The wide success of Bitcoin has lead to a surge of a large number of alternative cryptocurrencies. These include Litecoin, Namecoin, Ripple, among others. Most of these currencies are built atop the Bitcoin blockchain, and try to address some of the shortcomings of Bitcoin. Ripple has evolved almost completely independently of Bitcoin.
Currently, Ripple holds the second highest market cap after Bitcoin . This corresponds to almost 20% of the market cap held by Bitcoin.
Ripple does not only offer an alternative currency, XRP, but also promises to facilitate the exchange between currencies within its network. Although Ripple is built upon an open source decentralized consensus protocol, the current deployment of Ripple is solely managed by Ripple Labs.
Ripple is trying to revolutionize payment systems through its platform. They described the current banking system as “slow, limited in transparency and expensive”. And therefore claim that it is also inadequate as a Global Payment System. Their idea is to reduce these barriers of entry to enable global payment to become a truly worldwide activity. And so RippleNet was born.
RippleNet is the name given to the Global Payment System of Ripple. It creates a global network of banks in which people can send and receive payments through Ripple technology. They claim the system to have real-time messaging, clearing, and “gross settlement certainty” of transactions.
Gross Settlements is the name given to the transfer of funds or securities between two banks. Gross refers specifically to the ability to enable those transactions to happen one-by-one instead of sending them as a bulk, for example if banks sent all their transactions of one day at the end of each day.
The way it works is by forming partnerships between banks to have access to the RippleNet network. Once a participating bank is part of the network, users around the world can interact with that bank through their own local RippleNet-enabled Bank. Users refers to corporations, individuals, and other organizations looking to participate in banking activities.
Ripple has been able to deliver on their promises by partnering with some of the most successful investors in silicon valley, as well as multiple international banking institutions, regulators, and leaders in technology, such as
- Google Ventures
- Andreessen Horowitz
- CME Ventures
Needless to say the Board of Directors is equally as impressive, and extremely well connected in the financial and banking sectors.