OpenCoin announced at Bitcoin London that Ripple users can now make payments to all Bitcoin addresses directly from the Ripple client.
As a result, Ripple users now have access to over 8,500 Bitcoin merchants and the entire Bitcoin economy. The Bitcoin Bridge allows Ripple users to send a payment in any currency to a Bitcoin address, and the Bitcoin address will receive it in Bitcoins.
"This is both an important milestone for Ripple and a powerful demonstration of the promise of the Ripple system," said OpenCoin CEO Chris Larsen. "Now, anyone can send Bitcoins without having to use a central exchange. At the same time, any merchant accepting Bitcoins now has the potential to accept any currency in the world."
OpenCoin is the company that designed the Ripple protocol, a math-based payment network, virtual currency, and the world's first distributed currency exchange. Ripple enables fast, secure and essentially free transactions of any size, in any currency, anywhere in the world.
How it Works
Ripple builds direct pathways between parties for faster transactions with no added fees. As a distributed multi-currency exchange, Ripple pathways allow users to pay in one currency and receive payment in another.
The Bitcoin Bridge extends these pathways so that Ripple users can now send multiple currencies directly to a Bitcoin address. From their Ripple wallet, users simply enter a Bitcoin address and choose the type and amount of currency that they wish to send. Through Bitstamp.net, the Ripple system automatically and without a fee converts that currency into Bitcoins for delivery to the Bitcoin address.
The Ripple payment system can be used for a wide range of applications, including merchant payments, money transfers, or remittances. Merchants that accept Bitcoin can now receive payment from a Ripple user in multiple currencies from around the world.