Among all well-known altcoins, Ripple is the most intriguing. This is mainly because it’s the only one that doesn’t resemble to everything that comprises bitcoins. Despite its deviation to the standard formula of cryptocurrencies, Ripple has since attracted millions in venture capital from reputable companies such as Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture, The Bitcoin Opportunity Fund, and Andreessen Horowitz.

Basically, Ripple was created not to compete with bitcoins, but to offer a diversity in the market and offer other kinds of services. This somehow becomes problematic as there are some people who don’t exactly know about its definite purpose; simply because what it really is a myriad of things. Being said that, most users actually consider Ripple as a payment system, a currency exchange, and a remittance network combined into one.

Ripple’s core is based around a shared, public ledger, like that of Bitcoin’s block chain. This ledger contains information about offers to buy or sell currencies and assets, in addition to balances. Network users reach a mutual agreement in the ledge via a process called “consensus”, which is done every 2-5 seconds. This consensus, then, enables payments, remittances, and exchanges in a distributed process.

Ripple was first established in 2004 by Ryan Fugger, a Vancouver-based web developer. However, it was in 2011 that the new Ripple system was developed by Jed McCaleb, intending to eradicate Bitcoin’s dependence on centralized exchanges, consume less electricity than bitcoins, as well as complete transactions much faster than bitcoins. It was originally named OpenCoin Inc.  after it was founded in 2012, but its name was later changed to Ripple Labs Inc. in September 2013.

Currently, the Ripple network facilitates cross-currency transactions for users and businesses within seconds. These transactions, as well as accounts, are cryptographically secure and algorithmically verified. Also, payments can only be processed and authorized by the account holder himself, free from the control of any intermediary parties.

In Ripple, payments are also irretrievable, but there are no chargebacks. Fortunately, transactions can be done using smartphones and other electronic devices as mobile applications are widely available.