I was offered $550 to say that "Ripple is a Scam."
I received an interesting message in my bitcointalk.org inbox today. It said that a user going by the name of 'TradeFortress' was paying forum members 5 BTC to edit their posts in this thread to say that, "Ripple is a scam."
This is the exact text he wanted each user to post:
"Ripple is a scam! Ripple is a get rich quick scheme for it's creators, a private for-profit company. It is NOT open source. It is CENTRALIZED, akin to PayPal rather than Bitcoin. For more info, visit RippleScam.org."
Ironically, in the earlier days of Bitcoin (2010, 2011, and well into 2012), the same accusations were spread about Bitcoin. Bitcoin was a "Ponzi-scheme," "pyramid scheme," "scam," etc. The same Bitcoin supporters that fought these accusations tooth and nail are now saying the same thing about Ripple.
Ripple is led by Jed McCaleb (founder of MtGox, eDonkey) and Chris Larsen (e-loan, Prosper.com), both successful businessmen who do not have an interest in sullying their good names.
Arthur Britto, Stefan Thomas, and David Schwartz are major contributors to Ripple's development, and all played an active role in Bitcoin's early successes.
OpenCoin, the company overseeing Ripple, has already raised venture capital from firms led by the co-founders of PayPal and Netscape. These firms do not invest in scams, but in companies with unique ideas that will turn a significant profit if successful.
Ripple will only be successful if it's able to provide its users with the ability to send quick, cheap transactions to anyone, anywhere in the world, using any currency. It's intended goal is to let users do just that, in their currency of choice, as easily as it is to send an email.
Some Bitcoin users, like TradeFortress, are afraid of the idea of a central organization driving the development of such a capability. They think that if anyone is in charge, and if that anyone might turn a profit, then it's not in the best interest of anyone to use their service. Some Bitcoin users, like TradeFortress, are adamant about this, to the point that they're willing to pay out thousands of dollars worth of Bitcoin to get their message across. Ironically, a very large percentage of Bitcoin users are hoarding Bitcoins to do just that, turn a profit. Profit is fine for them, as long as it's for them.
If Ripple is a scam, and its users are unable to take advantage of Ripple's services as advertised, then Ripple will quickly disappear as another failed business. If the fact that a centrally organized team is driving the development of a product equates to "scam," (this is the main argument) then pretty much every product and service you've ever used is also a scam.
You've probably heard that large websites like Reddit and OKCupid are now accepting Bitcoin. The fact of the matter is, they're not accepting Bitcoin at all. They're actually accepting US dollars. Reddit and OKCupid are using the services of a company called Coinbase that instantly converts Bitcoin payments into US dollars for a small fee. Reddit and OKCupid don't want Bitcoins because they can't pay their employees or their bills with Bitcoins, but they can do that with US dollars. In other words, large corporations aren't interested in Bitcoins themselves, but in the savings that can be had by using Bitcoin as a value-transfer mechanism, or protocol.
Similarly, Ripple is a protocol for sending money, but with Ripple you don't have to buy a digital currency like Bitcoin to get your money from A to B. You can send USD, EUR, CAD, AUD, whatever you wish, and as more Gateways come online, more currencies will become accessible. As long as you have a very small quantity of Ripples (XRP) in your account (just one or two dollars worth), you'll be able to complete thousands of transactions. This is Ripple's main advantage over Bitcoin, and why a lot of Bitcoin users are afraid of it.
Even Roger Ver, a.k.a. "Bitcoin Jesus" has to pay his supply chain to keep the Bitcoin Store running, so he can't use Bitcoins either. Roger Ver doesn't accept Bitcoin, he accepts US dollars from BitPay. If even Bitcoin Jesus isn't interested in Bitcoins themselves, then why not let customers use their local currencies from the get-go and take out the Bitcoin middleman? If the same, or even greater savings can be had with a better protocol, then why not use Ripple?
As always, do your due diligence, and come to your own conclusions. I can assure you that Ripple is not a scam, but I can't guarantee that it isn't a threat to Bitcoin.http://www.thebitcointrader.com/2013/05/i-was-offered-550-to-say-that-ripple-is.html