Ripple Labs

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Ripple Labs, Inc.
IndustryComputer software
FoundersChris Larsen, Jed McCaleb
Area served
Key people
Ryan Fugger (Concept Originator)
Alan Safahi (Advisory Board)
David Schwartz (Chief Cryptographer and Chief Technology Officer)
Ken Kurson (Advisory Board)
Brad Garlinghouse (Chief Executive Officer)
ProductsRipple Payment and Exchange Network
Number of employees
150 (2016)[2]

Ripple Labs, Inc. is an American technology company which develops the Ripple payment protocol and exchange network. Originally named Opencoin and renamed Ripple Labs in 2015, the company was founded in 2012 and is based in San Francisco, California.[1]


Ryan Fugger conceived Ripple in 2004 after working on a local exchange trading system in Vancouver. The intent was to create a monetary system that was decentralized and could effectively empower individuals and communities to create their own money. Fugger later built the first iteration of this system, Concurrently, in May 2011, Jed McCaleb began developing a digital currency system in which transactions were verified by consensus among members of the network, rather than by the mining process used by Bitcoin. In August 2012, Jed McCaleb hired Chris Larsen and they approached Ryan Fugger with their digital currency idea. After discussions with McCaleb and long-standing members of the Ripple community, Fugger handed over the reins. In September 2012, Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb co-founded the corporation OpenCoin.[3]

OpenCoin began development of the ripple protocol (RTXP) and the Ripple payment and exchange network. On April 11, 2013, OpenCoin announced it had closed an angel round of funding with several venture capital firms. That same month, OpenCoin acquired SimpleHoney to help it popularize virtual currencies and make them easier for average users.[4] On May 14, 2013, OpenCoin announced that it had closed a second round of angel funding.[5] In July 2013, Jed McCaleb separated from active employment with Ripple.[6]

On September 26, 2013, OpenCoin officially changed its name to Ripple Labs, Inc.[1] Their CTO, Stefan Thomas, further announced that the source code for the peer-to-peer node behind the Ripple payment network was officially open source. Parts of Ripple, particularly a JavaScript-based web client, had been open source months before, but the release of the peer-to-peer "full node" Rippled meant that the community now had the required tools needed to maintain the Ripple network on its own.[7]

On May 5, 2015, Ripple received a US$700,000 (equivalent to $739,899 in 2018) civil money penalty from U.S. Treasury's Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) for “willful violation of the Bank Secrecy Act by acting as a money services business without registering with FinCEN.”[8][unreliable source][9] On October 6, 2015, the company was rebranded from Ripple Labs to Ripple.[10]

On June 13, 2016, Ripple obtained a virtual currency license from the New York State Department of Financial Services, making it the fourth company with a BitLicense.[11] In September 2016, Ripple announced that it had raised $55 mln in funding. Accenture Ventures, SCB Digital Ventures, the venture arm of Siam Commercial Bank and Santander Innoventures are just a few of the investors who participated in the Series B funding.[12][unreliable source] On September 23, 2016, Ripple announced that they have struck an accord, a first of its kind, with several major banking interests to created the GPSG, or the Global Payments Steering Group. The banking interests involved in the founding of this new venture are a virtual who’s-who, including Bank of America/Merrill Lynch, Santander, UniCredit, Standard Chartered, Westpac Banking Corporation, and Royal Bank of Canada.[13][unreliable source]

In April 2017, Ripple announced that multi-billion dollar banks including the $60 bln Spanish banking giant BBVA joined the Ripple network to solve speed, scalability and cost of global transactions.[14][unreliable source] In September 2017, R3 has sued Ripple for specific performance of an option agreement in which Ripple agreed to sell up to five bln XRPs for a price of $.0085. Ripple has countersued, claiming that R3 reneged on a number of contractual promises, and is simply acting in a spirit of opportunism, after the cryptocurrency soared more than 30 times over.[15][unreliable source] Delaware judge ruled in favor of Ripple but the case will continue in California and New York.[16][unreliable source] In September 2018, Ripple and R3 reached an undisclosed settlement agreement.[17] In November 2017, American Express (AMEX) and Ripple partnered to create a Blockchain-based payment infrastructure. Per the announcement, the platform is already being used. The specific application is for Business to Business (B2B) payments between US corporate customers and UK based customers banking with Santander UK. The service will provide real-time trackable payments between customers.[18][unreliable source]

On January 11, 2018, Ripple confirmed that MoneyGram would integrate Ripple’s XRP altcoin into its payment system.[19][unreliable source] In March 2018, a Japanese bank consortium led by SBI Ripple Asia, comprising 61 banks launched "MoneyTap", a Ripple-powered mobile app to provide on-demand domestic payments in Japan.[20] In May 2018, Spanish Banking group Santander released One Pay FX — the first mobile application for international payments powered by blockchain technology, that uses Ripple's xCurrent technology.[21] Following the creation of a Mumbai office, Ripple has been adding multiple Indian customers in 2018, including leading banks such as Kotak Mahindra Bank, Axis Bank, and IndusInd, that announced that they started using Ripple's products.[22]


Ripple is a privately funded company. It has closed five rounds of funding, which included two rounds of angel funding, one round of seed funding, one Series A round and one Series B round.[4][23][24][25][26][2]

