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How to Buy Ripple (XRP): Quick Guide
DISCLAIMER: None of the following is intended to be investment advice. This is only meant to be a description of what has worked well for me so far, and my own opinions. Also, full disclosure, my links to Coinbase and Binance, etc., include referrals. It actually benefits you to use them because we will both get an extra $10 worth of BTC for free if you deposit at least $100 to Coinbase. Thanks in advance if you follow the links when you make your accounts — and even if you don’t, I hope this guide helps you out!
This guide will teach you how to buy XRP from square one (i.e., all you have is fiat money, no cryptos). It will also work for most other cryptocurrencies, but as I’m interested in XRP right now, I am going to write a quick foreword about it and then we’ll get right into the meat of the guide.
A Little About XRP — Why Buy?
There is a massive subset of people who are new to the crypto-space entirely but have only heard of Bitcoin. Then they go online and they search around and figure out there are actually many, many cryptocurrencies out there with many different use cases. Ripple is interesting because it seems to be the coin-of-choice of many existing financial institutions— but we’ll get into that in a moment.
This review has been a long time coming. XRP has recently exploded in value and firmly claimed the #2 spot for cryptocurrencies as far as market capitalization goes, then slipped down to #3 in a forceful dip. At the time of this writing its market cap is around 75 billion dollars. So, for a lot of people reading this article, you might be well aware of Ripple. If you’re new to the cryptocurrency world and have no idea what I’m talking about, don’t worry — just be aware that Ripple is extremely “well-established” as far as altcoins go. This is a mixed blessing; it’s arguably a good thing because, at least in theory, it means that the currency will be more stable than most altcoins. It’s a bad thing in that you’re not really getting in on “the ground floor” with XRP in the same way that you are with other coins. On the other hand, “the ground floor” is all relative — who knows what the actual market capitalization of a top five market-cap cryptocurrency will be in a few years?
Now, let’s put the hype aside for a minute and ask the most important question: “What is Ripple?” Well, first of all, XRP is a cryptocurrency whose coins are not mined; the entire 100 billion supply of coins was created by Ripple (the company). Ripple’s detractors are fond of calling it a “pre-mined scam” on account of this —so if you find massive pre-mines distasteful, this is not the coin for you. Only 38 billion coins are in circulation right now, and this has some implications for the future price — especially if Ripple chooses to release these coins at a rapid rate. I don’t think that’s a big worry, though — there aren’t a lot of incentives for Ripple to tank the value of their own currency like that.
The basic idea with Ripple is that it is intended to be a “bridge currency.” Basically, banks are interested in Ripple as a way to facilitate large-scale transfers, including global cross-border payments. One is forced to wonder why we needed a brand new cryptocurrency for this, since this is exactly the sort of thing Bitcoin was created for in the first place. My impression is that many established companies, banks, etc. are hungry for a “single global payments network,” but they want it to be created by a trusted company. These partnerships are what seem to be making people most optimistic about Ripple. Western Union and at least five big banks are currently testing Ripple’s blockchain technology — and if that doesn’t get your attention, I don’t know what will. Welcome to the future, where mainstream companies are putting resources into becoming blockchain-ready.
I usually end my review of a coin with a price comparison, and here the only comparison that makes sense is Bitcoin itself, as Ripple’s most die-hard supporters seem convinced that it’s only a matter of time until it replaces BTC entirely. At the time of this writing, Bitcoin’s market capitalization sits at about two hundred and fifty billion. If Ripple had Bitcoin’s market capitalization, it would be worth over $6 per XRP — about three times the current price. It’s important to note here that XRP’s enormous supply means that you need a large leap forward in market cap if you want to significantly alter the price of an individual coin. Still, it’s important to know that Bitcoin’s current market capitalization is not the “ceiling.” If XRP succeeds in gaining and retaining dominance, there’s no telling where it could go. With that said, let’s learn to buy some!
Buying XRP: Basic Strategy
To date I’ve had no problems with the following basic strategy:
- Create and sign into a Coinbase account. I recommend Coinbase because they are the most straightforward exchange.
- Purchase some ETH. At the time of this writing, this currency transfers the fastest and cheapest out of anything Coinbase offers. Litecoin competes here, but will cause hiccups later in the process — more on that later.
- Create and sign in to a Binance account. I recommend Binance because they have been reliable and convenient for me and they offer many different lesser-known cryptocurrencies with trading pairs on both ETH and BTC. An added bonus is that you can withdraw up to 2 BTC/day worth of funds with no verification at all. Alternate exchange options: HitBTC also trades XRP— I have written a guide to using HitBTC which you will find useful.
- Move your ETH to Binance. Once it has confirmed, you can now easily use the ETH/XRP trading pair to buy as much or as little Ripple as you want. More on trading pairs later.
