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XRP Is A Cryptocurrency Like The USS Zumwalt Is A Boat

Image stolen and altered from a presentation given by Stefan Thomas.

XRP is a cryptographically secured digital asset with verifiable mathematical properties, similar to how we can reliably verify gold as a substance made of atoms with 79 protons. The XRP ledger’s headers are like Bitcoin’s block headers, both chain & incorporate transactions by hash.]

The XRP Ledger is a cryptographic system. Accounts are identified by cryptographic identities. Transactions are authorized by cryptographic signatures matching these identities. Users can use cryptographically signed transactions to store and transfer almost anything (euros, gold, company shares, etc).

Among other things, XRP is a cryptocurrency.

By design, 100 billion XRP were created at Ripple’s inception and, per the rules of the protocol, no more XRP can ever be created. Transactions are verified through Consensus, in which the entire network agrees on the same ledger. All of this happens independent of a central bank.

Some people claim that XRP is “pre-mined.” That’s inaccurate. Ripple Consensus does not involve proof-of-work (commonly referred to as “mining”) therefore XRP cannot be “premined.”

Cryptocurrencies are created from code by coders. Crypotcurrencies are not divine gifts from God. Whoever conceives of the idea has full control over distribution. It’s the philosophical underpinning of a new currency that determines whether the first 5% will be “mined” right away by its creator, while everyone else is forced to jump through hoops for the next 131 years, or whether the new currency will be generated and available immediately, or somewhere in between.

It has also been said that “real” cryptocurrencies have their own blockchain. XRP meets this requirement. It exists natively on the XRP Ledger as a counterparty-free asset, similar to Bitcoin. XRP forms a core part of its blockchain as part of an incentive scheme. There is a transaction fee to use the XRP Ledger (~.0001XRP) and it must be paid in XRP. This transaction fee is not collected by anyone; the XRP are destroyed and cease to exist. Having a cost associated with ledger entries helps prevent ledger flooding attacks.

XRP consistently handles 1,500 transactions per second, 24×7, and can scale to handle the same throughput as Visa. (50,000 transactions per second, as of July 15, 2017.)

XRP transaction fee = 1/100th of a cent!


XRP comes with a utility that most people fail to recognize. Aside from providing an anti-spam mechanism, XRP comes equipped with GPS! The XRP Ledger has a pathfinding algorithm designed to route every transaction to the cheapest possible path. It’s currency agnostic and even has a built-in foreign exchange component.

To illustrate how important (and unsolved) pathfinding is for other projects, take a look at misguided comment by Greg Maxwell’s (Blockstream CTO) about using Ripple’s pathfinding method for the Lightning Network. (Hint: They can’t.)

XRP was designed as a settlement asset. It’s quick, scalable, and cheap. While banks may use the Ripple network to swap their own private IOUs, only a digital asset without counter-party risk can provide instant settlement.

So Much FUD


The XRP Ledger has no administrative functions.

Issuers of assets (IOUs) on the XRP Ledger can freeze their own assets, but XRP is not an issuance and nobody can freeze it. Additionally, Ripple can’t freeze ANYTHING because Ripple doesn’t issue assets.

Ripple doesn’t issue any assets on the ledger and there are no trust lines that end at Ripple.

The XRP Ledger is a tool, similar to Bitcoin’s Blockchain. KYC tools cannot be built into a global ledger because nobody has that kind of jurisdiction. Any business that chooses to build on either of these protocols is responsible for complying with their jurisdiction’s anti-money-laundering regulations and they would add compliance features ON TOP OF THE PROTOCOL.

Permissioned? Hell no.

Similar to the Blockchain, the XRP Ledger is an open-source protocol, with globally distributed validators. Anyone can access the protocol and everyone has an equal right to use it. It’s a system with no central authority. Ripple does not control the network, collect fees, or limit access.

Moreover, Ripple validators do not have the ability to censor transactions. The rules of the protocol determine whether or not a transaction is valid. Validators order transactions using deterministic rules. They do not have the power to make arbitrary decisions.

With Bitcoin, however, miners have complete freedom to select which transactions to include in a block.

Anybody who wants to participate in the network is free to do so. Running a Ripple validator is similar to running a Bitcoin full node. By running your own, you don’t have to rely on somebody else. Ripple doesn’t pay people to run validators, so rent-seekers will have to look elsewhere.

Setting up a validator is easy. My validator synced to the network in 130 seconds and proposed in 401 ledgers before I finished my beer.