Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of blockchain-fueled cross-border payments startup Ripple, is eyeing an IPO. Garlinghouse attended the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, Switzerland where he reportedly stated that an IPO is a “natural evolution for our company.”
The development confirms what many in the crypto community suspected, that the company that controls more than half of the XRP supply has its sights set on Wall Street. Some in the crypto community are crying foul, spotlighting the decentralized spirit in which bitcoin was created by Satoshi Nakamoto in 2008 and accusing Ripple of selling out. If you ask Garlinghouse, however, Ripple is paving the way for other crypto projects to similarly tap the public markets in the near-term. He stated:
“In the next 12 months, you’ll see IPOs in the crypto/blockchain space. We’re not going to be the first and we’re not going to be the last, but I expect us to be on the leading side… it’s a natural evolution for our company.”
Ripple’s IPO plans don’t come as much of a shock to the crypto community, however. Just last month, the company attracted more than USD 200 million to its coffers in its third-ever fundraising round, with a valuation of more than USD 10 billion attached. Some of the investors who participated in the latest round include New York-based Tetragon, Japan’s SBI Holdings, and U.S.-based Route 66 Ventures.
Meanwhile, Ripple reportedly offloaded slightly less than USD 13.1 million of XRP in Q4 2019, about an 80% drop from more than USD 66 million in Q3. Ripple explained in an announcement:
“Ripple continued the pause of programmatic sales, focusing solely on our over-the-counter (OTC) sales with a few strategic partners, who are building XRP utility and liquidity in strategic regions including EMEA and Asia.”
Meanwhile, the XRP price is up approximately 4.5% since Dec. 1, 2019.
Ripple came on the scene in 2012 and became popular as the price of XRP, the No. 3 cryptocurrency based on market cap, ballooned in 2017. Ripple’s majority ownership of XRP has made it a target in the crypto community for allegedly controlling the price given its influence over the supply. Garlinghouse has maintained that even if Ripple were to disappear, XRP would not.
Bitcoin vs. XRP for Payments
The Ripple chief has long touted the fact that he is a bitcoin bull, having already revealed that he owns some BTC. But he does not consider bitcoin a rival to XRP for payments, taking aim at the flagship cryptocurrency for lengthy transaction times that he suggests will prevent it from being used in micro-transactions. Garlinghouse stated:
“I’m bullish on BTC as a store of value, but not for payments. You don’t want to use BTC at Starbucks b/c by the time you get your coffee, it’ll be cold.”
Bitcoin’s confirmation times currently average about 10 minutes. Garlinghouse’s choice of words is no coincidence, as Starbucks is reportedly working on a consumer app with bitcoin futures exchange Bakkt that could lead to customers having the option to pay for their coffee with bitcoin. Tech entrepreneur Jack Dorsey is also working toward bolstering bitcoin into the mainstream for payments.