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Basics

  • San Fransisco based
  • Settlement network between banks
  • Short explanation: Enterprise payment network.
  • Longer explanation:

Currently it takes days and massive fees for international payments to go through. Ripple (or the token XRP) is intended to be used by banks and payment providers for rapid, cross-border payments with low fees.

"This startup aims to disrupt Swift, the messaging system the worlds’ banks use to transfer an estimated $6 trillion a day, with RippleNet, with aims to be cheaper, faster and more transparent. While it already has 200 customers for its service, Ripple funds operations (including 300 employees) by selling about $100 million a quarter of its own cryptocurrency, XRP. (XRP’s total market cap now stands at $13 billion, down from its $146.5 billion all-time high in 2018.) RippleNet customers include big names such as Santander, American Express and PNCFull profile"

  • Ripple has many banking partnerships but it’s a common misconception that banks are actually using RippleNet or XRP. In fact, most banks today are building instant payment infrastructure on a Ripple product called xCurrent that has no relationship to RippleNet or XRP.

History

"Founded in 2012 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb, Ripple (Formerly known as Opencoin) is a technology company that develops the Ripple payment protocol. Ripple enables banks, payment providers, digital asset exchanges and corporations to send money globally using blockchain technology. Leveraging the prior work of Ryan Fugger, in 2012 Ripple created the XRP Ledger (formerly known as Ripple Consensus Ledger), an open source cryptographic ledger powered by a peer-to-peer network of nodes. XRP is the native asset of the XRP ledger.

In 2004, Ryan Fugger founded RipplePay, a financial technology company aiming to create a peer-to-peer payments network. Separately, in 2011, a team of Jed McCaleb began development of a new consensus network for digital currencies that would ultimately become the XRP Ledger. Later Chris Larsen, David Schwartz, and Arthur Britto, would join the project and in 2012 McCaleb and Larsen approached Ryan about RipplePay. After discussion with the RipplePay community Ryan handed over the project to McCaleb and Larsen, and in September 2012 they founded Opencoin (re-branded to Ripple Labs in 2013).

In 2013 Ripple released XRP, a native token on the Ripple Consensus Ledger. At launch it created 100 billion XRP tokens of which 80 billion tokens were allocated to the company and 20 billion were given to the three founders. Over the course of 2013 Ripple would raise over $7.5 million from some of the most prestigious venture firms in the united states. Later that year Jed McCaleb would leave the company over internal disputes around the company's vision and would ultimately go on to found Stellar.

After the initial release of the XRP Ledger, Ripple focused its efforts on getting financial institutions to use the ledger to process remittances. Entering the cross border payments market led to regulatory scrutiny, with FinCEN fining Ripple Inc for violating the bank secrecy act in 2015. As part of the remedial plan related to the fine, Ripple Inc agreed to enhance the anti-money laundering capabilities of the XRP protocol and stricter permissioning requirements were added for additional participants to join the network.

To further enhance the credibility of XRP as a partner for traditional financial institutions, Ripple obtained a BitLicense from the State of New York in 2016. The upside of these enhancements and engagement with regulators was it gave XRP the capability to more deeply integrate with the traditional financial system.

Today XRP's primary use is as a bridge currency underpinning Ripple's xRapid product, an on-demand liquidity solution. xRapid allows financial institutions to exchange value between fiat currencies through a network a digital asset exchanges that use XRP a bridge currency for for its liquidity.

To date Ripple has raised over $120 million in venture funding, and XRP is one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world by market capitalization. Ripple and its founding team own the substantial majority of the XRP supply of which Ripple the company programatically sells on a quarterly basis. Since 2016 Ripple has sold over $1.1 billion worth of XRP and XRP sales remain Ripple's dominant source of revenue (and controversy)."

