Ripple is ‘Bitcoin without the libertarian agenda’


Recently, I had the good fortune of doing an interview with 30-year-old coder Luke Cyca, the founder of The interview’s stuck with me for a few reasons. First, he used the phrase ‘bitcoin libertarians,’ which just stuck like glue in my mind. Second, it’s a good reminder that the folks doing innovative things in the ripple space really are motivated by the technology – not the earnings potential.

I’d argue that while bitcoin has started institutionalizing, ripple’s still in that beautiful pre-sellout phase. It’s the early days of skateboarding, roller blading and BMX. Long before Camp Woodward and the X Games and Olympic drug testing. It’s people doing something because they’re curious and excited about it. Ripple’s got that wow factor just like bitcoin.

And is one of the coolest implementions I’ve seen so far on the Ripple network. The site lets users ‘post a secret for sale on the Ripple network.’ The secrets are revealed when the buyer sends payment to the seller.

Bitcoin Libertarians vs. The Rest of the World

The interview with Cyca drove home another point: bitcoin’s got two warring factions. On one side, bitcoin libertarians want bitcoin to operate outside the modern financial system. On the other side, the institutions that are dumping millions of dollars into bitcoin start-ups recognize that bitcoin HAS to be a part of the modern financial system if its ever going to go mainstream. Something tells me the bitcoin libertarians are going to lose.

In Cyca’s words, “ripple is bitcoin without the libertarian agenda.” So while bitcoin has to find a middle ground between what it wants to be and what it CAN be, ripple’s not so encumbered. “Ripple solves these types of problems by being a payment network first, and a currency only incidentally,” Cyca says.

Ripple’s future is bright!

The final thing that the interview with Cyca reminded me is that we haven’t really glimpsed ripple’s true potential. Even Cyca himself doesn’t know what’s going to be used for. That’s what he likes about it, and that’s what makes ripple in general exciting. We have ideas on where we think it will go, but I suspect those ideas are only shadows of a bright and different future for the ripple protocol.

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