Date Launched: February 02, 2013
Founders: Arthur Britto, David Schwartz, Ryan Fugger
Major Investors: Andreessen Horowitz, IDG Capital, Google
Ventures, CME Ventures, Seagate, SBI Investment, Santander
Type: Currency, Payment Child Code Fork: Stellar
Ripple is a blockchain-based infrastructure designed to facilitate international payments for banks. At present, cross-border transactions often suffer from sluggishness and complexity due to the involvement of numerous intermediaries. Ripple’s ambitious vision revolves around XRP becoming a “bridge currency,” widely adopted by financial institutions to expedite and reduce the cost of settling cross-border payments significantly. By aiming to rival the existing SWIFT system, Ripple seeks to revolutionize the landscape of cross-border payments, offering a faster and more cost-effective alternative for financial institutions
Ripple as a Cryptocurrency
Ripple’s Decentralization Debate:
Ripple has faced criticism regarding its level of decentralization. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, Ripple’s network does not rely on miners; instead, all 100 billion XRP coins were generated at the network’s launch in 2012. The creators retained 20 billion XRP, while the rest was allocated to the company. Although Ripple has been gradually distributing tokens to clients, a substantial amount, nearly 50 billion XRP, remains in an escrow account.
Furthermore, Ripple adopts a list of identified and trusted participants to validate transactions, setting it apart from Bitcoin, where anyone can become a miner or run a node. This centralized approach has led to concerns over Ripple’s control over the inner workings of XRP, causing unease among some crypto enthusiasts.
Interestingly, Ripple’s blockchain-based payment network operates without requiring a bridge currency like XRP. Instead, some institutions have opted to use digital IOUs when adopting the network. Ripple has promoted the use of the XRP token to banks, highlighting potential cost savings. However, the wider adoption of XRP as the mainstream bridge currency remains uncertain and subject to future developments.
Ripple’s Transaction Mechanism:
Ripple relies on a cluster of validator nodes to validate and facilitate transactions. These validator nodes are established through the Ripple Corporation and feature reputable institutions like Microsoft and MIT among their ranks. As more trusted organizations adopt Ripple, new validator nodes continuously join the ecosystem, enhancing the network’s security and efficiency.
One of Ripple’s key strengths is its impressive transaction speed. Thanks to its network of consensus nodes, Ripple can process an impressive volume of up to 1400 transactions per second. Moreover, the average transaction confirmation time stands at a swift 4 seconds, ensuring prompt and seamless transfers.
Unlike traditional transaction fees, Ripple transactions incur virtually no charges. Instead, a minuscule amount of XRP is burned in each transaction, streamlining the process and further incentivizing the adoption of Ripple’s ecosystem.
At present, Ripple’s primary objective centers around the development of its banking ecosystem and the integration of XRP within the platform. However, the company’s vision extends further into the future. Ripple aims to enhance its platform to encompass more than just currencies, envisioning a marketplace where various valuable assets can be exchanged and traded. This ambitious expansion plan seeks to create a versatile and dynamic ecosystem capable of facilitating a wide range of transactions beyond traditional currencies.