About Interledger

The Problem: Disconnected Networks

Payment networks today are siloed and disconnected. Payments are relatively easy within one country or if the sender and recipient have accounts on the same network, blockchain or ledger. Try sending to someone on a different system though, and you may be out of luck. Where connections between ledgers do exist, they are manual, slow or expensive.

Applying the Architecture of the Internet

The power of the Internet comes from the fact that it connects everyone. It can do this because it is not a single network or system. The Internet is a network of networks or internetwork. Packets of information are sent across independent telecommunication providers using open protocols such as TCP/IP. This makes it easy to communicate with anyone, no matter what provider they are connected to. We need the same for money and value.

The Protocol for the Internet of Value

Interledger is an open suite of protocols for connecting ledgers of all types: from digital wallets and national payment systems to blockchains and beyond. This will make it easy to transact with anyone, no matter where we live or what type of money we use. Sending value will be as easy as sending information is today. This is the vision of the Internet of Value.

How Interledger Works

Interledger uses connectors to route payments across different ledgers. Conditional transfers -- using Hash-Time-Locked Contracts (HTLCs), as they are known in the blockchain space -- are used to secure multi-hop payments so funds cannot be lost or stolen in flight. On top of this security primitive, Interledger provides a packet and address format, heavily inspired by the Internet Protocol (IP), to instruct connectors where to forward payments. For more details, see the Interledger Architecture RFC.

Project History

Interledger was invented in 2015 by Stefan Thomas and Evan Schwartz. The whitepaper and initial implementation were released in October of that year and Interledger W3C Community Group was formed shortly thereafter to carry on the development. Today the project consists of hundreds of companies and individual contributors, with backgrounds ranging from blockchain and tech to finance and government.

Want try sending your first Interledger payment? See Getting Started

Interested in learning more or getting involved? Check out the intro videos, read the documentation and join the community.