Brad Garlinghouse: The Ripple CEO Fighting for XRP’s Future

Who is Brad Garlinghouse, the CEO of Ripple Labs, and what was he doing before XRP?

Brad Garlinghouse jumping up in the air while documents flying around in front of a giant XRP token on a floating island.

When Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse first joined Ripple Labs in 2015, he probably didn’t expect to become a central figure in one of cryptocurrency’s biggest legal battles. Aside from sparring with regulators, Garlinghouse brings a wealth of corporate experience.

Garlinghouse credits his strong work ethic and commitment to transparency and accountability to his upbringing in the Midwest of the United States. With previous tenures at some of the internet’s biggest’s companies, does the CEO of Ripple have what it takes to fight for the future of blockchain?

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Alongside Chris Larsen, who is the man leading Ripple Labs against the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission?

Brad Garlinghouse Before Ripple

To better understand Garlinghouse’s motivations and goals in the crypto market, we must dig back into the past. In the blockchain industry, thought-leaders like Charles Hoskinson and Gavin Wood come from computer science backgrounds.

But the XRP frontman comes from a business and economics environment, far from the glamourous skylines of New York and San Francisco.

Education

Brad Garlinghouse was born and raised in Hutchinson, Kansas. A small town in the Midwest of the United States, Garlinghouse attributes his strong family values and commitment to one’s local community to his upbringing.

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He attended Wichita SouthEast High School and graduated from the University of Kansas in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Economics. With his sights set on larger horizons, Garlinghouse continued his studies, completing his MBA at Harvard Business School in 1999.

Hungry for experience, Garlinghouse scored internships with several notable businesses in his undergraduate years, including Allen & Company, an investment banking firm.

Early Career

Following his MBA from Harvard Business School, Garlinghouse launched his financial career in style, working as an analyst at JP Morgan for six years. One of the most well-recognized names in the industry, these years provided Garlinghouse with formative exposure to Wall Street and the World Economic Forum.

Yahoo

Brad Garlinghouse went on to join Yahoo, one of the internet’s biggest names in its early days. In his role as Senior Vice President of Communications and Communities, Garlinghouse oversaw the development of Yahoo Mail. It might sound simple now, almost 20 years later, but these platforms are the building blocks of our modern internet.

After everything he brought to Yahoo, Garlinghouse is best remembered for authoring ‘The Peanut Butter Manifesto.’ This iconic memo internally criticized Yahoo’s operations and demanded a more streamlined and efficient work environment. The memo was widely shared across the fintech industry.

AOL

Moving from one internet giant to another, Garlinghouse joined AOL in 2009 as President of Consumer Applications. In this role, he was responsible for developing front-line AOL products like AOL Mail and AOL Instant Messaging.

During his time at AOL, Garlinghouse also became the Head of AOL Ventures. This position brought new challenges, like the acquisition of Bebo, another popular social media network. Ultimately, this move was considered a flop after AOL Ventures resold Bebo two years later at a fraction of their purchase price.

Silver Lake Partners & Hightail

Brad Garlinghouse’s final position before stepping into the world of blockchain and digital assets was as the Silver Lake Partners investment firm. As Managing Director, Garlinghouse scouted potential investment opportunities for the firm, including Dell EMC, AirBnb, and Alibaba Group.

Garlinghouse also doubled as a Senior Exec at Hightail during this period. During the company’s rebranding from YouSendIt to Hightail, Garlinghouse ensured the business continued to provide creative productivity tools for its worldwide client base.

The next Bitcoin? Garlinghouse Joins Ripple Labs

In 2015, Garlinghouse left behind the traditional corporate world and joined Chris Larsen at Ripple Labs. Since then, the Ripple CEO has spearheaded the growth and development of the crypto startup and its native token XRP.

Ripple logo

Today, the Ripple network is used by hundreds of financial institutions worldwide to send and receive cross-border transactions instantly. During this time, XRP has grown into one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the blockchain industry, rivaling other altcoins like Ethereum and Cardano.

Beyond the XRP ecosystem, the Ripple Chief Executive Officer strongly advocates blockchain technology and decentralized services. Brad Garlinghouse is a firm supporter of digital assets like BTC and believes they will play an integral in the future of global financial infrastructure.

Garlinghouse has often spoken out on current financial regulations and cybersecurity issues, viewing blockchain as a potential solution. These vocal positions have made him a target of the SEC’s ongoing war against cryptocurrency.

