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Author Topic: Ripple-like systems a threat to Bitcoin?  (Read 3026 times)
tlr
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April 08, 2013, 09:53:31 PM
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Some people say Ripple is "complementary" to Bitcoin. I'm starting to think it (or something like it) could be a huge threat to Bitcoin.

As I was writing a question about "what happens in the case of an intentional hard block chain fork" I realized that if there were a way to easily exchange and transfer any currency then the network effects and scarcity of a single crypto-currency like Bitcoin would be eliminated. Anyone could create a new cryptocurrency (or just a Bitcoin block chain fork) that seamlessly integrates with the system.

If Ripple delivers on all of it's promises to provide such a system, it seems like Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrencies (except XRP or it's equivalent) would be completely devalued.

Why would users prefer to use cryptocurrencies in Ripple when they could use a physical commodity like gold or their government's fiat currency? Why would one cryptocurrency (e.x. Bitcoin) be more valuable than another?

(I'm genuinely asking this, not trolling)
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Tronlet
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April 08, 2013, 10:14:38 PM
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You could technically use any difficult to counterfeit fiat currency, there's nothing in the laws of the universe itself stopping you, or even necessarily human laws. People choose USD and EUR for the same reason BTC is chosen, acceptance and reputability.

And XRP is meant to be complementary to all currencies, from what I grasp of it so far. It's not like Bitcoin, it's much less decentralized so far, distribution is done drastically differently (the creators currently own the vast majority of all coins, and all coins have already been created), and its express purpose is just to facilitate currency exchange.

Aristotle
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April 08, 2013, 10:25:25 PM
 #3

The way I understand it, Ripple is just a centralized/decentralized hybrid exchange. People still have to valuate their currencies, and put up ask and bid prices for it to work. And there will still be costs involved (from the spread in exchange rates, fees from the gateways, and risks involved in trusting IOUs, the owners of Ripple, the merchant you are paying, and the government jurisdictions all these groups operate in). I suspect that holding IOUs for a long amount of time would be very risky (the issuers may go out of business or be shutdown).

Brother, can you spare a Bitcoin? 18Xe5KqJhmgw5cTjosek2YwnqzG6tDWKNU
herzmeister
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April 09, 2013, 12:43:47 AM
 #4

Why would one cryptocurrency (e.x. Bitcoin) be more valuable than another?

They would also have to be (merge-) mined in order to be secure and valuable.

https://localbitcoins.com/?ch=80k | BTC: 1LJvmd1iLi199eY7EVKtNQRW3LqZi8ZmmB
Snowfire
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April 09, 2013, 01:05:33 AM
 #5

Ripple is still very new, and its complexity makes it not terribly user-friendly. I only see it threatening other systems if there emerges a large volume of commerce conducted natively in XRP. So far, there is no sign of any such thing.

BTC:1Ca1YU6rCqCHniNj6BvypHbaHYp32t2ubp XRP: rpVbjBotUFCoi9xPu3BqYXZhTLpgZbQpoZ
LTC:LRNTGhyymtNQ7uWeMQXdoEfP5Mryx2c62i :FC: 6qzaJCrowtyepN5LgdpQaTy94JuxmKmdF7
MikeH
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April 09, 2013, 09:44:15 AM
 #6

That reminds me, I read that the Ripple founder's admin account was used to crash Mt Gox, it seemed so sus but couldn't find anything about it, was it discussed here?
Beepbop
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April 09, 2013, 10:03:52 AM
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What makes Ripple powerful is that any user can issue IOUs denominated in any currency, including USD, BTC, troy ounces of silver, ingots of gold, "favors" or whatever.

An important thing to realize, is that an IOU for USD issued by user A is not necessarily worth the same as an USD IOU issued by user B, because perhaps A is less trustworthy than B, or just because user C doesn't know user A, but only knows user B. Ripple takes care of this issue, not by devaluing USD IOUs, but by only requiring you to hold IOUs from people/companies that you trust with your money.

BTC becomes just one of many currencies within Ripple. You still retain the distributed creation and processing of BTC, its scarcity, and all the other positive aspects of BTC when you use BTC in Ripple. If BTC was used by people as a real currency, Ripple would not kill Bitcoin, only enhance it. However, since the vast majority of the Bitcoin economy is concerned with transfering USD, and betting, Ripple might take over from Bitcoin, and the only ones still using BTC would be speculators.

