Ripple is a currency exchange, remittance network, and cryptocurrency. Ripple aims to create a system whereby users can instantly send financial transactions internationally at almost no cost. Ripple supports several units of value that represent fiat currency, cryptocurrencies, or even mobile minutes and frequent flyer miles. The advantages of Ripple’s distributed ledger have led significant banks around the globe to use their systems.
Ripplepay, the predecessor of Ripple, was created in 2004 by Canadian web developer, Ryan Fugger. He wanted to provide a decentralized monetary system that could allow for individuals and communities to develop their own currencies.
In 2011, Ripple was taken to the next level when Jed McCaleb sought out to develop a consensus-based verification method. This is also commonly referred to as the proof-of-work system. It would act as a significant differentiator among many active cryptocurrencies which lead today’s market. This verification method would use less energy than many companies since “mining” would not be necessary. Also, the technique would make transaction times much quicker than cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin. Another appealing feature of Ripple’s consensus protocol is that it prevents double spending by allowing account balances to be deployed in their networks.
Business executive and investor, Chris Larsen, teamed up with McCaleb in 2012 to propose further plans for the digital currency. Shortly after, Fugger passed along the torch to Larsen and McCaleb. They continued to construct OpenCoin and later on, Ripple Labs. The Ripple Transaction Protocol was then put into place. This proved as the catalyst for Ripple’s ability to facilitate an instant and direct transfer of funds.
Ripple is an open-source cryptocurrency based on a private blockchain. This permission-based cryptocurrency sets itself apart from other companies in the space in several ways. Many significant cryptocurrencies are often decentralized, meaning that almost anyone can access or “mine” them. Ripple transactions are completed through a central blockchain, however. Essentially, no more XRP can ever be mined. The coins that are currently in existence makeup all that is and will ever be available to the market. Banks and financial institutions are reaping the benefits of Ripple systems by being able to communicate with one another directly. However, many voices in the industry criticize their potential for central authority.
Ripple’s native token is known as XRP and is a decentralized digital asset. XRP has a transaction time between three and four seconds, making it notably quicker than other popular cryptocurrencies. It can also handle a load of 1,500 transactions every second. Fractions of the XRP token are called “drops” and can be divided into tiny sections that equal one whole XRP. While XRP is Ripple’s only native currency, users are not required to use the token as a means of exchange. They are required, however, to hold a small amount of the token to protect against spam. A total of 100 billion XRP tokens were released. 20 billion of these tokens were retained by the creators of Ripple and Ripple Labs. The company experienced a fair amount of criticism for having “pre-mined” tokens. XRP distribution can be tracked on the Ripple charts website.
While most cryptocurrency exchanges will allow you to buy Ripple coin, not all of them do. Recommended exchanges include Bitstamp and Kraken, but other trusted sites are Binance and Bitsane. Also, you’ll need a Ripple wallet. A hardware wallet like the Ledger Nano S is a popular option. Other common digital XRP wallets are Toast and Abra. Be sure to do your research to store Ripple securely. Security is never something that should be taken lightly.
Ripple currently sits at number three in the cryptocurrency market capitalization. XRP is highly sought after due to its opportunities for real-life application, particularly for banks. This contradicts the functionality of many other altcoins on the market.
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