"Let's be clear: Ripple is different than XRP," Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of distributed ledger startup Ripple, argued during CB Insights' Future of Fintech conference on Thursday.
Garlinghouse opened his talk by pushing back against arguments that the XRP cryptocurrency may be considered a security, given its close link to the San Francisco-based company. He also spoke about the work the company has done to date in partnership with a range of banks and financial firms.
Perhaps his strongest comments came in response to a question about whether XRP is a security for Ripple, a claim he – and other Ripple employees – have strongly rejected. A senior official for the Securities and Exchange Commission recently stated that bitcoin and ether aren't securities and the lack of any similar comment about XRP renewed that critique.
As he explained during the CB Insights event:
"XRP is not a security for three reasons: if Ripple, the company, shuts down tomorrow, the XRP ledger will continue to operate; it's an open-source, decentralized technology .... if you buy XRP, [you are] not buying shares of Ripple - buying XRP doesn't give you ownership of Ripple."
Garlinghouse also repeated concerns he has about bitcoin, saying "I own ... [and] am bullish on bitcoin but we need to acknowledge ... when we talked about something being centralized and decentralized, control is the key element."
He even went so far as to cast doubt on the SEC's classification that bitcoin is not a security, asking "How decentralized is it?"
"Three miners in China control more than 50 percent of the hash rate of bitcoin," he asserted, contending that the Chinese government may interfere with these miners and, as a result, have the ability to exert some form of control.
Brad Garlinghouse image via CB Insights