Ripple has grown explosively over the past few weeks. In fact today it grew almost 35%. it is one of the biggest gaining currency of the day and I want to share with you guys what Ripple is.
Protocol vs. Currency
So lets start off with one confusing factors. So I must make a distinction between Ripple the transaction protocol (which is used between banks and other businesses) and the ripple issued currency, XRP. When you see Ripple making gains its actually the XRP, the currency that is issued by Ripple, that is gaining. And this is actually quite different from the network protocol or Ripple protocol. Both share the same name and I’m sure this has definitely confused a lot of investors.
So lets start off with the transaction network known as Ripple. So the Ripple protocol is based on technology that's similar to blockchain but not completely the same. It doesn't require any mining and its based on a consensus network instead of being consumer-facing which is what Bitcoin is. Basically, it's for the everyday person.
Ripple is exclusively used by big institutions such as banks. The whole idea of Ripple is to allow banks to transfer any sort of asset, be it currency, USD, Euro, gold, or any other asset such as airmiles. You can transfer that between other institutions near instantaneously. This rivals systems such as swift. So if you ever bought Bitcoin with bank transfer you will know how painful that is. You have to contact your bank and send the transaction to a swift bank code account and this might take up to two to three days and theres a lot of transaction fees involved for both the sender and the receiver. Ripple is set to revolutionise this by providing near instantaneous, sub-second transactions for institutions such as banks. It’s already been adopted by quite a few big banks and
XRP - Currency of the Ripple Network
So now that I explained what is the Ripple transaction protocol, let’s move on to Ripple XRP. XRP is actually issued by Ripple Labs and is a form of cryptocurrency that can be traded and it’s not “mined”. So there is a finite number of ripples and that amount is actually issued by the company behind Ripple called Ripple Labs. Currently, it is freely tradable on numerous exchanges such as Poloniex.
XRP by itself has no underlying related assets or values eg. Its not tied to USD or gold. Rather, it can be used to act as an intermediate currency in institutions. It has one huge advantage in that transaction costs are very, very low (unlike Bitcoin, which is now reaching 1.5 usd in transaction fees).
Concerns about Ripple
So moving on, XRP is currently only issued out at less than 40% of its total. The remaining amount (minus the 20% retained by the creators of Ripple) is held by Ripple Labs to distribute whenever and however they so wish. This is actually kind of interesting because unlike a lot of decentralized currencies, Ripple Labs plays a huge part in distributing XRP. Ripple Labs is actually a company and this is very different from Bitcoin, where Bitcoin is fully decentralized and doesn’t have a central controlling authority. Ripple Labs is registered in many countries and it could be sued and held under police custody. This is again very different from other technologies.
So that’s a little information regarding the Ripple protocol and XRP. I’m sure this may be a little bit confusing for some people and since the technology and the currency share the same name it could be misunderstood. I hope this clarifies a little for you about what Ripple protocol is and what XRP is.