“Multiple Misstatements” About Bitcoin From Ripple Board Member Leads Student To Further Question Her Motives

“Multiple Misstatements” Regarding Bitcoin From Ripple Board Member Susan Athey Leads Student
To Further Question Her Motives

Finding the difference between reality and the lies in any industry should be easy, but that is not always the case. Rumors can fly and the best option is to take questions to the source, which is exactly what a student named Pierre Rochard did on Twitter recently.

In Rochard’s Twitter post, he exposes Susan Athey, who is a board member of Ripple and an economist and professor at Stanford, claiming that she has been promoting false information about Bitcoin as a result of bribery from Ripple. After being blocked on Twitter by Athey, he posted a screenshot to prove her actions against him specifically, adding, “Corrupt academia is in full crisis mode.”


The whole story begins much sooner than that with a student named Conner Brown. Brown provided a screenshot of an email, saying,

“Posted below is an email that I sent to the Stanford GSB after a presentation in one of my classes. My professors refused to talk in person after bringing this to their attention. Over a month later I still have heard no response, other than “we will get back to you on this.”


The email is saved as a Google document, and it begins with addressing a recent presentation that Dr. Athey had been a part of. Brown addresses the professors, claiming she made “multiple misstatements.” Careful not to overstep his boundaries, he said,

“I understand that she is a respected professor at Stanford and that these may have been accidental; however, I also believe that it is in the best interest of our academic environment that we ensure high caliber discussion and peer review.”

He continues, saying that the biggest concerns he had were about Bitcoin, considering that he says her involvement with Ripple could be a conflict of interest. There are five main points of interest that Brown directs the addressees to:

  1. “Conflating mining nodes and full validating nodes on the Bitcoin network and thus claiming that Bitcoin is ‘controlled by a small group of miners in China.’”
  2. “Claiming that Bitcoin accounts are ‘secured economically and not cryptographically.’”
  3. “Claiming that ‘Bitcoin wastes electricity by stealing from rivers to solve useless math problems.’”
  4. “Claiming that Mexican financial institutions are using Ripple technology.”
  5. “Claiming that Ripple does not sell XRP, they only ‘routinely disperse’ the token.”

After elaborating his concerns in all of these areas, he included several other allegations with less detail (like omitting the changing infrastructure of Bitcoin and claiming Bitcoin has a slow transaction speed still).

A major point to consider here is the fact that Professor Athey is also the board of Ripple Labs. Rather than staying silent on these accusations, she posted to Twitter on February 24th, saying,

“I was a guest lecturer in this class with Ripple role disclosed, not the professor; Conner never contacted me or shared this letter with me; his description of my lecture is a caricature, and I disagree with his characterizations of the lecture.”


Following Professor Athey’s claim, Brown responded by asking,

“If you disagree with the content in my letter, could you publicly post the slides from the talk?”


Athey replied with the slides, adding the comment,

“Here are my slides. Unlike what you might think from Conner's post, the lecture and slides are very high level, intuitive, as this was MBA class with no background in blockchain. Just trying to give the big picture as well as some of the challenges.”


Still, even with the slides, there is still a gap in what was written on them and what was spoken at the events. Rochard pointed out in his own post that the presentation looks more like “a Ripple (XRP) infomercial.”


Rochard continues, adding that the liquidity of Bitcoin exceeds XRP. However, these interactions still provide no conclusion as to why Athey insists that Brown is wrong, which is easily the answer that Bitcoin proponents and other crypto fans are waiting for.


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