If you are a cryptocurrency fan, you have definitely heard about Ripple. In this article, we are going to have a thorough overview of Ripple and cover its aims and features. Stay with us.
What is Ripple and how does it work?
When people hear about Ripple, they immediately recall its cryptocurrency, XRP. But we have to say that Ripple is different from XRP. Ripple is also different from other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Ethereum. When you buy BTC, you are actually investing in Bitcoin. When you buy ETH, you are investing in Ethereum. But when you buy XRP, you are not necessarily investing in Ripple.
Ripple is a big company in San Francisco that develops decentralized financial products for banks and financial institutions. Ripple’s aim is to facilitate the international transactions between banks and reduce the cost of these transactions. We can say that Ripple has been successful to a large extent because today a lot of big banks and institutions use this network. Ripple has many products that only one of them uses XRP. This is why we say when you buy XRP, you only invest in one of Ripple’s products, not in Ripple itself.
It can be said that Ripple’s aim is in contradiction with Bitcoin’s. Bitcoin aimed to remove banks and financial institutions as centralized intermediaries, but Ripple’s goal is to facilitate their work. Ripple believes that banks are not bad per se, and their only problem is the process through which they work.
One of these problems is the long time needed for making global transactions, and the other problem is the high fees of these transactions. Today and even with the growth of the technology, making an international payment takes 3 to 7 days, which is literally a lot. Besides, these transactions charge the parties with significant amounts of fee. Ripple has come to eliminate these problems.
However, we shouldn’t forget that Ripple has big rivals, and the biggest one is Swift. Ripple’s advantage over Swift is being decentralized and cheaper. Among Ripple’s other rivals, we can refer to Stellar.
Who created Ripple? Ripple’s team and history
In 2004 and 4 years before Bitcoin was created, Ryan Fugger founded a company called RipplePay. The aim of this company was to create a decentralized peer-to-peer network that could send money globally using the Internet. This company had a good aim, but it suffered from technical and management problems. For this reason, it wasn’t successful in achieving its goals. Till 2011, RipplePay only had a few cooperation contracts and its users were less than 10,000.
In 2011, Jed McCaleb joined RipplePay. McCaleb was one of the early supporters of Bitcoin and had previously founded the famous cryptocurrency exchange Mt Gox. Also in 2012, Chris Larsen was hired as the company’s executive manager. According to Ripple’s official website, Chris Larsen is one of Ripple’s co-founders. After Larsen joined the team, the company was renamed to OpenCoin.
In 2014, McCaleb left Ripple due to some conflicts he had with Chris Larsen and the company’s policies. He believed that Ripple’s aims had changes and this wasn’t the goal he was following. McCaleb later on founded Stellar which is now one of Ripple’s serious rivals.
Between 2014 and 2018, Ripple experienced a significant growth. XRP’s price increased by more than 100% and it became the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. It succeeded to make more than 100 contracts and its total value exceeded 100 billion dollars.
Today, Brad Garlinghouse works as Ripple’s CEO. Ripple’s team consists of technology and marketing experts who have work experience in companies like Facebook and Google.
Ripple has 3 main products for banks and institutions, namely: xCurrent, xRapid, and xVia. Each of these products has different functions, which we will go through in the following parts.
xCurrent is the platform banks use for making global payments. This platform works on a distributed ledger called “Interledger”. It’s worth mentioning that Interledger was developed by the Ripple team, but it’s not controlled by them. It is managed by W3C, a non-profit organization that determines and overviews the standards of the world-wide web. We have to note that xCurrent supports cryptocurrencies, but it’s not limited to them. It is a decentralized financial messenger that fiat currencies like Dollar and Euro. XRP doesn’t have any role in this product.
xRapid is a solution to the liquidity problem banks face. It directly uses XRP. It actually takes the fiat currency, changes it to XRP, and sends it to the target bank. The target bank then receives the XRP and changes it to its native currency. This way, banks don’t need an intermediary entity for providing the liquidity.
xVia is a user interface developed to facilitate the use of xCurrent and xRapid. It eases the communication between Ripple’s different products. It was developed in 2018 and is still being tested.
XRP; price history and wallets
As you have figured out, XRP is not Ripple’s main product. It’s only one product among several ones. It was listed on cryptocurrency exchanges in 2013 and its price was $0.005. In January 2018, its price reached $3.8. This means more than 70,000% of growth. However, at the time of writing, XRP’s price is far away from its peak in 2018. It is being traded at $0.36. XRP is the sixth-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. Its market cap has exceeded 17 billion dollars, and it has a supply limit of 100 billion units.
There are a number of cryptocurrency wallets that support XRP, among which we can refer to:
- Ledger Nano X (hardware)
- Trezor Model T (hardware)
- KeepKey (hardware)
- Edge (software)
- Exodus (software)
- GateHub (software)
- Atomic (software)
- Guarda (software)
- CoinPayments (software)
Ripple is one of the most popular cryptocurrencies with a completely different approach. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Ripple doesn’t wish to remove banks or other third-party entities. It just aims to improve their function and processes. What do you think about this conflict? Do you find banks centralized entities that have to be removed, or do you agree with improving their functions?