Ripple started life in 2004 as RipplePay. The goal of RipplePay was to provide secure and fast financial transactions across the world at lower costs than current payment networks, such as SWIFT.
Originally, RipplePay simply enabled individuals to extend credit lines to friends and family. It also allowed for traditional online payments and payment of online currency. In 2012, a technology company called RippleLabs took over RipplePay and restructured the protocol. This new system included features of a digital cash system through the integration of a new cryptocurrency, XRP.
These events were put into motion in early 2011, when Arthur Britto, Jed McCaleb, and David Schwartz formed a team to work on what we know today as the XRP ledger. This is the blockchain on which the XRP token lives.
XRP is an independent digital currency. It is neither owned nor controlled by any one entity or person. It is an open source cryptocurrency and can be used by anyone, including Ripple. The ledger is community-based, which means only users can decide whether it succeeds or fails.
In August 2012, Chris Larsen joined the XRP team, and after this, they approached Ryan Fugger to use their digital currency with his own credit network, Ripple. Fugger agreed to support the new effort, and the team founded a new company known as OpenCoin, with full control of what was previously known as RipplePay.