XRP is not Ripple
Ripple and XRP are not the same thing, nor are the names interchangeable.
Ripple is a payments company headquartered in San Francisco. XRP is a cryptographically-secured digital asset, native to the XRP Ledger (XRPL). Ripple is one company that utilizes XRP's open source tech, but they aren't alone and everybody is welcome to do so. No permission is needed as there isn't a central authority that exists to grant it.
Often, when people ask about Ripple, what they’re actually interested in learning about is XRP, the 3rd largest cryptocurrency in terms of market capitalization. Unfortunately, many articles that claim to be about XRP are nothing more than opinion pieces about the company, Ripple, instead. It would be analogous to an article titled "Bitcoin" only opining on Coinbase.
"XRP" is no more interchangeable with "Ripple" than "Bitcoin" is with "Coinbase."
The XRP Ledger is a distributed system for the real-time and efficient transfer of value. It’s also a decentralized, global exchange.
The code that runs the XPR Ledger is open source and available to everyone under the permissive ISC license.
XRP was built for enterprise use. It settles transactions in 4-5 seconds, uses minimal energy, scales on-chain, and has transaction fees that are nearly free.
XRP LEDGER at a Glance:
☑ 5+ years and 99.999% uptime
☑ Over 46 MILLION successful ledger closes
☑ Processes 1500+ transactions per second ON CHAIN
☑ A permissionless, open network that ANYONE can join
☑ 1,000+ nodes running worldwide!
☑ The only enterprise-ready blockchain solution for global payments
Is the XRP Ledger a blockchain?
The XRPL is more than just a distributed ledger because it chains and incorporates transactions by secure hash. Each ledger contains the hash of the prior ledger. This organized data is chained together in append-only mode. The hash chain can easily be walked back to any prior ledger and any prior transaction.
XRP was designed as a settlement asset. It’s quick, scalable, and cheap. While banks may issue their own private IOUs, like JPM Coin, only a digital asset without counter-party risk can provide instant settlement.
XRP comes with a utility that most people fail to recognize: The XRP Ledger has had, since inception, a built-in decentralized exchange. Trades are peer-to-peer and automatic, with no hidden fees, brokers or other middle-men.
Coupled with a powerful currency agnostic path-finding feature that can use the decentralized exchange to allow payments to source the cheapest liquidity in real-time, the XRP Ledger is, in essence the world’s first open and universal translator of money.
An Upfront and Honest Beginning
By design, 100 billion XRP were created at inception. The creation and distribution of XRP was governed by a Founder's Agreement, created by Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, and Chris Larsen. The founders kept 20% of the XRP and gifted the remaining 80% to a company they founded named Opencoin, which was eventually renamed to RippleLabs and is known today simply as Ripple.
Some people claim that XRP is “pre-mined.” That’s inaccurate. Ripple Consensus does not involve proof-of-work (commonly referred to as “mining”) therefore XRP cannot be “premined.” A better analogy would be to refer to Bitcoins as "pre-Ripple Consensus" tokens.
Cryptocurrencies are created from code by coders. They are not divine gifts from God. Whoever conceives of the idea has full control over distribution. It’s the philosophical underpinning of a new currency that determines whether the first 5% will be “mined” right away by its creator, while everyone else is forced to jump through hoops for the next 131 years, or whether the new currency will be generated and available immediately, or somewhere in between.
Every digital asset is made up. They don't occur in nature.— David Schwartz (@JoelKatz) February 16, 2018
While Ripple did fund the early development of the codebase and today continues to employ programmers to improve it, the company does not have control over the XRP Ledger; it is on equal footing with any other organization or individual contributing code.
More broadly, the protocol does not use fees to incentivize contributions or the operation of infrastructure; rather it relies on participants deriving value from the continued existence and correct and reliable operation of the XRP Ledger.
The protocol is explicitly designed to prevent making any one party indispensable and does not feature any mechanism to allow a participant to limit or prohibit access to others
☑ Anyone can transact on the XRP Ledger without permission.
☑ Anyone can run a node on the network.
☑ XRP transactions cannot be stopped or censored by anybody.
Ripple is a large holder of XRP, but that does not give them any additional power over the network. Ripple uses their holdings to incentivize market makers to help increase XRP liquidity and strengthen the overall health of the XRP market. Ripple has locked 55 billion XRP (55% of the total possible supply) into a series of escrows, to provide additional predictability to the XRP supply.
Ripple has set a high bar for transparency and continues to be the ONLY company in the blockchain space that lists their holdings and provides a quarterly report of their sales.
What's Ripple up to?
Ripple is slowly but surely putting an end to the monopolistic position SWIFT has held for the past 40+ years.
Ripple is laser-focused on cross-border payments and global settlement. While holders of XRP can use the digital asset for whatever they want, Ripple is positioning XRP to settle international payments. There’s huge value in being able to settle international payments, instantly, with a universal asset. Up until now, it has never been possible.
Ripple’s strategy is to settle institutional, cross-border payments with XRP, an open asset, so that everyone can access and contribute to public pools of XRP liquidity. Financial institutions, for example, can leverage a competitive marketplace for liquidity instead of depending on just one fx provider.
Ripple is building a compliant payments network, RippleNet, on top of an open settlement network, the XRP Ledger. RippleNet is exclusive to the company, Ripple, while the XRP Ledger is open and available to everyone.
RippleNet: A compliant payments network that belongs to Ripple.
(built on top of)
XRP Ledger: An open settlement network (and distributed exchange) that belongs to everyone.
Ripple connects banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporates via RippleNet to provide one frictionless experience to send money globally. XRP provides on-demand liquidity. XRP is not being marketed to banks. Market-makers provide liquidity. Banks provide volume. Ripple is building a massive payments system that will leverage XRP as a universal settlement asset.
The 3 main solutions Ripple currently offers are:
- xCurrent – Enterprise software solution that enables banks to instantly settle cross-border payments with end-to-end tracking.
- xRapid – A low-cost liquidity solution powered by XRP. xRapid dramatically lowers the capital requirements for liquidity.
- xVia – Simple API access to RippleNet for on-demand, real-time payment executions, accompanied with rich information, like invoices, attached.