The Ripple Mafia
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What if I told you that the Noble Prize laureate and economist Milton Friedman talked about electronic cash back in 1999?
Or how about that? Cypherpunks have been calling for decentralized and anonymous financial transactions since 1993.
And finally… David Chaum wrote a paper on anonymous electronic money all the way back in 1982.
So when it comes to the world of cryptocurrencies, there’s a lot going on in the background that most of us are unaware of. Many conversations are had and decisions made behind the curtain by influential individuals and organisations long before the general public is aware.
And among all this commotion, one crypto company stands out – Ripple. It is a skillful player in the world of politics, having established strong wide-spread relationships with the most powerful decision-makers and thought-leaders. This is surely to be a key pillar of Ripple’s success.
Oh, and what if I told you that Ripple was older than Bitcoin?
Ripple: The Company
Today, we’ll talk about some interesting connections between Ripple and numerous influential individuals, including Bill Clinton, Donald Trump and Peter Thiel, and powerful organizations, including IMF, Google and the US Federal Reserve.
Ripple’s primary vision is to enable the world to move money as fast as information.
With over 300 employees and with offices in the USA, UK, Australia, Singapore, India, Luxembourg, Japan, and Dubai, Ripple provides services to over 100 corporate clients. Their products – xCurrent, xVia, xRapid – are gaining traction and are being incorporated by huge names like Temenos.
Even more… Chris Larsen, the Executive Chairman of Ripple, believes that XRP could even help prevent the next financial crisis by releasing the tied up capital.
But how did everything begin?
Ryan Fugger started developing Ripple in 2004. In 2012, it was turned into OpenCoin Inc. by Jed McCaleb, Arthur Britto, David Schwartz and Chris Larsen. A year later, the company was backed by some of the best-known venture funds in Silicon Valley. They include Google Ventures, Peter Thiel, co-founder of PayPal, and Andreessen Horowitz, the company that sold Skype to Microsoft for the whopping $8.5 billion.
The PayPal Mafia
Speaking of Peter Thiel, let’s talk about the Paypal Mafia. Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Steve Chen, Reid Hoffman, and Russel Simmons all worked together at PayPal. They later sold it to eBay for $1.5 billion to split the cash and create multiple billion-dollar companies of their own. The list is long and includes names like SpaceX, Tesla, Youtube, Yelp, and Linkedin. Well done, guys!
We are seeing a similar pattern in the world of crypto with the creation of Stellar and Tron.
Jed McCaleb, the founder of OpenCoin, Mt. Gox and eDonkey, left Ripple to set up Stellar that is currently sitting at $5 billion market cap. Later in 2016, Justin Sun left Ripple to create Tron, currently evaluated at more than $1.5 billion. Who will be the next Elon Musk and what will be the next Youtube? That we don’t know. What we know pretty well, though, is that Ripple is building something huge. You’ll see why in a moment.
Ripple’s Top Management & Third-Party Relationships
Let’s start by taking a look at some of their current directors and their relationships with big organizations.
Chris Larsen is the Executive Chairman, one of the co-founders of OpenCoin with an extensive fintech background. Being a member of the Fintech High Level Advisory Group at IMF and HSBC’s Technology Advisory Board, he is making sure that Ripple’s interest are taken into consideration by the global governing organizations.
Susan Athey, a senior economic consultant to the Microsoft and Ripples’ board member, is another key player. She is responsible for the partnership between Ripple and Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This partnership aims at ‘banking the unbanked’ in the developing countries, where nearly 2 billion people neither have a bank account nor use any financial services.
Ken Kurson is a person who is closely related to the Trump family. He served as the executive vice-president of Jamestown Associates, which runs controversial pro-Republican advertising campaigns in the US, including, of course, for Donald Trump. He almost joined the 45th President’s administration but was halted by sexual harassment allegations. In spite of that, he still has close ties to the Trump family.
Gene Sperling was the chief economic advisor to Hillary Clinton during her 2016 presidential campaign, and served as the National Economic Council Director and National Economic Advisor under Presidents Clinton and Obama.
David Schwartz, Ripple’s lead developer, used to be on the board before he gave his spot to Ken Kurson. David has worked for CNN and NSA on multiple occasions.
These are just some of Ripple’s directors and their cozy relationships with the rich and powerful of our world. If you look closer, even more fascinating details come to light.
Ripple & The Bilderberg Group: The Connection
What is the connection between Ripple and the Bilderberg Group? After all, it’s a forum (established in 1954) for immensely influential individuals and organisations to engage, interact and share ideas.
Peter Thiel, one of the early Ripple investors, and his colleagues are present at almost every Bilderberg Group meeting.
Bill Clinton is another member of the group who was also the keynote speaker at this year’s Ripple Swell.
Interests of numerous businesses, organisations and pressure groups are represented in those gatherings. Nonetheless, it seems clear that the Ripple’s agenda is being successfully pushed forward.
The CME & Digital Currency Group: The Surprising Ties
Who else might be connected to Ripple? Well, a better question would be ‘Who is not connected to Ripple?’
The famous CME Group that offers crypto futures is an investor in Ripple and has one of its executives, Miguel Vias, in Ripple’s top management. Leo Melamed, CME Group’s Charmain, once said ‘We’ll tame Bitcoin’. Quite an ambition.
Another investor in Ripple is Digital Currency Group. The group has a stake in Coinbase and many other crypto-related services.
Speaking of Coinbase, let’s take a look at Ripple’s partnership with the Viamericas Corporation. Its co-founder and CEO, Paul Dwyer is a board chairman of the Money Services Business Association (MSBA). The MSBA works directly with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
If SEC declares that XRP is a security, then it will be taxed for capital gains every time it is bought and sold. Such an outcome would diminish XRP’s value proposition.
If SEC states that XRP is not a security many doors will open and one of them will lead to a listing on Coinbase.
Furthermore, Ripple, together with a group of companies, have formed the Securing America’s Internet of Value Coalition. This organisation employed services of the Klein/Johnson Group, a bipartisan lobbying firm, to raise issues with SEC and other government agencies involved in the regulation of cryptocurrencies.
Ripple and its influential leaders know really well how to protect their interests and they are actively doing it.
Overall, Ripple has partnered with more than 100 banks and financial service providers around the world. These names include but are not limited to American Express, MoneyGram, Standard Chartered, UniCredit, BBVA, Santander, and Credit Agricole.
The expansion continues. Later this year, Ripple is opening an office in Dubai and partnering with three banks in Saudi Arabia, two in Kuwait and one in Bahrain.
Latin America’s largest banks will soon use Ripple to process payments.
The integration of Ripple with Temenos, a B2B finance software solution, was another step forward, as it allowed Ripple to gain access to over 500 million consumers and 3,000 financial institutions in more than 150 countries.
To wrap it all up, those whom we see as visionaries understand well that it’s the business component of their vision that drives adoption. For better or worse, groundbreaking technology goes nowhere without commerce. It was true for the printing press, so is it for cryptocurrencies. And at the core of building a strong commercial base is building strong business relationships. This is something that Ripple truly excels at.
‘The man who controls the British money supply controls the British Empire, and I control the British money supply’
Thank you for reading.