Nxt seems like the closest competitor to Ripple so I figured I'd download it and give it a spin this past week. My results and impressions are below. SO far, it's the most interesting cryptocurrency and network I've seen of any of the "altcoins". It has some drawbacks but although it's a "small" competitor it could potentially become a real big thing if development continues. I will be watching this one more closely. First impressions below...
Setup (Nxtra 1-click client)
- Downloadable client was nice, with a quick install and setup process - just as easy as the old Bitcoin-QT.
- Needing to remember or store a long secret phrase seemed like a hassle, versus having a password separate from the secret phrase.
- Blockchain took a very long time to download (approx. 2-3 hrs).
- Send "Nxt" funds to other users, with approx. 1.5 minute confirmation time (seems slow relative to Ripple!)
- Send messages to other users for a 1 Nxt fee.
- Contacts section to store addresses, emails and description for each contact
- Messages inbox
- Asset Exchange - this seems like it could hold huge potential for decentralized issuing, buying and selling assets directly on the Nxt blockchain. Trades also seem to require the 1.5 minute confirmation time delay though... slow relative to what I was used to on Ripple. The only big asset trading right now seems to be NEM stake token trading (New Economy Movement) so at the moment it does not seem heavily used.
- Peers (view connected addresses, platform, etc)
Missing features (things that Ripple has):
- Instant transactions (5 seconds or less)
- Sending / receiving other currencies in the network
- Currency trading
- Instant currency conversions
- Bitcoin bridge
If you want the TL/DR verdict: I'm still much more in favor of Ripple due to the speed and user experience.
A few additional notes unrelated to the direct user experience and features:
- From an outsider's perspective, the Nxt community and marketing seems very fragmented and disorganized. It wasn't exactly clear how to find the "official" place to go and get a summary of the information on the protocol, the Nxt currency or how to find a simple downloadable client to use. It took a few Google searches and reading online forums.
- Approximate network transaction times are not exactly clear anywhere. I just had to test and check myself.
- Nxt trading seems difficult right now, as it's mostly traded on a few small exchanges based in China and other foreign countries. The only US-based one is Cryptsy which was a relief to find. However, their deposit and withdraw times are unfortunately all over the map, ranging from minutes to hours wait time. Deposit and withdraws ranged from 1-3 hours when testing with Nxt which was a little taxing on my patience and could be stressful for anyone who moves large money there.
Overall, Nxt was interesting but does feel a little cludgy and rough around the edges. It does have some potential though!