XRP, Ripple’s digital currency, enables real-time global payments anywhere in the world. It is the third most prominent cryptocurrency​ in terms of market capitalization and has performed extremely well during 2017. 

While Ripple belongs to the category of cryptocurrencies, its purpose is different from that of Bitcoin or Ethereum. While Bitcoin is a payment method and Ethereum is a multifunctional platform for decentralized SmartContracts, Ripple is a decentralized solution for banks and financial institutions that is fast (4 seconds) and scalable (1,000 transactions per second).

Ripple acts as both a cryptocurrency and a digital payment network for financial transactions. “Built for enterprise use, XRP offers banks and payment providers a reliable, on demand option to source liquidity for cross-border payments,” says the firm. (See also: Cryptocurrency Market Capitalization Rises Again)

The venture-backed startup provides global financial settlement solutions that reduce the total cost of settlement by enabling banks to transact directly and instantly, while ensuring certainty. It aims to "enable the world to exchange value like it already exchanges information – giving rise to an Internet of Value (IoV).”

Ripple owns the majority of XRP. Since its launch in 2012, Ripple has methodically bought XRP while ensuring its liquidity and overall market strength. However, in May 2017, the firm decided to set aside 55 billion XRP in a cryptographically-secured escrow account by the end of 2017 to alleviate any concerns regarding supply manipulations. “By securing the lion’s share of XRP, investors can mathematically verify the maximum supply of XRP that can enter the market,” according to Ripple. Total XRP held by Ripple is 6,662,260,753, XRP that is distributed is 38,332,289,584 and the total XRP placed in escrow is 55,000,000,000 (As of July 16, 2017).

The startup's recent Q2 report says, “Q2 2017 was one of the most significant quarters to date for XRP markets. In fact, it might represent a sea change in XRP’s adoption and relevance in the space.” XRP registered a Q-o-Q rise of 1159% during Q2, and its year-to-date returns were 3977%. At its peak of $0.394 on May 17, the currency was up 6012% this year. XRP is currently trading around $0.1926 and has a market capitalization of $7.5 billion.

Ripple has slowly expanded with XRP now being traded in 30 exchanges. It has also continued to witness an increase in its members. Ten more financial institutions have been added to its global network – namely MUFG, BBVA, SEB, Akbank, Axis Bank, YES BANK, SBI Remit, Cambridge Global Payments, Star One Credit Union and eZforex.com. Further, Ripple has recently achieved an important milestone for the XRP Ledger ecosystem by expanding to 55 validator nodes, a jump of 120% since May; names such as WorldLink, Telindus-Proximus Group, Bahnhof (Swedish ISP), AT TOKYO Corporation, Microsoft, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and CGI are on its list of validators.

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