XRP is the native cryptocurrency of Ripple, a global money transfer network based on blockchain technology that enables banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges, and other institutions to settle cross-border payments in an inexpensive and efficient manner.
Legacy payment transfer solutions, such as SWIFT, take several business days to settle international fund transfers and charge exorbitant fees because it involves multiple banking partners. Ripple uses the XRP Ledger, an open-source blockchain network, to streamline global payment infrastructure and settle all XRP transactions, allowing businesses to send and receive cross-border payments in three to five seconds. Ripple transactions are not only much faster than SWIFT or decentralized payment networks like Bitcoin, but they are also much cheaper. To be more specific, Ripple’s transaction fees cost only $0.0002.
Companies and financial institutions can use Ripple to send real-time cross-border payments, source crypto liquidity from global crypto markets, and create their own central bank digital currency (CBDC).
While payment was the foundation of Ripple's operations in its early years, the protocol has gradually rebranded into a more robust ecosystem in recent years, owing to the explosion of decentralized applications. Today, Ripple provides an environment in which DeFi and NFT applications can thrive, in addition to enabling lightning-fast and cheap payments.
XRP is the native token used to facilitate transactions on the Ripple network.
There are three core components of the Ripple network:
RippleNet: RippleNet is a network of financial institutions, including global banks, that help users send and receive payments on Ripple. Just like HTTPS provides a common protocol to send information across the web, RippleNet allows value transfer using a uniform set of rules called Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP).
Ripple: Ripple is the core platform powered by XRP Ledger (XRPL) and provides three features, namely the real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange, and remittance transfers.
Gateways: Gateways are banks that act as trusted intermediaries between two transacting parties. These gateways are responsible for transferring funds in fiat and cryptocurrencies using the Ripple network.
Blockchains like Bitcoin or Ethereum are decentralized and rely on trustless consensus mechanisms where users do not need to trust each other to send value. On the contrary, Ripple relies on a trust-based consensus mechanism using the XRP Ledger consensus protocol, where transactions are verified by trusted validators.
The XRP Ledger comprises servers that collect transactions from client applications, such as financial institutions, and processes them. Participants using the Ripple network choose a set of servers that participate in a consensus mechanism from a Unique Node List (UNL) maintained by Ripple. These servers are trusted to behave honestly to validate transactions. As long as 80 percent of servers on the UNL agree on a set of transactions, the transactions are verified. If a majority consensus is not achieved, the validators modify their proposals over several rounds until the UNL servers consider the transitions valid.
The XRP Ledger servers are operated by companies and financial institutions. Ripple, XRP Ledger Foundation, and Coil (a Ripple-funded platform) release lists of recommended validators based on metrics like past performance, verified identity, and IT policies.
Ripple minted a hard-capped supply of 100 billion XRP at launch. Out of these 100 billion XRP tokens, 20 percent were given to Ripple founders Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb, 77.8 percent of XRP tokens were allocated to Ripple, and 0.2 percent were airdropped to users.
In 2017, Ripple sent 55 billion XRP tokens from its allocated supply to an escrow account. It was decided that the company would release a maximum of 1 billion XRP tokens per month to support Ripple's operations. The unused funds are sent back to the escrow account by the end of each month. Messari suggests that nearly 300 million XRP from the escrow account enter circulation each month. As per Ripple, 45 billion XRP tokens are held in the escrow account as of May 2022.
All XRP tokens were pre-mined by Ripple at launch. Thus, you cannot mine new XRP tokens. To ease inflation, Ripple has implemented a deflationary mechanism for XRP wherein all the fees collected on the network are burned.
XRP tokens enter circulation when the tokens are sold in the open market. Ripple cannot sell more than 0.25 percent of the average daily volume of crypto exchanges from their reserves during programmatic sales. XRP sales also come from direct selling by institutions partnering with Ripple.
Ryan Fugger founded a decentralized platform for creating and managing credit lines called RipplePay in 2004, which would later become Ripple. In 2011, Jed McCaleb, with a team of developers, started working on a new consensus mechanism for digital currencies, which was later called XRP Ledger. McCaleb was joined by Chris Larsen, David Schwartz, and Arthur Britto.
A year after, Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen reached out to Ryan Fugger to acquire RipplePay, and Ryan decided to hand over the project to them. After integrating RipplePay, Larsen and McCaleb launched Opencoin (now Ripple Labs) in September 2012.
Ripple Labs released the XRP cryptocurrency in 2012 and raised over $7.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz in 2013 to fund the development of the Ripple project. Since then, be it implementing stricter anti-money laundering policies or obtaining a BitLicense from the State of New York, Ripple has focused on gaining the trust of financial institutions to join their network and process payments.
Ripple is popular among businesses due to the numerous business opportunities it offers. After adding XRP support in 2018, Wirex, a digital payments platform that supports transactions in cryptocurrency, received 12 million in XRP deposits.
Additionally, Ripple gained visibility and credibility in the cryptocurrency industry in 2019. The Swiss SIX exchange launched an XRP ETP (exchange-traded product) in April, making it easier for investors to gain exposure to XRP. Nasdaq also added XRP to its cryptocurrency indexes, which helped to increase awareness and adoption of the cryptocurrency. Furthermore, Boerse Stuttgart, the second-largest stock exchange in Germany, launched XRP exchange-traded notes.
Ripple announced at the end of 2019 that it had raised $200 million from Tetragon, SBI Holdings, and Route 66 Ventures.
Ripple is currently facing legal challenges from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The SEC alleges that XRP is a security and therefore subject to federal securities laws, while Ripple argues that XRP is a currency and therefore not subject to the same regulations.
The outcome of this lawsuit could have far-reaching consequences for the entire cryptocurrency industry, as a ruling in favor of the SEC would set a precedent for the regulatory treatment of cryptocurrencies. Regardless of the outcome, Ripple remains a major player in the global payments space, continuing to build its network of financial institutions and partners.
In a recent interview, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse expressed his optimism that the lawsuit will be resolved soon, stating that he believes the company has a strong case and that they are "eager to have the judge hear the facts."
Ripple, like most blockchains, employs a consensus algorithm to keep the network decentralized. Ripple, in particular, employs the Federated Consensus algorithm, which is more environmentally friendly, faster, and less expensive than Bitcoin's Proof of Work mechanism.
Because there are no predefined selection processes involving mining and staking, anyone can become a validator, which is one of the peculiarities of Ripple's consensus mechanism. Despite the fact that the Ripple validator community is open to all, Ripple maintains a list of trusted validators known as the Unique Node List (UNL). Ripple is in charge of some of the validator nodes on the UNL.
To purchase XRP, users can rely on reputable crypto exchanges like OKX. OKX offers several ways to buy XRP.
If you prefer to use fiat currency, you can use a valid credit or debit card to purchase XRP by clicking the "Buy with card" option from the "Buy crypto" header menu.
Alternatively, you can use your existing cryptocurrencies to obtain XRP tokens through the various trading pairs available on OKX's spot market. You can also visit OKX Convert to swap your digital assets, such as Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH), Tether (USDT), and more, for XRP without incurring any fees or price slippage.
To view the estimated real-time conversion prices between XRP and your preferred fiat currency, such as the US Dollar, EUR, GBP, or others, visit our new OKX Crypto Converter Calculator. OKX's high-liquidity crypto exchange ensures the best prices for your crypto purchases.