- Send your coins from Binance to a safe XRP wallet for long term storage if you intend to hold for awhile. This is not strictly necessary but it is considered a safer option than keeping ANY coin on ANY exchange long term. There are a multitude of wallets for Ripple, including one called toastwallet which seems to enjoy some popularity. At the time of this writing it’s also possible to store XRP in a Ledger Nano S hardware wallet, but not a Trezor. Hardware wallets are arguably the most secure option here.
Now, if you’re a power user or someone with some existing familiarity with cryptocurrency, you can probably stop here. The rest of this guide is just going to be a more in-depth description of the preceding steps. If you’re completely new to cryptocurrencies, you might be a little lost — that’s fine! You won’t be by the time you finish this guide. I’ll go step by step:
Starting Out On Coinbase
This is arguably the most trusted exchange currently on the market. You can think of them as the PayPal of the cryptocurrency world, with all the good and bad connotations that come along with that. There are some countries where this is not the case! For example, in Canada, one would probably want to use QuadrigaCX instead. Unfortunately, that’s outside the scope of this guide, but I do have a country-by-country guide which may help you if Coinbase doesn’t work in your area.
All you have to do here is go to Coinbase’s website and create an account. Security is incredibly important here — remember, in cryptocurrencies you are your own bank and so it is absolutely crucial that you follow good security practices. This means your password should be strong — and it should be a password you aren’t using anywhere else (including other exchanges). Google has a pretty good guide with some tips on choosing strong passwords. Keeping security in mind, it would also behoove you to turn on two-factor authentication once your account is created.
Once you are up and running there are a number of options when it comes to actually paying for coins via Coinbase. It is possible to link your bank account to Coinbase but actually transferring coins out of Coinbase will be impossible for a few days while the funds are clearing. This is obviously not ideal if you want to move quickly, as you would now have to wait several days to move your coins to an exchange where you can trade them for XRP (or any other coin).
Instead, I would recommend you link a credit or debit card to Coinbase. This will allow you to purchase some amount of coins immediately, and then immediately send them off wherever you want — your wallet, another exchange, etc. At the time of this writing Coinbase offers three coins: Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Litecoin (LTC).
What to Buy First?
In my opinion if you intend to buy lesser-known coins like XRP, ETH is the best choice to buy here. Why? Well, with regards to LTC, the reason is clear: other exchanges like Binance offer direct trading pairs for BTC and ETH, but not LTC or any other currency. What this means is that you could directly exchange your ETH for XRP, or your BTC for XRP, but you’d have to perform another step if you wanted to trade your LTC for XRP (and that means more fees!). Obviously we don’t want to waste even one cent if we can avoid it, so LTC is out.
With regards to BTC, at the time of this writing there have been a lot of rumblings about high transaction fees, slow transaction times, etc. Exchanges often overpay these fees as well, and that means that you are again risking missing out on more money than you need to.
ETH is therefore currently the best choice for our purposes by default — fastest transaction speed, lowest transaction cost. So, to review: create a Coinbase account, link your credit or debit card, and purchase ETH.
I Bought ETH: What Now?
Now is the time for you to make your Binance account. Follow the link and create an account using a strong password (this should be different than the one you used for Coinbase!). There are other places where you may be able to buy XRP (Changelly, Kraken, EtherDelta, HitBTC, KuCoin, etc.). I cannot directly recommend most of these exchanges as I don’t have much experience with them at this point — however, I can say that I have used HitBTC and KuCoin and they have worked well for me. This guide focuses on Binance because my experience there has been 100% positive — I have transferred coins in and out of their system many times with no problems.
After your Binance account is made, click “Funds” at the top right, then “Deposits Withdrawals” beneath it. Find Ethereum in the list and click the “Deposit” button on the far right. You should end up with something that looks like this:
Unlike the picture, there will be an “ETH Deposit Address” listed in the box at the bottom left. This is a very long series of letters and numbers, and is the fundamental basis of most if not all cryptocurrencies. An “address” is simply the destination for funds — think of it like the account and routing numbers at the bottom of your checks. For many cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin it is possible to have multiple “receiving addresses” which point towards the same wallet.
The address listed here is Binance’s “receiving address” for your Ethereum. To the right of it is a “copy address” button — use it to put the address into your copy/paste buffer. Then, in your Coinbase account, navigate to the Accounts tab and then to your ETH Wallet. Paste in your address. You should double check that the pasted address is the same one you saw on the deposits page in Binance — you can never be too sure when it comes to security! Once you’re sure you’re sending to the right place, input the amount of ETH you’d like to send (if you just want to buy some XRP, you should send all of it) and click “Send.”
Optional Trick: Using GDAX To Save Money On Fees
GDAX, or “The Global Digital Asset Exchange,” is the actual exchange which backs Coinbase. You can use it to save a lot of money on fees if you’re willing to spend a few extra minutes getting verified. Follow this link and click “DEPOSIT.” Click “Coinbase Account” at the top and deposit all your ETH from Coinbase into GDAX.
Once you’ve done this, you can click “WITHDRAW” in GDAX and send your funds from GDAX to Binance. Fees are significantly reduced with this method!
I Sent ETH to Binance — Now What?
