Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple, on Coinbase’s “ apolitical culture ”


Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of Ripple.

John Chiala | CNBC

Start-up Fintech Ripple has no plans to follow Coinbase, equivalent to Silicon Valley, in banning politics from the workplace.

Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong caused a stir late last month when he wrote a blog post outlining the company’s no-commitment policy on social and political issues.

He said the virtual currency exchange “will not internally discuss political causes or candidates” or address issues “unrelated to our core mission”. Armstrong added that the company has an “apolitical culture” and is “laser focused” on advancing cryptography and making profits.

Rejecting this position in an interview with CNBC, Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse said he thinks tech companies have an “obligation” to work to solve the company’s problems.

“We think our mission enables a valuable Internet, but we are looking for positive outcomes for society,” Garlinghouse told CNBC. “I think technology companies have the opportunity, but actually the obligation, to become part of the solution.”

Coinbase declined to comment. The company had offered layoff packages to employees who wished to leave the company for its work culture update. About 5% of Coinbase’s workforce welcomed the company to its offer.

Ripple, known for cryptocurrency XRP, promotes corporate activism and gives employees paid free time to vote and volunteer in the upcoming presidential election, a spokesperson said.

“The sad reality is – and I say this as a longtime Silicon Valley veteran – some of these (social) problems are, at the very least, exacerbated by the technology platforms themselves,” Garlinghouse said.

For example, the issue of online platforms like Facebook and YouTube being used to manipulate high-risk elections and political debates has generally been well documented.

Garlinghouse said he and his company are also taking YouTube to court over allegations that Google’s video sharing service failed to protect consumers from “giveaway” scams using fake profiles to trick viewers into sending thousands of. dollars in XRP.

“We didn’t need to do that, it doesn’t help Ripple,” he said. “But what it highlights is that platforms need to take responsibility for the problems they are contributing to.”

YouTube was not immediately available to comment when contacted by CNBC.

Last week, Garlinghouse told CNBC that Ripple – which was valued at $ 10 billion in its most recent funding round – is considering moving overseas due to the lack of regulatory clarity in its home market surrounding XRP. .

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