Founded in 2012 as OpenCoin, Ripple Labs is the software company developing the XRP (XRP) cryptocurrency and distributed ledger technology alongside a suite of payment protocols for streamlined cross-border settlement for financial institutions.
On the Ripple Network, any currency or asset can be used for transactions without relying on XRP, though XRP acts as a bridge between currencies when needed. Ripple’s On-Demand Liquidity service utilizes XRP for cross-border transactions, eliminating the need for pre-funded accounts. This approach facilitated partnerships with major entities like Santander, Bank of America and American Express. However, XRP’s role led to legal issues with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), which filed a lawsuit in December 2020, accusing Ripple and its executives of illegally selling XRP to investors without proper security registration.
On July 13, 2023, a court ruled that Ripple’s $728.9 million XRP sales to institutional clients constituted unregistered securities sales, giving the SEC a partial victory. Ripple targeted institutional investors, endorsing a speculative value thesis for XRP contingent on blockchain improvements. Further legal proceedings are likely, with Ripple possibly appealing or presenting new arguments against the court’s decision.