What is Ripple (XRP)?
Ripple, long considered a first-generation banker-friendly cryptocurrency, is a Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) payment processing system as well as currency exchange. It is built upon an open source, distributed network, contains shared public consensus ledger (like bitcoin’s blockchain) and its native unit of money is known as the Ripple (XRP).
History of Ripple
Ripple was released in 2012. Arthur Britto, David Schwartz and Ryan Fugger were the major contributors to the concept and the release. 100 billion XRPs were created during the inception of Ripple and the protocol doesn’t allow for the creation of new XRP. Since then, many leading banks from across the world have adopted Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) as their choice for inter-currency transactions, which generally take 3-5 seconds. Ripple also has expanded its global presence by opening up offices in several countries.
In 2014, the Stellar Foundation claimed that the consensus ledger can be hacked, but Ripple vehemently denied the claim, pointing to the lack of evidence of successful hacking attempts upon its network.
How Ripple Works
Ripple offers 3 main services: xCurrent to process global transactions, xRapid to offer on-demand liquidity, and xVia for business payments.
When someone initiates a Ripple payment (local or global), the transaction is approved by the system’s Consensus Ledgers. The amount (in sender currency) is then converted into XRP and the same XRP is sent to the receiver. Then, the XRP is converted to the local currency and sent to the receiver. In this way, Ripple can be used to facilitate the exchange of one denomination of fiat currency for another, achieving faster settlement times than traditional methods used by global banking operations.
- Consensus Ledger: Unlike bitcoin which relies on miners, Ripple makes use of public consensus ledgers where anybody can be a transaction validator, including banks and market makers. These ledgers are actually independent validating servers who constantly compare records against each other. A new ledger is created every 3-5 seconds. Any transaction which happened during those 3-5 seconds are reflected on the new ledger. This makes the Ripple network super-fast compared to most other cryptocurrencies.
- Free, Fast Forex Transactions: Due to the same reason, the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) is used for fast fund transfers internationally. Payments are initiated and authorized only by the account holder and no third-party intermediary is involved. There are no chargebacks for payments confirmed by the network.
- Versatility: Deposits into Ripple accounts can be made via traditional currencies like USD, EUR, MXN, NZD, GBP, JPY, etc., popular cryptocurrencies like BTC, LTC, ETH, etc., and even via physical commodities like gold, silver and platinum.
- Bitcoin Compatibility: Using Bitcoin Bridge, it is possible to transact between a bitcoin wallet and a Ripple wallet directly.
- Enhanced Privacy: The consensus ledger keeps the transaction information public, but personally identifiable details are not kept on these ledgers. Thus, nobody can trace any transaction to any particular user or company.
- Magento Integration: E-commerce websites are mostly made using Magento, and thanks to Ripple’s system-native REST API, Magneto can directly read the consensus ledger of Ripple and create an invoice. Thus, fast, easy payment processing is enabled even for orders from abroad.