Over human history we have used various methods of ‘Money’ to exchange something for something as a payment, this something must be accepted as valuable, portable and exchangeable.
A gold coin is ‘Money’ because it is valuable, portable in small quantities and very exchangeable.
Is a $10 dollar bill or a £10 note money? NO it is not money! It is just a piece of paper (polymer) but you can still take it to a shop and exchange it for something, that is because it is not ‘Money’ but it is Currency!
Going back thousands of years these have been some types of Money:
Money and Currency are used interchangeably but they are in fact two very different things! Money has been used since before governments were created. Small tribes used money as in the case of the Cowrie shell, they may not have known this then but they were using what we now call money, same as Gold coins were used as money.
Currency was created when civilised large groups of people elected governments over large swathes of the land, the governments printed paper IOUs and told everyone these could be trusted and used instead of real money as the government’s had gold in storage to the value of the paper notes, well… at least they used too before some government’s spent it all, particularly for war!
When Gold and Silver is mined from the ground the price does not tend to change much, in contrast when government’s print more paper currency the currency already in use is worth LESS, this is deflation!
The currency is diluted, much the same way if you keep adding water to glass of orange squash without adding more orange juice you will end up with plain water, not as nice as it was earlier.
We are now in a digital age, written letters turned into emails, talking to family eye to eye turned into video messaging. Who remembers flipping through yellow pages phone book trying to find a number and now you can just ask Siri, Cortana or Alexa and that hard work is taken away instantly! Most shops have an online presence and even the smallest online store accepts online payments.
Currency/Money has seen major changes with tap to pay using Visa and Mastercard etc. but has currency truly gone digital or is this just a digital way to use your ‘national’ currency? Right now you may have currency in your pocket, in a purse, in your Wallet or down the back of the sofa. So the answer is a resounding NO!
Is this about to change? absolutely yes!
Nordic countries are well ahead of the rest of the world in becoming cashless, Sweden aims to be cashless by March 2023!
Making Currency Digital
Most people use electronic banking to transfer currency around and to pay in store, but we still have paper currency in our pockets to pay for some things in shops and to pass to each other hand to hand.
After the 2008 financial crash a mystery mathematician called Satoshi Nakamoto wrote a technical paper that he thought would resolve the failings of governments bad management of the dollar , the paper was read by a group of software developers and working with Satoshi they created Bitcoin! The intentions were that Bitcoin, with it’s fixed supply of 21 Million tokens would provide a safe global digital payment system and to not only do to currency what email had done to writing letters, but to digitise currency in an open source decentralised network with a built in token limit and free from any government’s control could avoid future financial crashes. Bitcoin as a Crypto Currency was released to the world.
For a number of technical reasons, most critically being very slow and expensive to make transactions, Bitcoin has failed to be adopted as a digital payment technology! Rather it has become a store of value like Gold.
Since 2012 a more advanced type of Digital/Crypto Currency has been taking the lead as a global digital payments technology, it is faster, cheaper and uses far less energy to run.
This newer Crypto Currency was released some years after Bitcoin (although the early stages of development were even before Bitcoins creation) that Digital Currency is called XRP
XRP is the native Digital token of the XRP Ledger Network.
XRP has some major differences compared to Bitcoin. In todays concerns of global warming and fossil fuel burning to create electricity, one such difference is XRP does not need huge warehouses full of super fast computers using huge amounts of precious electricity to validate Bitcoin transactions!
XRP developers hope to make the XRPL network carbon neutral by 2030 or much sooner!
XRP is super fast, super cheap and hugely better for the environment. It is super better in every way!
The number of transactions a digital currency can complete, called transaction validation, is critical in its ability to be used in the real world, particularly as a payment solution. Currently to send currency across borders say £ to $ could take 3 to 5 days to settle payment. Bitcoin could take up to an hour to complete at 3 to 6 transactions per second, some other TOP digital currencies fair less better, the fee’s deducted from the value you send can be horrendous!
XRP can handle 1,500 transactions per second with a settlement time of around 4 seconds, that’s a possible 6,000 transactions in 4 seconds and this can compete with VISA! Also for fractions of a penny fee, no matter how large the transaction being made!
This makes XRP perfect for Global Payment settlement, via person to person, business to business or even Bank to Bank!
