Ripple is a universal protocol for money that allows independent payment systems to communicate as easily as email systems do. Just as SMTP created a shared standard for email, Ripple creates a shared standard for payments. As with email, no one owns Ripple, and there is no central operator. Ripple is open source software that allows servers all over the world to communicate peer-to-peer financial transactions to one another. If the Ripple protocol becomes the standard protocol for money, payments will become as fast, cheap, and easy as email. There are no network fees, and payments are instant.