Back in 2010 in my first month at Lend Academy one of the first people I reached out to was Chris Larsen, then CEO of Prosper. I was writing a story on some changes at Prosper back then and Chris was gracious enough to respond to this new and unknown blogger. Over the next couple of years I met Chris in person several times and got to know him reasonably well as I continued to cover Prosper and marketplace lending more broadly.
I was very disappointed when in 2012 Chris announced he was stepping down as CEO of Prosper. He was the founding CEO and at the time I wondered what could be more important than helping to drive Prosper forward. But Chris had an itch to start a new company, one that was based on this emerging blockchain technology.
Of course, this move proved to be prescient and his new company, which eventually became known at Ripple, has the potential to completely rewrite the rules of global commerce. In 2013 they introduced the XRP token as the vehicle to help them achieve this goal. XRP (as of this writing) is the third most valuable token with market cap of $32 billion. This is down considerably from its high in January when its market cap reached around $150 billion and briefly made Chris Larsen one of the wealthiest people in the world.
Chris had never spoken at LendIt before given that his time at Prosper was over before we launched our event. But he agreed to speak on our keynote stage last month and it was standing room only for this fintech pioneer. You can watch the video below or go to this link. It has become the most downloaded session out of all the keynote videos. [Read more…]