Ripple, developed in 2012, is a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange and remittance network created by Ripple Labs Inc.
It is built upon a distributed open source protocol, and supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodities, or other units of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes. The ledger employs the native cryptocurrency known as XRP.
The advantages of XRP when compared to other coins include its payment speed and scalability. Ripple network is capable of processing up to 1500 XRP transactions a second, and each transfer takes just around 4 seconds to be completed. For comparison, Bitcoin’s numbers are much more modest: 3-6 transactions a second, and they may take hours to be processed.
Processing itself is quite unique too. Instead of mining, the participants’ consensus is used to confirm transactions. When someone proposes a transaction, a certain percentage of the network’s nodes must agree to its terms for it to be added to the next ledger and therefore processed. If the transaction is disagreed on, it automatically goes to the next round, where it gets another chance. Usually, it’s when it succeeds.
As for its application, XRP aims sky-high. The objective is to simplify cross-border money transfers between banks and other financial institutions. RippleNet plays an integral part in it since it’s the only tool that is capable of processing XRP transactions. XRP is planned to replace USD as the universal currency that banks use for sending money across borders. The progress is somewhat limited as of now, however. If Ripple Labs succeeds in this, it will be nothing short of a revolution.
What’s clearly not as limited is the potency of RippleNet. When compared to it, bank transfers that use SWIFT are highly inefficient. The latter takes a lot of time, includes a variety of fees, and poses significant liquidity and credit risks and requirements. Ripple helps alleviate all of them thanks to its lightning-fast processing speed and eliminated loss of messaging data (the public ledger keeps all the sent information). The price of a single transaction is estimated to be about four dollars lower than one made using SWIFT, too. SWIFT has reacted to the younger contender by updating some of its protocols, but it just confirms the suspicion that SWIFT takes the rivalry seriously. How it’ll all play out is still a mystery, though.
Despite the slight reluctance of some banks to adopt RippleNet to replace outdated SWIFT, a number of financial institutions have put their trust in the emerging tech. Companies such as Santander, Western Union, and UniCredit have already partnered up with Ripple Labs and are already testing its functionality. Not a lot of them use XRP, though. Since RippleNet can be used with assets other than XRP, many players prefer to stick to their old guns. More than 100 companies work with Ripple Labs today. This number is growing slowly but steadily.
To summarise, XRP is quite a unique coin. It is technically impeccable and has a goal with far-reaching consequences. Many financial analysts predict a bright future for both XRP and RippleNet. If you’ve thought about participating in the project, iIt seems like a good time to hop on the train and see where it’s headed.
Can it be mined?
Unlike Bitcoin, XRP cannot be mined. It has all started with 100 billion XRP already in existence, and not a single coin will be created in the future. Seeing how every XRP transaction has a set fee of 0.00001 XRP that is burnt rather than given to someone, the number of XRP will only decrease over time.
Currently, Ripple Labs holds approximately 60% of all XRP in circulation. This situation is typically met with a lot of concerns, and the word ‘centralisation’ is heard often. In reality, though, Ripple Labs encourages people and companies to get involved with RippleNet and XRP to eventually distribute the assets and nodes to prevent any holder from having half the pie.
What’s its use for me?
The obvious answer is its value as an asset. XRP possesses a certain attraction as one. It may not be the token’s main intended use, but using XRP for trading and speculation seems only natural. Our wallet is a handy solution for that purpose.
The potential for the token’s growth is immeasurable. Since XRP is currently battling for a place in the international banking system, it’s got a lot of potential to go up in price and popularity—which is pretty high as it is. Whether it will prevail in that battle, only time will tell. For now, Ripple Labs’ victories heavily outweigh much of the scepticism.
The less obvious one—but arguably much more important—is the coin’s capability to revolutionise the global bank payment system. Even though it may seem that a regular person can’t really affect The Big Scary Executives’ decision concerning the adoption of XRP, merely participating in RippleNet and using XRP can raise awareness of the tech and up its prestige. At the end of the day, if people successfully move value using this new cool network and its native token, it must be worth checking out. Well, let’s hope the big players see it that way. And they should, of course.
You can find more information about Ripple Labs and their products here: https://ripple.com/.