Ripple is the name of a payment network and the payment protocol that powers it. It was developed and launched in 2012 by a company of the same name, in order to allow “secure, instantaneous and almost free global financial transactions”. It is based on principles similar to those of Bitcoin, which is why many people consider it a cryptocurrency. However, unlike Bitcoin, the source code of Ripple’s technology is privately owned by the company, which means it can not be verified by anyone outside the company. Ripple is a very popular network: many banks around the world use it as a base for their own settlement infrastructure, and their native currency XRP (ripples) has been consistently among the top 5 cryptocurrencies by market capitalization in recent years.