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.
The Skycoin Platform is the most advanced blockchain platform in the world. Developed by early contributors to both Bitcoin and Ethereum, Skycoin’s platform is completely secure, infinitely scalable, and ISP independent. It uses its own specific distributed consensus algorithm, called Obelisk, instead of other commonly used algorithms like proof of work (POW) and proof of stake (POS). Obelisk uses the concept of ‘web of trust dynamics’ which distributes influence over the network and makes consensus decisions depending upon the influence score of each node. Each node subscribes to a select number of other network nodes, and the density of a node’s network of subscribers determines its influence on the network. Skycoin is very fast. With transaction speeds close to 2 seconds and no transaction fees it can rival any other cryptocurrency on the market as a payment method. The transaction costs of Skycoin are covered by Coin Hours. This is value paid to Skycoin holders for each hour they hold a Skycoin. Skycoin is against charging transaction costs and mining incentives as it only drives up the costs of the network. The biggest benefit of Skycoin is that it is energy efficient due to the Web-of-Trust social proof. It can even run on a 30-watt cell phone processor making it great for mobile payments. Centralization becomes less of an issue when anyone can participate in the blockchain. Sia stores tiny pieces of your files on dozens of nodes across the globe. This eliminates any single point of failure and ensures highest possible uptime, on par with other cloud storage providers. A major goal of Skycoin is to promote actual usage of cryptocurrency rather than speculation. Skywire, the flagship application of Skycoin, has the ambitious goal of decentralizing the internet at the hardware level and is about to begin the testnet in April. However, this is just one of the many facets of the Skycoin ecosystem. Skywire will not only provide decentralized bandwidth but also storage and computation, completing the holy trinity of commodities essential for the new internet. Skycoin also has its own ICO platform called Fiber, their own deterministic programming language, CX, derived from Golang, a private decentralized messenger system called Sky-Messenger, and a decentralized social media platform, BBS. Here is another way to think of Skycoin: An open-source, community-owned, hardware-based peer to peer internet designed from first principles and leveraging the incentive system of the blockchain.