  • More on the background of Ripple and Stellar, from this article (4-2-2019):

"While Mt. Gox was imploding, McCaleb and Chris Larsen co-founded Opencoin to create a new digital currency based on the Ripplepay protocol developed by Ryan Fugger in 2004. McCaleb and team worked to evolve Ripplepay toward a more decentralized system based upon a web of trust among nodes, a concept foundational to Stellar. McCaleb remained with OpenCoin until July 2013 when he left over personal conflict with Larsen and perhaps other issues. A couple of months later OpenCoin officially became Ripple Labs Inc. and fully open sourced its code. It also launched the XRP coin, which is now the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap (McCaleb owns billions of XRP).

In February 2014, McCaleb announced he was working on a secret bitcoin project. The project was revealed as Stellar in July 2014 with the creation of the non-profit Stellar Development Foundation (SDF). SDF’s stated mission is “to promote global financial access, literacy, and inclusion […] through the development and maintenance of technology and partnerships.” Fueled with seed funding from Stripe and other investors SDF launched the Stellar network and the Lumens (XLM) token in July 2014."

Token

Launch

  • Premined/Not Mineable. XRP is a deflationary currency. No new XRPs will ever be created and the fee paid for each transaction is actually burned.

Token allocation

  • All XRPs were created in the network’s inception and originally owned by Ripple. The company has since distributed a significant percentage of XRPs to investors, exchanges, and other institutions. The remaining XRPs have been locked away in a Ripple escrow. A billion XRPs are released by the escrow every month.

"In December 2017, Ripple placed 55 billion XRP into escrow in order to alleviate concerns that a massive amount of XRP could hit the market all at once with substantial negative price impact. 1 billion is being released monthly to support Ripple’s ongoing operation of Ripplenet. Any unused funds are returned to escrow at the end of the month. On average Ripple re-escrows 700 million and 300 million XRP become liquid each month. Even though XRP's outstanding supply is deflationary over time through fee-burning, circulating and liquid supply are massively inflationary due to escrow release, founder's distributions and Ripple sales. At the current burn rate, it would take 20 years for the XRP Ledger to burn what is distributed by Ripple and its founders every day."

"At launch it created 100 billion XRP tokens of which 80 billion tokens were allocated to the company and 20 billion were given to the three founders. In 2014, Chris Larsen committed 7 billion XRP from his allocation to a charitable foundation. Jed McCaleb donated 2 billion of his allocation to a donor-advised fund. In 2014 McCaleb negotiated an exit agreement from the project dictating his remaining allocation would be held in a custodial account and released to him on a monthly schedule. A daily cap on the amount he can sell of the tokens released is included in the agreement. Today, Ripple’s selling restrictions on co-founder Jed McCaleb allow him to sell his allocation at a theoretical maximum rate of 1% of daily trading volume."

  • XRP backers have signed an online petition to ask Ripple to stop dumping coins onto the market.

"Ripple, broadly criticized for dumping millions of dollars on their holders, did not make any sales in exchanges during the mentioned period of time, and only sold $13 million worth of XRP trough OTC channels, according to its own market report. Coincidentally, Ripple saw an influx of $200 million as a result of a funding round in December, a development that could have influenced this sudden stop in XRP sales from the company."

Utility

Token Details

"Whenever parties transact through XRP, one party can set a fee at its convenience to prioritize the execution, but those fees are not returned to any central authority. Instead, they are burned by sending them to an eater address as soon as the transaction clears. 

For projects like Ripple, token burning adds security for users and lets them safely expedite their transactions without perverse incentives. Because there is no incentive to charge higher fees other than for faster execution, users can trust that the network will be used more responsibly."

Stablecoin 

Tech

  • Code can be viewed [insert here].
  • Programming language used:

Transaction Details

 How it works

Mining

Staking

Liquidity Mining

Layer Two

Different Implementations

Interoperability

"XRP partner Flare Networks announcing a project that aims to bridge the Ripple and Ethereum blockchains."

Other Details 

  • Implements ILP
  • Platform; Distributed ledger (but not a blockchain) owned and operated by Ripple Labs, using a ‘proof-of-correctness’ consensus algorithm.