The word Ledger was and still is the name for a paper book that a company may hold for accurate accounting of a company’s finances, it records what payment was received and from who and what money was paid out and to who and how much the company is worth, the cash balance. Even with the popular accounting application Quickbooks on desktop/mobile doing all your accounting it is stilled referred to as a Ledger
When a person sends or receives the XRP Crypto Currency the transactions are recorded in an electronic computer software version of a Ledger, this software is called the XRP Ledger. The XRP Ledger has a list of all the user accounts on the network and it also keeps a record of the accounts balance of how much XRP is in the account.
To explain further I will simplify what the XRP Ledger is, this will not be totally accurate but I will build up the explanation further down to give you the accurate picture, so lets start slowly:
The XRP Ledger is held on a server on the internet somewhere in the world, as XRP transactions are made, I send to you or you send to me, the transactions reach the server and the XRP Ledger is updated to keep track of all the account holders and all the transactions they are making, as stated earlier the XRP Ledger can be updated with around 1,500 transaction per second!
So we now have a computer/server somewhere on the internet that runs software called the XRP Ledger and this is tracking and recording XRP. So what happens if the server has a fault, what if the server has a power failure, a fire, the building holding the server is hit by an Asteroid! is everything lost!
What can be done to make this server and the XRP Ledger software Disaster proof?
Everyone has heard the saying, “Don’t put all your eggs in one basket, obviously if you drop your basket you will break all your eggs!
If there was one single copy of the XRP Ledger software then this would not be good! If there was a single server on the internet this would create a central point of failure or another way of saying this is the point of failure is ‘Centralised’ to the single server. To make it impossible for a centralised point of failure by one of the disasters mentioned earlier, for any disaster, the XRP Ledger has copies of itself on many servers and these servers are spread all over the world, so the XRP Ledger is no longer centralised. If something is not centralised then it must be the opposite which is ‘Decentralised’. Therefore, by the XRP Ledger having copies of itself around the world the XRP Ledger software is now decentralised, so we can now have a ‘Decentralised XRP Ledger’.
You say Tamoto I say Tomotoe, in much the same way some use the word Decentralised, others will say Distributed, the point is the XRP Ledger is in multiple places at the same time!
Even if multiple Countries had a major disaster at the same time there will be a server running the XRP ledger software somewhere in the world that is still online.
But.. Now we have a new issue, with all the servers around the world running copies of the XRP Ledger software what server will my transaction go to?
XRPL Digital Wallets will be covered in much more detail later but for now we just need to know that a XRPL Digital Wallet is a software application that talks to the XRPL distributed network of computers, the software developers who created the XRPL Wallet will either run one of the XRPL servers them self in their own country or they will select a XRPL server that the Wallet application will talk to.
Now we have a XRPL Digital Wallet that talks to, or we can say is linked to, one of the many servers on the XRPL decentralised network of servers, this particular server we will now call it the Validator server.
To summarise where we currently are I will use an real example: I own some XRP Crypto Currency and I want to send some XRP to a friend using my iPhone, I go to the Apple app store and I look for a XRPL Digital Wallet application, I find a great Wallet app called XUMM, and it is free to download! I open the Wallet app and I send some XRP to my friend, the XUMM app sends the request over the internet to the XRPL Validator server which the XUMM app is linked to, as the XUMM software developers do run their own XRPL server on the distributed network it goes to this server. However, if you wanted to you can go into the XUMM app settings and select a different XRPL network server as the XUMM app Validator server, we will leave this settings fiddling to the expert though! 🙂
So what happens when my send request hits the XUMM app Validator server?
Carrying on where we left of previously, we used the XUMM app to send some XRP to a friend. The XUMM app sends this request over the internet to the XRPL server that it is linked to, called the Validator server.
Firstly, Who can run a Node/Validator on the XRPL network? The answer is .. anyone can! (Maybe with a bit of software coding help!). The XRP Ledger is free open source software, anyone can download it and join the XRPL Network.
Wait!.. before you rush off and start the download there are of course a set of conditions for such an important global network of servers. These include having a server with powerful processors, lots of memory, lots of hard disk space, high network bandwidth (Network speed), electrical supply backups. IF someone brings an XRPL node online and it starts to fail a set amount of validations then the node is given a sort of timeout, if the node keeps performing badly then it is quickly excluded from the XRPL network completely. So without ensuring your software skills and hardware meets the highest standard you can quickly find yourself sitting out in the cold with a dead duck!
We covered what is the XRP Ledger earlier but to recap, the XRP Ledger holds a list of all the user accounts that exist on the XRPL network, the ledger also knows the balance of each users account.
