Ripple, OpenCoin and the XRP Ledger: David Schwartz clarifies

The relationship between Ripple Labs Inc. and the XRP token is still a matter of confusion for many individuals. The most recent example of this is the Twitter feud seen earlier today between law consultant Preston Byrne and David Schwartz, the chief cryptographer at Ripple.

It started with Byrne stating:

“Ripple, then OpenCoin Inc., owned Arthur Britto’s IP to the Ripple platform when the first XRP accounts went live on 1 Jan 2013. Assuming other employees had similar assignments, I think we can conclude that “Ripple didn’t create XRP” is a meme with little basis in fact.”

The tweet was accompanied by a series of images that included the incorporation documents of Ripple Labs on 17th September 2012. The images also featured the transactions on the XRP Ledger dated, 1st January 2013.

David Schwartz responded to the tweet, saying:

“This is precisely like saying you can’t have bitcoin cash that was sent to you in 2012 because bitcoin cash didn’t exist in 2012.”

Byrne argued that the prelaunch testnet is not the same as the product launched to the public and that the completed product was released in January. He said:

“That [completed] product was released in January 1, 2013, at which time OpenCoin Inc. appeared to own all right, title and interest to the software.”

He also stated that the Intellectual Property rights to the XRP Ledger were bought by OpenCoin 3 and a half months before the network launched. OpenCoin is a technology company that developed the protocol for the XRP Ledger. It was headed by Jed McCaleb and Chris Larsen and was later renamed to Ripple Labs in 2015.

To this, Schwartz replied:

“Except it wasn’t because Ripple didn’t exist then. The founders were able to hold and transfer XRP before the entity now named Ripple existed. Perhaps the reason we “run away from such an achievement” is because we care about the truth.”

Byrne then demanded proof of a transaction that occurred before 1st January. Schwartz said to this:

“The current block explorer doesn’t support the prior ledger and transaction formats. As I said, there were a number of hard forks in the early days and one of the most common reasons was making incompatible changes to ledger and transaction formats.”

He went on to say:

“Do you think we got everything right with our very first ledger stream? Do you think we wrote code to hold and transfer a digital asset and didn’t use it?”

Commenter Scott Chamberlain added to Schwartz’s argument, saying:

“The point is while Ripple owned xrp, whoever owned the xrpl ceased to do so upon it becoming open source. But none of this seems to matter given the SEC’s clarification re: ETH. A counter-party-free token is an asset, not a security. Issue method + Current state > Launch state.”

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