What is the difference between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple?

By March 22, 2021March 29th, 20226 minute read
What is the Difference Between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple - WazirX

Even if you are new to the crypto space, you’d have heard of the cryptocurrencies Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), and Ripple (XRP). In terms of popularity, they are indeed among the top five digital assets across the globe. As for market capitalization,  Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple are again among the top ten cryptocurrencies worldwide, as of the beginning of March 2021. And since all three of these cryptocurrencies boast immense popularity among crypto traders, it’s only natural to wonder what the distinctions between these three are, so you can decide which one you want to invest in.

There are some evident dissimilarities between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple, be it concerning the blockchain technology and consensus algorithms used by the protocols, the distinction between the price of Ripple, that of Ethereum’s, and Bitcoin value, the workings of the coins, or any other functional differences. Before we get into these differences, let’s first briefly look at each of these cryptocurrencies and their various features. 

Bitcoin: How Does It Work?

The majority of the global crypto community consider Bitcoin to be the OG cryptocurrency, launched back in 2009 by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto. The main objective behind this cryptocurrency’s introduction was to give users full power over their own money instead of traditional fiat financial systems, where there’s a centralized authority figure/institution controlling everything. Therefore the Bitcoin protocol is a decentralized platform, and the technology working behind it is, of course, the blockchain tech.  

The Bitcoin blockchain is a transparent, peer-to-peer (P2P) network, and as mentioned before,  no centralized figure controls the generation or circulation of bitcoins. A distributed network of computers (known as nodes) each maintains a record of all transactions on the Bitcoin blockchain. This way, the network’s security is ensured despite the complete transparency; since every user on the network gets a copy of the ledger, it’s almost impossible for hackers to access the network and alter any data stored in the blocks.

Get WazirX News First

The Bitcoin protocol makes use of the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus algorithm and uses the ‘mining’ system to generate new bitcoins. A group of users known as miners has to use special hardware to verify transactions made on the Bitcoin blockchain and add new blocks to the chain. In return, they get newly minted bitcoins as block mining rewards. The total supply of bitcoins is capped at 21 million, as in there will only ever be 21 million bitcoins in circulation.

According to market cap, Bitcoin is the topmost cryptocurrency in the global crypto markets, with a market cap of over $952 billion

Ethereum: How Does It Work?

Since Bitcoin’s success in 2009, many altcoins have been released to achieve the same popularity as Bitcoin. Out of all these projects, arguably, Ethereum has remained the most successful one so far.

Vitalik Buterin, the mastermind behind the Ethereum platform, was only seventeen years old when he conceptualized a robust blockchain platform for developers to create ‘decentralized applications’ effortlessly. Subsequently, the Ethereum protocol was launched in 2015. 

Ethereum is defined by two primary features: smart contracts and dApps – or decentralized applications. Smart contracts are programs stored on a blockchain that self-execute when all predetermined conditions are met. And dApps are blockchain-enabled programs that run on a peer-to-peer (P2P) network of multiple computers. dApps can be anything ranging from websites to programs or software running on Ethereum. Decentralized applications operate through smart contracts.

Along with facilitating dApps, the developers behind Ethereum also aimed to combat one of the main issues the internet faces: user data vulnerability to any hacking attempts. Smart contracts are Ethereum’s way of combating security issues. Smart contracts also eliminate the need for an intermediary in a transaction, which helps reduce transaction fees for users. 

Ethereum occupies the second spot among all cryptocurrencies in the market, right next to Bitcoin as per market cap. Ethereum’s market capitalization is a little over $200 billion at the moment. 

Ripple: How Does It Work?

San Francisco-based Ripple Labs first introduced Ripple in 2012. Ripple is a blockchain-based digital payment mechanism that facilitates transactions – even cross-border ones – at a much lower cost and a greater speed than most other payment protocols. Ripple was rebranded to RippleNet in 2019.

The developers behind RippleNet envisioned the XRP coins as a link between fiat currencies during cross-border connections instead of aiming for it to become an alternative to fiat currency, like Bitcoin. The consensus algorithm RippleNet uses allows a poll to be conducted for the network nodes to decide by consensus the validity of the transactions happening on the blockchain. This mechanism also curbs the chances of double-spending (cloning a crypto coin and using those copies in transactions). 

Ripple started out by announcing a total of 100 billion XRPs, all of which were released at the time of its launch. However, most of the XRP coins are held by RippleNet and its partners, and RippleNet also holds the right to print out more XRP if they see it fit. This particular fact leads many within the crypto community to question Ripple’s claims of being a decentralized protocol. 

Ripple’s market capitalization is around $21.5 billion right now, which places it among the top ten cryptocurrencies in market cap. 

So, What Are the Differences Between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple?

Now that we have gone through the basic features of all three cryptocurrencies, here are the most basic differences between the three:

Algorithm Proof-of-Work (PoW)SHA-256Proof-of-Work (PoW)Ethash (although ETH 2.0 will use a Proof-of-Stake or PoS algorithm)Ripple Protocol consensus algorithm
Coin Generation MethodMiningMining Launched all at once during Ripple’s launch
Mining HardwareASICs (application-specific integrated circuit)GPUs (Graphical Processing Unit)Not required
Average Time a Transactions Needs10 minutes10 to 19 seconds4 seconds
Maximum Supply of Coins21 billion18 million per year100 billion (but more might be created)
Market Capitalization$952 billionAlmost $200.2 billionAround $21.5 billion
PriceBitcoin India rate today is around INR 38 lakhs/ coin1 ETH = nearly INR 1.3 lakhThe price of Ripple is around INR 35
Objective behind ProtocolTo replace fiat currency in general marketplaces and give users full control of their money.To make it easier for developers to create decentralized applications and to get rid of the security issues that come with using the internet. To facilitate fast and cost-effective cross-border transactions. 
(all data as of the beginning of March 2021)

Despite Bitcoin being the most popular crypto across the globe, the quite high transaction charges and the slow transaction speeds are yet barriers in its way to going mainstream. Ethereum, despite providing better transaction speeds and lower trading charges than Bitcoin, is not as widely accepted as BTC by businesses and vendors. Plus, Ethereum is also not looking to become an alternative to fiat money, just like Ripple. 

