What is Ripple?

Understanding the XRP Token and Ripple Protocol

Ripple (XRP) is a popular cryptocurrency token native to the Ripple network (RippleNet). The token has been around since 2012 and has one of the top market caps in crypto.[1]

Ripple can be understood like this:

  • Ripple (XRP) is the “cryptocurrency token” native to “the Ripple Network.” It’s the cryptocurrency that trades on the market under the symbol XRP (and its what most people mean when they say “Ripple”). To avoid confusion, one can call the native cryptocurrency token of Ripple by its proper name, XRP.
  • The Ripple network (also called “RippleNet”), AKA the Ripple Payment protocol, is a open source, peer-to-peer, real-time payment system (like Bitcoin’s blockchain or Ethereum’s network) that can be used to transfer both fiat currencies and the Ripple cryptocurrency XRP. A few different “products” exist on this network, each of which has a different function.
  • Ripple is also a company. The company develops and maintains the ripple protocol.

Ripple’s underlying system can also be described as a “realtime gross settlement system” (meaning it can be used to transfer funds and settle them in real time) that allows for currency exchange and remittance (the transfer of money); i.e. its a system for transferring money online in real time.

Its based around a shared, public database (AKA ledger) which uses a consensus process (much like Bitcoin’s blockchain).

Essentially, it’s like other cryptocurrencies and their blockchain based protocols, but uses a unique technologies and processes.

Ripple is marketed by its team to both individuals and banks and touts the fact that it can be integrated into other systems (such as into traditional banking systems).

Ripple sometimes catches flack for being marketed to big banks, however Ripple should be given credit for innovating in the cryptocurrency space and helping to bring cryptocurrency into the banking world.

FACT: Rippling is a term that helps describe the way Ripple works. Consider this passage from Wikipedia: When a non-XRP payment is made between two users that trust each other, the balance of the mutual credit line is adjusted, subject to limits set by each user. In order to send assets between users that have not directly established a trust relationship, the system tries to find a path between the two users such that each link of the path is between two users that do have a trust relationship. All balances along the path are then adjusted simultaneously and atomically. This mechanism of making payments through a network of trusted associates is named ‘rippling’. It has similarities to the age-old hawala system.

Article Citations
  1. Ripple.com

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele has been working in the cryptocurrency information space since 2015 when CryptocurrencyFacts.com was created. He has contributed to MakerDAO, Alpha Bot (the number one crypto bot on Discord),...