What if XRP Came First?
Jul 21, 2018
Somewhere in a parallel universe, the year is 2025. It's been 13 years since the invention of the world's first, and still only cryptocurrency, XRP, and being so efficient and without competition, it has rapidly evolved (including sharding) to meet its popular demand. It has permeated into virtually every aspect of value-transfer imaginable, globally. Never has such a technological revolution been quite so disruptive.
People from all walks of life, from every corner on Earth, use XRP daily to buy and sell food, products, services, etc., and sending pennies just as easily as fortunes instantly between continents for near-zero cost, is taken for granted. The Internet of things has taken up XRP even more than humans, and the rate of value transfer flowing across the Internet is truly mind-boggling, striking a staggering contrast to even just a decade before; Jevons paradox and the network effect have firmly taken hold. Meanwhile, global-cooling has begun in earnest, and anyone can order an in-stock graphics card. Life is good.
Allow me to introduce parallel-universe Jimmy. He's a bit of a weird loner backyard-bunker type of guy, but I get a kick out of his antics. One day Jimmy comes up with a great idea, he's calling it 'Bitcoin'. He says to me, "You wouldn't believe the incredible idea I just came up with!! It's mad genius"
"So what is it?", parallel-universe I said to him.
"Imagine for one second that there was a way for you to keep your funds safe from any government or person on Earth.."
I said, "ok, you mean like we already have with XRP?"
Jimmy, undeterred, says, "No no, better because unlike XRP where you have to buy them from someone else, leaving a paper trail, instead imagine you can just create Bitcoins out of thin air by running your computer full blast 24 hours a day!"
?? "Huh?", I said, "How is that any more anonymous? I can create an anonymous XRP wallet and can receive XRP directly from someone without anyone else knowing it's my account. Not that I need to for any reason since I'm not a money launderer. And running your computer at full tilt constantly just seems preposterous considering XRP doesn't burn hardly any energy for all the global XRP transactions combined. I mean, just how much money can you realistically make like this?"
Jimmy is really excited now. "That's the best part, sure you can barely pay for the electricity to generate these Bitcoins today, and you continuously lose against the competition that has access to the latest coin-creating technology, but the bigger plan is that some day those Bitcoins will be worth a fortune!!"
"I don't know", I said. "So you're classifying this idea as amazing because you can create Bitcoins out of thin air and yet at this time they're net zero because of the cost of creating them, HOPING they continue to climb in value otherwise it was all for nothing? Seems like a big gamble to me. Wouldn't you rather spend your hard-earned cash and just BUY Bitcoins directly instead of buying machinery to create them?"
"That brings me to the second-best part, freedom!!", says Jimmy, open-mouthed and drooling. "Think about it, once you've amassed a fortune, you'll never need to work again. You can just live off these Bitcoins because you can buy things with them!"
Hmm, I thought to myself. Now that is interesting. Instead of procuring XRP via normal legal channels that society endorses, I instead melt my computer hardware creating Bitcoins that evade taxation and will some day be worth something. So I ask Jimmy, "how would I spend these Bitcoins then?"
Jimmy coughs, "err.. well, you'd have to convince vendors that it may sometimes take an hour or more before their coins arrive, but I honestly think that most vendors would recognize the philosophical value behind creating your own coins anonymously and they'd be happy to wait"
"Jimmy", I said. "Look pal, your ideas are always interesting, but do you really..REALLY think that vendors around the world would be so supportive about something so obscure that they'd be perfectly willing to sit back for an hour and wait to get paid??? Particularly since they're already so used to getting near-instant payments of XRP for everything? If you want to get people on board with your Bitcoin idea, it has to be much better than what they already have. For example, what's its maximum throughput?"
"about 10 per second"
"Jimmy", I said again. "You do know that pittance of a throughput is completely unusable on any practical scale, right? I mean, even a small city's worth of transactions can blow the roof on that. XRP effortlessly handles the entire planet's transaction rate, and you're talking about a 10 TPS toy coin? How would you ever expect that to replace XRP?? I mean, unless there's something else Bitcoin has to offer.. is there? How about transactions fees? Maybe it could shine in that category?"
Jimmy replies, "Glad you asked, because it's super cheap when transaction rates are low, but does get into the multiple dollars range when the network is congested"
My brow furrows, "So let me get this straight, your Bitcoin project can't scale at all, costs literally a thousand times more to use than XRP, and takes sometimes hours to transfer?? Have you been sniffing glue again?? That's the most useless product I can think of! Why would anyone use that instead of XRP??"
"Because stupid..", he retorts, offended, "people can create their own coins!!"
Ugh. Now it's clear. Jimmy wants so badly to evade taxes and buy his glue anonymously, that he allows himself to believe that others will want that option as well, so he's trying to sell his glue-coin as being just as useful as XRP, but it's quite obviously garbage, and the only thing it has to offer is anonymous tax-evading value creation that depends on its perpetual appreciation. Ridiculous.
"Jimmy, listen, crackhead, most people aren't interested in becoming snot-covered nerds operating gigawatts of coin-creating hardware just to squeeze a few bucks into their pocket. No, most people just want to be able to go to their 9 to 5, get their XRP paycheck, and go about their normal lives. Virtually no legitimate vendor is going to give a shit about your Bitcoin if they have to wait an hour to get paid. Why would they support something just so YOU can create coins out of thin air? They only care about getting paid, not that you pulled a magic trick! Are you planning on sharing your profits from not paying taxes with them? Of course not? So why would they give a shit? They'll laugh you right out the door! You have to remember, the legal/economic systems you're trying to bypass are what makes it possible for these vendors to even operate in the first place. They DON'T WANT to shake the system up simply because a few tax-evading potential criminals want to hide their money. You have to bring them improvement, not philosophy. Anarchy is the choice of only the tiny minority of people that are too stupid/lazy/entitled to fit in the real world. I think you should give this idea some more thought. It's not particularly useful given that it doesn't remotely compare to the performance and efficiencies of XRP. You'll never convince average people to try to use your Bitcoins, much less vendors"
Jimmy's mad now. "You don't get it! Some day there could be millions of people making these Bitcoins! They will be the ones that see the value of eliminating the government's control over us. We will unite and create an entire global economy that transcends into a new world order! No more banks, no more government, freedom for all!!"
Horrified unblinking stare...
I said, "Ok, that's seriously crazy; like whackadoodle pull-my-eyeball-out-to-look-at-my-other-eye batshit fucking crazy.. You're trying to convince me that millions of people will burn terawatts of power all over the world to create this tax-evading coin, necessarily believing that the value of these Bitcoins will ALWAYS go up before they can realize any profits, and that they will be able to spend these Bitcoins in the real world, despite the absolute shit performance, high fees, catastrophic environmental impact, and zero scalability... when we already have XRP making the world economy hum like a well-oiled machine... Do you really think there are that many delusional megalomaniac psychopaths out there that can convince the world to stop using XRP and settle for this crap Bitcoin?? It's not even a choice, your Bitcoin just wouldn't work, period!"
Jimmy covers his face to hide his tears, screaming, "XRP is a shit coin!!", and runs face first into a wall before escaping out the door.
Poor Jimmy, blithering idiot. Still, it does make me think what a mess we'd be in right now if by some bad luck his Bitcoin idea came out before XRP did, and millions of suckers all believed and heavily invested in his nonsense pyramid scheme. Phew! Wouldn't want to be part of that parallel universe..
Comments welcome on Twitter