So now the XUMM app has sent to transaction request to the Validator server and what will the Validator do now? Any guesses? Correct.. the Validator server will Validate my request!
As the Validator server is a member of the XRPL network, and as mentioned previously it does contain a copy of the XRPL distributed ledger, it will check the XRP ledger for 3 things
1: As part of the request sent from the XUMM app it sent my account details, the Validator checks its copy of the Ledger to make sure my account actually exists in the Ledger, if my account does not exist in the Ledger OR if the account is not active the Validator sends a message back to the XUMM app to say the transactions is terminated and why it was terminated and XUMM app will show a failed message to me, if my account does exist and is active the Validator proceeds to step 2
2: The XUMM app sent how much of my XRP I want to send to my friend, the Validator will check its copy of the Ledger to see if my account has enough XRP to cover the request, if my account does not have enough XRP to cover my request the Validator sends a message back to the XUMM app to say the transaction was terminated and why it was terminated and the XUMM app will show a failed message to me, if I do have enough XRP in my account the Validator proceeds to step 3
3: The XUMM app sent my friends account details with my request, again as the Validator has a copy of the Ledger which contains every address on the XRPL network it checks to see if my friends account exists and if it is active, if the account does not exist or is not active the Validator terminates the request and sends a message back the to XUMM app and the XUMM apps will show me a failed message.
Lets say I do have an active account in the XRPL Ledger, I do have enough XRP to cover my transfer request and my friend does also have an active account, well in that case the Validator does what? Yep you guessed right, it validates my request, makes sense right! 🙂
So the request has been validated and now the Validator will forward the request to another server on the XRPL network to complete the transaction. In fact, there is a limited number of uniquely selected servers that will actually process the XRPL transaction requests once they have been validated and there are a number of reasons why they are the only ones that will process the transaction.
As mentioned previously a Validator has validated a transaction request and the final stage is to process and complete this transaction.
It is critically important that the XRPL server that will process the request to completion satisfies a stringent list of checks, as explained earlier.
There is one more very important check for the server to actually complete the transactions after validation, with such an important job this last check is?
Anyone could satisfy the software and hardware requirements but this does not make them trustworthy! They could actually be a malicious person wanting to do fraud or interfere with the reliability of the XRPL network transactions and ruin the credibility of the network.
The ‘XRPL Foundation’ are now the custodians of the XRP Ledger network and it is they who will now decide who is the most trustworthy to actually complete transactions (Previously this was Ripple Labs). If the XRPL Foundation do trust your node then you may be considered, by application and acceptance, to complete network transactions as a member of a special list of nodes.
If a node on the XRP Ledger is ‘Trusted’ by the XRPL Foundation that node will be invited to be included in the Unique Node List (shortened to UNL). Nodes that are on the UNL will always have a trusted 100% copy of the XRP Ledger database.
As soon as a UNL server completes a certain transaction it will updates its own Ledger to say this account sent whatever amount of XRP to that account. So this is all good, except… there are 32 nodes on the UNL, they could be spread all around the world, all are doing transactions at the same time, nothing could go wrong right! You would only believe that if you have never heard of the ‘Double Spend Problem’!
So what is this dreaded Double Spend Problem!
Bob has an account on the XRP Ledger and Bob wants to send 1,000 XRP to Alice, Bob uses his mobile app to send the XRP to Alice, Bob has a bad signal on his mobile and thinks the request was not sent so he does it again and he does not care if Alice gets 2,000 XRP instead! So Bob has made 2 separate transactions each sending 1,000 XRP to Alice, Bob’s first transaction request lands UNL server #1, so server #1 processes the transaction and updates its Ledger to say take 1,000 XRP from Bob’ account and give it to Alice, Bob’s second transaction landed on UNL server#2 but it did so before Server #1 had enough time to updates its Ledger and send the updated copy to server #2! server #2 has already processed Bob’s second request and using its own copy of the Ledger it deducts 1,000 from Bob’s account, with his old balance, and sends another 1,000 XRP to Alice! So see what has happened? Bob’s account is only ever deducted 1,000 XRP because the Ledgers did not sync with each other correctly, now Alice has received 2,000 XRP, she got 1,000 XRP from server #1 and 1,000 XRP from server #2 but Bob’s account was only deducted by 1,000 XRP, she got DOUBLE the XRP she should have! This is the Double Spend Problem!
If something like this really happened on the XRP Ledger it has been designed to STOP!
