What is Ripple?

How Ripple works, where to buy XRP, and why this cryptocoin is controversial

Ripple cryptocurrency logo and hand
Ripple XRP Cryptocurrency.  Melpomenem / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Ripple refers to both a cryptocurrency and an exchange network used by financial institutions to conduct transactions that are cheaper and faster than traditional methods. The Ripple exchange service is often referred to as RippleNET or the Ripple protocol to help differentiate it from the cryptocurrency which is called Ripple or XRP.

When Was Ripple Created?

The technology behind Ripple had been in development from as far back as 2004 however it didn't really begin to take off until around 2014 when major financial services began expressing interest in the Ripple protocol. This growing interest and implementation of Ripple technology resulted in an increase in value of the Ripple cryptocoin (XRP). By 2018, Ripple had a market cap that placed it as the third-largest cryptocurrency just below Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Who Made Ripple?

Ryan Fugger created Ripplepay, a money exchange service, in 2004 but it was Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, David Schwartz, and Chris Larsen who expanded the idea and helped evolve the service and create the Ripple cryptocurrency in 2011. By 2012, Fugger was no longer involved in Ripple and the company, OpenCoin, was founded by the remaining developers to help grow Ripple even further. In 2013, OpenCoin changed its name to Ripple Labs. Ripple Labs began going by just Ripple in 2015.

How Does RippleNET Work?

The Ripple protocol is a service that financial institutions can implement to send money and process transactions almost instantly anywhere in the world. The protocol is powered by the Ripple blockchain and value is transferred by using the Ripple XRP cryptocoin as a token on the network. Basically, money is converted into Ripple (XRP) which is then sent on the Ripple blockchain to another account and is then converted back into traditional money.

Making money transfers via Ripple technology is significantly faster than traditional money transfers which can take several days to process and the fees are almost non-existent. Consumers don't need to own or manage any Ripple (XRP) when making transactions with banks that use the Ripple protocol as this entire process is simply used in the background to speed up and secure basic bank transactions.

How and Where Can I Use Ripple (XRP)?

On its own, the Ripple cryptocurrency, XRP, functions in much the same way as Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, and other cryptocoins. It can be stored in software and hardware crypto wallets, exchanged between people, and used to purchase goods and services.

Bitcoin remains the most-usable cryptocurrency however more websites and cryptocurrency ATMs are adding support for Ripple XRP as it gains in popularity.

Where Can I Buy Ripple (XRP)?

The easiest way to get some Ripple cryptocurrency is via CoinJar which allows for the purchasing of it with traditional bank payments and credit cards. Ripple XRP can also be obtained via a cryptocurrency exchange where users can trade Bitcoin or other cryptocoins for it.

What's The Best Place to Store Ripple?

The safest and most-secure place to store Ripple is on a hardware wallet such as a Ledger Nano S. Hardware wallets such as this protect cryptocoins from being stolen by hackers or malware as they require the pressing of physical buttons on the device to confirm transactions.

For storing Ripple on your computer, a software wallet called Rippex is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux computers. It's important to remember that software wallets are not as secure as hardware wallets though.

Ripple can also be stored in an online exchange however this is not recommended as exchange accounts can be hacked and many users have lost their funds by keeping their crypto on these platforms.

Why is Ripple Controversial?

Ripple has been controversial in crypto circles mainly due to the fact that it’s a cryptocurrency that was created by a company with the intent of being used by major financial institutions. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, however it does stand in stark contrast to most cryptocoins which are made with the intention of being decentralized and not attached to any country or organization.

Something else that has cause controversy with Ripple is the fact that all of its XRP coins are pre-mined. This means that users cannot mine Ripple XRP and that all of them have essentially already been created. Ripple's founder received a lot of criticism after it was revealed that they had given themselves 20% of the pre-mined Ripple XRP. In response to this, they donated half of their XRP to charities and non-profit organizations.