Ripple (XRP)

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The Ripple system was created for the purpose of making exchanges and transactions between different currencies easier for its users—and to this day, that's how the people at Ripple market their product. For example, you can use Ripple to make an exchange between US dollars and British pounds without having the hassle of going through a centralized bank to do so. Likewise, you can make trades between different digital currencies through Ripple, as well. Secondary to this service is the existence of their own cryptocurrency. Ripple coins—or “Ripples,” as they are commonly called—can also be used in trading. The biggest difference between Ripples and other types of alternative currency is that Ripples are not mined by investors; there are no data blocks for them to mine. Instead, coins are awarded to those who donate computer power to scientific research. This difference has led some to argue that Ripple is not a true cryptocurrency, in that it's not mined and truly owned by its investors. They add that, since Ripple coins are technically owned by Ripple labs, that it's not really a decentralized currency, like most digital currencies are.

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Ripple was created by Canadian developer Ryan Fugger, and the beta version of the Ripple protocol was released in 2013. Ripple is maintained by, and development continues at, the Ripple Labs headquarters in San Francisco, California.