Marcus Treacher, a senior executive at blockchain cross-border remittance giant Ripple is seemingly kicking-off a modern “cola war” with their emerging rival Libra, Facebook’s controversial cryptocurrency.
Treacher, the head of Ripple’s strategic accounts globally, criticized the so-called Facebook cryptocurrency for being “a walled garden.” The executive stressed that only a handful of big players, including Facebook, Visa, MasterCard, Uber, and PayPal, practice excessive control over Libra. That gives it a right to limit access to certain services or prohibit outside players from becoming a part of the Libra ecosystem.
Ripple, on the other hand, is not a closed system, added Treacher, stating that the company has no parameters.
“It connects with all of the players that want to use the technology.”
The comments follow a brewing rivalry between Ripple and Facebook ever since the latter announced its plans to foray into the payment space via Libra. The blockchain-based stablecoin, as Facebook confirmed, would be pegged to a pool of global currencies, including the US dollar, Euro, and Yen.
Ripple, on the other hand, is already offering a similar service via its cross-border cryptocurrency XRP.
Libra against Threats
Facebook’s Libra is ahead of Ripple in terms of business scaling. The cryptocurrency is looking to onboard Facebook’s 2 billion users on the very first day of its launch. The move would instantly make Libra one of the world’s most significant payment services, a fact that has troubled competitors while receiving fierce backlash from regulators and lawmakers.
Privacy concerns – as in how Facebook would handle and store users’ delicate financial information – have led lawmakers and central bankers to hold a string of meetings and hearings. They don’t trust Facebook with users’ money, given how the tech giant misappropriated shared the private data of some 87 million users to a third-party firm Cambridge Analytica.
US President Donald Trump, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, and Federal Reserve Chairman Jay Powell expressed distrust towards the Facebook cryptocurrency. France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire warned that he would push to have Libra banned all across Europe. Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse, meanwhile, said Libra is acting like a replacement for the US dollar, adding:
“I think there is a little bit, maybe, more than just ambitious, maybe arrogant to take the approach of ‘hey, we are going to build a, the white paper articulates, a new currency.”
David Marcus, head of Libra and its spinoff wallet Calibra, clarified last month that Facebook would not launch the cryptocurrency until it addresses every regulatory concern.
Despite his criticism, Treacher added that entry of a Silicon Valley giant in the cryptocurrency space is “a good thing” overall. The move would introduce blockchain assets to more people, he added.