What is Ripple?
Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange and remittance network created by Ripple Labs Inc., a US-based technology company. Ripple is built upon a distributed open source internet protocol, and supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodities, or other units of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes. Released in 2012, Ripple purports to enable “secure, instantly and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks.”
Ripple is based around a shared public ledger, the XRP Ledger, which uses a consensus process that allows for payments, exchanges and remittance in a distributed process. The network can operate without the Ripple company; among its validators are companies, internet service providers, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The ledger employs the decentralized native cryptocurrency known as XRP, which as of September 2018 was the third largest coin by market capitalization.
Used by companies such as UniCredit, UBS and Santander, Ripple has been increasingly adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology, with American Banker explaining that “from banks’ perspective, distributed ledgers like the Ripple system have a number of advantages over cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.”
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