Ripple was released in 2012 as a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange and remittance network by Ripple. It is built upon a distributed open source Internet protocol, consensus ledger and native currency called XRP (ripples). Ripple aims to enable "secure, instant and nearly free global financial transactions of any size with no chargebacks." It supports tokens representing fiat currency, cryptocurrency, commodity or any other unit of value such as frequent flier miles or mobile minutes.
Initially, Ripple was based on Ryan Fugger's Ripplepay, a financial service released in 2005 which provided online secure payment options. It was further enhanced to its current form by Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, David Schwartz and Chris Larsen who took over the project in 2012 in order to develop a digital currency system in which transactions would be verified by consensus among members of the network, rather than by the mining process used by bitcoin. Thus, Ripple eliminates Bitcoin's reliance on centralized exchanges, uses less electricity than bitcoin, and performs transactions much more quickly than Bitcoin.
Used by companies such as UniCredit, UBS and Santander, Ripple has been increasingly adopted by banks and payment networks as settlement infrastructure technology. Among validators are companies, internet service providers, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. During the last quarter of 2016, the first interbank group for global payments based on distributed financial technology by Ripple was created, with members such as Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Royal Bank of Canada, Santander, Standard Chartered, UniCredit and Westpac Banking Corporation.

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