Consensus and nodes

  • Ripple Consensus Protocol Algorithm (RCPA) consists of a few trusted nodes run by banks. Although it doesn’t provide the same level of trustlessness of other consensus methods it is suitable for its intended use case which solely deals with transactions between banks.
  • Permissioned blockchain called RippleNet. Ripple has laid out a decentralisation plan where they’d like to remove the default Unique Node List altogether and encourage the community to build their own lists.
  • From Messari (as of 21-11-2019):

"Although the XRP Ledger is open source and individuals can submit pull request, a full-time development team at Ripple performs the majority of protocol development and determines the roadmap. Ripple acts as a steward of the Ripple network and an advocate for its interests, and builds constructive relationships with governments and financial institutions worldwide.

While each server defines its own trusted validators, in order to ensure a high degree of overlap for the network to reliably reach consensus, Ripple publishes a list of recommended validators called the "Unique Node List" (UNL). Only the votes of the other members of the UNL of are considered when determining consensus, giving Ripple the ability to significantly influence who gets to participate in consensus and who does not. Furthermore, Ripple also participates at the network level of the XRP Ledger, validating transactions."

"The XRP Ledger is managed by an independent network of validators that constantly compare their transaction records. Any server can join to become a Ripple validator and define their own list of trusted nodes; however, in order to ensure a high degree of overlap for the network to reliably reach consensus, Ripple publishes a list of recommended validators called the "Unique Node List" (UNL) that validators consider when building consensus.

Consensus is built through a multi round process where UNL validators share ledger candidates between each other, adding and subtracting transactions until their candidate proposals match what their trusted validators proposed. This process occurs until a super majority (80%) of UNL nodes have matching ledgers. Once a supermajority is reached, each server independently computes a new ledger hash from the agreed-upon set of transactions and compares results. Once a super majority (80%) of validators agree upon the hash of the new ledger candidate, the ledger candidate is considered final."

"..Ripple only running 20% of the top UNL validator nodes, compared to a few months ago this figure was at 27%. The different levels of validators on the XRP ledger:

(3)Low Level XRP Validators- These validators are un-verified and the least trusted on the XRPL

(2)Medium Level XRP Validators- These validators are verified meaning they have been linked to a domain name which verifies your identity, therefore this validator is trusted more than the low level one.

(1)High Level XRP Validators- Known as the Unique Node List (UNL), these are the absolute most trusted validators on the network that have very good computing power and with very long up-time and are incredibly reliable.

So now Ripple only runs 1/5 of the UNL nodes. Meaning that Ripple can’t single handedly come in and make changes to the XRP ledger, they would need approval from the other non-ripple UNL validators."

  • "According to the latest numbers, seven of the 34 UNL validators on the network are owned by Ripple. The Canadian crypto exchange CoinField is the latest to launch a UNL validator."
  • The total amount of nodes (including all levels of validators) on 21-11-2019 was 978.
  • Block production time 10 sec, block confirmation time 1 block

Transactions

  • There is no mining equivalent in RippleNet; you can run a Ripple validator node but validating transactions will not reward you with XRP.
  • Validators can vote on the network’s base transaction fee.
  • RippleNet accounts need to have a minimum of 20 XRP in order to submit transactions to the network. This is known as the account’s “reserve” and is one way the network protects itself from spam.
  • RippleNet has low fees. The current base transaction fee is 0.00001 XRP. The actual transaction fee increases based on the load on the network.
  • RippleNet has a 4 second transaction confirmation time, which is fast compared to Ethereum’s 2 minute confirmation time and Bitcoin’s 10 minute confirmation time
  • RippleNet can consistently handle 1,500 transactions per second, with an upper limit of 50,000 transactions per second. This is comparable to VISA.

ICO's and DEX

  • Anyone can issue new assets onto RippleNet. For example, a bank could issue a token representing a real-world currency like USD or EUR. Companies can issue tokens on RippleNet to run ICOs.
  • RippleNet has a built-in decentralized exchange for all the custom assets on the network.

