Ripple is a cryptocurrency and real-time payment network powered by Ripple Labs Inc. The protocol was designed to enable fast and inexpensive cross-border payments. The native currency of Ripple is XRP. Ripple claims to be able to process 1500 transactions per second, which is much faster than other blockchain platforms. Ripple also has a built-in exchange that allows for the direct exchange of different currencies. The main use case of Ripple is for international payments, but the platform can also be used for other types of payments and transfers.
The main difference between Ripple and other cryptocurrencies is that it is not mined. All 100 billion pre-mined XRP tokens exist on the network at the time of its launch. These tokens are distributed through a complex process. The Ripple protocol has been endorsed by several financial institutions including Santander, American Express, and UniCredit.
Ripple has been criticized for its centralization, as most of the XRP supply is controlled by Ripple Labs. However, the company has plans to release more XRP into circulation over time.