Recently Ripple has seen a lot of press attention, especially since it became the second biggest crypto-currency after Bitcoin. The coin has grown rapidly as a result of the coverage and numerous other factors, but surely that value be higher if it wasn’t so difficult to buy them? Which is probably also the reason you are here.
I currently own some coins including Ripple and have been asked a number of times how to buy them, so I decided to create a step-by-step guide.
Ripple is an alt-coin (alternative coin) so you first need to buy a mainstream coin i.e. Bitcoin, Litecoin or Ethereum and then transfer that into Ripple. My preferred platform to purchase mainstream coins is Coinbase as I can pay directly with my bank card.
Who are Coinbase? Coinbase are well-thought of as the safest way to purchase crypto-currency using fiat currency (GBP, USD etc). Their investors include the New York Stock Exchange as well as many well-known banks. As such, it is one of, if not the most popular way to purchase cryptocurrencies.
Note: Signing up to Coinbase using the links in the article will credit your account and mine with an additional £7 of Bitcoin after depositing $100.
Once you have signed up, you will need to pass their verification. This includes sending in a proof of ID (like a passport) with the process being self-explanatory and I therefore won’t cover it here.
After you have been verified. you will want to navigate to the “BUY” page. From this page you can select your bank card as the method of purchase and then enter the amount of coins you want to buy in GBP as shown below.
Please note that at the time of writing, the fee for purchasing bitcoin (BTC) was particuarly high, so I opted to purchase litecoin (LTC) instead, equally I could also have chosen ethereum (ETH). It doesn’t particularly matter which coin you choose; the screenshots in this guide show the process using LTC. For me, LTC is convenient as it is delivered to the recipient account quickly.
After entering the amount and once you are happy you can go ahead with the deposit. Very shortly you will be the proud owner of your chosen crypto-currency.
Now that you have BTC, LTC or ETH you need to exchange this into ripple (XRP). There are two options for this part so I am going to look at both and also explain why I chose option 1.
Option 1 – Create an account on a crypto-currency trading platform like HitBTC which you will then use to buy ripple with your recently purchased mainstream crypto-currency. This method involves sending your BTC, LTC or ETH from Coinbase to the trading platform and then converting it on the exchange into ripple. You can then keep ripple on the trading platform or withdraw to your own wallet (covered later in the article).
What are the risks with this method? This method is riskier if you decide to store your coins on the platform and keeping there indefinitely, not removing them to your own digital wallet. This is because you are completely reliant on a third party to look after your wallet information and therefore your coins. If the trading platform were to disappear overnight for whatever reason (bankruptcy, hacking etc.) you will lose your coins.
Option 2 – Set up a crypto-currency wallet that accepts XRP and then use a conversion service like Shapeshift which will convert your LTC, BTC or ETH into XRP and then deliver it straight to your new crypto-currency wallet. This method is probably safer and does not require you to create a second account on a trading platform, however it does require you to manage your own digital wallet which comes with it’s own problems.
What are the risks? If you lose access to your wallet, for example due to your laptop being stolen and you haven’t backed up this information, you will almost definitely have lost all of your funds in your crypto-currencies, with no way of recovering them.
I have seen both of these options working first hand. However the reason I chose option 1 is that all of the conversion services used in option 2 like Shapeshift and Changelly were not able to deal with the demand for converting crypto-currencies into Ripple at the time that I wanted to buy and therefore the transaction would not go through.
In summary, option 1 requires you to set up another account and supply verification data for that accountm but does not require you to have your own digital wallet setup. Option 2 only works if Shapeshift is working and does require you to have your own digital wallet setup. Option 2 is considered safer overall.
Later in the guide we will cover setting up your digital wallet.
If you decide to follow option 1 then you will want to go HitBTC and open an account with them. This was a simple and painless process for me. I am aware that there are a number of negative reviews for HitBTC but actually there appears to be similar reviews for many of the trading platforms. I attribute this to the explosion of new users registering on these platforms, which are therefore struggling to cope with the demand. So far, I have not had a problem with HitBTC but please use at your own risk.
Once you have created your HitBTC account you will need to send your cryptocurrency from Coinbase to HitBTC. This again is relatively simple, firstly you need to locate your receiving wallet address by navigating to the “account” page on HitBTC where you will see a list of currencies. Locate the currency that you currently hold (BTC, ETH or LTC) and click on “deposit” next to that currency. It is very important that you copy the correct address according to the coin you hold in Coinbase, e.g. if you hold LTC in Coinbase then make sure you copy the LTC deposit address in HitBTC.
You will see thebelow screen with the following box:
I have crossed-through my account data, but you will have an address in the wallet address box that you need to copy. Make sure you get this address exactly correct as there is no going back if you make a mistake.
Now that you have copied the deposit address shown on HitBTC (making sure it is correct), you then need to go to Coinbase, visit the account tab and then click on the “send” button for the currency that you hold as per the below:
On this page you can enter your deposit address from HitBTC and once you are confident that you have entered the address correctly you can enter the amount you wish to send and then go ahead and send it. If you, like me, tend to be cautious on these sorts of things you may want to send a small amount the first time round and make sure it arrives in your HitBTC account before sending the main balance.
It can take a while for the coin to appear in your HitBTC account, depending on the network load etc. I often find it takes around 15 – 30 minutes for LTC and more for others. Once it has arrived in your HitBTC account your will see it appear as an avaialble balance.
If like me you decided to purchase LTC and not BTC/ETH then you will first need to convert your LTC into BTC/ETH using HitBTC. Highlight the exchange tab and then find the LTC-ETH or LTC-BTC market. From here you scroll down to below the graph and sell your LTC. Enter the amount you wish to sell (most likely all of it) and then execute the order as shown below:
Once you have done this, you can do the same again for converting your BTH or ETH in XRP.
Congratulations + Considerations
You are now the owner of some ripple coins. However there are few things to consider – mainly are you comfortable keeping your XRP on HitBTC? General advice in the crypto-currency sector would be to withdraw your coins on to your own wallet within 1-2 days of purchasing them. This makes sense when you consider that if the exchange was to go down for any reason (bankruptcy, hacking and theft or anything else) then you will most likely lose your coins. If you are buying a lot of the currency or if it does indeed increase in value that you may want to consider buying a secure wallet like the Nano Ledger S to take your ripple out from the exchange to store on your own wallet.
I am yet to try and sell ripple to buy back a mainstream crypto-currency and then convert back into GBP so please bear this in mind. However, the first part of converting back into LTC, ETH or BTC on HitBTC should be fine as that is what a trading platform is designed for. Equally the second part should go smoothly as I have tested withdrawing my LTC coins from HitBTC and this was a success.
After sending the funds back into Coinbase you will then need to withdraw your money into your bank account. This does involve verifying your bank account using an international payment. When I verified my bank account through Coinbase I had to send a 5 euro payment to Coinbase’s European bank account, which is then returned to your Coinbase account. However my bank charged me £10 or so for the international payment, this is unavoidable.
The verification was very quick but bear in mind that I have been told it will take at least 10 working days to send the funds back to my UK bank.
Setting Up Your Ripple Digital Wallet
The safest and most popular way of storing Bitcoins and Alt-coins in your own digital wallet is to use the Ledger Nano S. This does however come at a cost of around £65. This option would be my recommended option. However if you would prefer to go for a free solution using software on your computer rather than an offline solution like the Nano S, then you may like to have a look at ToastWallet although I must stress that I have not used this and have not asked anyone that has.