Since the transaction window in Bitcoin is getting full, and transactions take from 10 minutes to an hour to complete, some people have argued for a second p2p currency system, where each unit is backed by Bitcoin, but transactions are faster and more scalable, leaving the running  of BTC peers to the "bankers" i.e. the heavy duty miners. Perhaps Ripple could be used as an intermediary fast system for Bitcoin transactions, instead of creating this BTC-backed new currency. You'd trade speed and convenience for having to trust one or more gateways/users with owing you BTC, but it might be more efficient than starting yet another p2p currency.

As for XRP, it can be used as a currency, but it's there to take care of transaction costs; so it's really more like pre-paid minutes on your phone or postage stamps. You could just buy the XRPs on the open market as you need them to do transaction in other currencies, or let a gateway service take care of the XRPs and bake them into your transaction costs.
herzmeister
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April 09, 2013, 11:41:20 AM
 #8

Ripple would not kill Bitcoin, only enhance it.

It would dampen the prospected BTC value in the future though.

https://localbitcoins.com/?ch=80k | BTC: 1LJvmd1iLi199eY7EVKtNQRW3LqZi8ZmmB
IIOII
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April 09, 2013, 11:58:21 AM
 #9

I do not see Ripple succeed in mainstream. Its IOU-feature is only interesting for a limited group of people. In addition the concept is much to complicated.

Ripple is no threat to Bitcoin. Bitcoin has gained properties both of a commodity and of a currency. Ripple is only an exchange-facilitator (some more advanced Paypal-clone).

Conclusion: Use Ripple to buy Bitcoins.  Grin

Beepbop
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April 09, 2013, 12:06:39 PM
 #10

It would dampen the prospected BTC value in the future though.
Usually I like that people quote only the relevant part of the post that they're replying to, but in this case I don't think you should have left out the first part of the sentence. I said IF BTC was used by people as a real currency, it wouldn't be a threat. I'm not sure it would dampen the value of BTC either, if it helps overcome limitations of BTC. But yes, if BTC is only treated as a transfer system for BTC, Ripple - or something like it - could kill it.
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September 23, 2013, 03:06:21 PM
 #11

I think escrow service like LBC is a much better alternative than Ripple. In fact I have never used Ripple after watch its complex description of social network based trust, what if I want to live alone without any social network?  Grin

An old saying: "Your most dangerous enemy is your friend, since they know you well". Grab the trust of a bunch of people and disappear with their money, this kind of things are happening quite often here

Bitcoin's philosophy is "Trust no one except the network"

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September 23, 2013, 08:02:44 PM
 #12

In my opinion they are a threat, I have a similar thread on the speculation forum. Gateways will have incentive to lie about their reserves and fractionally lend out more bitcoins than they own. 'Bitcoin transactions' will occur outside the blockchain. The quantity of bitcoins will no longer be exactly known. Its a good recipe for undermining the power of commodity style crypto currency.

more ..
http://afbitcoins.wordpress.com/2013/05/30/ripples-a-debt-based-centrally-controlled-monetary-system/
bitcoinBull
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September 25, 2013, 06:54:56 AM
 #13

In my opinion they are a threat, I have a similar thread on the speculation forum. Gateways will have incentive to lie about their reserves and fractionally lend out more bitcoins than they own. 'Bitcoin transactions' will occur outside the blockchain. The quantity of bitcoins will no longer be exactly known. Its a good recipe for undermining the power of commodity style crypto currency.

Exchanges already have the incentive to operate fractionally (ie pay themselves with depositor funds). There are no "bitcoin transactions" on ripple or anywhere else which happen outside the blockchain. You mean to say bitcoin trades - which already happen outside the blockchain. In fact, it is on the conventional exchanges that bitcoin trading takes place in an opaque system with proprietary order books where nobody knows much funds are actually backing the market.

The same transparency we have at the core of the bitcoin network (where we see all the bitcoins on the blockchain), Ripple brings to the surrounding exchange ecosystem (where we can see all the IOUs on the ripple ledger). So it is now public knowledge on the ripple ledger that Bitstamp has issued $259,210 in USD IOUs and 2,321 BTC IOUs (bitstamp's current gateway capitalization). But can you say how much USD and BTC is owed by mtgox? Or any other bitcoin exchange?

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afbitcoins
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September 25, 2013, 03:53:17 PM
 #14

In my opinion they are a threat, I have a similar thread on the speculation forum. Gateways will have incentive to lie about their reserves and fractionally lend out more bitcoins than they own. 'Bitcoin transactions' will occur outside the blockchain. The quantity of bitcoins will no longer be exactly known. Its a good recipe for undermining the power of commodity style crypto currency.

Exchanges already have the incentive to operate fractionally (ie pay themselves with depositor funds). There are no "bitcoin transactions" on ripple or anywhere else which happen outside the blockchain. You mean to say bitcoin trades - which already happen outside the blockchain. In fact, it is on the conventional exchanges that bitcoin trading takes place in an opaque system with proprietary order books where nobody knows much funds are actually backing the market.

