Ripple’s Anti-Bitcoin Campaign To Promote CBDCs

Ripple's Anti-Bitcoin Campaign To Promote CBDCs

The drive towards central bank digital currencies is accelerating, with Ripple emerging as the player in this global effort. This raises a paradox: while supporters of cryptocurrency champion decentralization, Ripple’s central role in CBDCs suggests a move towards more centralized control of digital currencies. As Ripple collaborates with various governments and central banks to develop CBDCs, a tangled narrative unfolds involving environmental campaigns, bitcoin, and grassroots activism.

Ripple is at the forefront of the CBDC revolution, engaging with governments globally to leverage its technology for digital currency development. In May 2023, Ripple launched a dedicated platform to assist central banks, governments, and financial institutions in issuing CBDCs and stablecoins.

Ripple’s involvement with The Digital Dollar Project further cements its role in shaping the future of digital currencies. The DDP, an independent non-profit initiative, works closely with U.S. policymakers and stakeholders to evaluate the design and implications of a potential digital dollar.

However, Ripple’s journey is not without controversy. The company has been linked to efforts to discredit bitcoin through its financial support for Greenpeace USA’s “Change the Code” campaign. This initiative, launched on March 29, 2022, with $5 million from Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen, seeks to change bitcoin’s code under the guise of reducing its environmental impact.

On the same day, Larsen tweeted his support for bitcoin miners like Riot Platforms for its climate-conscious efforts.

TwitterChris Larsen on Twitter: “Today, the US hosts ~40% of the hashrate. Climate-conscious miners like @GryphonMining, @ArgoBlockchain and @RiotBlockchain strive to use 100% renewables and be responsible actors (shutting off power when grids are overloaded, etc.). I applaud their efforts. / Twitter”

Yet, the narrative takes a twist when examining the actions of the Texas Coalition Against Cryptomining, a group campaigning against Riot Platforms, the largest bitcoin miner globally. This coalition, formed in April 2022 has been actively opposing Riot in Texas, citing environmental concerns.

The group’s activities include fundraising, organizing events, gathering petition signatures, testifying before the Texas Senate, and engaging with the media. They have also received support from Greenpeace USA, which publicly backed their protests in October 2023.

On November 7, 2023, the Texas Coalition Against Cryptomining mentioned in an email that ‘Digiconomist is currently getting a comprehensive peer-reviewed study finalized regarding proof-of-waste & water.’

This was followed by a related article published by the BBC and across multiple news outlets on November 27, 2023. Alex DeVries, the Dutch central banker behind Digiconomist, has been a vocal critic of bitcoin. His involvement with the coalition raises questions about his broader influence in the anti-bitcoin narrative.

Greenpeace USA, Ripple, and Alex DeVries, also known as the Digiconomist, have been asked for comments regarding their involvement and support for these initiatives. Alex DeVries responded, expressing a willingness to discuss the topics further, but a detailed response was not received by the time of publication.

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The lead from the “Change the Code” campaign also participated in these protests along with other Greenpeace members, further exposing the interconnected efforts between these organizations. The Texas Coalition Against Cryptomining expressed strong concerns about the impact of the Riot facilities, stating, “These facilities do strain local grids and water systems. When the proof-of-waste miners were finally asked to shut down, like magic, the grid stabilized.”

A representative from Riot responded to this assessment, stating: “Not only does Riot use electricity and water incredibly efficiently—it helps to stabilize the grid. When power supply exceeds demand, miners can soak up the surplus; and when demand exceeds supply, they give energy back to the grid. In effect, miners act as a shock absorber, ensuring a smoother ride for all grid citizens. This is especially important given the large amount of intermittent sources of power in Texas.”

This sequence of events raises questions. By funding campaigns that criticize bitcoin’s environmental footprint while promoting its technology for CBDCs, Ripple positions itself strategically as an obvious choice. Critics argue that this dual approach undermines bitcoin while strengthening Ripple’s relevance in the CBDC market.

Despite its efforts, Ripple faces challenges. Forbes has labeled Ripple Labs as a “crypto zombie,” citing its low active user base and speculative nature of its XRP token. The company’s primary mission to disrupt the global payment system, dominated by SWIFT, has not materialized. Nevertheless, Ripple’s XRP token remains a major cryptocurrency by market value, driven largely by speculation rather than utility.

By aligning with environmental campaigns and pushing for CBDC adoption, Ripple aims to turn its chain from a zombie to a profitable network. However, the juxtaposition of its public support for sustainable practices and its funding of anti-bitcoin initiatives presents a complex narrative that warrants scrutiny.

“CBDCs would lead to a dystopian surveillance state where the government would have the ability to see every single transaction in our lives and take away anyone’s assets for political purposes,” said Lee Bratcher, President of the Texas Blockchain Council. “Bitcoin empowers people to be their own banks and custody their own assets, strengthening constitutional freedoms. It’s shameful to see people trying to take profits from taxpayers while working to undermine their liberty, and simultaneously distorting, beyond all recognition, the worthy cause of environmental conservation.”

The interplay between Ripple’s CBDC ambitions and its involvement in environmental campaigns against bitcoin illustrates a multifaceted strategy. While promoting CBDCs, Ripple’s chairman funds efforts through Greenpeace USA, which runs the Change the Code campaign to alter bitcoin’s code, claiming environmental benefits. The Change the Code campaign also supports the Texas Coalition Against Cryptomining.

Through a chain of intermediaries, Ripple’s top executive funds and supports campaigns to discredit bitcoin mining. Ripple positions itself as an innovator and a critic within the digital currency space.



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