And of course, there’s a stark difference between the prices of these three cryptocurrencies, with Bitcoin value being the highest – at about INR 38 lakhs and Ripple’s price is the lowest – around INR 35. This is another crucial distinction you might consider before choosing which cryptocurrency to invest in.

And there you have it, the differences between Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple! We do hope this post would help you decide which coin you want to put your money behind!

WazirX allows you to trade 100+ cryptocurrencies, including the three ones mentioned above. To find out more about trading cryptocurrencies on WazirX, do give our website a visit!

Happy trading!

Further Reading:

What is Bitcoin?

What is Ethereum?

What is Ripple (XRP)?

What is the difference between a token and a Bitcoin?

What are the Differences Between Bitcoin and Ripple?

What is the difference between Litecoin and Ethereum?

What are the Differences Between Bitcoin and Ethereum?

What are the Differences Between Ripple (XRP) and Ethereum (ETH)?

What is Litecoin (LTC)? Hows is it Different from Bitcoin?

Difference between Litecoin (LTC) and Ripple (XRP)

Is Crypto Legal In India?

Cryptocurrencies are legal in India, and anyone can purchase, sell, and exchange them. It is currently uncontrolled, as India lacks a regulatory structure to oversee its operations. Per the Ministry of Corporate Affairs, companies must now record their crypto trading/investments within the financial year. In cases where a person receiving the gains is an Indian tax resident, or the cryptocurrency is regarded as domiciled in India, cryptocurrency transactions have been taxable in India

How Cryptocurrency Works?

Cryptocurrencies use cryptography technology to keep transactions and their units (tokens) secure. Cryptocurrency works via a technology called the blockchain. A blockchain is a decentralized technology that handles and records transactions across numerous computers. The security of this technology is part of its value.

Is Cryptocurrency Safe To Invest In?

Cryptocurrency investments are subject to market risks, but if sufficient security measures are not taken, trading accounts can be maliciously accessed. Investments come with risks and uncertainties, and we cannot claim that any digital currency investment is risk-free. Buying and selling cryptocurrencies can be risky even if the trader is knowledgeable about the market and treats their coins carefully.

How To Invest In Cryptocurrency Stocks?

Cryptocurrency can be purchased in two ways: through mining or exchanges. The process of confirming and adding transactions to the blockchain public ledger is known as cryptocurrency mining. Cryptocurrency exchanges are another option. Exchanges make money by charging transaction fees, but there are alternative platforms where you may communicate directly with other cryptocurrency traders.

Who Invented Cryptocurrency?

Satoshi Nakamoto invented cryptocurrencies and the technology that makes them function in 2009. The presumed pseudonymous individual or persons who invented Bitcoin used this identity. In addition, Nakamoto created the first blockchain database. Even though many people have claimed to be Satoshi Nakamoto, the person's identity remains unknown.

How Safe Are Cryptocurrencies?

Cryptocurrencies can be safe, but your crypto wallets can be hacked if proper security steps are not performed.There are also dangers and uncertainties associated with investments, and we cannot declare any virtual currency investment risk-free. Buying and selling cryptocurrencies does not have to be dangerous if the trader is well-versed in the market and treats his coins with care.

What Is The Meaning Of Crypto?

A cryptocurrency is a digital currency that is secured by the process of cryptography, making counterfeiting and double-spending almost impossible to happen. Blockchain technology is used to produce cryptocurrencies ( a distributed ledger enforced by a distributed network of computers). Cryptocurrencies are distinct in that a centralized authority does not issue them.

What Is Virtual Currency?

Virtual currency is a type of uncontrolled digital currency that can only be used online. It is exclusively stored and transacted using designated software, mobile or computer applications, or unique digital wallets, and all transactions are conducted through secure, dedicated networks. Because digital currency is just currency issued by a bank in digital form, virtual currency is not the same as a digital currency. Virtual currency, unlike ordinary money, is based on a trust structure and cannot be issued by a central bank or other banking regulatory organization.

What Are The Best Cryptocurrencies To Invest In?

The best cryptocurrencies to invest in would be the ones you study and analyze in detail. Some of the most popular cryptocurrencies include Bitcoin, Ethereum, and many altcoins such as Tron, Ripple, Litecoin, etc.

Is Bitcoin And Cryptocurrency The Same Thing?

Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency that was designed to facilitate cross-border transactions, eliminate government control over transactions, and streamline the entire process without third-party intermediaries. The absence of intermediaries has resulted in a significant reduction in transaction costs. Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of Bitcoin, created the first cryptocurrency in 2008. It began as open-source software for money transfers. Since then, plenty of cryptocurrencies have emerged, with some focusing on specific fields.

Disclaimer: Cryptocurrency is not a legal tender and is currently unregulated. Kindly ensure that you undertake sufficient risk assessment when trading cryptocurrencies as they are often subject to high price volatility. The information provided in this section doesn't represent any investment advice or WazirX's official position. WazirX reserves the right in its sole discretion to amend or change this blog post at any time and for any reasons without prior notice.
Participate in the Indian Crypto Movement. Share:

Leave a Reply

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

WazirX NewsLetter


What do you get?

● Blockchain & Crypto specific news, updates, tips, contest alerts and more.

● Insights about what is happening at WazirX.

● One email per week. No spamming - We promise!