This article takes a closer look at RippleNet, particularly the role of digital asset XRP, the open source XRP Ledger (XRPL), and the On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) service.

What Is RippleNet?

RippleNet is a distributed network developed by Ripple to facilitate real-time, cross-border transactions. Technically, it’s a peer-to-peer distributed application that maintains a virtual ledger, emulating Nostro and Vostro accounts and relationships. It comprises two primary layers — a bi-directional messaging layer and a settlement layer. The messaging layer facilitates transaction communication, while the settlement layer ensures the final transfer of funds.

RippleNet is deployed within a cloud environment hosted by Ripple, substantially lowering technical infrastructure costs. It integrates with financial institutions’ middleware through API operations, replicating funding into the RippleNet virtual accounts.

RippleNet is SOC 2 certified, ensuring high security, availability, confidentiality, and privacy standards. It enhances the cross-border payment experience by offering bi-directional messaging, optimized settlement, and unique liquidity solutions.

Who Are RippleNet’s Customers?

RippleNet’s clientele spans various sectors, including traditional remitters, digital remitters, FX brokers, payment service companies, banks (global tier-1 banks, multi-country regional banks, local banks, and digital banks), and multinational businesses.

What Is XRP Ledger?

The XRP Ledger is a decentralized cryptographic ledger powered by a network of peer-to-peer servers. It’s the infrastructure that underpins XRP, Ripple’s native digital asset. The XRP Ledger is designed to handle the efficient transfer of money in any form, whether fiat or digital currencies.

What Is Interledger Protocol (ILP)?

The Interledger Protocol (ILP) is a protocol for connecting different payment networks. ILP enables routing packets of value across different blockchains and payment systems. It abstracts the differences between ledgers and allows for interoperability, acting as a bridge.

What Is On-Demand Liquidity (ODL)?

On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) is RippleNet’s unique liquidity management solution. It facilitates instant, efficient cross-border money transfers without pre-funding in the destination market. ODL employs XRP as a bridge currency, sourcing liquidity on-demand and moving funds in real time.

ODL serves various entities, including payment service providers, fintechs processing B2B transactions, and companies transferring internal treasury payments to accounts in foreign countries.

How RippleNet Works

RippleNet’s operation involves multiple participants, including the originator, sender, intermediaries, receiver, and beneficiary. Each participant plays a role in facilitating payments, with the sender initiating a payment through their RippleNet instance, intermediaries (including digital asset exchanges) facilitating the payment, and the receiver completing the transaction.

RippleNet can process different types of payments, including bank account transfers, bank account to cash, bank account to wallet, wallet to wallet, cash to bank account, and bank account to card transfers.

How ODL Works in Cross-Border Payments?

The power of On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) lies in its innovative use of XRP as a bridge currency. This mechanism allows instantaneous, cost-effective international transactions without banks or financial institutions needing to pre-fund nostro accounts in the recipient’s currency.

In more technical terms, this is how the process works:

  1. Payment Initiation: The sender, a financial institution connected to RippleNet, initiates the transaction by submitting a payment instruction through RippleNet’s API.
  2. Currency Exchange: The sender’s currency is converted into XRP at a digital asset exchange. This conversion happens in real time, leveraging the liquidity of XRP in the cryptocurrency market.
  3. Transfer via XRP Ledger: The XRP is then sent across the XRP Ledger, an open-source blockchain protocol, to a digital asset exchange in the recipient’s country. This process is near-instantaneous, taking just 3-5 seconds due to the high speed of the XRP Ledger.
  4. Conversion to Local Currency: The digital asset exchange in the recipient’s country converts the XRP into the recipient’s local currency.
  5. Payment Completion: The recipient’s local currency is sent to the receiving institution, which then disburses it to the end beneficiary.

Here’s an illustrative example to better understand the process:

Consider a business in the U.S. that wants to pay a supplier in Japan. The traditional process would involve converting dollars into yen via a series of correspondent banks, which could take days and involve multiple fees.

With RippleNet and ODL, the process is streamlined:

  1. The U.S. business initiates the payment in dollars via its bank connected to RippleNet.
  2. The bank uses a digital asset exchange to convert the dollars into XRP.
  3. The XRP is sent via the XRP Ledger to a digital asset exchange in Japan. This transfer happens within seconds.
  4. The Japanese digital asset exchange converts the XRP into yen.
  5. The yen is then sent to the supplier’s bank in Japan, which credits the supplier’s account.