Brad Garlinghouse of Ripple told CNBC on Tuesday that Bitcoin will not be the catch-all solution people are hoping for in terms of being a global currency.
“I think it’s not going to be the panacea that people once thought it would be, where it would solve all of these different kinds of problems,” Garlinghouse said on the sidelines of Money20/20 Euorpe, which is being held this week in Amsterdam. “Instead, you’re seeing specializations of different kind of ledgers, different kinds of blockchains.”
On Monday, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak said that he hoped bitcoin could become a one-world currency, a prediction that has been previously made by Square CEO Jack Dorsey.
While emphasizing that it’s not necessarily a case of one currency versus another, Garlinghouse pointed out that XRP transactions are “a thousand times faster” than those of Bitcoin, which he described as “quite slow.”
It’s true that Bitcoin, the most widely-traded cryptocurrency, is far slower. At the time of the interview, the average BTC transaction was 42 minutes according to Blockchain.info, while XRP transactions take approximately four seconds, although it worth pointing out that Bitcoin’s trading volume is far greater than that of XRP as well.
However, Bitcoin’s transaction speeds are a result of the use of blockchain technology which has not yet been successfully scaled to allow for a wider user base. Ripple transactions are carried out natively on the Ripple protocol, not on a blockchain.
Ripple is seeing successful adoption as a cross-border payment service with mainstream financial institutions, offering products that enable large transactions to be carried out across borders from one fiat currency to another in seconds, using XRP as a “bridge” asset.
He went on to say that the maximalist ideology of there being only one currency is not the way to go. “There’s some people in this, the crypto space, the blockchain space — for them, it’s almost a holy war of one versus the other. I don’t look at that at all,” he said.
Garlinghouse said there would be “many winners” in the adoption of cryptocurrencies, and recently in a separate CNBC interview said that he expected Bitcoin’s influence on the price of the other currencies in the cryptocurrency market would soon weaken as people begin to explore other options.
“I think that what we’re seeing is the overall growth of this space and there will be many winners,” he added.
While Ripple as a company is a separate entity from the XRP currency, 60% of the XRP supply is owned by the company, much of it by the Ripple founders themselves. Ripple is being sued in a class-action lawsuit by a trader who lost money trading XRP and who now claims the company violated US securities law by selling the token to the company.