Hi everyone. Long time reader and early adopter of XRP here. Very happy to see the trend over the last 2 months, but very confused how loads of people are still attracted to lots of other coins. I’m either blind, or they are, or both.
After reading about the latest test of ILP where a transaction was simultaneously made across 7 ledgers, I was surprised to then read Coindesk’s article about how this now made it easier for banks to work with Bitcoin, and how this was considered a positive. I couldn’t help but think how this in fact couldn’t be worse for Bitcoin (and many other digital currencies) in the long term.
Why would it be worse for Bitcoin? I might be a long way off the mark, but I’ll use the transport analogy that we hear often from Ripple. If I’m wrong, please let me know why. I’m simply trying the put the pieces of the puzzle together in my head.
The Teleporter Analogy
In the beginning, everyone had a horse and cart (think traditional money movement). It had been used for years, and worked fine. It was slow and cumbersome. Occasionally a horse broke down and didn’t get there. There were advancements that made the journey a bit more comfortable and a bit quicker, but overall, because nobody knew anything better, they were happy with the state of play.
Then some really smart people discovered fuel (think cryptography and using computers/internet to transport value). When they discovered fuel they created an engine that could use this fuel and built a basic car. They called this car Bitcar. It was a huge advancement on the horse and cart, so a lot of people bought Bitcars, and businesses invested heavily into the infrastructure to support Bitcar.
Loads of really smart people around the world looked at Bitcar, and the fuel it used, and said ‘wow, that’s amazing. I’m going to make something else that uses fuel’. So there were loads of inventions that used fuel. Each type of fuel was slightly different, and could only be used in that type of vehicle.
There was Litecar, that was similar to Bitcar but faster, but due to it being a latecomer, and it only being a small advancement, it didn’t get the adoption that Bitcar already had.
Some smart people said ‘I don’t want to just use fuel for transporting people, I can see how I can use fuel to do work and make things happen’. They invented a machine they called Ethmachine. If you told Ethmachine how to do it, it could perform pretty much any task you wanted forever as long as you kept putting the correct fuel in.
Then a company looked at how fuel was being used, saw how great it was, but decided to make something a bit different. They invented a Teleporter. It was incredible. It didn’t matter if you wanted to move just yourself or your whole town to either next door or to the other side of the world, it used very little energy, and took less than 4 seconds. It worked perfectly, and was a huge advancement.
Instead of hiring lots of cheerleaders to tell everyone how good the Teleporter was, the company hired lots of experts who had previously worked in the transport industry to ensure they complied with all the rules and regulations, and that it was exactly what the transportation industry needed. They assumed if they made a transport system that was vastly superior, then it would speak for itself, and people would want to use it.
But there were some problems.
People didn’t trust Teleporters. The Teleporter was invented by a company, and they were trying to do deals with transport companies, and lots of people didn’t trust companies.
The special fuel the Teleporter used was held mainly by the company. They sold some of the fuel to other companies that sold Teleporters so they could get their businesses going. The owners of Bitcars and Ethmachines screamed ‘scam’ from the rooftops.
Also, buying a Teleporter was difficult. You nearly always had to buy a Bitcar, and after significant interrogation, you were able to finally swap your Bitcar for a Teleporter. Also, there needed to be a Teleporter at the other end for you to arrive in. Considering how much of an advancement the Teleporter was, it was surprising how few people wanted to travel via Teleporter.
The company who invented the Teleporter got their heads together and thought about the problem. They decided to invent the Inter Transport Protocol (ITP), and let everyone use it for free. It was simply a way of building any vehicle so that it connected to every other type of vehicle without you even really knowing about it. When you sat in your car/bus/aeroplane/fighter jet and said take me and my family to England, you simply woke up there , and you had no idea of which combination of vehicles actually made the trip possible.
Depending on where you wanted to go and what infrastructure was on the travel route, you may travel by car, followed by train, aircraft, then bus (cost $6000 and 2 days, and 10% of the time there were delays or you were sent back), or car/Teleporter/bus (cost $200 and 3 hours, but more reliable), or simply the Teleporter (cost $0.01 and 4 secs, and you got there everytime).
There were people who insisted on using Bitcar, because they wanted to hold onto the glory days. Most people however just went to their garage and said ‘take me to Venice/grocery shop/football stadium/.....’ via the quickest and cheapest method.
It took a while for the ITP to be installed in a lot of places, but some of the large transport companies could see the future, and installed the ITP to their Buses, Trains and Aircraft. Some also installed Teleporters to their hubs all over the world, which made them far more competitive. Others followed, as people flocked to the companies that used the quickest and least expensive methods of transport.
It was now a level playing field.
People didn’t know or even care about how they got from A to B. They just wanted to get there as quickly, reliably and inexpensively as possible. You may even need to get something done by Ethmachine on the way. ITP allowed that to happen. It all just happened automatically.
Rapidly, due to transport companies using Teleporters, people travelled far more regularly. You could now be at the grocery store to get the cup of sugar you needed and back again in a matter of minutes. No need to save everything up for a weekly shop. Further, you could take your son to the other side of the world for a football match, and be back in time for dinner. People had never travelled as often, more conveniently, or cheaply.
After a while due to Teleporters becoming commonplace, and the ITP always finding the most efficient transport method, the vehicle companies realised that nobody was actually using the vehicles they made in the manner they were intended. So cars were made to look, sound and smell like cars, but in fact under the surface they were all Teleporters. Same for trains, bicycles, aeroplanes, and even jogging shoes.
Bitcar still existed, but due to it being slow and inefficient, and never being chosen by the ITP algorithm , it was rarely used.
And Teleporter fuel? Early on, some people had the sense to purchase some and store it in their sheds. They could see that Teleporters were not a scam, and the company that made them was genuinely in the business of creating the best transportation system the world had ever seen. Over time, Teleporter fuel became one of the world’s most used and valuable commodities.
Clearly a level playing field is good for XRP. Ripple obviously believe the product they have is far better than anything else available, and are prepared to put it to the test in a fair fight. They wouldn’t be going down the ILP path if they didn’t think they had invented the Teleporter.
So long as the Teleporter isn’t fundamentally flawed, or someone invents something far better than a Teleporter and is easily implemented, XRP has a very bright future in my opinion.