Everybody is talking about Ripple these days although there are a lot of people who have burnt ther fingers in investing when the currency gained an all time high of $3.50 a few weeks ago only to fall back to the $1.30 levels now. However Ripple is not just about investment but also about making it big in the international payments scene. With its recent agreements with payments based provider Moneygram amongst others the crypto currency is looking to go places.
Ripple is the name of a payment network and the payment protocol which powers it. It was developed and released in 2012 by a company of the same name, in order to enable "secure, instant and nearly free global financial transactions". It is built on principles similar to those of Bitcoin, so many people consider it a cryptocurrency. However, unlike Bitcoin, the source code of Ripple's technology is owned privately by the company, which means that it cannot be verified by any outsider. Ripple is a very popular network: many banks across the world use it as the basis for their own settlement infrastructure, and its native currency XRP (ripples) has been consistently present in the top 5 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization for the past several years.
So, what is Ripple, exactly? Ripple is both a payment network (RippleNet) and a cryptocurrency (Ripple XRP) created in 2012. RippleNet connects banks and other big institutions and allows them to transfer money and other assets through the network. All transactions are recorded on the decentralized XRP Ledger.
Ripple XRP is the currency used in the payment network for all transactions, reducing the time and money associated with cross-border payments. Each transaction through the system is processed in only four seconds. For comparison, Ethereum takes more than two minutes, Bitcoin over an hour, while traditional systems can take between three and five days.
The currency is also scalable — it can handle 1,500 transactions per second. Bitcoin, on the other hand, can reportedly only handle seven in the same timespan. That’s one of the reasons Bitcoin Cash now exists.
In addition to being fast and scalable, the Ripple network also offers low transaction fees. Because of its benefits, the system is already being used by more than 75 financial institutions across the globe.
So what is the main difference between Ripple and Bitcoin? Ripple is a payment network for financial institutions and is a competitor to systems like SWIFT. It can also be traded, but was never intended to be a payment method for buying stuff online. Bitcoin aims to become a globally adopted currency that could improve or even replace conventional money.
Another common criticism of Ripple XRP is that it’s not decentralized like Bitcoins and other cryptocurrencies. The company created all coins before the launch and still owns more than half of the supply. That could however have a positive impact on the price in the future.
Banks, payment providers and digital asset exchanges process and provide liquidity for payments on RippleNet, creating new, competitive cross-border payments services for their customers. Amongst their impressive roster of companies one can find Westpac, Santander and Credit Agricole with the list increasing all the time.
Ripple is built on the most advanced blockchain technology that is scalable, secure and interoperates different networks. It also provides optional access to the world’s fastest and most scalable digital asset for payments. Ripple is signing new partnerships with both hands. New clients are continually being added to its testing platform. Just this month, three major partnerships have been signed.
One of the world’s largest money transfer companies in the world, Moneygram International Inc (NASDAQ: MGI), signed up with Ripple earlier this month to test its platform for cross-border transactions. Then, on Wednesday this week, the company added two new partners—IDT Corporation (NYSE: IDT) and MercuryFX. Wth much expected to be added in the not too distant future, the currency value can only rise exponentially.