Editor’s note: Stefan Thomas is the CTO of Ripple Labs where his overarching ambition is to weave a global value web by making it easy for the spectrum of developers — from individual entrepreneurs to financial institutions — to build on the Ripple protocol.
When the web was originally designed, its creators aspired to include a way to transfer value. According to the HTTP standard, error code 402 was “reserved for future use” and was labeled “Payment Required.”
Just as we needed a way to freely share information, we needed a way to freely exchange value. Implementing a standardized payment protocol was a natural fit. But while data can live in a world where it’s easily reproduced, value inherently exists as the result of scarcity — in other words, the antithesis of the copy-and-paste nature of the information web.
It quickly became evident that overcoming this challenge was no easy…
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