The Complete History of Ripple (XRP)
Ripple is one of the most mainstream cryptocurrencies and still occupies the third place on CMC with a $10 billion capitalization at the moment of writing. It’s very cheap due to a very high amount of coins in circulation (almost 45 billion), and many investors have some in their portfolios. Ripple has been a well-known brand for many years, and despite all controversy around it, Ripple still has a lot of followers and believers. What made them think that Ripple can achieve something that other cryptocurrencies can’t? Let’s see.
Not a proper cryptocurrency
Initially, Ripple was very far from all crypto technologies. Its original brand name was Ripplepay. It was founded by Ryan Fugger, a software developer in 2004 in Vancouver, Canada, long before Satoshi Nakamoto released his first version of the Bitcoin blockchain. Ripplepay didn't use any blockchain technologies, but it had the same purpose - providing its users with tools to be able to securely transact money around the world. Even Satoshi Nakamoto knew about this payment system, giving a remark: "Ripple is interesting in that it's the only other system that does something with trust besides concentrate it into a central server". For many years it was working this way, but in 2012, Fugger sold it to Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, and David Schwartz, who wanted to use it for their future digital currency network. The new company was named OpenCoin.
OpenCoin built its new technology using Ripplepay source code and created a ledger-based payment network for financial institutions and closed two angel rounds of funding in 2013. The same year McCaleb, the former founder of Mt.Gox, left the company, founding Stellar and forking Ripple into a new Stellar Lumens network. As a co-founder of Ripple, he had a large amount of XRP, the network's native coins. McCaleb has already sold 1 billion XRP and still has more than 8 billion.
In 2013 the OpenCoin company was renamed to Ripple Labs, Inc and made the code of the Ripple Network open source. In 2015 they changed the company name again, shortening it to just "Ripple." Since 2016 Ripple has the BitLicense from the New York State Department of Financial Services, allowing it to make operations with cryptocurrencies.
The maturity stage
Over the years, Ripple developed its solutions for the banking industry, including xRapid and xVia, both designed to send payments globally between banks. The first one requires XRP for settlement; the second one doesn’t need any vehicle of value transfer. Both are built on top of xCurrent — the main open-sourced Ripple product. Compared to the traditional SWIFT, the network is a lot faster, providing the settlement time of 4 seconds instead of 2-3 days. Many financial institutions were interested in joining the Ripple network:
- The first real product using the network was developed in 2014 by a global payments service Earthport.
- In 2015 the network was tested by Barclays, BMO Financial Group, CIBC, Intesa Sanpaolo, Macquarie Group, National Australia Bank (NAB), Natixis, Nordea, Royal Bank of Canada (RBC), Santander, Scotiabank, and Westpac Banking Corporation.
- In 2017 the list of Ripple partners increased with many other multi-billion dollar banks, such as BBVA. The payment provider American Express also hopped onboard.
- In 2018 came the Japan-based Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, and the network already had more than 100 members.
Now it seems to be going well for the network. The RippleNet has more than 200 members, and its geography includes over 40 countries and six continents. Currently, 38% of the world’s top 100 banks have joined Ripple.
The acceptance of the crypto community
Not everyone investing in crypto accepts the idea of XRP, because there’s one centralized company behind it. Initially, when the cryptocurrency began to gain popularity, there were people on BitcoinTalk.org, who offered to pay 5 BTC ($500 at that moment) to anyone who would post a message saying that Ripple is a centralized scam, that doesn’t live up to the principles of the true open-source. However, over time the XRP Ledger becomes more decentralized, adding more nodes and removing its own nodes as validators.
Also, people are concerned about the amount of XRP tokens that belong to the team. There are 99 billion tokens, only 44 billion are in circulation, meaning that more than half of all tokens aren’t thrown to the market yet, staying in an escrow account, but someday they are going to be released.
In 2018, the class action lawsuit was filed by investors against Ripple due to unregistered sales of XRP tokens. This legal battle is still going on two years later, but it doesn’t affect their operations at all. Currently, Ripple Labs employs more than 200 people and continues to grow. xRapid is used or trialled by Cuallix, MoneyGram, MercuryFX, Cambridge Global Payments, IDT, Western Union, Viamericas, and Currencies Direct.
The potential of XRP
XRP is one of the top cryptocurrencies. It looks like it’s not going to change anytime soon. Banks are very interested in using blockchain technologies that allow them to save money on transactions, so they’ll continue to test it. That means that we’ll see more good news about XRP and its adoption in the future, and the demand for XRP tokens will continue to grow or at least stay on the same level. If you already have some XRP tokens, you can use them to make more money. CoinLoan allows you to make deposits and take fiat loans backed by any cryptocurrency, including XRP. If you need fiat, you’re not obliged to sell your cryptocurrency portfolio - just use CoinLoan. XRP has a good potential to become the banking standard - and we’ll definitely hear more from the XRP team in the future.