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.[3][4] 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,[5] the XRP Ledger,[6] which uses a consensus process that allows for payments, exchanges and remittance in a distributed process. The network can operate without the Ripple company;[7] among its validators are companies, internet service providers, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.[8][9] The ledger employs the decentralized native cryptocurrency known as XRP, which as of September 2018 was the third largest coin by market capitalization.[10][11]

Used by companies such as UniCredit, UBS and Santander, Ripple has been increasingly adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology,[12] with American Banker explaining that “from banks’ perspective, distributed ledgers like the Ripple system have a number of advantages over cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin.”[13]

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