Ripple CEO Says Bitcoin Could Be the ‘Napster of Digital Assets’

May 31, 2018, 3:42 PM UTC

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse just made some bold comparisons at Recode’s Code Conference.

He said that Bitcoin may have sparked the cryptocurrency mania, but it could ultimately end up like now-defunct music service Napster. “We may come to find that Bitcoin is kind of the Napster of digital assets,” he said. “This is transformative technology, but Spotify and iTunes and Pandora rule the day because they engaged with regulators to solve a real problem.”

It’s important to note that Garlinghouse’s opinion is not so surprising given the fact that his fintech startup Ripple has its own rival cryptocurrency. XRP, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap after Bitcoin and Ethereum, is the name for both a digital currency and an open payment network. It allows users to efficiently send money globally using the blockchain.

Garlinghouse also criticized Bitcoin’s efficiency when it comes to making payments. He said it’s a bad idea for Bitcoin to replace fiat currency as the average Bitcoin transaction can take as much as 20 minutes and the transaction fees are still pretty steep.

For context, Ripple can handle 1,500 transactions per second, while Bitcoin can reportedly only handle seven in the same timespan. Earlier this month, actor and tech investor Ashton Kutcher donated $4 million in Ripple’s XRP tokens to wildlife charity, The Ellen DeGeneres Wildlife Fund. “We can actually transfer [the donation] into Rwandan francs right now, right here, and all we have to do is push this button and it’s in your account,” Kutcher said.