Once you click Send, you will need to wait a little while. Without getting too technical about it, exchanges want to be as secure as possible. Thus, when you make a deposit, they wait for multiple “confirmations” from the network before allowing you access to your funds. You can view the progress in your Binance account by clicking Funds and then History. Do not be alarmed if nothing shows up at first! There are many reasons there might be a slight delay. In general you should see the transaction show up within a few minutes, with the current number of “confirmations” next to the number of required “confirmations” next to it. Be patient — your XRP is nearly in hand!
Once you have the required number of confirmations, it’s time to trade your ETH to XRP. This is blessedly simple. In the front page of Binance, click “ETH Markets.” Search for “XRP/ETH” in this list, and click it. Now you are on the trading page. In the bottom left under “Buy XRP”, click “100%” below the “Amount” field.
This indicates to Binance that you’d like to trade all of your ETH for a commensurate amount of XRP for no more than the price listed above. The price field is automatically listed based on the current market. If you like, you can change it to a different price, but like any market it’s not guaranteed that someone will buy at the price you’d like. Your order will remain open until it’s been fully filled or you cancel it. There are several options here such as Stop-Limit orders, etc., but this is outside the scope of this guide. In this case, you are simply placing a “Limit” order for some XRP. Note: if you’ve come this far, you’re probably going to want to buy at least 20 XRP. I’ll explain why later.
I Placed My Order! Am I Done?
If you want to be done now, you can be — but there are more steps if you want to be security-conscious. You may want to check under the “Orders” and “Order History” tabs that the order went through — if you placed a Limit order at the default price, it probably did. Once you have your XRP in your Binance account, you can see them under “Funds” → “Deposits Withdrawals.” You can click “Hide 0 Balances” at the top to clean up the screen of coins you don’t own, and you can see an estimate of the overall converted BTC and USD value of your account at the top right.
For maximum security, I wouldn’t leave your coins in the exchange. I like and trust Binance, but ANY site can be hacked or experience downtime — even massively established trusted sites like PayPal. You want to have full control of your coins.
How Do I Move My Coins to a Private Wallet?
In Binance, go into the “Deposits & Withdrawals” tab, then click “Withdrawal” to the far right of the “XRP” row. By now it should be clear what you’re looking at — fields that let you input the address to send the coins to, and how many coins to send. For me, I sent all my coins into my toastwallet. For your convenience, there is a “Max” button to the right of the Amount field. Note that once you click “Submit,” you will need to use your two-factor authentication via Google Authenticator. I usually recommend buying an inexpensive spare Android phone for this purpose. As a bonus, you can use it to securely hold other coins with Coinomi.
Wait, Where Am I Sending It?
Head over to the toastwallet website and download the appropriate version of the wallet for your platform. I’d like to note here that the wallet supports mobile devices as well as Windows, MacOS, and Linux — this diversity of platform support is always a good sign in a wallet.
When you first load it up, you’ll be presented with a license agreement and a warning about the “20 XRP reserve requirement.” This is something that Ripple shares with Stellar, which I’ve previously written about. From this screen, scroll down to the bottom and click the green “Create a New Wallet” button. You’ll then input a numerical six digit PIN — write this down and keep it in a safe place. Likewise, on the next screen, you’ll input a passphrase — use another strong, unique password and write this down or memorize it. Finally, you’re going to be shown a six-word recovery phrase — write this down too, but be advised that unlike some other cryptocurrencies, this phrase does not function as a wallet backup by itself. You’ll need to manually back up your wallet through the settings menu if you want a backup!
Once you’ve done all this, your wallet is pretty much set up and you should be looking at a screen like the above. All you have to do now is click “Add Account,” then “Generate New Address.” Input an account nickname if you like, then your passphrase in the required field. Once you click “Import this Address,” you should see a popup that says “Ripple address added successfully.” Click the home button and then click your new address, which will have “(not activated)” on the rightmost side.
Once you click your address, you’ll see the actual address (the series of letters and numbers that we talked about earlier). This is your public address which you will give to Binance when you want to withdraw your Ripple. Now you know how to use toastwallet! I’m going to be frank: this wallet seems hilariously convoluted compared to wallets I’ve used in other cryptocurrencies. A PIN, a passphrase, and a six-word backup phrase which doesn’t even function as a proper backup by itself? Strange.
There are of course other wallet options for XRP (such as the Ledger hardware wallet), but that’s outside the scope of this guide. Be advised that the information here only scratches the surface on XRP and cryptocurrencies in general. I recommend you read as much as possible. Cryptocurrencies are the future, and if you’re reading this guide you are already lightyears ahead of the curve.
Come back soon because more content like this is always coming! If my work helped you or gave you something to think about, share it with others:
Sharing helps more people find my articles, and I’d love to be able to assist as many people as possible with cryptocurrencies. Also, if you have any ideas for future articles or specific questions, I’d love to hear them. One last thing: if you’d like to chat with me in real time, check out my Discord!
Best of luck, and happy trading!
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