Cryptocurrencies have been around for some time now and, as such, it has become increasingly difficult for traditional institutions such as banks and brokerage firms, along with individual traders, to dismiss them as a passing fad. Bitcoin (BTC), invented in 2009, was the first of these virtual coins to gain international attention and remains the largest, in terms of market capitalization. However, many so-called ‘altcoins’, i.e., any coin other than Bitcoin, have, in 2017, experienced the kind of exponential growth that puts even the likes of Bitcoin to shame; Ripple (XRP) is a favorite among traders and financial institutions alike but what is Ripple, how does it work, and why is it so popular?