Ripple is the catchall name for the cryptocurrency platform, the transactional protocol for which is actually XRP, in the same fashion as Ethereum is the name for the platform that facilitates trades in Ether. Like other cryptocurrencies, Ripple is built atop the idea of a distributed ledger network which requires various parties to participate in validating transactions, rather than any singular centralized authority. That facilitates transactions all over the world, and transfer fees are far cheaper than the likes of bitcoin. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, XRP transfers are effectively immediate, requiring no typical confirmation time. Ripple was originally founded by a single company, Ripple Labs, and continues to be backed by it, rather than the larger network of developers that continue bitcoin’s development. It also doesn’t have a fluctuating amount of its currency in existence. Where bitcoin has a continually growing pool with an eventual maximum, and Ethereum theoretically has no limit, Ripple was created with all of its 100 billion XRP tokens right out of the gate. That number is maintained with no mining and most of the tokens are owned and held by Ripple Labs itself — around 60 billion at the latest count. Even at the recently reduced value of around half a dollar per XRP, that means Ripple Labs is currently sitting on around $20 billion worth of the cryptocurrency (note: Ripple’s price crashed hard recently, and may be worth far less than $60 billion by time you read this). It holds 55 billion XRP in an escrow account, which allows it to sell up to a billion per month if it so chooses in order to fund new projects and acquisitions. Selling such an amount would likely have a drastic effect on the cryptocurrency’s value, and isn’t something Ripple Labs plans to do anytime soon. In actuality, Ripple Labs is looking to leverage the technology behind XRP to allow for faster banking transactions around the world. While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built on the idea of separating financial transactions from the financial organizations of traditional currencies, Ripple is almost the opposite in every sense. XRP by Ripple price can be found on this page alongside the market capitalization and additional stats.
Achain is a public blockchain platform that enables developers of all levels to issue tokens and create smart contracts, decentralized applications, and blockchain systems. Achain is committed to building a global blockchain network for information exchange and value transactions. Unlike Bitcoin or Ethereum, Achain utilizes a modified version of DPoS — RDPoS (Result-delegated Proof of Stake) to establish node consensus. Shortly, DPoS suggests that all coin holders vote for the validator nodes that will produce the next blocks. On the project website, only info about CEO Tony Cui is listed. Cui has a few significant accomplishments, including winning the Future Star award from the Zhongguancun Alliance and being listed in the 30 under 30 on CYZONE, a famous venture capital magazine. On LinkedIn, 51 people are listed as employees at Achain. Most of the team is based in Beijing. Achain also has a few key industry partners. It has even co-organized a “Blockchain Technology Open Course” with Tsinghua University, which is widely recognized as one of the world’s top universities. The roadmap for Achain development is fairly detailed. However, most goals listed are development-oriented rather than marketing or design. Still, it’s important to note that focusing on making the protocol interoperable and building a technology that is more accessible to mainstream adoption could also be considered a marketing-oriented part of this project. There are three major phases with projected completion dates listed. These include Singularity (completed Q1), Galaxy (ongoing), and Cosmos (complete at the end of Q4). One thing to note is that dates for these phases are not consistent between the homepage and the whitepaper. This could be simply due to a scenario in which phase names remain the same while new goals and timeline dates within those phases continue to change. In January 2019, the project will update the website to reflect roadmap goals for the new year. Looking at the current landscape of blockchain projects, Achain certainly offers the possibility of much-needed technical innovations. The ability to easily create an Achain fork, as well as, the protocol’s unique RDPoS consensus algorithm make this a promising project. It will be interesting to see how Achain builds upon its accomplishments, and how the project team continues to develop a long-term strategy for improving the protocol’s technical capabilities and increasing participation in its ecosystem.