This article is part of ProgrammableWeb's series on Crytocurrency and Blockchain. Please check out our articles on Ethereum and an overview of the businesses providing tools and services to the blockchain world.
Many critics of blockchain have argued that they haven't seen the technology truly disrupt an industry — that they haven't really seen an example of blockchain proving itself to be a better alternative than non-blockchain incumbents. But then, there's one company who's vertical cryptocurrency remains at the top of the chart: Ripple.
Ripple provides payment technologies for banks, giving them more reliability, cost efficiency, and speeds (transaction completion and recognition) that are infamous challenges within the banking industry. Its solutions enable banks to handle inter-bank transactions, liquidity and payments. With financial institutions like American Express, Santander, and BMO as customers, it has already demonstrated a fair amount of market viability.
Ripple accomplished this by building on blockchain technology from the ground-up. While many companies are built on the Ethereum platform, Ripple is entirely its own blockchain platform. Consequently, it's able to invest in differentiators like performance, scale, and transaction cost, thereby avoiding out-of-the-box challenges currently encountered with Ethereum and other standard blockchain technology.
Ripple has its own token (XRP) for its homemade blockchain and, as this graph shows, claims it can settle payments in seconds whereas other cryptocurrencies take minutes or hours.
Ripple, like all blockchain companies, needs its own cryptocurrency for the decentralized network to adopt its technology. Ripple's XRP coin has been quite prominent, at one point holding the third largest market cap of any cryptocurrency at over $90 billion. It has since fallen significantly, a consequence of the volatility and speculation across blockchain.
Despite the rise and fall of XRP with the crypto-craze, as long as Ripple proves real value to banks, it could materialize into a very solid, long-term business.