The debate surrounding the centralization of XRP and XRPL, Ripple's native cryptocurrency and its associated network, has resurfaced, leading to a critical examination of Ripple's claims about decentralization and permissionlessness.

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Justin Bons, the founder and CIO of CyberCapital, has accused Ripple executives of promoting XRP as a decentralized and permissionless network while relying on Unique Node Lists (UNLs) controlled by centralized parties, including the XRPL Foundation. Bons argues that the presence of these trusted nodes contradicts the basic principles of a decentralized network.

The Counterarguments

In response to Bons' claims, Matt Hamilton, an ex-Ripple Director of Developer Relations, has countered that each node in the XRPL network is responsible for its own UNL and has the autonomy to choose the nodes it trusts. Hamilton emphasizes that there is no central authority controlling the network, and the UNL maintained by the XRPL Foundation is the result of an emergent community desire to utilize a non-Ripple UNL. This assertion aims to debunk Bons' assertion that the network is permissioned.

David Schwartz, the Ripple CTO and one of the architects of XRPL, has also weighed in on the debate. Schwartz clarifies that validators in the network do not have control over transaction inclusion. Instead, they focus on solving the double-spend problem and determining which of two equally-valid but conflicting transactions is included. Furthermore, XRPL operates on the basis of breaking ties among equally good but conflicting transactions. If any honest node detects a validator engaging in malicious behavior, it ignores that validator.

The Ongoing Debate

The centralization debate surrounding XRP and XRPL has been ongoing for several weeks, with both supporters and opponents presenting arguments to support their respective views. Bons has previously made assertions about Bitcoin not being a decentralized network either, adding to the broader conversation about decentralization within the cryptocurrency space.

Separate Feud: Cardano (ADA) vs. XRP

In a separate development, a verbal confrontation between Charles Hoskinson, the founder of Cardano (ADA), and the XRP community has emerged. Both Cardano and XRP are distinct projects with different value propositions. While Cardano focuses on being a decentralized smart contract platform, XRP aims to facilitate low-fee cross-border payments. Hoskinson criticized the XRP community, calling it toxic and petty, while also claiming that Ripple's project lacks partnerships and value. This clash of opinions arose after the XRP community labeled Hoskinson as a liar regarding his predictions about the closure of the SEC case against Ripple.

David Schwartz Responds

Ripple CTO David Schwartz responded to Hoskinson's statements, suggesting that he wait a few days before drawing conclusions. Schwartz's response indicated the possibility of upcoming developments or surprises related to XRP. This exchange highlights the tensions and differing opinions between prominent figures in the cryptocurrency industry.


The debate surrounding the centralization of XRP and XRPL continues to be a topic of contention within the cryptocurrency community. Justin Bons' claims about the reliance on Unique Node Lists and the XRPL Foundation's control have sparked discussions about Ripple's decentralization claims. On a separate front, Charles Hoskinson's criticism of the XRP community and Ripple's project has intensified the friction between Cardano and XRP. These debates underline the importance of transparency and decentralization within the cryptocurrency space, as well as the need for ongoing dialogue and examination of projects' claims and practices.



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