 2017, by which time cryptocurrencies were rarely out of the news. It was also around this time that larger institutions began to invest in Bitcoin and cryptocurrency started to appear in the portfolios of even the most conservative investors. 

It hasn’t all been plain sailing though - the price of Bitcoin has tumbled several times, including an 80% drop in 2018. As such, anyone looking to buy Bitcoin in 2021 should be aware that there is still a realistic chance that the value of BTC could drop. 

Read Also: Bitcoin Price Prediction

XRP

XRP has not had the same impressive price growth that BTC has experienced. After its initial launch in 2012, there was very little appetite to invest in Ripple until 2017, when it reached parity with the US dollar. Growth has generally been driven upon news that mainstream financial institutions have signed up to RippleNet, which inevitably led to more retail traders looking to invest in Ripple.  

Prices continued to soar until finally reaching an all-time high of $3.08 in January 2018. By this stage, many mainstream financial analysts were more inclined to invest in Ripple and things were looking good for the altcoin. However, prices have since dropped substantially and the SEC ruling in 2020 pushed XRP down to a low of around $0.25.

Read Also: Ripple Price Prediction

Bitcoin Vs Ripple: Future Predictions

So what can the previous price movements of a cryptocurrency tell us about the future? Whether you choose to invest in Bitcoin or invest in Ripple, technical analysis of previous price trajectories is one of the best tools we have for predicting future movements. 

BTC

Predictions for BTC in 2021 are generally positive. TradingBeasts has issued a highly believable trajectory, predicting that prices will climb steadily as more institutions invest in Bitcoin in the coming months. At the time of writing, BTC has surged to over $43,000 and TradingBeasts believe it will maintain growth throughout most of 2021, predicting an average of $67,000 before the year is out.

Elsewhere, The Economy Forecast Agency is more optimistic, having predicted significant growth for BTC throughout 2021. Effectively, they are forecasting a protracted bull run throughout the year, with BTC growing some 375% by December 2021. 

Finally, DigitalCoinPrice is also overwhelmingly bullish on Bitcoin. The platform’s technical analysis suggests that BTC will continue its growth throughout 2021, reaching a potential high of $96,768.26 in 2021.

Naturally, this consensus across major analysts suggests that it could be prudent to buy Bitcoin in 2021. However, investors should note the significant divergence between the predictions and manage their expectations accordingly. 

XRP

Predictions are slightly less unified when it comes to XRP. TradingBeasts has the altcoin on a fairly flat trajectory across 2021, climbing steadily but unremarkably from an average price of $0.53 in March up to approximately $0.55 in December 2021.

Elsewhere, WalletInvestor is more generous with its Ripple prediction for 2021. The platform sees XRP peaking twice in the year, hitting around $0.63 in June before dropping slightly, then rallying at the end of the year to $0.82 in December. 2021

Finally, predictions from DigitalCoinPrice lie somewhere in between. Its technical analysis shows that XRP will bounce between $0.60 and $0.70 throughout most of 2021 before a bull throughout November and December sees the altcoin end the year at $0.74.

XRP’s trajectory may not quite be as impressive as Bitcoin’s, but few people would expect otherwise. At this stage, anyone planning to buy Ripple in 2021 should be doing so as part of a wider crypto investment strategy. 

Bitcoin Vs Ripple: What the Experts Say

The final section of our XRP vs BTC comparison is a look at what experts are saying about each token. Often this is a great indicator of market sentiment and if a major investor suddenly decides to invest in Ripple or buy Bitcoin in 2021, then not only can you assume it's off the back of thorough market analysis, but interest from significant figures and institutions can sometimes be all it takes to trigger a bull market.  

There are few better examples of this than Tesla’s acquisition of $1.5bn of Bitcoin in February 2021. The news caused the price of Bitcoin to jump 17% to $45,220, a record high. In addition to this, the opinions of tech industry figures like Elon Musk carry so much gravitas that they alone can drive prices, as we also saw with his Dogecoin tweet, also in February. 

