Step-by-step guide to buying XRP

Ongoing US Securities and Exchange Commission action against Ripple

The United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed an action against Ripple Labs Inc, and two of its executives, on 22 December 2020.

“We allege that Ripple, Larsen and Garlinghouse failed to register their ongoing offer and sale of billions of XRP to retail investors, which deprived potential purchasers of adequate disclosures about XRP and Ripple’s business and other important long-standing protections that are fundamental to our robust public market system.” – Stephania Avakian, director of SEC’s Enforcement Division in a US SEC press release.

What this means for Ripple:
The outcome of the court case is all but a foregone conclusion and has seen both Ripple and the SEC win battles in court. Still, US and some European cryptocurrency exchanges have halted Ripple trading for the time being, meaning liquidity may be an issue if you are buying or selling XRP at this time. Therefore, it is advised to tread carefully with XRP and to do your research.

Buying XRP used to be rather straightforward until it caught regulatory flak in December 2020, when it was available for purchase at almost every exchange. Unfortunately, Ripple’s ongoing legal woe with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the alleged violation of securities legislation (see the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA)’s Howey Test) has forced several exchanges to delist XRP, causing its reputation and value to dramatically tank in the process.

Based on the latest CoinMarketCap data (21 July), XRP can still be purchased from the following centralized exchanges:

  • Binance (not US)
  • Huobi Global
  • Bithumb
  • Kucoin
  • Bitstamp
  • FTX
  • Gate.io
  • Bitfinex
  • Liquid
  • Poloniex
  • Kraken (note that trading is currently suspended for US users)
  • Bittrex
  • OKEx

Decentralized exchanges (DEX) such as PancakeSwap and instant trading platforms like Changelly and ChangeHero can also provide crypto to crypto swaps for XRP.

Buying XRP with another cryptocurrency

In many cases, you might not be able to directly purchase XRP with fiat currencies. Thankfully, XRP can alternatively be bought with various other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and stablecoins. You’ll need 3 things:

  1. An account on any cryptocurrency exchange that supports XRP
  2. A digital wallet
  3. Any digital currency that is paired on that exchange with XRP

Step 1. Open a cryptocurrency exchange account

First, you need to open an account from any of the listed cryptocurrency exchanges. Remember, not all exchanges support the trading of XRP, due to the SEC’s ongoing case against Ripple. Another thing to note is that some exchanges do not offer services to certain jurisdictions.

Be aware of the legal status of your chosen exchange in your jurisdiction before you decide to create an account. Also keep in mind that you will most likely have to undergo a Know-Your-Customer (KYC) process during which you will have to input your name, email address, mobile number, proof of residency, social security number and proof of ID. Remember to enable 2-factor authentication for increased security.

Step 2. Purchase an asset paired with XRP

Next, you’ll need to get your hands on any asset that is traded against XRP on your chosen exchange. From the exchange, you can purchase BTC, ETH, USDT or other tokens. For this guide, we can use Stellar Lumens (XLM) as an example because it is relatively cheaper to use.

Purchase an amount of XLM equivalent to the XRP you wish to purchase.

Step 3. Transfer funds to your cryptocurrency wallet

There are multiple unhosted wallets (directly controlled by you) that support XRP, including Trezor, Ledger, MetaMask, Atomic Wallet and Trust Wallet. For this guide, we’ll focus on the Atomic Wallet because it is one of the most accessible mobile cryptocurrency wallets out there and supports atomic swaps between XLM and XRP.

Transfer your XLM from your exchange wallet to your Atomic Wallet. Always make sure that whenever you make transfers, the address you input is correct.

This transaction may take a few minutes.

Step 4. Exchange your assets to XRP

Atomic Wallet enables users to exchange their token for another supported token instantly. Head over to Atomic Wallet’s exchange, then configure the swap of XLM to XRP. The process should be quick.

Now you have some XRP secured in your Atomic Wallet.

How to sell XRP

The steps in selling XRP are almost the same as the process of swapping your XLM with XRP in step 4 in the previous section. Again, you can either exchange your XRP with a token of choice, may it be BTC, ETH, USDT or XLM, or you may also send your XRP to any supported crypto exchange and trade it with another cryptocurrency such as USDT.

Which wallets can I use to hold XRP?

Most crypto pundits highly recommend keeping your XRP holdings in your private wallet where only you have full access to its private keys. Most online wallets provided by exchanges take custody of your private keys, which defeats the true purpose of cryptocurrencies (see the Not Your Keys, Not Your Coins movement, which is to promote self-sovereignty over one’s own financials). Furthermore, keeping the bulk of your funds in your own wallet will save you in the event that your go-to exchange gets breached.

You may use either a cold or hot wallet for your XRP holdings.

A cold wallet refers to a hardware device designed to store the private keys of your coins offline. This way, your funds are secure from attackers in the online world.

A hot wallet is not as safe but it does offer more convenience. In fact, you can access a hot wallet almost anywhere without the need for any specialized device as long as there is Internet access.

Wallets that support XRP include Ledger, Trezor, Math Wallet, Trust Wallet, MetaMask, Coinbase and Atomic Wallet.

How Ripple and XRP work

Ripple Labs is a San Francisco-based tech startup that builds and maintains the Ripple payment protocol that runs within RippleNet, its exchange network. XRP is created to be the native currency of the payment system and is utilized for settlements, asset exchange and remittances.

The aim of the whole project is to create a global network of financial institutions, eventually contributing to the “Internet of value”, a platform or community where everyone can perform instant peer-to-peer value exchange.

Contrary to what most people in the crypto space think, XRP actually abolishes the use of any central authority to facilitate transactions. Its objective is to enable a frictionless payment system that comes at a reasonable price for any user. And it does this through a decentralized network of validators called the Unique Node List (UNL).

XRP offers real-time payments and quick cross-border settlements in as quick as 4 seconds. For comparison, ETH needs 2 minutes before a transfer is confirmed, while BTC could take 1 hour or more.

XRP is also capable of handling 1,500 transactions per second, which outpaces ETH which can only process 15 transactions per second.

RippleNet has 3 notable products:

xRapid – provides liquidity on demand and ensures that transactions like swaps and transfers can easily be facilitated through XRPs held in escrow accounts.

xCurrent – enables financial institutions to make frictionless cross-border payments. It also gives the same institutions a communication channel to send messages and confirm transactions from end to end.

xVia – provides a basic payment interface for institutions to seamlessly send payments and produce invoices or track deliveries globally.

Key things to consider when investing in Ripple

It is important to remember that Ripple is still currently in the middle of a legal battle with the US SEC for an alleged unregistered securities offering, which makes XRP a bit risky to hold as an asset. On the flip side, a judge ruling in favor of Ripple could reward patient XRP holders. While some exchanges have announced their intention to relist XRP, the outlook for the coin is still uncertain until its case is closed.

It is up to the user to determine whether buying or holding XRP is worth the risk/reward.

Where to buy Ripple (XRP) in the US

Frequently asked questions

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