Is XRP Really More Decentralized Than Bitcoin And Ethereum, as Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse claims

Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of San Francisco based startup Ripple, has focused a lot of his efforts in the past to defend the cryptocurrency his company made, XRP. Many critics pointed out in the past that XRP is a heavily centralized cryptocurrency, mostly due to the way its validator network is structured and due to the fact that Ripple still owns a massive chunk of XRP’s supply.

Garlinghouse held a “end of the year AMA” recently during which he addressed the criticism and explained that XRP is in fact decentralized. Explaining that Ripple’s stance on XRP being decentralized has been known years back, he added that people will spread “FUD” rather than taking their time to research the project and the cryptocurrency.

Ripple’s main man went on to explain that Ripple currently runs only seven chain validators, which amounts to around 4% of all public validation of the XRP blockchain. While this may be true, there are reports claiming that Ripple delegated validation rights to these “independent” validators themselves, which kind of dampens his decentralization argument. Nevertheless, in his well-known XRP-maximalist tone Garlinghouse took a swipe at the two remaining members of the crypto top 3:

“By almost any measures now, the XRP Ledger is more decentralized than the Bitcoin ledger or Ethereum ledger, where you have a very small number of miners controlling you know well past 50% of mining power.”

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Ripple’s David Schwartz, one of the original architects of the XRP Ledger, said with regard to decentralization:

What makes a system decentralized is not how it solves the double spend problem but whether anyone has a legal right to run the system or can exploit information asymmetry to run the system or otherwise coerce the users of the system to accept rules they don’t want.


Ripple execs come out with decentralization claims on regular basis, last time it was David Schwartz, their chief cryptographer back in August. It caused a massive backlash by bitcoiners. As Bitcoinist writes, summing up the confusion on social media, Twitter personality WhalePanda appeared to have little sympathy for the company’s stance.

“…What [XRP] is now trying to do is take 1 small aspect of decentralization (validating) and try to tell a fairy tale about how they’re decentralized,” he wrote in response to Schwartz’s post.

“…All this in order to try to get listed on more and bigger exchanges to pump the price while at the same time trying to avoid getting delisted on others.”

Schwartz himself had expressed a desire to eke out “nuances” over decentralization.

“The topic of decentralization in blockchain is wildly nuanced, misunderstood and, frankly, evolving,” he claimed, concluding:

…The XRP Ledger is in many ways a more transactional, functional and decentralized ledger than either Bitcoin or Ethereum, which will only increase over time.

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Torsten Hartmann
Torsten Hartmann

Torsten Hartmann has been an editor in the CaptainAltcoin team since August 2017. He holds a degree in politics and economics. He gained professional experience as a PR for a local political party before moving to journalism. Since 2017, he has pivoted his career towards blockchain technology, with principal interest in applications of blockchain technology in politics, business and society.

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