Date Funding
Investor Amount
(million $)
April 2013 Angel Andreessen Horowitz, FF Angel LLC, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Vast Ventures, Bitcoin Opportunity Fund 2.5
May 2013 Angel Google Ventures, IDG Capital Partners 3.0
November 2013 Seed Core Innovation Capital, Venture51, Camp One Ventures, IDG Capital Partners 3.5
May 2015 Series A IDG Capital Partners, Seagate Technology, AME Cloud Ventures, ChinaRock Capital Management, China Growth Capital, Wicklow Capital, Bitcoin Opportunity Corp, Core Innovation Capital, Route 66 Ventures, RRE Ventures, Vast Ventures, Venture 51 28
October 2015 Series A Santander InnoVentures 4
September 2016 Series B Standard Chartered, Accenture, SCB Digital Ventures, SBI Holdings, Santander InnoVentures, CME Group, Seagate Technology 55

Ripple's revenue sources include professional services provided to financial network operators being integrated with Ripple, software built to integrate legacy financial systems with Ripple and the native currency (XRP). Ripple is also backed by several established investors that provide an additional layer of financial stability.[27]

Programs and projects[edit]

Charitable contributions[edit]

Of the XRP 80 billion that Ripple Labs was gifted, Ripple follows a distribution strategy that encompasses payments to business partners such as gateways, market makers and charitable organizations.[28]

Ripple Labs began working with the World Community Grid in November 2013. The World Community Grid pools surplus processing power from volunteers’ computers and electronic devices to support humanitarian causes such as fighting AIDS, improving solar energy and defeating cancer. Individuals who join the Ripple Labs team and donate their spare processing power are rewarded with XRP. As of March 18, 2014, Ripple Labs has given away XRP134,528,800 through the World Community Grid at a rate of XRP1,250,000 per day.[29][30][31]

In 2018, Ripple has done multiple donations. The company has donated $29 million of its cryptocurrency to USA public schools,[32] and $4 million to The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund [33]

Partnerships and initiatives[edit]

In March 2014, CrossCoin Ventures launched an accelerator which funds companies that work to advance the Ripple ecosystem. The firm funds accepted startups with up to US$50,000 (equivalent to $52,917 in 2018) in XRP, Ripple's native currency, in exchange for a 3% to 6% stake in diluted common stock. Mentorship and support is provided by CrossCoin and Ripple Labs, Inc.[34]

Ripple also developed early partnerships with companies such as ZipZap,[35] with the relationship called a threat to Western Union in the press.[36]

In cooperation with other industry leaders, Ripple Labs became a co-founding member of the Digital Asset Transfer Authority (DATA) in July 2013. DATA provides best practices and technical standards, including anti-money laundering compliance guidance for companies that work with digital currency and other emerging payments systems. The committee works as a liaison among public officials, businesses and consumers and create common rules to protect consumers. The initiative attempts to create a cohesive voice of Bitcoin community members when interacting with regulators.[37][38]

In June 2018, Ripple has committed over $50 million in funding to create the University Blockchain Research Initiative, which aims at support research to:

  • Collaborate on research and technical development that will stimulate widespread understanding and innovation in blockchain.
  • Create new curriculum to meet high student demand for learning about blockchain, cryptocurrency and other FinTech topics.
  • Stimulate ideas and dialog among students, faculty, technologists and business leaders on topics of shared interest.[39]

In May 2018, Ripple has announced xpring, "an initiative by Ripple that will invest in, incubate, acquire and provide grants to companies and projects that [...] will use the digital asset XRP and the XRP Ledger, the open-sourced, decentralized technology behind XRP, to solve their customers’ problems.".[40]

In March 2019, Ripple announced a $100 Million fund for gaming developers which would be overseen by Forte.[41]

Awards and recognitions[edit]

For its creation and development of the ripple protocol (RTXP) and the Ripple payment/exchange network, the magazine MIT Technology Review recognized Ripple Labs as one of 2014s 50 Smartest Companies in its February 2014 issue. The criteria for the recognition revolved around "whether a company had made strides in the past year that will define its field."[42]

On February 9, 2014, Ripple Labs was named as a finalist for a 2014 PYMNTS Innovator Award in two separate categories: Best New Technology as well as Most Disruptive Company. The recognition pertains to Ripple Labs work in creating Ripple, an open-source, distributed payment protocol powering a new global value web.[43]

On January 12, 2016, Ripple was listed by UK-based company Richtopia at No. 8 in the list of 100 Most Influential Blockchain Organisations.[44][45]

Other Awards:

  • February 2015 - Fast Company. The World's Top 10 Most Innovative Companies Of 2015 In Money.[46]
  • February 2015 - American Banker. 20 Fintech Companies to Watch.[47]
  • August 2015 - Ripple Labs Awarded as Technology Pioneer by World Economic Forum.[48]
  • December 2015 - Forbes. Fintech 50.[49]
  • December 2015 - H2 Ventures, KPMG. Fintech 100.[50]
  • March 2016 - PYMNTS Innovation Project 2016. Best B2B Innovation Award.[51]
  • June 2016 - Fortune. 5 Hottest Companies in Fintech.[52]


On May 5, 2015, FinCEN fined Ripple Labs and XRP II US$700,000 for violation of the Bank Secrecy Act,[53] based on the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network's anti-money laundering (AML) additions to the act in 2013.[54] Ripple Labs agreed to remedial steps to ensure future compliance, which included an agreement to only transact XRP and "Ripple Trade" activity through registered money services businesses (MSB), among other agreements such as enhancing the Ripple Protocol.[53] The enhancement won't change the protocol itself, but will instead add AML transaction monitoring to the network and improve transaction analysis.[54]


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External links[edit]