Given its early emphasis on distributed ledgers in what was then widely described as the digital currency ecosystem, Ripple has long held a unique market position in the industry. In the age of "blockchain", the startup remains one of the few holdouts to describe its offerings as "distributed financial technology".
Since it was founded in 2012, Ripple has garnered a track record of success with major banks, which have viewed bitcoin and its largely anonymous transaction validators (miners), as a potential liability. Ripple and its permissioned network, in turn, emerged as a 'safe' alternative for incumbent firms, one that wasn't colored by high levels of more negative press. The positive market momentum would help the startup raise $38.6m from investors including Andreessen Horowitz, CME Group and Santander InnoVentures.