Positioning itself as the solution that allows banking institutions to transfer large amounts of money freely and without delays on a distributed network, Ripple is a decentralized, blockchain-based real-time gross settlement system (RTGS), currency exchange, and remittance network.
The predecessor to the Ripple payment protocol, Ripplepay, was first developed in 2004 by Ryan Fugger — that's 4 years before Bitcoin was born. Fugger wanted to create a monetary system that was decentralized and could effectively allow individuals and communities to create their own money.
In May 2011, after selling the now-defunct crypto exchange Mt. Gox, Jeb McCaleb hired Chris Larsen to work with him on the Ripple project. McCaleb borrowed the consensus idea from bitcoin to come up with a distributed system for money transfer. McCaleb asked Fugger to hand over RipplePay, the predecessor to Ripple, and founded OpenCoin in 2012.
OpenCoin worked on and released the Ripple money transfer protocol, and later rebranded as Ripple labs. McCaleb left the company in July 2013.