Ripple Co-Founder Chris Larsen on the State of Crypto

September 6, 2018
Updated 4mo ago

By Jacqueline Corba and Tanaya Macheel

Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen is pushing back on claims that his company is a centralized entity.

"There is a religious war going on between platforms," Larsen told Cheddar from the Crypto Finance Conference.

Cryptocurrencies and blockchains were built on the premise that they can transact value securely, without the need for a central authority.

While Ripple touts the decentralized nature of its network, many crypto purists don't buy it, since about 55 percent of the XRP supply sits in the centrally-controlled Ripple Foundation.

That level of centralization could be cause for concern if it turns out the XRP token is a security, depending on how regulations develop.

"That whole idea around centralization is bogus. If Ripple went away tomorrow, XRP continues as an open source permission-less ledger," Larsen said.

Ripple's core business is partnering with banks to improve cross-border payments and fix their inefficiencies.

Larsen also addressed the various securities fraud lawsuits that have hit Ripple this year. He said they "have no merit."

"We are very confident about what Ripple is doing, and we are very confident about where this industry is going in a positive way," he said.

BTCC co-founder Bobby Lee, board member of the Bitcoin Foundation and an obvious proponent of Bitcoin, disagreed.

"In the digital world everything has been centralized," Lee told Cheddar at the Crypto Finance Conference on Wednesday. "For the first time, we have something that is truly decentralized."

"The fact that companies and people are misusing it, trying to apply it to something they launched themselves, that's dangerous," he said.

Ripple isn't the only network to pre-mine tokens; companies or networks that do usually hold them in a foundation or use them to further development of the network.

The top three cryptocurrencies by market capー Bitcoin, Ethereum, and XRP ー are all facing a summer price slump. On Wednesday, prices plummeted after reports surfaced that Goldman Sachs is calling off plans for a crypto trading desk for Bitcoin and that ShapeShift, Bitcoin evangelist Erik Voorhees's exchange, would introduce "membership plans," requiring "basic personal information to be collected."

Lee and Larsen each think their digital asset of favor will win in the long-term.