This guide will take you through the process of setting up and using a Ripple implementation. The first and currently only implementation of Ripple is Ripplepay. At Ripplepay, you can register and make unlimited transactions for free. This can be done by individuals, non-profit organizations, businesses, and any other entity that can exchange goods or services.
Ripple is an open decentralized payment system design. To use it, you need an actual implementation of the design. The steps in this guide will show you how to use all the functions in the Ripplepay implementation of the Ripple concept, and then we'll look at the bigger picture in effectively integrating these functions into your regular processes.
The main functions in Ripplepay are to create accounts for users to interact with, to make connections between users, to adjust settings of those connections to reflect the actual users, and to make transactions over those user connections or credit chains. We will look at each of these functions in the sections below, and then we will study the most common integration scenarios and answer any questions.
To create an account, open the Ripplepay sign-up page, and fill in your contact details. You can optionally select a default unit if most of your dealings will be in a particular currency. Once you register, you will receive a confirmation e-mail that will check your contact information.
For a user to conduct any transactions in Ripplepay, the user must first create connections. Ripple makes transactions between connections, i.e. connected peers transmit the payments between each other -- a peer-to-peer (p2p) system.
To connect to another user, log in to your account, and from the main account page enter the other user's e-mail address in the section marked
Connect to more people.
On the next page, you are prompted to enter the maximum amount of credit you will extend to the other user, as well as the unit of account (currency) and interest rate. The amount you enter here will be the maximum amount this user can pay you overall through Ripplepay. For instance, if you set it to $150, then the other user could pay you up to $150. Note that this total includes payments sent from the other user through your account, not just the payments from the other user directly to you.
If you set an interest rate other than 0%, then any balance owed to you by the other user will automatically collect interest at the rate you set.
For the connection to be established, the other user has to accept your credit offer.
Once you have established a connection with another user, you can always go back and edit the settings. To do so, log in to your Ripplepay account and open the connections page. Find the account you want to adjust, and click the account name or the details link. The next page will show you the details of your connection with this user, and allow you to change settings such as the account name, interest rate, and maximum credit.
Now that you have a connection with another user, you're ready to make an exchange! In order to pay someone or borrow money, you have to have credit available with that user. In order to receive payment from or lend money to someone, that user has to have credit available with you. In any case, the credit can either be directly with you through a connection established (as above), or indirectly through a chain of credit intermediaries.
To make a payment to a user who has extended you credit, simply log in to your account and open the payments page, then click the link to pay another user. On the page that opens, enter your payment information: recipient, amount, and memo.
You can also have Ripplepay fill in the recipient's account automatically by clicking the payment link directly from that user's connection page in your account.
For someone else to pay you, that user would perform the same steps and fill in your account.
Ripplepay also allows you to look at a history of your past payments, and to edit your profile (including contact information, default display units, enabling or disabling automatic currency conversion, and other settings). You can enter multiple e-mail addresses to receive payments.
Credit connections can be chained together to allow payment throughout a community. So far you have seen direct payments without any intermediaries. Ripplepay also lets you make payments to users with whom you have not established a credit connection, as long as you are connected by credit intermediaries. A credit intermediary is any user who is mutually connected to both the payer and payee. Payments can transact through a chain of numerous credit intermediaries to allow for general payment through Ripplepay. For a more detailed explanation of credit chains, including an illustrative diagram, see credit relationship.
This section will document real-world situations to address specific issues.
Individual users can use Ripplepay accounts to track IOUs with friends, to buy and sell goods and services with their friends, and to make exchanges with any organizations that have Ripplepay accounts.
In addition to the uses individuals can make of Ripplepay, non-profit organizations can track resources such as volunteer hours using Ripplepay. To track volunteer hours, each volunteer would offer the organization credit in the number of hours available. The organization would then pay the volunteer those hours through Ripplepay for the actual hours worked by the volunteer. If the non-profit organization offers any products or services to reward volunteers, then the volunteer could repay those hours to the organization in exchange for the reward.
Like non-profit organizations, businesses can track personnel activity and other resources using Ripplepay. Businesses can also accept Ripplepay in exchange for their products.
There are some interesting ways for businesses to use Ripplepay. On top of simple transactions like customers trading Ripplepay credit for products, a business can use Ripplepay to offer and manage customer credit, or to borrow and manage credit with suppliers.
Ripple can enable businesses to avoid taking out bank loans at interest to pay some of their bills while waiting to collect on others.
Any form of co-operative entity such as housing co-ops, production co-ops, intentional communities, and so on, can track their community involvement using Ripplepay. For instance, this could include bills for food or rent, hours for chores, and any other resources.
An integrated example
Jane buys her groceries at the local food cooperative, and makes a Ripple payment in the store. The Ripple routing system finds that the food coop has a balance owing at the local hardware store where they buy maintenance supplies. The hardware store in turn has an outstanding bill with the lawyer up the street. Jane often does landscaping for the lawyer on credit. To complete Jane's payment to the food coop, the Ripple system reduces the food coop's bill at the hardware store, the hardware store's debt to the lawyer, and finally the lawyer's debt to Jane. Jane walks out with her groceries.
Any remaining questions can be answered here. Please send any questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.