XRP is the native token of the XRP ledger, which aims to replace Bitcoin and build a trust-free, instant and cheap cross-border payment network. Like Bitcoin, XRP relies on a public ledger called the XRP Ledger to store transaction details.
Unlike Bitcoin and its proof-of-work consensus protocol, the XRP ledger utilizes a consensus mechanism based on the Federal Byzantine Protocol (FBA) model. The XRP ledger maintains a consensus and transaction ledger through trusted validation nodes in recorded time, approximately every 3 to 5 seconds. These trusted nodes are collectively called Unique Node lists.
The payment network on XRP's ledger does not use mining to verify and record new transactions, so its native token XRP was pre-issued at an early stage of its development. A total of 100 billion XRPS were pre-issued and rolled out in 2013. Today, more than 46 billion XRP supplies are in circulation. In addition to XRP, XRP can also be traded with other currencies in the Ripple ecosystem. XRP acts as a "bridge" between hard-to-match fiat currencies. If there are no market makers on the network willing to swap dollars for pounds, for example, people can sell the former to XRP and use it to buy the latter.
XRP is also used to provide On-demand Liquidity (ODL) for Ripple's flagship RippleNet service, a global payment network of financial institutions that was originally three separate products until 2019: XCurrent (real-time settlement solution), xRapid (liquidity solution), and xVia (Payment API).
ODL is simply the process of converting a legal tender, such as US dollars, into XRP tokens, and then sending those tokens to a receiving account, which then converts XRP into their local legal tender, such as Philippine pesos. Unlike fiat money, which can take days to send, XRP transactions typically take about three seconds. This not only speeds things up a lot, but also reduces any rate slippage.
XRP ledger can complete payments in 5 seconds and process more than 1,500 transactions per second, according to Ripple's XRP document. A small number of XRP approximately 10drops (a unit of XRP) worth 0.00001 XRP are destroyed to cover transaction costs. Transaction fees are designed to increase as network load increases to discourage use of the network during busy periods. All XRP transactions are executed and settled on the books.