What is Ripple (XRP)?
RippleNet delivers a single, frictionless experience for global payments. Rather than a constellation of disparate technologies, unstandardized communications, and centralized networks, RippleNet is a single, global network of banks that send and receive payments via Ripple’s distributed financial technology -- providing real-time messaging, clearing and settlement of transactions.
RippleNet is a decentralized network based on an agreement between Ripple and network participants -- all of which utilize the same technology and adhere to a consistent set of payment rules and standards.
RippleNet banks benefit from the robust connectivity, standardized technology, and rich data attachments with each payment. Ripple’s distributed financial technology outperforms today’s infrastructure by driving down costs, increasing processing speeds and delivering end-to-end visibility into payment fees, timing, and delivery.
XRP is the native currency of the Ripple network that only exists within the Ripple system. XRP are currently divisible to 6 decimal places, and the smallest unit is called a drop with 1 million drops equaling 1 XRP. There were 100 billion XRP created at Ripple's inception, with no more allowed to be created according to the protocol's rules. As such, the system was designed so XRP is a scarce asset with decreasing available supply. Not dependent on any third party for redemption, XRP is the only currency in the Ripple network that does not entail counterparty risk, and it is the only native digital asset. The other currencies in the Ripple network are debt instruments (i.e. liabilities) and exist in the form of balances. Users of the Ripple network are not required to use XRP as a store of value or a medium of exchange. Each Ripple account is required, however, to have a small reserve of 20 XRP (US$6.58 as of May 16, 2017). The purpose of this requirement is discussed in the anti-spam section.
Official Website: https://ripple.com/