Ripple is a network that provides a centralized real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), a currency exchange, and a remittance system. Marketed as a blockchain-based cross-border payment solution for large enterprises in the financial industry, Ripple’s network uses the consensus algorithm. The Ripple ledger, known as the XRP ledger, provides a shared ledger which utilizes nodes that share information about transactions. Nodes agree on which transactions should be considered for the next ledger, thus creating consensus. Released in 2012, the network can operate without the Ripple company that was founded by its team of developers. Ripple has been adopted by banks and financial institutions as settlement infrastructure in payment networks. Ripple supports tokens representing fiat currencies, commodities or any other form of value. Even things like restaurant reward points can be represented by tokens on the network. Even though Ripple’s system is centralized, the protocol is open source, allowing it to be used by anybody. The Ripple ledger is sophisticated enough to hold order books (information on buy and sell offers of currencies and assets) thus creating the world’s first distributed exchange.
The native currency of the Ripple network is XRP. The total supply of 100 billion tokens was created at the network’s inception, with some XRP being destroyed through transaction fees.