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You issue a currency in a few steps:

  1. Create an account on the public ledger. You can technically do this with 20 XRP, but you’ll realistically want 50 XRP or so.
  2. The only hard part — you want to set the “default ripple” flag on your account. This indicates to the system that you’re going to issue assets and not just hold them and permits others to exchange assets you’ve issued.
  3. Choose a currency code for the asset you’re going to issue.
  4. Convince other people to be willing to accept the asset you’ve issued. They will have to perform a transaction (called “set trust”) that indicates their willingness to accept the asset. (Since Ripple is a fully public ledger and anyone can issue an asset that it totally worthless, Ripple will not permit a person to wind up with an asset they didn’t agree to accept.)
  5. Make a normal on-ledger payment to someone who has agreed to accept the asset you’ve issued in the currency your asset is issued to. They will wind up holding the asset you’ve issued, and if you get step 2 right, they can transfer it to anyone else who got step 4 right.
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