Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse AMA: 2018 Crypto Market, ICE and Decentralization Recap


Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse Ask Me Anything (AMA) Recap

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse and Chief Market Strategist Cory Johnson sat down for a talk at Ripple headquarters in downtown San Francisco.

Given below are some of the notable points discussed in the conversation

Johnson: How has the blockchain/digital asset industry done thus far this year?

Garlinghouse: I think if you look at the state of the industry, most would have predicted that 2018 would be the year where the institutions start to really get involved. In some ways the industry has under-performed from that I would have predicted in 2017. There are some good reasons for that. One reason is the institutional custody of digital assets is not quite where it needs to be if you want a lot of money in the sector. Another reason is the regulatory questions that have emerged in 2018 has probably slowed things down a bit. That being said, this has set a platform for some strength in the back half of the year and certainly 2019 as some of those institutional questions come online. There is a continuous progress in regulatory clarity.

Johnson: How is Ripple fairing when compared to the industry?

Garlinghouse: Ripple has had the best year we’ve had by a longshot. In the first quarter, we signed about 1 production contract per week which increased to 2 production contract in the second quarter. That’s not that surprising, right. They are joining a network, the value of the network is equal to the square of the nodes in the network (Metcalfe's law). The third quarter will definitely be a record of institutional participation and buying an interest in holding XRP.

Johnson: What announcements around the industry have caught your attention?

Garlinghouse: One of the announcements that have happened very recently is the news from ICE and their planned exchange called Bakkt with participation from a handful of participants. I think this is a big deal. It is indicative of where the world is heading. It shows that the industry is maturing. I have been often quoted as saying that we are in a toddler stage. As we see major participants enter the market, it’s a big step forward.

Johnson: If you had to make a guess, do you think it’s going to be the big boys setting up custody solutions or do you think it’s going to be startups recognizing that this is different?

Garlinghouse: I think it will start with the latter. Oftentimes the big boys react to what happens in startups and sometimes they acquire it to bring these capabilities in-house.

Johnson: I want to talk about David Schwartz’s post about this idea of decentralization. I think the notion that overtime XRP is becoming more decentralized whereas on the other hand Bitcoin and Ether are becoming less decentralized.

Garlinghouse: When I talk about the maturing of the industry, I think has to happen broadly. This post that David did this morning is profound and powerful. It’s very clear that XRP is more decentralized today than it has ever been. There are 150 publicly known validators on XRP ledger. Ripple only manages only about 10 of them which is just 7% of the network. When people say XRP isn’t decentralized, I don’t know what they are talking about. There is a company called Ripple which is investing in the XRP ecosystem, just like many interested parties that are doing the same.

Johnson: I also want to talk about university Blockchain Research Initiative and why that matters.

Garlinghouse: One of the things that e have focused on and with Ethan Beard joining is expanding the developer participation in the XRP ecosystem. There are a couple of things that we have done. Obviously, Xpring is one example the other is UBRI. We want to make sure that crypto and blockchain research is happening in universities globally. We have announced somewhere around 25 different universities that have participated.

Johnson: Who are the leaders that you have looked up to?

Garlinghouse: There are two people who I have to highlight for a slightly different reason. I think incredibly highly of Reed Hoffman. He has been a stalwart guy of Silicon Valley. His product is demonstrative of the big-heartedness. He is a connector and networker. Another person that I have a lot of respect is Sheryl Sandberg. Facebook has had a slightly complicated 2018 and the grace with which she handled the whole thing is astounding.

You can see the whole AMA replay here:

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