Interledger aims to connect multiple ledgers – like banks, digital wallets, clearing houses, and stock exchanges – together into a single unified ledger. Here’s our review.
What is Interledger?
Interledger, found online at Interledger.org, is an open protocol suite that facilitates sending payments across different ledgers.
Just like routers on the internet, connectors on the Interledger protocol route packets of money across independent payment networks. The open architecture and minimal protocol enable interoperability for any value transfer system. Interledger facilitates transactions across multiple ledgers, but it’s not tied to any one company, blockchain, or cryptocurrency.
In layman’s terms, Interledger lets you send money between different ledgers. Those “ledgers” could include blockchains, banks, digital wallets, clearing houses, stock exchanges, and more. Thanks to Interledger, these ledgers can communicate with one another, leading to better transferability across ledgers.
Interledger was first invented in 2015. Today, it remains closely tied to the Ripple project. The two inventors of Interledger also have key positions with Ripple.
How Does Interledger Work?
Some of the key functions of Interledger include:
- Code with Money: Add payments without being tied to a single currency or payment provider.
- Multi-Hop Routing: Send payments to other ledgers, even if those ledgers are multiple hops away.
- Simple Protocol: Interledger was inspired by TCP/IP to be easy to implement and use.
The overall goal of Interledger is to make it easy to send money, no matter what ledger you (or your recipient) are on. You can receive money from any ledger without setting up accounts on multiple services.
Interledger defines a ledger as a stateful system that tracks the ownership of assets. These ledgers contain buckets of assets. A ledger could include a stock exchange, a bank, or a digital wallet. It can be decentralized – like a blockchain – or centralized – like your bank’s ledger.
Interledger relies on a network of connectors to facilitate payments across ledgers. Connectors generate revenue from Interledger payments while accepting some risk. In the Interledger model, connectors are described as separate logical systems even though the same entity may operate a ledger and a connector. A connector receives a local transfer on one ledger in exchange for making another local transfer on a different ledger. A single Interledger payment can include multiple connectors across any number of ledgers.
What if the ledgers represent different assets? How does Interledger facilitate the exchange of value? In this case, the connectors set the exchange rate between transfers. These connectors can generate revenue from the difference in value between incoming and outgoing transfers. A sender can request quotes from multiple connectors to determine the best price before sending a payment.
You can take a deeper dive into the technical details behind Interledger at their official website here.
What Problems Does Interledger Seek to Solve?
Basically, Interledger seeks to solve the problem that today’s payment networks are siloed and disconnected. Payments are relatively easy within one country, or if the sender and recipient have accounts on the same network. However, if this isn’t the case, then sending payments between ledgers can be fraught with frustration.
When connections between ledgers do exist, they are manual, slow, or expensive. Interledger wants to solve these problems by applying the architecture of the internet to ledgers.
Who’s Behind Interledger?
Interledger was invented in 2015 by Stefan Thomas and Evan Schwartz. Today, the project is in active development by a community of individuals worldwide. The project consists of hundreds of companies and individual contributors, with backgrounds ranging from blockchain and tech to finance and government.
Stefan Thomas is best-known for being the CTO of Ripple. Evan Schwartz is also a Software Architect at Ripple. Ripple and the Interledger Protocol (ILP) remain closely tied.
Interledger, or the Interledger Protocol (ILP) is a platform that connects different ledgers together. ILP can be used to connect a bank’s ledger with a blockchain, for example, or a stock market’s ledger with a crypto wallet.
To learn more about Interledger and how it works, visit online today at Interledger.org. The project is in active development by a community of hundreds worldwide.