Ripple was originally founded by a single company, Ripple Labs, and continues to be backed by it, rather than the larger network of developers that continue bitcoin’s development. It also doesn’t have a fluctuating amount of its currency in existence. Where bitcoin has a continually growing pool with an eventual maximum, and Ethereum theoretically has no limit, Ripple was created with all of its 100 billion XRP tokens right out of the gate. That number is maintained with no mining and most of the tokens are owned and held by Ripple Labs itself — around 60 billion at the latest count.
Even at the recently reduced value of around half a dollar per XRP, that means Ripple Labs is currently sitting on around $20 billion worth of the cryptocurrency (note: Ripple’s price crashed hard recently, and may be worth far less than $60 billion by time you read this). It holds 55 billion XRP in an escrow account, which allows it to sell up to a billion per month if it so chooses in order to fund new projects and acquisitions. Selling such an amount would likely have a drastic effect on the cryptocurrency’s value, and isn’t something Ripple Labs plans to do anytime soon.
In actuality, Ripple Labs is looking to leverage the technology behind XRP to allow for faster banking transactions around the world. While bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built on the idea of separating financial transactions from the financial organizations of traditional currencies, Ripple is almost the opposite in every sense.
XRP by Ripple price can be found on this page alongside the market capitalization and additional stats.
The Ledger and ConsensusThe Ripple protocol is, at its core, a shared public database. This database includes a ledger, which serves to track accounts and the balances associated with them. The ledger is a distributed database — a perfect, shared record of accounts, balances, and transactions in the Ripple protocol. It is continually and automatically updated by the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP) so that an identical ledger exists on thousands of servers around the world. At any time, anybody can review the ledger and see a record of all activity on the Ripple protocol. When changes are made to the ledger, computers connected to the Ripple protocol will mutually agree to the changes via a process called consensus. The Ripple protocol reaches consensus globally within seconds of a change being made. The consensus finding process is the engineering breakthrough that allows for fast, secure, and decentralized transaction settlement on the Ripple protocol.
The World’s First Distributed ExchangeNo one owns or controls the Ripple protocol. It runs on computers around the world, all working together to continually maintain a perfect, shared record of accounts, balances, and transactions. Distributed networks offer many efficiencies over centralized networks. Because the network is “self-clearing”, it eliminates the need for a centralized network operator (and gets rid of the associated layer of fees). Because there is no single point of failure, distributed networks are more reliable. They also tend to be more secure, due to their open source nature.
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