Ripple vs SWIFT: Can XRP Overthrow the Payments Giant?

How does Ripple compare with traditional giants?

Little XRP robot wants to take the giant Swift banker.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin

Ripple vs SWIFT is a matchup that pits cryptocurrency and blockchain technology against the world. When we think of crypto assets integrating into our society, there aren’t many places where their benefits will be more strongly felt than in international transactions.

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As it stands, SWIFT is the world’s largest international payments provider. But despite its enormous reach and adoption, SWIFT has its faults. Can XRP and the XRP Ledger disrupt and siphon market share from a global heavyweight?

What Is Ripple (XRP)?

Ripple Labs is a fintech company based in San Francisco, California, and was founded by Jed McCaleb, Chris Larsen, and Arthur Britto in 2012. The burgeoning company’s flagship product, the XRP Ledger, is a blockchain network designed to support financial institutions and facilitate a more streamlined flow of money globally.

Ripple logo.
Source: Ripple

XRP is the native digital asset at the heart of Ripple’s revolutionary protocol. Using blockchain technology, the XRP Ledger can execute and finalize cross-border payments more efficiently than ever, making it an exciting prospect in the crypto market and the traditional financial world.

What Is SWIFT?

SWIFT, or the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, is an immense information messaging network connecting tens of thousands of banks and financial institutions worldwide.

Swift logo.

The Belgium-based company was founded in 1973 and cemented itself as the global leader in international payments, handling an average of 44 million unique messages daily.

Ripple vs SWIFT: Key Differences

When weighing up the Ripple vs SWIFT debate, it’s important to recognize what might be the most important features offered by a cross-border payments protocol. An international payment platform must be fast, affordable, and adopted on a grand scale to be truly effective.

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With these key points in mind, let’s compare how things stack up between Ripple and SWIFT.

Speed

Historically, transferring money across international borders can be a frustratingly long process. Remittance payments and international transfers have been known to take up to a week to get cleared, heavily disrupting the flow of funds around the globe. In the Ripple vs SWIFT clash, who wins out on transaction speeds?

Ripple’s Speed

The Ripple payments protocol is known for its exceptionally fast infrastructure. Relying on a consensus-based algorithm to secure transactions, Ripple’s revolutionary network executes and finalizes transactions in 3-5 seconds.

SWIFT’s Speed

It’s hard to say exactly how long a SWIFT transfer takes to complete. There are plenty of variables that impact the efficacy of a transfer. For example, transfers between 1st world countries with well-connected banks may pass within 1-2, while low-resource nations might take up to 5 days to be cleared.

Additionally, most SWIFT payment timelines don’t include business days, meaning that if your transfer crosses a weekend, you’ll likely need to wait an extra 2 days.

Fees

Since the beginning of international money transfers, sending funds across borders has always incurred high handling fees. How do Ripple and SWIFT compare in this regard?

Ripple’s Fees

The Ripple network was originally envisioned as a scalable and affordable competitor to Bitcoin (BTC), the original cryptocurrency. Designed for financial institutions, it was imperative to the Ripple development team that Ripple’s technology was more affordable than all existing money transfer options.

As a result, Ripple’s underlying technology is extremely cheap to use. On top of being finalized in under 5 seconds, the average XRP transaction will only cost the user $0.0002 USD, making it vastly more affordable than traditional methods.

SWIFT Fees

While it is well-recognized as one of the more affordable wire transfer methods of the 21st century in traditional circles, SWIFT fees are well behind Ripple’s. 

Again, the cost of a SWIFT transfer fluctuates vastly based on the amount being transferred and the countries and banks involved. Despite the variation, the average fees charged for a SWIFT transaction generally fall between $10-50 USD.

Adoption

It’s all well and good to have a fast and affordable network to transfer funds, but without users and partnerships in place, all that efficiency is completely useless. Which platform has a greater reach and influence in the international market?

Ripple Adoption

For a blockchain network, Ripple has made plenty of strides in their quest to expand. The cross-border payments protocol has secured dozens of strategic partnerships with banks and financial institutions worldwide, including big names like Santander Bank and Bank of America.

SWIFT Adoption

Ripple may have SWIFT beaten in terms of transfer speeds and affordability, but SWIFT’s expansive global network cannot be matched. SWIFT has established a strong presence on every continent, with over 11,000 different financial institutions in its reach.

Beyond that, SWIFT is also fully compliant with regulators and authorities in all areas in which it does business. On the other hand, Ripple still has some legal hurdles to overcome before it can reach its desired levels of adoption. 

Why Is Ripple Better than SWIFT?

Ripple is better than SWIFT because it’s simply a far more efficient payment network. People using Ripple can send funds anywhere in the world within 5 seconds and immediately verify that their payment has been received.

Moreover, the transaction fee is fixed at just $0.0002, regardless of the transaction amount. For the sole purpose of transferring funds quickly and affordably, Ripple is by far the superior platform.

Why Is SWIFT Better than Ripple?

SWIFT may not boast Ripple’s breathtaking speeds and low-cost transactions, but its immense network and wealth of strategic partnerships across the planet make it far more versatile.

Beyond that, SWIFT is supported by its clean reputation, regulatory compliance, and decades of experience. SWIFT has been a trusted name in international finance for decades, giving users a sense of security and authenticity that cryptocurrency, still in its infancy, cannot offer.

Final Verdict

Ultimately, the choice is a personal one. Ripple may be faster and cheaper, but it comes with all the risks associated with blockchain technology and cryptocurrency. Self-custody isn’t for everyone, and misplacing your seed phrase could mean losing access to your funds forever.

SWIFT may be more trusted and reliable, but its high fees and lengthy processing times can make it cumbersome. On the other hand, the service is complete and compliant and takes care of users’ funds on their behalf, eliminating the risks associated with holding digital assets.

On the Flipside

  • Cryptocurrency and blockchain technology are still largely mistrusted by the general public. This could be considered one of the main reasons why Ripple’s network of partners is not as large as it could be.

Why This Matters

Streamlining international payments is one of the primary use cases for crypto assets. Comparing the pros and cons of blockchain against traditional systems is a great way of analyzing the industry’s potential.

FAQs

Can Ripple take over SWIFT?

While Ripple might have the potential to take over SWIFT, it is also possible that SWIFT might leverage its considerable resources and reputation and pivot its services to include blockchain technology in some format.

Can XRP reach $10,000?

While not technically impossible, it is astronomically unlikely that XRP would ever reach this valuation.

Will banks actually use Ripple?

Several banks, including Santander Bank and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, have already partnered with Ripple Labs.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Finn Miller

Finn Miller is a New Zealand-based blockchain writer for DailyCoin who specializes in simplifying complex blockchain topics. He is experienced in crafting whitepapers, researching on-chain data, and advising emerging crypto projects, and uses his unconventional approach to learning and passion for knowledge to provide cornerstone educational content for readers of all levels. When not exploring the depths of DeFi, Finn can be found exploring his other passion, the great outdoors.