In 2004, a systems developer founded a company called RipplePay whose aim was to decentralize the financial system. This was five years before the world was introduced to Bitcoin by Satoshi Nakamoto. RipplePay achieved minimal success as the environment then was not receptive of decentralized systems. After the success of Bitcoin, Jed McCaleb, the developer who founded Mt. Gox and eDonkey took over RipplePay and together with Chris Larsen, founded what would become Ripple.
The name they picked first for the new startup was OpenCoin which they later changed to Ripple Labs Inc. and then later to simply Ripple. With Larsen at the helm and McCaleb in charge of the tech, Ripple helped revolutionize the cryptocurrency industry through a hybrid system that combined the best qualities of the peer-to-peer model with the traditional model into one superior platform. Larsen’s vast experience in the financial technology was instrumental to the success of Ripple. Larsen was the founder of Eloan and Prosper Marketplace, pioneer platforms that changed the financial services industry.
After steering the company through the initial stages of growth, Larsen vacated the CEO position and Bradley Kent Garlinghouse took over the reins. Garlinghouse had left Hightail prior to his appointment, a file sharing and synchronization site. During his time at Hightail, he had a successful reign in which Hightail revitalized itself and waged serious war against Box and Dropbox.
Garlinghouse has become part and parcel of Ripple’s success story. Ripple’s different approach which does not rely on miners and which charges negligible transaction fees has been central to its appeal especially to financial institutions. However, Ripple’s strong leadership under Garlinghouse has been just as important.
Garlinghouse has amassed extensive experience over the years working with some of the most renowned corporations. Before taking up the reins at Hightail, he worked as President of Consumer Applications at AOL. He has served in various other capacities including at Flickr, Yahoo!, Home Network, Silver Lake Partners and SBC Communications.
This experience has been crucial to Ripple’s appeal. While many cryptocurrency users may not be too concerned with the leadership of a cryptocurrency, it’s quite different with corporates. With Ripple targeting financial institutions such as banks and remittance firms, Garlinghouse is central to the appeal. Financial institutions handle billions of people’s money and must feel confident with the leadership of any platform they intend to use. Ripple now has 100+ banks who use their network for funds transfer and are signing on averagely one new bank every week according to data provided by the company. This places a strong responsibility on the shoulders of the CEO to ensure smooth running of the company as even the slightest mishaps could cause a huge ripple in the banking industry (pun intended).
The vast experience is not the only quality that endears Garlinghouse to many. His passion for the growth of cryptocurrencies is just as magnetizing. He has appeared on just about every business show to answer questions, educate and shed light on issues affecting not just Ripple but the entire cryptocurrency industry in general. Contrary to what many would expect, Garlinghouse is always saying positive things and expressing optimism about rival cryptocurrencies, from Bitcoin to Ethereum and other smaller cryptocurrencies.
While the technology is central to the future growth of Ripple, Garlinghouse continues to contribute to Ripple in more ways than one. With him at the helm, the users, the investors and the general Ripple community is confident that the cryptocurrency is being steered in the best way possible.