 Privacy Method being used

Compliance

  • After years of being one of the most known projects in the space, the SEC decided in December 2020 to go after Ripple for being a security and selling it unregistered:

"Three [smaller] cryptocurrency exchanges have stopped trading XRP tokens. This comes on the heels of the SEC filing a $1.3 billion lawsuit against Ripple and two of its executives."

Oracle Method being used

Their Other Projects

CBDC

"Ripple is piloting a private ledger to provide a platform for the issuance of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). The CBDC Private Ledger will be powered by the same blockchain technology as Ripple's public XRP Ledger (XRPL)."

Governance

DAO

Self Funding Mechanism

Upgrades

Roadmap

  • Can be found [Insert link here].

Audits

Bugs

Usage

"98% of XRP transactions are empty, says report. A new research paper finds that several major cryptocurrencies are largely used for the blockchain equivalent of spam."

"95% of Ripple’s customers are not from the US, CEO Garlinghouse says. Potential customers in the U.S. are apparently holding off from using Ripple’s XRP-related services due to regulatory uncertainty."

Projects that use or built on it

"Over 300 financial institutions around the world rely on Ripple’s growing global payments network, RippleNet, to process their customers’ payments anywhere in the world instantly, reliably and cost-effectively. Customers include: MoneyGram, American Express, PNC, Santander, SBI Remit and BeeTech, to name a few."

  • Update (9-3-2021): MoneyGram and Ripple have ended their partnership.

Competition

Coin Distribution

"About 85% of total XRP supply is held by addresses with balance of at least 1/1K."

"Jed McCaleb sold over 130 million XRP, worth $69.3 million, since last week. The remaining balance of McCaleb’s "tacostand" wallet is 480.5 million XRP ($249.8 million)."

Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Clear use case
  • Currently being used
  • Legally compliant
  • Strong links with banks (which for Ripple's use case is needed)

"While things look grim for XRP, there are a few positive signs for the project, such as the growth of On-Demand Liquidity which has processed over $2 billion in transactions since launch and has seen an 11x growth in the first half of 2020, when compared to the first half of 2019."

Cons 

  • Entirely reliant on the banks
  • Very centralised
  • Current issues (2017):

Ripple is the name of the company that created and owns most of the XRP token. It is not considered a decentralised cryptocurrency, as Ripple owns over 50% of all XRP tokens in circulation, as well as the majority of validator nodes in the XRP network.

This is not to say that Ripple the company won’t be successful with their technology, but it should not be considered in the same category as true cryptos such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, and has a long way to go to prove that it’s a reliable, trustworthy platform for international payments.

"There have also been multiple public issues with the project such as the long-lasting class-action lawsuit regarding the marketing and sale of the XRP token. Ripple is also facing a copyright-related lawsuit over the use of the “PayID” brand. Most recently, Santander, one of Ripple’s key bank partners, expressed concerns when it comes to adopting One Pay FX, Ripple’s international payment network."

"A brand-new paper which analyzes the Ripple network concluded that the network does not reach true consensus, as its protocol “may violate safety and liveness,” and doesn’t follow the established models and algorithms for a Byzantine agreement. As there are no proper conditions in terms of network-wide validation in XRP’s network of what’s being communicated through it, the paper explains why it’s vulnerable to simple attacks by threat actors."

Team, Funding, Partners

Team

Ripple was developed by Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, and David Schwartz. They came up with the consensus mechanism. After the launch of Ripple there was a dispute and the company opted to keep the then CEO Chris Larsen which was intolerable to Jed. Jed apparently had difficulty separating personal life from his business life and left the company. He started to tank the price of XRP by dumping his holdings onto he market sparking a legal dispute that was eventually resolved by coming to an agreement that controls the rate at which Jed can sell his XRP.”

