Ethereum, represented with the symbol ETH, has been the top altcoin by a comfortable margin for quite a while, but now Ripple, represented by the symbol XRP, has claimed that distinction.
With an unexpected price surge of 71.6% on May 8th, Ripple surpassed Ethereum as the leading contender to Bitcoin for dominance of the virtual currency market. Both Ethereum and Ripple are relatively new cryptocurrencies, but recent price surges have pushed each of their market cap values to over $8 Billion USD, making them serious competition for Bitcoin.
The rapid growth of these two blockchain currencies is no surprise, given their origin and innovative functionality. The driving concept behind Etherium, as proposed by 19-year-old programmer Vitalik Buterin, was to create a blockchain platform that goes beyond virtual currency to include all types of contracts and transactions that utilize a third-party ledger system. Shortly after it’s entry into the market, Ethereum was adopted by Microsoft on its cloud service for developers and enterprises.
Ripple was also designed to go beyond the functionality of Bitcoin and other similar blockchain implemented currencies. The creators of Ripple envisioned a blockchain solution that enables various currencies to be exchanged without fees or delays, and to easily connect different payment systems together. In particular, it was meant to give Bitcoin users a bridge to mainstream payment systems.
Ripple owes much of it’s rapid rise to a partnership with 10 financial institutions and banks, including Axis Bank, Yes Bank, eZforex and others. The latest jump to top altcoin status is most likely due to a collaborative project among Japanese banks referred to as the Japanese Consortium.
It is unclear if Ripple will stay ahead of Ethereum in the altcoin market. Both Ethereum and Ripple seem to be serious contenders to overtake Bitcoin’s industry dominance, as they continue to attract the attention of banks and large conglomerates.