Ripple is the catchall name for the cryptocurrency platform, the transactional protocol for which is actually XRP, in the same fashion as Ethereum is the name for the platform that facilitates trades in Ether. Like other cryptocurrencies, Ripple is built atop the idea of a distributed ledger network which requires various parties to participate in validating transactions, rather than any singular centralized authority. That facilitates transactions all over the world, and transfer fees are far cheaper than the likes of bitcoin. Unlike other cryptocurrencies, XRP transfers are effectively immediate, requiring no typical confirmation time. Ripple was originally founded by a single company, Ripple Labs, and continues to be backed by it, rather than the larger network of developers that continue bitcoin’s development. It also doesn’t have a fluctuating amount of its currency in existence. Where bitcoin has a continually growing pool with an eventual maximum, and Ethereum theoretically has no limit, Ripple was created with all of its 100 billion XRP tokens right out of the gate. That number is maintained with no mining and most of the tokens are owned and held by Ripple Labs itself — around 60 billion at the latest count. Even at the recently reduced value of around half a dollar per XRP, that means Ripple Labs is currently sitting on around $20 billion worth of the cryptocurrency (note: Ripple’s price crashed hard recently, and may be worth far less than $60 billion by time you read this). It holds 55 billion XRP in an escrow account, which allows it to sell up to a billion per month if it so chooses in order to fund new projects and acquisitions. Selling such an amount would likely have a drastic effect on the cryptocurrency’s value, and isn’t something Ripple Labs plans to do anytime soon. In actuality, Ripple Labs is looking to leverage the technology behind XRP to allow for faster banking transactions around the world. While Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built on the idea of separating financial transactions from the financial organizations of traditional currencies, Ripple is almost the opposite in every sense. XRP by Ripple price can be found on this page alongside the market capitalization and additional stats.
Nxt uses the blockchain to create an entire ecosystem of decentralized features, all of which require the Nxt currency. Instead of modifying the original Bitcoin source code, as many altcoins have done, Nxt developers wrote their own code in Java from scratch. While Nxt is a public blockchain, licenses for private blockchains based on its software are also available for purchase. The developers refer to Nxt as Blockchain 2.0, providing numerous applications beyond simply keeping a public ledger of transactions. Jelurida BV took over the originally anonymously developed Nxt and now own the IP rights. Kristina Kalcheva, co-founder and legal expert of Jelurida, focuses on how to “explore the different open source licensing models and their enforceability in practice.” Currently, the main developer is an anonymous Star Trek fan, going by the name Jean-Luc Picard. While there is still the active development of Nxt, the parent company Jelurida is also working on a Nxt 2.0, known as Ardor, designed specifically to deal with scalability. Ardor will use the same blockchain technology as Nxt, combined with the idea of ‘child chains.’ According to Travin Keith, Nxt foundation Web and Marketing manager, Ardor allows for a “manageable blockchain size, which solves the problem of scalability by separating transactions and data that do not affect security from those that do, and moving all of those that don’t affect security onto child chains.” The core infrastructure of Nxt is complex. This adds risks as compared to the more lean bitcoin, but makes it easier for external services to be built on top of the blockchain. A peer-peer exchange allowing decentralized trading of shares, crypto assets. Since the blockchain is an unalterable public ledger of transactions, the Asset Exchange provides a trading record for items other than Nxt. To do this, Nxt allows the designation or ''coloring'' of a particular coin, which builds a bridge from the virtual crypto-currency world to the physical world. The ''colored coin'' can represent property, stocks/bonds, commodities, or even concepts. Arbitrary Messages enable the sending of encrypted or plain text, which can also function to send and store up to 1000 bytes of data permanently, or 42 kilobytes of data for a limited amount of time. As a result, it can be used to build file-sharing services, decentralized applications, and higher-level Nxt services. Nxt had no mining phase, all initial units were released to 73 people through a one-time fundraiser via bitcoins, after the announcement of the NXT project in the bitcointalk-forums by BCnext. Combine this with a PoS approach, and you have a situation where the big guys run the table. At one point, the Nxt community had a very public spat with Bitcoin developer Jeff Garzik. Garzik took issue with the Nxt marketing approach, its anonymous developers, and their responses to constructive criticism. Nxt responded to some of these claims, of course, but it remains one of the more controversial moments in its history. Another key problem the Nxt network ran into (like so many others) was blockchain bloat. Nodes get weighed down by the onerous task of having to store every transaction on the Nxt blockchain. This was one reason (among others) why Ardor/Ignis came into existence.'