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Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse recently called out “tribalism” within certain crypto communities for fracturing industry representation. Narrowing in on Bitcoiners, he claimed that polarization from the community “isn’t healthy” and that “all boats can rise” within the space.
Ripple’s Regulatory Troubles
Garlinghouse made his comments during a CNBC-hosted chat at Paris Blockchain Week Summit last week. He clarified his belief that the entire industry can thrive and that he owns multiple cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Ripple is the company behind XRP, which is currently the 6th largest digital asset by market cap. It is the native cryptocurrency of Ripple’s payment system, intended to help banks and retailers make transactions more efficient.
XRP was formerly a top 3 cryptocurrency but is now 80% down from its all-time high in early 2018. Today, it comprises just 1.8% of the near $2 trillion crypto market. Ripple owns most of its supply.
Yet even that broader market has arguably underperformed in recent months. Many industry analysts were predicting a six-figure Bitcoin price and a US spot ETF by the end of 2021, but neither manifested.
According to Garlinghouse, “maximalism” is partly to blame for this lack of momentum. It has fractured the crypto industry’s representation when it comes to lobbying US policymakers.
“The lack of coordination in Washington, D.C., amongst the crypto industry, I find to be shocking,” he said.
Many involved with the industry agree that unclear crypto regulations are a major roadblock to institutional crypto adoption. Much of the regulatory controversy surrounds Ripple itself, which an ongoing SEC lawsuit claims sold unregistered securities in XRP. While Ripple defends itself by calling XRP a “currency”, Bitcoiners haven’t been so quick to back it up.
No Backup from Bitcoiners
In particular, Bitcoin “maximalists” are an online group that believes in Bitcoin’s ultimate potential as a universal global currency. They are commonly famous for being hostile to other cryptos, considering them inferior copycats of Bitcoin, or downright scams.
Take Twitter’s founder Jack Dorsey. After leaving the social media giant to help work on Bitcoin, he called out the altcoin and Web 3 space as fraudulent weeks later. On Tuesday, he claimed that Ethereum has multiple single points of failure and that it, therefore, doesn’t interest him.
MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor is similarly against altcoins. As one of the largest institutional investors in the industry, he has dismissed investing in any crypto other than Bitcoin. In fact, during an interview in January, he insinuated that cryptos like XRP are securities, while Bitcoin is not.
Ripple’s co-founder happens to be attacking Bitcoin in return, as of late. Chris Larsen has funded a $5 million environmental campaign against Bitcoin’s proof of work mechanism.