Ripple.com is the company that runs RippleNet, a cross-border, blockchain-enabled “payment rails” alternative to legacy global banking infrastructure built before the internet. Through RippleNet, banks in different markets can transact with each other cheaper and faster. XRP is the digital asset or token that powers RippleNet. XRP is not a currency in the traditional sense. It was never intended to replace retail currencies. The digital asset was developed as a “bridge token” for banks to process cross-border payments.
Processing speeds on RippleNet are much faster than on the bitcoin blockchain which adds to its utility as a crypto asset. XRP is available for purchase by institutions (e.g. banks) and individuals. Banks buy XRP straight from the folks at Ripple to use it as part of the fixed cost of transacting on RippleNet. Individuals can buy it on one of many exchanges like Bitstamp, Kraken, Coinone and others. Recently, it’s value exploded based on news that a network of Asian banks would be running a RippleNet pilot. MoneyGram also announced a pilot. The value of XRP therefore fluctuates based on the perceived utility of RippleNet. In the past month, the currency jumped by over 700% with peaks and valleys along the way.