Charlie Lee, the founder of a cryptocurrency created out of thin air, accuses Ripple of creating XRP out of thin air to generate profit. This message will percolate through the disparate camps supporting one coin or the other until their proponents, who are more than capable of pointing out to the average layperson that the dollar too is created out of thin air, will hold this up as an example that XRP has been created with the nefarious intent of making money whereas the Litecoin founder had minted his coin out of the goodness of his heart, and the unmitigated kindness that exists between humans that operate in the hallowed decentralized space. Litecoin was not simply created, it was mined, pulled out of the earth like gold and coal by men who inhaled the crystalline toxicity and died on their beds coughing, sputtering, and wheezing — mined in the vast and dank server rooms filled with the whir of fans and grinding of microprocessors hard at work.
In the recent podcast that sparked this controversy, Charlie Shrem argued that Charlie Lee sold his Litecoin position out of love. The sort of love that generates millions of dollars when the founder liquidates his Litecoin holdings during the famous bullrun of 2017-2018. I suppose it was fortuitous timing that his love for the coin grew to such an ejaculatory fervor during a time when the price was so high.
Is Ripple guilty of the same sin? Of chasing profit? Certainly. But let’s look at a similar period, Q1 2018 when XRP hit its all-time high. 3 billion XRP were released to Ripple from escrow during the three months that make up that quarter. Did they liquidate their holdings as Charlie Lee did? No. They put 2.7 billion XRP back into escrow, using only 300 million. They could have done what Charlie did and dumped the coins they had onto the open market and made a killing. Perhaps they didn’t love their coin enough to do so.
As to Charlie’s comments about Ripple faking it till they make it, the whole space is doing that. Litecoin included. None of the major cryptocurrencies have the kind of mainstream or institutional adoption that had been touted about during the bullrun of late 2017 to early 2018 when our hype outran our better sense. It is stunningly hypocritical for the proponent of any digital asset to accuse another of generating baseless hype for profit, especially when it’s directed towards an asset with the kind of legitimate institutional use that XRP has accrued versus others in this space.
Header photo by Salar Arif on Unsplash