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I was talking to some folks interested in facilitating trade of non-monetary assets (power to be specific). I was thinking that Ripple as a platform may be more suited for such trades than Bitcoin. However, when I was researching Ripple today, it seemed to me that their marketing is now almost exclusively focusing on banks.

Is it still possible to issue your own assets on Ripple? Do you need to be a Ripple gateway to do so? Is there another solution to account for self-issued assets in high frequency with an non-fixed group of participants cheaply?

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It is definitely still possible to issue your own assets. Here is the process:

  1. Create an account on the Ripple network, you will need to get someone to send you enough XRP to perform transactions, $1 worth should easily do it.
  2. Submit a transaction to set the DefaultRipple flag on the account. If you don't do this, people who hold your asset will not be able to send the asset to each other.
  3. Choose a three-character code for your asset like PWR.
  4. Convince other people to set up trust lines to allow them to hold your asset.
  5. To issue your asset to people just use a Payment transaction.

Your asset will have the following characteristics:

  1. Only you can issue it.
  2. Anyone who agrees to hold it by creating an appropriate trust line can receive it.
  3. People can place offers to trade your asset for any other asset tradeable on the ledger.
  4. Your asset can be used as a source asset or destination asset for payments with automatic pathfinding so long as there are sufficient offers in the ledger.

The question of whether you need to be a Ripple gateway may reflect a misunderstanding about what a gateway actually is. A "gateway" is just a company that offers the service of issuing and redeeming a digital asset on demand. What makes you a gateway is that you bridge some asset outside the ledger to a digital asset on the ledger.

If you do this, you're a gateway. Whether or not this custom asset requires a gateway depends on how you are expecting people to be able to use it.

For example, if you wanted a custom asset that represented gold, you would probably need some way for people to trade the asset for actual gold (or, at least, the current value of that gold). And you would probably need some way for people to get the asset in exchange for actual gold (or, at least, the current value of gold). That would be the gateway's role -- to bridge the digital asset to the external value it's supposed to have.

By contrast, if you want an asset that represented an hour's worth of work, you might not need any gateway at all. You might let anyone issue the asset in exchange for an hour of work with it being redeemable against their own work. This wouldn't require a gateway, but you'd be trusting individual issuers to honor their obligations. (And it wouldn't really be one asset, since Jeff owing you an hour of work would be a slightly different asset from Sarah owing you an hour of work.)

  • And how would one go about doing any of that using the commandline or rpc? – Nobody Aug 9 at 13:24
  • Have a look at the TrustSet transactor. That agrees to accept an asset someone else issued. Then you just use Payment transactors to issue the asset. You can hand edit the JSON and use the submit API call to submit the transactions. If you run rippled with -a, you can play with a local test instance. – David Schwartz Aug 9 at 15:10

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