The concepts behind Ripple reportedly predate Bitcoin by four to five years. In 2004-2005, Ryan Fugger, a Canadian computer programmer, developed RipplePay as a way to provide secure payment options to members of an online community via a global network.
But it would take another six years before the blockchain-based payment system known as XRP and its founding fintech company, now known as Ripple, were started.
Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange, and remittance network created by Ripple Labs Inc., a US-based technology company. Released in 2012, Ripple is built upon a distributed open-source protocol, and supports tokens representing fiat
The XRP Ledger (XRPL) is an open-source public blockchain that anyone can develop on and use for transactions. David Schwartz, Jed McCaleb, and Arthur Britto began the development of XRPL in 2011 with the intention of creating a global decentralized payment system that is more scalable and efficient than bitcoin – one that is “built specifically for payments”.
XRP, the native cryptocurrency of XRPL, was launched in 2012. XRP is a payment token used to facilitate transactions and provide liquidity for currency swaps between cryptocurrencies and fiat currencies.
As the US Government Accountability Office (US GAO) explained in a report on virtual currencies:
Ripple and XRP are used interchangeably, but they’re not actually one and the same thing. XRP is a cryptocurrency issued and managed by Ripple Labs Inc., the company behind the Ripple payment protocol, a real-time gross settlement system.