By: Sameer Zubairi | 3 min read

What Is Ripple?


Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange and remittance network. Using a common ledger that is managed by a network of independently validating servers that constantly compare transaction records, Ripple doesn’t rely on the energy and computing intensive proof-of-work (POW) used by Bitcoin. Ripple is based on a shared public database that makes use of a consensus process between those validating servers to ensure integrity. Those validating servers can belong to anyone, from individuals to banks.

The Ripple protocol (token represented as XRP) is meant to enable the near-instant and direct transfer of money between two parties. Almost any type of currency can be exchanged, from fiat currency to gold to even airline miles. They claim to avoid the fees and wait times of traditional banking and even cryptocurrency transactions through exchanges.

What’s more, Ripple’s token, XRP, isn’t mined like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and many other cryptocurrencies. Instead, it was issued at its inception, similar in fashion to the way a company issues stocks when it incorporates: It essentially just picked a number (100 billion) and issued that many XRP coins.


Ripple was originally released in 2012 as a subsequent iteration of Ripplepay.
XRP was conceived by its founders, Chris Larsen, Jed McCaleb, and Arthur Britto in 2012 with a 100 billion supply. Of which, 20 billion XRP were retained by the creators (Jed, Chris, and Arthur — also founders of and shareholders in OpenCoin) and the remaining 80% were gifted to OpenCoin, Inc.

By mid-2013, an XRP community had begun developing, with the XRPTalk forum spinning off from Bitcointalk members that saw the potential XRP had to offer. Though eventually replaced by XRPChat, the forum was the catalyst behind the growth of the XRP community, which is now one of the largest in the crypto world and active across various social media platforms.

XRP then began to increase its trading volume, though initially dependent on a small number of exchanges, including Bitstamp and Gatehub. The volumes were small compared to today’s standards, but an important step in establishing XRP as one of the most widely exchanged cryptocurrencies post 2016.


  • The XRP Ledger is fast: settling payments in 4 seconds and aiming to improve on that. That’s hard for anyone to beat.
  • It can handle around 1,500 transactions per second 24/7 and can scale to handle the same throughput as Visa.
  • It has a minimum transaction fee of just 10 drops (0.00001 XRP). This is not paid to any party however and is irrevocably destroyed as an anti-spam feature (along with the XRP account reserve balance) designed to make it prohibitively expensive to DDoS the XRP Ledger network. Whilst the transaction cost is pretty nominal, there are others like IOTA for example that offer a zero transaction fee.

The Ripple network strives to provide on-demand liquidity to banking institutions for the fast processing of exchanges occurring around the globe. Moreover, the company has brought attention to the growing need of an international economy to establish a banking system that allows the quick and seamless processing of cross border transactions. Essentially, this is what sets Ripple apart from the rest.

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