Comments on the following critique would be welcome:
“The Ripple system is really interesting, but on one point I can’t help thinking part of it is a great scheme to make the founders (and OpenCoin) ridiculously rich. The reason that makes me wonder is that 100 billion XRP were initially created, and of these 20 billion are kept by the founders and 80 billion were given to OpenCoin (from their wiki). OpenCoin plans to give away some XRP, and sell some XRP, but it’s not clear in what proportions or how much. No new XRP will ever be created, and the value of XRP will increase gradually as more people demand it for transactions (and XRP is the native currency of Ripple and will be the most convenient transaction medium inside Ripple). XRP also have intrinsic value in that they are strictly necessary to perform transactions, and because XRP used for transactions are destroyed the total amount of XRP in the system will decrease steadily.
So we have a system where the founders and OpenCoin have control over almost all purchasing power. Moreover, because of this, they can keep exchange rates of XRP as high as they like by keeping supply low. If Ripple would take off and be widely adopted, the founders and OpenCoin would get unimaginably rich because of the big shares in the fiat currency they created.
It makes me think of the famous quote: “Give me control over a nation’s currency and I care not who makes its laws.” It doesn’t apply in full because the founders and OpenCoin won’t create more currency, but owning all currency from the beginning will have the same effect over the foreseeable future.”