In a poorly designed Crypto Currency what could happen is once the Double Spend has ocurred the network does not know what Ledger is the correct one! Both report as they completed the same transaction, so what the software does is it splits into 2 different Ledgers and chaos ensues!
So what does the XRP Ledger do to avoid a Double Spend as it can not keep STOPPING to resolve the issue.
The Double Spend problem is central to the design of the Crypto Currency and this is where Bitcoin and the XRP Ledger have their main difference, Bitcoin uses a very slow Proof of Work protocol (POW) to avoid the Double Spend but this protocol uses huge amounts of computing power and therefore electrical power and is a great concern for the Environment, a global concern of today! Whereas XRP uses the ‘Consensus Protocol’, it is super fast and so uses much less computing power and therefore much less, vastly less electirical power!
This very simplified diagram shows 3 Validators using Consensus to verify the transaction, on the XRPL, there are actually around 32 Validators as part of the UNL as well as dozens more nodes all across the world that validate XRP transactions, each transaction is completed within a block of transactions, blockchain, and the XRPL can complete 15,000 transactions across the 32 XRPL Validators in around 3 seconds!
Irreversible, no charge-back and written in blood on the Blockchain
OK so its not actually written in blood but when a transfer has been verified by consensus and completed a space within the Ledger, refereed to as a block, records the transaction as a block of code (computer data), lots of transactions grouped together create a Blockchain (a long chain of blocks of transaction codes), this code is irreversible and permanent and open to the world to see. Every time you complete a transfer from your wallet or an Exchanges wallet or what ever you used to make the XRP transfer you will be given a type of receipt with a Blockchain reference or ID, this reference points to the position within the chain of blocks (Blockchain) where the record of your transfer is permanently recorded and kept, forever!
As the XRPL Blockchain is Uncensored it is no good to drug dealers or kidnappers who want to keep their transactions Private and censored, this contradicts what some ‘uneducated’ persons and anti crypto media outlets and some organisations like to report about Crypto Currency Blockchains/Ledgers
However, Some Crypto coins do have a censored/private Blockchain, that is for another day!
Easy peasy lemon squeezy! 🙂
When transacting XRP you really want to make sure that the Validator know it is you and not someone pretending to be you!
To ensure only you can send XRP from your wallet the transaction must be ‘signed’, it does this by using a combination of your Public key, Private key and a transaction message which is bundled within a Cryptographic process. Hence the term Crypto currency. Presuming only you have access to the wallet information it must be you making the transaction and it is therefore allowed. It is critical you do not give out your Private key or passwords so that others can not pretend to be you!
How many Tokens can I fit in my pocket?
The use of the word TOKEN does cause confusion, tokens are what you buy to go on fair ride, visit a Casino or releases a shopping trolley, you pay for them then stick them in you pocket. XRP is actually refereed to as a Digital asset! An asset is something that you own, like a house, a car, a Rolex timepiece, these are all assets that have an exchangeable value.
If I own £100 of the digital asset called XRP then I buy another £100 of XRP do I now own 2 XRP digital assets each worth £100? NO, I now own a digital asset called XRP that is worth £200
To use XRP you must have a XRP account, refereed to as a XRPL Wallet, unlike a leather wallet that you have in your pocket a XRPL wallet is a computer application that is loaded into your computer or smart phone, this XRPL Wallet app is then used to receive XRP to it and send XRP from it and used to check your balance. If you use a banking application on your smart phone or a Bank website to move your money from say your current account to your savings account your not moving the cash from account to account by a little van driving from building to building, its just numbers changing within the banking network. XRP moves in a similar way and the XRPL Wallet (account) is an access link, a doorway, to a computer network called the XRP Ledger. Much the same was as you debit or credit money form account to account you can debit or credit XRP from account to account, this is done in either case by making transactions.
When you create a XRPL Wallet you are creating an account on the XRP Ledger. This wallet has two encrypted digital keys assigned to it, a Private key must be used to give XRP away (debit) and a Public key is used receive XRP (Credit).