The same transparency we have at the core of the bitcoin network (where we see all the bitcoins on the blockchain), Ripple brings to the surrounding exchange ecosystem (where we can see all the IOUs on the ripple ledger). So it is now public knowledge on the ripple ledger that Bitstamp has issued $259,210 in USD IOUs and 2,321 BTC IOUs (bitstamp's current gateway capitalization). But can you say how much USD and BTC is owed by mtgox? Or any other bitcoin exchange?

What you say is true about bitcoin exchanges, which is why I don't use them. I use localBitcoins and keep my bitcoins in my own wallet.
Obviously I still have things to learn about ripple. I didn't know the ledger is transparent, thanks for that info
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September 27, 2013, 04:01:26 AM
 #15

ripple is only spreaded and accepted in this community, most people will buy bitcoin but not ripple outside.

even if the threat exist, not now but in the future.

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September 27, 2013, 04:08:08 AM
 #16

A better question would be "Is Ripple stagnating?"

If it is going to go mainstream then it should be gaining market share for bread-and-butter activities like facilitating BTC/Fiat exchanging, especially with MtGox on its knees. Yet, BTC volume on Ripple seems to be declining rather than growing. Less than 75 BTC traded in the last month!

http://bitcoincharts.com/markets/currency/USD.html

Ripple has just gone open source. Perhaps that will help it.

pinnpe
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September 27, 2013, 11:45:56 AM
 #17

Nothing is a threat to Bitcoin except the Bitcoin community.

Ripple Pro's
- Ripple made a great move with Bitcoin bridge
- The gateways are a way to get money in the ecosystem, but they can do whatever they want
- Trading in all currencies is nice

Ripple cons
- The IOU thing is idiotic. Unless you want to create a massive debt apparatus
- You can backup your wallet to a file, but nowhere can you import it
- It's only accesible on one website DDOS, Bitcoin is on a desktop/Websites/Mobile
- Your not really in control, with Bitcoins you are
- Ripple gives an deceptive impression
https://ripple.com/blog/bitcoin-bridge-lets-ripple-users-make-payments-to-bitcoin-accounts/

Thanks to the Bitcoin Bridge, all Bitcoin merchants now accept payments from Ripple users.
Is that really true? Shocked
bitcoinBull
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September 27, 2013, 12:57:34 PM
 #18

- The IOU thing is idiotic. Unless you want to create a massive debt apparatus

All bitcoin exchange deposits are IOUs, there's no way to get around that unless you never trade bitcoins on an exchange. IOUs are debt, but its a very simple form of debt. Much simpler than the case of ponzi-type "fractional debt", unless a gateway is operating fractionally and issuing more IOUs than it has in actual deposits. Thankfully, on ripple we can see exactly how many IOUs a gateway is issuing, this is one of the primary reasons I like ripple so much (eg current bitstamp gateway capitalization is $272,957 USD and 2,583 BTC).

Quote
- You can backup your wallet to a file, but nowhere can you import it

You're right, one of the settings in the web client is to fetch your wallet blob from "local browser", which uses the HTML5 localStorage API. But there should be a more explicit and usable way to select a wallet file. Hopefully they'll implement that soon.

Quote
- It's only accesible on one website DDOS, Bitcoin is on a desktop/Websites/Mobile

You can run a local copy of the web client. You can download the ripple-client from github to do this.

Quote
- Your not really in control, with Bitcoins you are

Sometimes it appears that way because the web client is hosted at ripple.com. So its easy to confuse ripple.com for a centralized payment system, similar to how its easy for people to confuse the blockchain.info web client for the actual bitcoin blockchain. But there is work proceeding on a gtk client (uses GTK as a GUI framework, instead of QT), and now that the rippled server is open-source, people can also run their own ripple servers.

College of Bucking Bulls Knowledge
Etlase2
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September 27, 2013, 08:34:33 PM
 #19

- The IOU thing is idiotic. Unless you want to create a massive debt apparatus

I am not well-versed in Ripple, but I understand some parts of what it can accomplish in a LETS type system. There are businesses that trade products with each other using credit for their products. e.g. I will buy some TP from you now, and you can buy an equal value of paper towels from me later--with no cash exchanged, no sales tax paid, etc. I think Ripple hopes to achieve this on a much bigger scale. If you avoid focusing on the cash side of things, these types of systems can be quite useful and highly advantageous to trade.

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September 29, 2013, 12:15:52 AM
 #20

@Bitcoin bull have you ever thought of changing your name to ripple bull ??
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