Ripple is a real-time gross settlement system, currency exchange, and remittance network. Ripple uses a trusted list of servers to process transactions unlike Bitcoin which requires miners to validate network transactions.
It is also known as the Ripple Transaction Protocol (RTXP), or simply the Ripple Protocol.
The currency used within Ripple is called XRP. XRP acts as the central/bridge currency that allows two parties to exchange directly, with only Ripple as the middle-man. According to Ripple, its network is capable of handling 1,500 transactions per second, with each transaction settling within four (4) seconds.