Today, Ripple is the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap. It uses a consensus algorithm and its only clients seem to be large banks. They open sourced the code on github, but nodes have to be approved to join the network.
However, the original Ripple project was conceived by Ryan Fugger in 2004. It has to deal with IOUs between people, and that's why it was called ripple, as each transaction is implemented by shifting around IOUs in chains, like ripples in a pond.
I want to understand whether the original protocol had any serious flaws. unlike Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies, it seems to NOT require a global ledger and global consensus to pay people. Instead it uses a "Network of Trust", similar to PGP vs DNS. Each person only deals with a few nodes. That makes it an extremely awesome fit for our own open source platform, which we built to allow any community to host their own social network the same way Wordpress hosts blogs. Basically, an African village, or a Cruise ship, or a Classroom in a university could have a social network for their community, possibly running on the local network without having to contact a remote server. Everyone has their own identities that persist as they join various communities.
Here are some videos on the original Ripple protocol, note they are all from 2010 and 2011:
We wanted to implement money inside these communities, and the idea of IOUs between people seems great. My questions are:
Was this abandoned, or is the current Ripple source code able to implement this on a local level?
Are there any serious downsides, like sybil attacks and ability to issue unlimited amounts of credit, that necessitated a shift to a global consensus protocol?
Why does the current Ripple protocol require a global consensus?
Can someone use the old Ripple design to make money between people actually work in a local community without a global singleton ledger?