Uphold, which describes itself as a “cloud-based financial services platform,” has added the option to buy XRP, the cryptocurrency of the global payment network Ripple. This addition brings the number of coins supported by the platform to eight, the others being Bitcoin, Litecoin, Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, Ether, Basic Attention Token, and Dash — as well as 23 fiat currencies.
“There has been huge demand for XRP, and Uphold is one of the first platforms to make XRP easily accessible,” Uphold CEO Adrian Steckel said in a press release.
Demand is certainly high, the price of the XRP token shot up 32,377% in 2017 — making it the fastest growing coin of the year. In comparison, Ether rose 8,978%, Litecoin rose 4,841%, and Bitcoin increased by 1,221%. As we know, all of these coins have since fallen significantly from their highs. XRP is down 74% in 2018.
Ripple, the company, sells blockchain-based payment technology to banks and has signed on more than 100 banking clients, including Western Union and Santander. Ripple’s token, XRP — which many people call simply “ripple” — is used as a settlement vehicle in one of its payment products, xRapid. The addition of XRP to Uphold “underscores the significant increase in interest for XRP,” according to Ripple’s head of XRP markets Miguel Vias.
The move also makes the token more accessible to U.S. customers, as a majority of the institutions that support it are based in Asia. Coinbase, the most popular U.S.-based cryptocurrency brokerage site, does not offer buying and trading of XRP (though many expect that it will add it soon). Binance and Bitstamp are two popular websites for buying XRP, but both are based outside the U.S.
Uphold users can now buy XRP on the site with zero transaction fees for the first 5 million XRP they buy. They can convert XRP into seven other cryptocurrencies, 23 fiat currencies, and four precious metals.
Uphold, which has branded itself as a “cloud money vault,” is not a cryptocurrency exchange, but more like a bank for buying and holding different currencies, converting them into other currencies, or sending them to other members internationally.
The site launched in 2014 under the name Bitreserve, and was founded by CNET founder Halsey Minor. When it first launched, customers had to make their first deposits in Bitcoin, but could then convert Bitcoin into other currencies when they wanted to withdraw or send money abroad.
In 2015, Bitreserve changed its name to Uphold and began allowing customers to deposit money into their accounts via bank transfer or credit or debit cards. With the boom in cryptocurrencies over the past year, the site appears to be embracing crypto: its homepage declares that users can go, “From US dollar to bitcoin in seconds.”