Ripple Labs and the SEC

The Ripple CEO’s time leading the blockchain firm has undoubtedly been marred by a lawsuit initiated against Ripple Labs by the SEC. The case aims to bring regulatory clarity to how the XRP cryptocurrency is treated by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC claims that the XRP token is a security, while Brad Garlinghouse and Ripple Labs consider it a currency.

The lawsuit has devastated Ripple Labs and XRP, with the token being removed from crypto exchanges like Coinbase. Reduced trading liquidity has made it difficult for XRP to enjoy maximum price appreciation in recent bull markets, with fear, uncertainty, and doubt clouding XRP’s future. The case is expected to reach a final resolution within the first half of 2023.

This is not the only crackdown the SEC is enforcing on the crypto and blockchain industry. In February 2023, the SEC fined Kraken $30M over concerns around its staking offering.

The Judge’s Verdict

In July 2023, the XRP faithful were finally rewarded as Ripple clinched a monumental win in its enduring standoff with Gary Gensler’s SEC. When the gavel came down, Judge Torres declared that Ripple’s distribution of XRP didn’t align with the traditional framework of an investment contract offering.

This landmark verdict clarified the case, articulating that XRP is not classified as a security. This powerfully undermines the SEC’s lawsuit against Ripple Labs and was a cause for celebration across the crypto space. 

While, at first glance, this might appear as a simple matter of labeling assets, it signifies a key moment in how the SEC is required to handle XRP, bearing profound ramifications.

This judgment bolstered Ripple’s market position, catalyzing a notable uptick in XRP’s valuation. But how does this seminal event resonate within the broader crypto landscape?

The Verdict’s Influence on Crypto

Beyond the immediate excitement and FOMO that surged throughout the market, Judge Torres’ decision signals a shift in the crypto conservation. 

By endorsing the view that XRP doesn’t fit the mold of conventional securities, the judiciary has, in many ways, paved the way for a more discerning and transparent way of regulating digital assets on American soil. This precedent-setting case is poised to be a touchstone for ensuing legal tussles in the crypto domain, to the great pleasure of crypto enthusiasts.

But XRP holders shouldn’t count their chickens just yet. While this judgment offers a brief respite for XRP, the SEC is preparing to issue an appeal on what they consider to be a controversial and incorrect decision.

On The Flipside

  • While Brad Garlinghouse boasts a wealth of business and management experience in fintech and investment companies, he has no previous work history as a blockchain developer. Arguably, this makes him a questionable choice to lead one of the largest cryptocurrency companies in the world.

Why Should You Care

The result of the lawsuit against Ripple Labs by the SEC will have far-reaching consequences throughout the blockchain industry. It’s important to have a clear understanding of who is fighting for the future of cryptocurrency against the SEC and leading one of crypto’s largest networks.

FAQs

Why is XRP so important?

XRP is the native cryptocurrency of the Ripple Labs ecosystem, one of the industry’s largest blockchain networks. XRP is important because it’s the subject of a high-profile lawsuit initiated by the SEC. The results of this lawsuit are expected to impact how crypto is regulated in the United States.

Is XRP better than Bitcoin?

XRP transactions on the Ripple network are faster and more affordable than BTC transactions on the bitcoin network. From a practical perspective, XRP could be considered better than Bitcoin. That being said, Bitcoin is a much larger and more decentralized blockchain and has shown greater resilience to market volatility than XRP.

What banks have signed up with XRP?

According to Amazon Web Services, many banks and financial institutions have joined Ripplenet, including Santander (US), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (Canada), and Siam Commercial Bank (Thailand).

Does XRP have a future?

As long as the Ripple blockchain continues to operate and facilitate crypto transactions internationally, XRP will always have a use case and a future.

Is it risky to buy XRP?

As with any digital asset, buying XRP carries an element of risk. Cryptocurrency is deemed a high-risk asset class prone to unexpected price movements. We recommend you always conduct thorough research before buying any crypto and never invest more than you can afford to lose.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Author
Finn Miller

Finn Miller is a New Zealand-based blockchain writer for DailyCoin who specializes in simplifying complex blockchain topics. He is experienced in crafting whitepapers, researching on-chain data, and advising emerging crypto projects, and uses his unconventional approach to learning and passion for knowledge to provide cornerstone educational content for readers of all levels. When not exploring the depths of DeFi, Finn can be found exploring his other passion, the great outdoors.