Ripple is, without a doubt, very different from other popular cryptocurrencies. It is one of the earliest cryptocurrencies not built upon the PoW blockchain of Bitcoin. Instead, it uses something called ‘consensus’, which uses peer-to-peer debt transfer. Ripple was created in 2011 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb. It used the ECDSA (a variant of DSA) hash function.
Ripple is designed specifically for facilitating cross-border transactions. It serves as a platform for banks and organizations to send and receive money across the globe. As such, it is one of the few cryptocurrencies that can be directly exchanged for fiat currency. It must be understood that Ripple is a payment protocol and a currency-exchange network. Its tokens are called XRP.
The primary attraction of Ripple is its blinding processing speed. An average transaction takes 2 minutes on Ethereum, between 10 minutes and an hour for Bitcoin, and many days for the more traditional cryptocurrencies. For Ripple, it is mere 4 seconds. This speed has allowed Ripple to serve as a medium of exchange in global transactions. On the other hand, it is also introduced cryptocurrency in cross-border transactions, encouraging many others to find use-cases beyond digital cash. Ripple also has very high scalability. It can handle 1500 TPS (transactions per second), the highest among any cryptocurrency.
Currently, Ripple is the third most popular cryptocurrency in the world, accounting for 4 percent of the total market cap. XRP tokens can’t be used for regular transactions like Bitcoin, but they have their uses. XRP has a whopping supply cap of almost 100 billion coins, of which 43 billion+ are already in circulation. With more than half the possible coins still to be issued, it leaves a lot of scope of investment. Ripple has also found a real-world application (unlike many other cryptocurrencies that only serve as investment options), hence its value is likely to rise stably. It is perhaps why big names like Google and Accenture are already backing it.