In this example Tony is sending 10 XRP from his XRPL Wallet (a Toast Wallet), he does not need to provide the Private key to allow him to send the XRP as Wallet’s will do this for you automatically. He is sending (transferring) this 10 XRP to John so he must provide John’s XRPL Toast Wallet Public key to make sure it goes to his the correct account. If Tony was sending the XRP to John’s Exchange account wallet, ie Wirex, he would need to provide the Wirex Public Key and a Tag so that it reaches John’s wirex account, missing or incorrect Tags may cause the XRP to be irrecoverable lost within the Wirex XRP public pool! If an account has a tag attached to it then not including the Tag is like sending a letter into the mail system and you forgot to write the address on the front of the letter! The Letter does still exist in the mail system somewhere but no one knows where it should go or who it should go to! not good! The same applies to the XRP that was sent with no tag if a tag was needed, it still exists in a pile of other XRP and that is where it will stay!
The XRP Digital Asset exists as only as a digital value within the XRP Distributed Ledger, my XRP digital asset might be worth £100 and your XRP Digital asset might be worth £10,000 and both will be recorded the XRP ledger, exact same copies of the Ledger are held on many of servers called nodes/validators and they are spread around the world making it a Distributed Ledger, robust and indestructible, if I ran a node from my house and an asteroid hit my house nothing would happen to the XRP Ledger as a whole.
A XRP Wallet is simply an account that exists on this Distributed Ledger, a bit like how your bank account holds your savings, and it can read the XRP balance for this wallet from the distributed Ledger. When you request to transfer XRP ( you are only transferring a balance value not actual XRP tokens) a number of validators then have have a chat and if consensus is reached, if one validator disagrees it is ignored but ordered to sync, the XRP token value transfer is verified and the TXN is written into the Blockchain, all the Ledgers in the same UNL (group) synchronise their Ledgers with the respective credit and debit values between the wallets (Ledger accounts), due to Validator overlapping within other UNL’s the other validators in the different UNL on the DLT also then sync their Ledgers with each other’s, almost like a virus spreading through a network. When TXN is written into the Blockchain it is kept forever for the world to see and is therefore Not Private or said to be Uncensored!
There are step by step Tutorials for creating a Desktop Toast Wallet and a USB Toast Wallet in the tutorials pages, as you may have guessed I do really like the Toast Wallet 🙂 and it comes highly recommended by the #XRPcommunity
A login is not required to use XRP4U but you may want to create a Login for the XRP4U shop, the XRP4U shop also has a Guest checkout.
You can also create a Login using your Social media for security and simplicity.
The XRP Ledger contains a fully-functional decentralised exchange where users can trade issued currencies for XRP or each other:
XRP4U are working hard to create quality FREE Tutorials for our visitors, we hope the list will grow quickly.
Topics will include XRP and XRPL knowledge, SEND XRP, DEX, Escrow, advanced Wallet use etc.
Checkout our list of Tutorials
XRP4U are busy working on a new web based learning site dedicated to XRP and the XRP Ledger, we hope we can have this released asap, am a busy bee!
RippleNet ODL (On Demand Liquidity) has a crucial part to play in the success of the XRP Ledger. For this reason I have broken ODL out of the Ripple page and given it a well deserved home of it’s own!
There are number of high profile developers and many superb XRPL projects both Live and being built, here XRP4U will add and track as many live projects as we can and add developer profiles as and when they join the #XRPCommunity.
The XRP Community Fund will be used to support the development of tools / apps / integrations / plugins that make it easier to use XRP for (consumer/small business) payments. They also hope to attract more developers to the community. Bounties will be available for developers working on tools requested over a longer period of time by the XRP Community.
XRP Ledger Foundation
The Heroes of the XRP Ledger
This is a sneek peak as page still under construction!
XRP4U monitors the internet for the best FREE tools for the XRP Ledger, here are an example of some of our favourites!
Our XRPL Tools page gives an overview of all the Favourites.
Dive deep into the XRP Ledger with XRPSCAN: The best XRP Ledger Explorer!
Get notified for all XRP transactions in/out of specified XRP addresses! Handy for the transactions you make, critical for any you DID NOT! XRPBALANCE.info
Where in the World is all the XRP? xrptracker.kka72.com tells you where it is! search large transactions and more! All in Real time!
More than enough Eye candy to make your teeth fall out! Some eye dazzling graphics created from real time transactions on the XRP Ledger.
XRP4U have squeezed together on the same page some of the best sites so sit back with some popcorn and enjoy! PC/Tablet viewing only!
Learn and Practice using 3,000 XRP on the XRPL TestNet, don’t risk your XRP playing and learning in the real world, its far to precious!
The Lab contains 3 XRPL Testnet wallets that are hosted by GitHub, you can send and receive XRP (watch the speed!) between the 3 wallets and learn other advanced functions safely, including creating an XRPL Issued Currency!