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XRP vs Bitcoin (BTC): Which is More Decentralized? Or More Secure?

In a heated debate on Twitter involving Tone Vays, a popular YouTube commentator on topics related to cryptocurrencies, and Ripple Labs’ chief cryptographer, David Schwartz, there is wide-spread disagreement about which network consensus protocol is better. Vays has been arguing that bitcoin‘s (BTC) proof-of-work (PoW) based consensus algorithm is superior to XRP and the Ripple consensus protocol.

Vays pointed out BTC’s PoW is a decentralized way of determining who can validate transactions. Although this particular debate dates back to June of this year, if you check Twitter even now, you will find two communities, namely the BTC camp and the XRP supporters arguing over which cryptocurrency is superior.

Is XRP Centralized?

In a recent article on Ripple (XRP) posted on Crypto.IQ, the author claims that the cryptocurrency is highly centralized. Although the write-up appears to be light on research and heavy on assumptions and claims, there are a few valid points it does make.

According to the article, “the only thing delaying the necessary SEC announcement that XRP is a security is Ripple Labs’ well-paid legal team.” Although Ripple Labs has fought many legal battles, it would be a bit premature at this point to claim that XRP is a security. To be fair, there is some evidence that suggests anyone can contribute to XRP related projects.

Recently, a developer launched an app which lets iPhone users communicate through voice commands (with Siri). The app, which can be downloaded from iCloud, works by helping users find an XRPTipBot. Once the tipping bot has been located, the user has to scan a QR code and specify how much XRP they’d like to send as a tip. Then finally, the user has to confirm the tip amount, before it is finally sent out. As mentioned, all this happens via voice commands.

Although this particular app does not prove or disprove that XRP is a security, it does show that it is possible to contribute to XRP related initiatives. Since the app is not endorsed by either Apple or Ripple Labs, it further proves that not everything related to XRP is necessarily related to Ripple, the company.

XRP is Fast, But It May Not Be Secure

XRP transactions might be super-fast and super-cheap, with TechCrunch Founder Michael Arrington claiming to have transferred over $50 million in XRP in a few seconds for just a few cents. However, some people claim that XRP transactions can be frozen by Ripple Labs’ centralized servers.

Whether this is true or not, remains unclear. Moreover, what would be the conditions under which a transaction might be frozen? In some cases, it could benefit or enhance consumer protection, but it also means that the currency can be censored.