Of course, there are plenty of industry voices advising people to buy Bitcoin in 2021, with key figures like Mike Novogratz and Citibank’s Tom Fitzpatrick predicting huge growth for BTC in the coming months. There are also several other prominent industry experts signalling their intention to invest in Bitcoin, including Ric Edelman, founder of Edelman Financial Engines, who believes that 1% of any investment portfolio should be earmarked to invest in Bitcoin. 

All this bodes very well for BTC, but is anyone advising people to buy Ripple in 2021? Here, opinions are few and far between, not to mention far more divisive. However, there are some pretty big names backing XRP - not least many prominent financial institutions, such as JP Morgan, Banco Santander and the Bank of America. Backing from such banking heavyweights certainly suggests that it could yet prove sensible to invest in Ripple. 

However, XRP has had many detractors - especially since the SEC ruling in 2020. Hackernoon columnist Xenofon, for example, believes there is little chance of significant growth for XRP in 2021, whilst economist Frances Coppola, who writes for Forbes and the Financial Times believes that the party is over for XRP and those who initially chose to invest in Ripple are now looking to offload their holdings. 

Read Also:  Top 10 Cryptocurrencies to Invest in 2021

Ripple Vs Bitcoin: Conclusion

So is Ripple a better investment than Bitcoin? 

It has probably become fairly obvious by now that asking whether to invest in Bitcoin or buy Ripple in 2021 is somewhat counterintuitive. The two cryptocurrencies represent dramatically different investment opportunities and, as such, there is not much to be gained from a direct comparison. 

In fact, in the unpredictable world of cryptocurrencies and blockchain, Bitcoin and Ripple would actually complement each other well as part of a diversified portfolio. If you choose to buy Bitcoin in 2021, then it’s safe to say you can expect to see at least some growth. However, it should be noted that you will be able to acquire far more tokens with minimal outlay if you choose to invest in Ripple.

BTC is about as stable as cryptocurrency gets, so if you are only investing in one token, then this is probably your best bet. However, those who are prepared to take on more risk might still want to consider the option to buy Ripple in 2021, as it certainly has plenty of potential for growth and its price is still subdued from the SEC ruling. 

Whichever token you choose to go with, always remember that the crypto markets are notoriously volatile and nothing is guaranteed. Whilst positive comments from leaders like Elon Musk can boost a coin’s value overnight, it’s worth noting that the reverse is also true. 

In the end, the final decision comes down to you. What kind of investor do you want to be? Which technology excites you more? And which is currently the most undervalued? 

Figure out the answer to that question, you’ll definitely know if Ripple is a better investment than Bitcoin!

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XRP Vs BTC - FAQ

Is it a good idea to invest in Bitcoin?

The cryptocurrency market is notoriously hard to predict accurately, but it’s safe to say that big things are expected in the coming months and many prominent industry analysts are advising people to invest in Bitcoin in 2021. However, always remember that predictions are by no means guaranteed - you should never invest money you cannot afford to lose. 

Where can I buy Bitcoin in 2021?

If you want to buy Bitcoin in 2021 then you’ll need to find a reputable broker and open a trading account. We usually recommend eToro for novice investors, as it offers a full range of services as well as plenty of educational resources and guides on how to get started. 

Should I invest in Ripple?

There is much speculation over whether or not it's a good idea to buy Ripple in 2021 following the SEC ruling that hit XRP at the end of 2020. However, many experts believe the token still has a huge amount of potential and there has already been an uptick in those choosing to invest in Ripple in the opening months of 2021. Generally, you should only buy Ripple in 2021 if it is part of a diversified investment strategy. 

Which crypto should I invest in in 2021?

Choosing which crypto to invest in in 2021 should involve careful research. Whilst most analysts are advising investors to buy Bitcoin in 2021, anyone looking to branch out might also want to invest in Ripple, Dogecoin or Litecoin, for example. Our guide on where to invest in 2021 should help you build a shortlist of potential tokens. 

Bitcoin Vs. Other Cryptocurrencies

Ripple vs Bitcoin - Infographic

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