Still has 8 out of his 9 billion XRP left. (2-2020)

  • Schwartz, David, Author
  • Wietse Wind, a prominent XRP developer and founder of XRPL Labs
  • Stefan Thomas; former Ripple CTO
  • Catherine Coley; was the head of XRP ($XRP) Institutional Liquidity at Ripple before her hire at BAM (Binance)
  • Ripple as a company has a BitLicence since 2016.

Funding

"Ripple generated revenue from ongoing XRP sales, which account for well over 90% of the company's revenue. There are two types of XRP sales that the company discloses:

  1. Programmatic sales: These come from the company’s XRP reserve, and can be sold at a rate of no more than 0.25% of average daily volume on defined exchanges.
  2. Direct sales from XRP II: These come from direct bespoke deals with institutional clients, and include (per Ripple’s 2016-2017 disclosures) reselling restrictions to ensure its partners do not purchase XRP at a discount from the company and then immediately flood the market with sales.

Ripple has sold over 1 billion USD worth of XRP through Direct Sales and Programmatic Sales."

Xpring

  • Has invested $500 million in over 20 companies since its inception, according to The Block.
  • "Announced a one billion XRP grant to Coil, a content monetization platform founded by former Ripple CTO Stefan Thomas. The grant, currently worth around $261.5 million, will be used to "build an ecosystem of creators, developers, companies and nonprofits that are using XRP through the Web Monetization open standard." Ripple has been increasingly aggressive with how it uses its vast treasury of XRP, selling $251.5 million in the second quarter of 2019, up 50% from the quarter prior, and investing up to $50 million in remittance company MoneyGram."
  • Ripple Is selling 33% of its stake in Moneygram (30-11-2020).

Investors

Partnerships and deals

  • Ripple has many banking partnerships but it’s a common misconception that banks are actually using RippleNet or XRP. In fact, most banks today are building instant payment infrastructure on a Ripple product called xCurrent that has no relationship to RippleNet or XRP.
  • Leader of Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition
  • R3CEv, conducted tests using XRP
  • "Has/d a partnership with R3 but they started to sue each other in 9-2017. R3 had a contract that stated it could buy 5 billion Ripple for a low price and Ripple counter sued claiming R3 didn't follow through on delivering banking ties."
  • Ripple Ventures is partnered with AION
  • Founding member of JS Foundation
  • Initial member of International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA)
  • Completed 30 bank pilots
  • Japanese bank holding and financial services company Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG) said it will use Ripple (XRP) to create a new cross-border payments service to Brazil in a press release Nov. 9, 2018
  • Ripple has partnered with ten more universities including Duke, Georgetown, Cornell, National University of Singapore, and the University of Sao Paulo under their University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI); UBRI gives funding for research, conferences, scholarships, and development of curriculum of crypto-related studies; the initiative launched in June 2018 with 17 universities and a $50M fund
  • has invested $100M in blockchain-based gaming startup Forte, expanding its product into an entirely new market; Forte will control the funds and is looking at investing in gaming ecosystems that average around 50,000 users; Forte is using multiple Ripple technology tools such as the Interledger Protocol and XRP
  • Ripple has agreed to invest $30M into remittance firm MoneyGram with an option for another $20M in the next two years; the deal will see Ripple invest at $4.10 per share, a significant premium to MoneyGram's last closing price of $1.4; for Ripple the partnership will allow them to integrate their XRapid technology, which leverages the XRP token. Update (9-3-2021): MoneyGram and Ripple have ended their partnership.
  • Is one of the investments chosen by Grayscale, owned by DCG (Grayscale also owns 1% of the BTC supply)
  • Decided to partner up with NEM and Cardano creating Blockchain in Europe
  • "Japan's fifth largest bank and one of three banks working with Ripple's ($XRP) and SBI Holding's 'Money Tap' money transfer app has pulled out from the project. The bank, Resona, was a founding partner during the service's launch last October. Resona gave no reason but will cease assistance by May 13th. "
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