Ripple’s New Chief Market Strategiest, Cory Johnson, is certainly a known quantity in the traditional financial world. He co-founded TheStreet.com with CNBC’s Jim Cramer – that guy who’s always freaking out over charts and events on Wall Street – and worked with a number of different start-ups over the years before eventually finding himself at Bloomberg.
Before all that, though, he was a cab driver in New York City, an occupation that makes around $35-50,000 per year, depending on a lot of things, not including tips. In a recent podcast with Benzinga, Johnson spoke his mind about Ripple, cryptocurrencies, and the technologies that underpin them.
One of the important takeaways from the podcast is that Johnson understands that Ripple can die without actually killing XRP. It’s true that the primary development of XRP happens at Ripple Labs, and that the company is also mostly responsible for market penetration and other progress that XRP (the Ripple token) has made, but nonetheless, as an entity XRP could live on in the absence of Ripple Labs. Other companies which rely on and build on it would simply have to take up the slack. As Johnson puts it:
And if Ripple were to go away, the Johnson family would be quite sad, but XRP would continue to exist, and many other companies, many start-up base, many beyond that, are using XRP as a core technology, again, to try to find new businesses. And really, the technology for XRP is like Bitcoin two dot oh. It’s Bitcoin, but it’s faster. It’s Bitcoin, but it doesn’t use tons of power. It’s Bitcoin, but it’s not controlled by Chinese miners. But fundamentally, it is a blockchain digital asset that is used principally for the movement of value.
Ripple has been in the crypto space since 2012 and has a large community of supporters and users as well as companies which rely on it. It has been the subject of important debate around centralization given some of its technical designs and friendliness with banks not to mention regulators. It has even been fined by the US Government.
But Johnson believes that Ripple remains very much a start-up, despite this standing, and this viewpoint does not necessarily cast a negative light on the actions he will take as Chief Market Strategist. It mainly means he views the company as more nimble and ready for changing tides than more established outfits might be. In his own words:
I really see myself as … I started some of the market’s radio show with at Bloomberg. So, I got to a stage at Bloomberg where I wasn’t in startups anymore and I wanted something new to start up. Ripple is certainly … It’s a big start up. And it’s a fast startup. A startup that’s got a lot more traction than some startups, but it definitely is a startup, and it just seemed to really do the right thing for me right.
According to Johnson, the primary engagement of Ripple is easing and speeding up the movement of money across borders in a legal way. As a result, he does not view Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies as a competitor at all – rather, he sees his company as competing with SWIFT, which is an acronym for “Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.”
Right now our biggest competitor to next current plan is an International banking contortion called Swift, and Swift has an arrow rate that senses up to 600 basis points. Imagine you send money from one country to another. You don’t know if it got there, you don’t know where along the way the information got lost, and they never send you any information back in the moment that you send it. You’ve got to kind of wait days and days to receive back or even acknowledgement of a problem. That was the State of the Art until Ripple entered the market place. So our customers are getting this kind of sure thing of what’s happening with their money transfers, and getting instantaneously these Ripple software products in ways they haven’t seen before. Things like that.
SWIFT is a conglomerated effort of banks to facilitate faster money transfers and is mostly used in Europe.
During the interview, Johnson called Ripple “Bitcoin two dot oh.” He frequently touts the benefits of Ripple over Bitcoin, recently commenting via Twitter on the hyper-sensational headlines about the emissions that Bitcoin mining induces.
The interview should be of interest to any Ripple holders as it provides insight into the new Chief Market Strategist’s life story and viewpoint. Only time will tell if Johnson will stay on at Ripple after he has determined that it is no longer in start-up mode, as he prefers to work in the high-intensity atmosphere of start-up culture.
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