What is Ripple: Unraveling the Mysteries of a Digital Payments Giant

Ripple – a name tied to the future of digital payments. But what is Ripple? Explore its history, technology, partnerships, and future in our detailed guide.

Ripple is a fascinating, paradigm-shifting entity in the world of digital payments, often eliciting queries like “What is Ripple?” Although it is most renowned for its connection to the cryptocurrency XRP, understanding Ripple requires diving deeper than simply linking it to a single cryptocurrency. Ripple is an ambitious, innovative company, spearheading change in the realm of real-time, cross-border payments.

What is Ripple – Definition

Ripple is a digital payment protocol company that was established in 2012. Its primary focus is to enable fast, low-cost international money transfers. Ripple uses its technology, RippleNet, to connect banks and payment providers globally, facilitating real-time, blockchain-based transfers. Rather than being simply a cryptocurrency, Ripple’s associated digital asset, XRP, is used within its network to improve liquidity and enable efficient cross-border transactions.

Rippple’s logo.

History of Ripple

Ripple was born from an idea by Ryan Fugger in 2004. The original concept was a decentralized monetary system where communities could create their own money. This idea evolved over time and, by 2012, was re-envisioned by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb as OpenCoin, which would eventually become the Ripple we know today.

In 2012, the company created RippleNet, a global payments network allowing banks and other financial institutions to transfer money seamlessly across borders. It was an innovative leap, designed to make cross-border transactions faster, cheaper, and more reliable.

By 2013, the company decided to rename itself as Ripple Labs and further established its dedication to blockchain technology and digital payments. It was also during this time that XRP was introduced, not as a cryptocurrency to rival Bitcoin, but as a kind of ‘bridge’ currency to facilitate transactions between different fiat currencies.

In 2015, Ripple Labs became simply Ripple, as we know it today.

Ripple’s Groundbreaking Technology

Ripple stands out because of its innovative technology, which aims to overcome the limitations of the existing international payment infrastructure. Traditional banking systems depend on a network of correspondent banks, which makes cross-border payments slow, costly, and uncertain.

Ripple provides an alternative through its RippleNet network. For liquidity, RippleNet uses the XRP Ledger, a blockchain technology that allows assets to be transferred almost instantly. The use of XRP, the native cryptocurrency of the XRP Ledger, further optimizes liquidity for banks, reducing the need for nostro accounts—pre-funded accounts held by a bank in a foreign country in that country’s currency.

The system is underpinned by the consensus protocol, which is designed to support fast, low-cost transactions and prevent double-spending. This is a stark contrast to the energy-intensive Proof of Work protocol used by Bitcoin.

Ripple’s Major Partnerships

Ripple has a long list of partnerships and collaborations with major banks and financial institutions worldwide, further highlighting its significance and potential impact.

One of Ripple’s most prominent partnerships is with American Express and Santander. In 2017, the companies launched a blockchain-based service for cross-border payments between the US and the UK, using Ripple’s technology.

In 2020, Ripple collaborated with Azimo, a digital money transfer service, to create a remittance corridor to the Philippines. Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service, which uses XRP to remove the need for pre-funding in cross border payments, played a key role in this partnership.

In Asia, Ripple’s influence is seen through its partnership with SBI Holdings, one of Japan’s major financial conglomerates. Together, they formed SBI Ripple Asia, aiming to bring Ripple’s technology to Asian markets.

Thanks to companies like Tranglo, Mercury FX, iRemit, Lemonway, Pyypl, FlashFX, Xbaht, FINCI, Modulr or Novatti, which all are partners of Ripple, the On-Demand Liquidity solution that relies on XRP is available in dozens of countries all over the world.

The Future of Ripple

The future of Ripple looks promising, as it continues to forge new partnerships and expand its influence globally. Despite facing some regulatory issues, Ripple continues to evolve and push the boundaries of what is possible in the world of digital payments.

Ripple’s vision for the ‘Internet of Value’ – a world where money moves as easily as information does today – is steadily taking shape. As more institutions join RippleNet, and as the company continues to innovate, the question “What is Ripple?” will increasingly become “How does Ripple work?”, “Why should I use Ripple?”, and “How can Ripple benefit me?”

In the years to come, it’s conceivable that Ripple could revolutionize the way money is transferred around the world, making it faster, cheaper, and more efficient. For businesses and individuals alike, Ripple could make sending money across borders as simple as sending an email.

Despite the occasional bumps on the road, Ripple’s ambitions remain lofty and its trajectory positive. With its innovative technology, growing list of partnerships, and pioneering spirit, Ripple is well-positioned to continue shaping the future of digital payments.


In response to the query, what is Ripple, we can see that Ripple is much more than a cryptocurrency or a blockchain company. It’s a digital payments protocol company that’s pioneering a revolutionary approach to sending money around the world. Through a combination of innovative technology, strategic partnerships, and an unwavering commitment to its vision, Ripple is making a significant impact on the global financial system.

While the journey has only just begun, the future looks promising for Ripple. As more people begin to understand what Ripple is and appreciate the potential benefits it offers, we can anticipate further growth and innovation from this pioneering company.

Was this helpful?