One of the best performing cryptocurrencies last year, and one of the most accessible to mum-and-dad investors, was Ripple. Its rise of more than 1000 per cent, which took its executive chairman and co-founder Chris Larsen’s wealth briefly ahead of Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg, saw it become a household name earlier this year as it rushed past Ethereum as the second-most valuable cryptocurrency.

But not everyone in the crypto community is happy about Ripple’s success. For many cryptocurrency enthusiasts, Ripple’s deals with more than 80 banks worldwide, including the Royal Bank of Canada, Spain’s Santander and Westpac, has made the privately funded company “a tool of established financial institutions”, the antithesis of the appeal of cryptocurrencies.

Ripple’s primary service is a money transferring ledger using blockchain technology, which is designed for banks to settle cross-border transfers within seconds, rather than the days it takes now. Dilip Rao, managing director for Ripple in the Asia Pacific region, said the way banks transfer money overseas “hasn’t changed in a thousand years.

I think if you brought back the Medicis they would be quite familiar with how it works today.” While investors can’t buy shares in the company, they can purchase the cryptocurrency, XRP, which is ultimately planned to be used on the Ripple ledger to reduce the costs of banks holding foreign currency in overseas accounts.

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