Ripple is a network of computers which use the Ripple consensus algorithm to atomically settle and record transactions on a secure distributed database, the Ripple Consensus Ledger (RCL). Because of its distributed nature, the RCL offers transaction immutability without a central operator. The RCL contains a built-in currency exchange and its path-finding algorithm finds competitive exchange rates across order books and currency pairs.
Cross-border payments Ripple enables banks to settle cross-border payments in real-time, with end-to-end transparency, and at lower costs. Banks can provide liquidity for FX themselves or source it from third parties.
As Ripple adoption grows, so do the number of currencies and counterparties. Liquidity providers need to maintain accounts with each counterparty for each currency – a capital- and time-intensive endeavor that spreads liquidity thin. Further, some transactions, such as exotic currency trades, will require multiple trading parties, who each layer costs to the transaction. Thin liquidity and many intermediary trading parties make competitive pricing challenging.