Ripple’s Triple Charm Offensive — Bill Clinton, Madonna, and Soundbite Cory
Ripple Labs has embarked on a triple charm offensive, bringing into the fold heavy-hitting celebrities in Bill Clinton and Madonna, and having Chief Market Strategist Cory Johnson slam bitcoin for its transaction sloth. Whose hearts and minds is Ripple Labs trying to win over?
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Bill Clinton to Keynote Swell 2018
Ripple’s annual Swell conference is set to get a publicity boost this year, with former president Bill Clinton set to keynote the San Francisco-based gathering this September. Swell 2018 “connects the world’s leading experts on policy, payments and technology for the most provocative dialog in global payments today.”
While Clinton brings obvious gravitas to the event, the fintech startup states that their choice for keynote speaker was based on the role Clinton played in the early days of the internet:
“At a time when groundbreaking technology and regulation were often on a collision course, President Clinton helped usher in a period of extreme growth and adoption of the Internet, shaping what it is today.”
No Virgin to Charity, Ripple Joins Forces With Madonna to Raise Funds for Children in Malawi
Ripple has also announced that for the month of August, it will match public contributions made to Raising Malawi, an NGO established by pop icon Madonna, to support vulnerable children in the small, densely populated African nation.
The move comes less than six months after the company’s $29 million USD donation to DonorsChoose in support of the American public school system. That was said to be the largest ever charitable donation of cryptocurrency.
Armed With Soundbite, Cory Johnson Set Loose on Fox
Ripple Labs’ Chief Market Strategist Cory Johnson, formerly of Bloomberg TV, took repeated jabs at bitcoin and ether on Fox Business last week, reminding the panel that XRP moves much more quickly than bitcoin or ether. “Bitcoin is slow when you talk about moving money”, Johnson told Fox reporters.
Perhaps the most attention-grabbing quote, however, if for no other reason than its grammatical peculiarity, was that which was subsequently tweeted by the startup:
“Money should move as fast as ideas move as fast as data moves and right now it doesn’t.”
–@CoryTV on @FoxBusiness with @MorningsMaria. Watch the full segment on #XRP, #Bitcoin and more. https://t.co/p4xQeS4bdP
— Ripple (@Ripple) July 26, 2018
Johnson’s swipe at bitcoin was not Ripple’s first attempt to discredit the first cryptocurrency. At the Recode 2018 Code Conference in Ranchos Palos Verdes, California at the end of May, CEO Brad Garlinghouse likened bitcoin to Napster. He argued that, like Napster, bitcoin was a bold first step that would eventually be overtaken by superior technology that solved real-world problems and engaged regulators, just as Napster was overtaken by Spotify and iTunes. It is no small irony, then, that the company faces a class action lawsuit over alleged securities violations in relation to its release of XRP to the public.
What Is Ripple Labs’ Game?
In having President Clinton address the audience at its upcoming Swell conference, Ripple is hoping to bolster its profile and credibility. The company’s partnership with Madonna’s charity in Malawi is its second high-profile goodwill gesture this year, indicating its intention to position itself as a good corporate citizen. And its war of words with bitcoin is its equivalent to a negative political campaign ad — an effort to highlight what it sees as XRP’s technological superiority over BTC when it comes to solving real-world problems.
Ripple’s success as a company and as a cryptocurrency issuer may rest on its triple offensive of profile-boosting, image enhancement, and negative jabs at other cryptos. As promised in its Swell conference brief, the company continues to prove it will not shy away from “provocative dialog”.
What’s your take? Is Ripple’s public relations offensive likely to be successful?
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