The CEO of the global settlement platform Ripple has once again addressed the current state of the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. Brad Garlinghouse spoke at the 2018 Stifel Cross Sector Insight Conference.
Garlinghouse: “Blockchain Will Not Disrupt Banks”
Garlinghouse was interviewed for the event by one of Stifel’s Tech Analysts, Lee Simpson. The Ripple CEO spoke in front of a large crowd at the InterContinental Boston. The Street reported that he acknowledged the current level of ‘blockchain craziness’ and admitted that it would be an important step in the evolution of ‘our system.’ However, he was ultimately dismissive of the tech innovation’s disruptive potential:
“Blockchain will not disrupt banks… It’s a short-sighted view.”
Garlinghouse went on to address the current number one cryptocurrency by market capitalisation, Bitcoin. He repeated a sentiment he expressed earlier this month when he said:
“Bitcoin is not the panacea we thought it would be.”
Evidently, Garlinghouse believes his own token, XRP, is more useful in terms of international settlements. He told the crowd that XRP was how ‘liquidity will be managed in the future,’ describing it as ‘the best digital asset for settlement.’ The CEO then went on to state the average transaction times of both Bitcoin and XRP. He told the crowd that XRP transactions could go through in as little as four seconds. For him, this will make his product more attractive to traditional banks:
“Banks will use what is efficient and cheaper. And if you deliver a better product at a better price… they will use it.”
Relating to this, Garlinghouse then recounted a story about his dealings with an Australian bank. According to the executive, the CEO of the bank told him, that the best thing he did when creating Ripple and XRP was to leave both ‘bit’ and ‘coin’ out of the name.
Perhaps the most interesting portion of the interview came when Garlinghouse addressed Bitcoin once again. He stated that it was ‘really controlled by China’ and claimed this to be a largely underreported story:
“There are four miners in China that control over 50% of Bitcoin.”
For Garlinghouse, this is reason to doubt Bitcoin’s potential for commercial success. He questioned the desire of nations to use a currency that is controlled by China before answering himself:
“It’s just not going to happen.”
However, the Ripple CEO did continue to state that he still owned Bitcoin, despite his views on the digital asset as a currency. He acknowledged Bitcoin’s role was more suited to that of ‘digital gold’ and stated that he’s ‘long crypto.’
Finally, Garlinghouse stated that he felt we were still at a very early stage in the development of cryptocurrencies and digital assets in general:
“We’re at mile one in a 26-mile marathon.”