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Ripple a major topic at Davos? Correcting a WEF a mistake.

ripple at davos

Updated January 23, 2017: Mr. Creyts promptly replied to my email and said he would send a note to his editor.

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The city of Davos, Switzerland annually hosts the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) most important meetings. Some of the world’s top leaders across many sectors attend this annual event. This year’s topic is Creating a Shared Future in a Fractured World.

In case you don’t know who the World Economic Form is, it was established in 1971 as a not-for-profit foundation and is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland. It is independent, impartial and not tied to any special interests. The Forum strives in all its efforts to demonstrate entrepreneurship in the global public interest while upholding the highest standards of governance. Moral and intellectual integrity is at the heart of everything it does.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin
U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin

I read a blog post that quoted a source at a Davos pre-meeting that Ripple will be a major topic at one session. The post shared that the U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and BlackRock CEO Laurence D. Fink will be discussing cryptocurrencies in general and Ripple specifically.

A Davos panel with Ripple as the main topic?

The 2018 Davos agenda is online. I checked out the titles to see if I could find this supposed session. The only panel with a plausible title is scheduled for January 25, 2018, entitled “The Crypto-Asset Bubble.” The description of this session:

Valuations of bitcoin have reached unprecedented highs, and there are now close to 1,000 different crypto-assets on the market. Are these assets finally coming into their own or are they the seed of the next financial crisis? This session was developed in partnership with Yicai.

Interesting session! I’ve added that to my to-do list to follow up later and watch the archived video. However, neither Mnuchin or Fink is on this panel so I kept looking. I found a session with Secretary Mnuchin scheduled for the same day, January 25, 2018, at 10:00 GMT called The Remaking of Global Finance. The summary for this panel:

From the unbridled growth of cryptocurrencies to the potential decline of the dollar as the world’s reserve currency, the international financial system is undergoing a deep transformation. How should business leaders and policy-makers prepare for the remaking of global finance?  This session was developed in partnership with CNBC.

Bingo! In addition to Secretary Mnuchin, BlackRock CEO Fink is also on this panel. I’d love to watch this online, however, this session will start at midnight my time 🙁 Hope they have the session archived immediately so I can watch it later that day. If the scoop was right, Ripple will be a major part of this panel discussion. Should be interesting!

Does the World Economic Forum understand Ripple?

Digging more into the WEF website, I found an article posted yesterday that mischaracterizes Ripple. That article starts with this paragraph…see the problem?

As ‘cryptomania’ gripped trading markets at the end of 2017, a disturbing fact about the early blockchain algorithms used in currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Ripple came to the fore: they use staggering amounts of electricity.

Ripple doesn’t gobble up the energy equivalent of a country. This was probably an honest mistake as the article goes on to correctly identify Bitcoin’s daily transactions consume the energy equivalent of a country. Or maybe it wasn’t an error and the authors don’t understand Ripple?

This article was written by Jon Creyts, Managing Director of Rocky Mountain Institute and Ana Trbovich, Co-founder in charge of Strategy and Business Development at Grid Singularity. I’ve been a long time fan of the Rocky Mountain Institute but never heard of Grid Singularity. These are energy guys writing about cryptocurrencies.

I’ve reached out to both of these authors to remove Ripple from the article’s list of currencies that consume energy like large nations suggesting maybe they contrast Ripple’s energy model. I’ll update this blog post if I get a response.

What can we expect from a Davos session featuring Ripple?

Here is the key question from the session’s description: How should business leaders and policy-makers prepare for the remaking of global finance? How will the panel tackle this subject? My guess is that Secretary Mnuchin will not be a cheerleader for Ripple. A recent article from CNBC, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin wants to make sure bad people cannot use bitcoin to do bad things, shares some of his thoughts on cryptocurrency including his concern about speculation. Fink once called Bitcoin an index of money laundering, but also sees huge opportunities and is a big believer in cryptocurrencies. I don’t know about the other panel members but do expect a conversation about Ripple at this forum to continue to move the adoption needle. Scoop or no scoop, blockchain technologies and implementations will likely be the focus of that session.

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