Last updated: Feb 18, 2018



To provide a single frictionless experience for sending money globally by connecting banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges, and corporates via RippleNet.


Initial release: 2012
Block explorer:
Supply limit: 1,000,000,000 XRP
Issuance: Initial offering
Block confirmation: Consensus
Consensus algorithm: The Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm
Developments: xCurrent, xRapid, xVia


Ripple began as local exchange trading system in Vancouver by Ryan Fugger in 2004. This platform allowed individuals and communities to create their own money. Jed McCaleb was developing a cryptocurrency in 2011 and co-founded a company called OpenCoin with Chris Larsen in 2012 while also absorbing Ryan Fugger’s Ripple. Jed McCaleb left in 2013 and OpenCoin changed its name to Ripple. Ripple is responsible for the development of many financial products, one of which is a cryptocurrency called XRP. Ripple also forges partnerships and helps institutions integrate into RippleNet. RippleNet is a network of institutions that use Ripple’s products to perform cross-border transactions in real-time. XRP is the cryptocurrency that Ripple intends to offer as an intermediary asset for institutions participating in RippleNet. The majority of XRP tokens created are held by Ripple and its creators for this purpose.

RippleNet Product Suite

The RippleNet Product Suite is comprised of xCurrent, xRapid, and xVia. They help institutions perform cross-border payments in real-time. These products are not part of the cryptocurrency XRP. However, Ripple intends to use XRP to improve the utility and effectiveness of the RippleNet Product Suite.

xCurrent is a real-time gross settlement system that integrates with an institution’s existing infrastructure. It basically allows separate institutions to communicate, settle transactions, and update their private ledgers. It accomplishes this by employing three components: Messenger, Validator, and ILP Ledger. Messenger is a two-way messaging system with an API that translates and standardizes the format of payment messages from these institutions, including information such as amounts, accounts, fees, FX rates, and other payment details. Both institutions may use Validator to confirm the payment cryptographically and update the debits and credits onto xCurrent’s subledgers, which correspond to each institution’s general ledger. This interaction between separate ledgers is called the ‘Interledger Protocol (ILP)’ and allows transactions to be settled between institutions instantly. You can read Ripple’s official xCurrent overview here.

xRapid is for payment providers to increase liquidity by utilizing XRP tokens. This is currently under development.

xVia is for corporates, payment providers, and banks to send payments across RippleNet. This is currently under development.

Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) and XRP

The Ripple Transaction Protocol uses the Ripple Protocol Consensus Algorithm to achieve consensus in the network, thereby validating transactions and blocks. XRP is the native cryptocurrency of the protocol and can be used to provide liquidity to RippleNet, eliminating the need for nostro accounts between institutions. Rather than holding foreign currency at other institutions in order to facilitate cross-border payments, they can simply use XRP as an intermediary asset. Liquidity providers will provide the XRP trading pairs necessary to settle the funds on either end of the transaction. The information below describes how XRP works as a cryptocurrency.

Validators run the Ripple Server software, acting as network nodes by receiving transactions and proposing a block of valid transactions to the network. Validators rely on their own ‘Unique Node List (UNL)’, which is composed of other nodes they trust to compare and update valid transactions in their proposed block. This process is called a consensus round and is repeated until an 80% super-majority agreement of valid transactions is achieved throughout the network. At least 40% of the nodes in a UNL must also appear in the UNL of other nodes. If a node is repeatedly not cooperative and becomes untrustworthy, nodes can remove them from their UNL’s. Once consensus is achieved, the distributed ledger is then updated with all the new valid transactions.

Wallets are comprised of a public address and private key. They are cryptographically generated in the same way as bitcoin wallets, except with a different encoding scheme. An XRP wallet is validated by depositing an amount of 20XRP as reserve. The required reserve amount may be adjusted through consensus but cannot be withdrawn. This reserve requirement also acts as an anti-spam measure to protect the network from malicious attacks. Wallets may hold XRP tokens or alternative debts that represent assets outside the XRP ledger. Trust limits may be established between wallets to control how much alternative debts may be owed from certain wallets.

Gateways issues alternative assets on the RTXP, essentially allowing users to put in and take out assets from the network. Common gateways include exchanges and banks. This means users can approach a gateway to deposit or withdraw money and have this recorded cryptographically in the XRP ledger. This depends on the trust between the user and the gateway. The user trusts that the gateway will honour their deposit and be able to redeem their money later. This allows various assets to transact with each other in a highly liquid environment, which is all recorded on the same XRP ledger.

Transactions transfer assets between wallets, whether it is denominated in XRP tokens or another debt obligation. A small amount of XRP measured in drops is destroyed by a transaction cost as an anti-spam measure to protect the network. This cost can be adjusted by validators through consensus.