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A brief history
RippleNet was founded in 2012 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb and is based on the work of Ryan Fugger, who created the XRP Ledger- an open-source cryptographic ledger powered by a peer-to-peer network of nodes. XRP’s main aim is to increase the speed and reduce the cost of transferring money between financial institutions. XRP does this through an open-source and peer-to-peer decentralized platform that allows for a seamless transfer of money in any form. XRP is a global network and counts major banks and financial services among its customers. Ripple uses a medium, known as a gateway, as the link in the trust chain between two parties wanting to make a transaction. Usually, in the form of banks, the gateway acts as a trusted intermediary to help two parties complete a transaction by providing a channel to transfer funds in fiat and cryptocurrencies. It should also be noted that XRP runs a federated consensus algorithm which differs from both Proof-of-Work and Proof-of-Stake mechanisms. Essentially, the mechanism allows participating nodes to validate transactions by conducting a poll, enabling almost instant confirmations without a central authority.
XRP in practice
In contrast to conventional methods of payments, XRP can be used to provide on-demand liquidity and act as a bridging currency to settle cross-border transactions in less than five seconds and at a fraction of the cost of traditional transfers. XRP transactions are charged and a small amount of the users' XRP is burned, with the amount destroyed varying depending on network activity. Additionally, unlike mined coins, a smart contract controls the release of XRP, with Ripple planning to release a maximum of 1 billion XRP tokens each month as governed by the smart-contract. Any unused portion of the XRP in a particular month will be shifted back to an escrow account. This mechanism thus limits the possibility of misuse due to an oversupply of XRPcoins.