Ripple is a payment software for banks and businesses.
Unlike most of the enterprise payment software, Ripple is designed to be fast and cheap.
RippleNet is a network that uses Ripple Protocol. Banks and other parties connected to RippleNet can transfer assets to each other. Assets can be cryptocurrencies, fiat currencies, or even gold.
To start using RippleNet, party first needs to select a gateway and send an asset to it. Then, this party will have a specified amount of debt issued by a gateway on RippleNet. After that, the party can send this debt to other accounts and receive other debt in exchange. Finally, the party can change debt on RippleNet back to real asset via a gateway. The transfer of debt happens only by parties who trust each other.
When transferring assets, you can use XRP. It is special in the way that you actually transfer the currency itself, not the debt. You need to trust gateway in a sense that they may never trade debt to real asset, but you don’t need to trust other parties when using XRP.
All transactions are written into public blockchain. The transaction information is stored publicly, though each party is hidden by pseudonymous wallet address.
Validators are the nodes who participate in voting. In RippleNet, consensus reached as follows. A group of nodes votes on whether to accept the new transaction. If the majority of voters agrees, this transaction is defined as valid and propagated to all other nodes.
All XRP coins were initially created in developers wallets, and no coins will ever be created. The team plans to distribute most of the coins as fair as possible, keeping some coins to fund development.
- October 14, 2011: first code on Github github.com
- May 5, 2014: Fidor Bank as the first bank to use Ripple protocol ripple.com
- Dec 4, 2014: Partnership with Earthport, cross-border payment provider for banks and businesses. ripple.com
- September 29, 2016: Release of version 0.33.0. Among other features, makes support for payment channels: means of making high-volume, low-value transactions. ripple.com
- December 20, 2016: Release of version 0.40.0. Support for suspended payments: escrow of XRP with an expiration date. ripple.com