XRP Not Ripple, The Quest To Finding The XRP Symbol

Alexavier Guzman
May 17, 2018 · 4 min read

I build tools that help businesses and individuals keep up with the rapidly changing world, and I also contribute to the open-source community. Having the knowledge and willingness to advance something, however small, is all it takes to make a difference. Because of my personal interest for blockchain technology and digital assets (or so called cryptocurrencies) and similar technologies, I decided to contribute to the XRP community in a unique way.

For those who are not familiar with what XRP is all about, XRP is a digital asset used in the XRP Ledger. The XRP Ledger is a decentralized cryptographic ledger powered by a network of peer-to-peer servers. The XRP Ledger is the home of XRP. The codebase for implementing the XRP Ledger is an open-source project released by Ripple. One of the interesting things about this project is that it is meant to be used by large-scale institutions, but it can also be implemented at any scale by anyone using the provided open-source software. The XRP Ledger utilizes the digital asset “XRP” as the network’s native “currency”. XRP can be used by banks and payment providers to source liquidity and offer competitive rates when sending money across international borders, but it does not need to be limited to just that. XRP can be used for more than just fast international remittances by large institutions.

Because the XRP Ledger’s technology is universally available to anyone, the digital asset (XRP) can also be used as a form of currency for everyday purchases. Being able to utilize XRP as any other currency opens the door to more innovative ideas. To put it into perspective, if a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin is used at a point of sale, it would create long lines as people wait for hours for their transactions to go through. With XRP, one can transact within seconds, and as engineers contribute to making the software and network more efficient, we can expect transactions to settle even faster. Combine this with the XRP Ledger’s internal currency exchange, and you can use XRP anywhere in the world and it can be converted automatically to the local currency. This of course was the main inspiration for my next idea, the XRP Symbol.

The XRP Symbol is an open-source project that started after I realized that XRP was using an ISO 4217 currency code and not a symbol or currency sign. Other cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin were given a symbol that was added to the Unicode Standard, the symbol for Bitcoin is “₿”. Because of the aforementioned use cases for XRP, I believe that XRP should be treated just like any other currency. For instance, if you transact in Dollars or Bitcoin, the transactions would look similar to the following: $12.34 or ₿12.34. In XRP, you currently use the ISO 4217 code “XRP”, and having this as a prefix does not give XRP the recognition that other major currencies have. The project’s aim is to allow the XRP community to come up with suggestions for a potential symbol, to be used when displaying the amount of XRP, and that can be proposed to the Unicode Consortium for consideration. This could allow anyone to use one common symbol that represents the digital asset and that defines it as a type of currency. An open repository was created to allow people to submit new ideas and contribute to existing ones. On Twitter, the project can be found using the handle @xrpsymbol, and this channel is used to share the various contributions from the community and to discuss potential proposals. Ultimately, when a final decision has been reached, the symbol will be converted into various fonts and image formats and proposed to the Unicode Consortium so that it can be used by anyone if added to the Unicode Standard.

Why a symbol?

One of the main reasons to give XRP a symbol is to distinguish it from “Ripple” the company. Because XRP does not currently have its own symbol, the digital asset is often associated with Ripple’s trademark, mainly the 3 connecting circles triskelion. To make a distinction between Ripple the company and the distributed and universally available XRP digital asset, it needs its own identity. Thus, the inspiration to create a symbol that represents the truly distributed and global features of the digital asset. After sharing initial thoughts on Twitter , the community was excited to see this proposal and are actively contributing to create what we believe will represent XRP.

XRP existed before Ripple Labs, Inc. was formed, and it will exist after. It was created by the same developers when the company was called OpenCoin, and released to the public. The community behind XRP is passionate about the innovations and the technologies Ripple is helping to create, but Ripple’s use case of XRP is just one of the unlimited potential use cases. Contributing to this effort to allow for the distinction of XRP is more than just a personal project, it is a community project, driven by a passion to simplify things — however small they may seem.

If you would like to contribute ideas to this open-source project, follow us on Twitter at @xrpsymbol or submit ideas to the repository on GitHub.


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