A simmering feud over Ripple, which in recent days has become the second most valuable digital currency after bitcoin, boiled over Thursday evening in bitter Twitter exchange involving the company’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse. The fight erupted after Nate Popper, a New York Times journalist and author of a popular book on bitcoin, suggested that Ripple’s currency (technically known as XRP) is simply a tool for speculation and has little purpose in the real world.

Popper backed this up by claiming that bankers are not using XRP—a damning assertion, if true, since Ripple contends banks are embracing its currency as part of a larger shift away from the legacy money transfer system known as SWIFT. Here’s what Popper said: Garlinghouse pounced in response, claiming that Popper had his facts wrong and listing a series of alleged rebuttals from others in the banking industry.

He also accused Popper of journalistic malpractice by failing to speak to available sources who would allegedly have disproved his assertions: Unsurprisingly, the rough-and-tumble world of crypto Twitter quickly piled on with a series of taunts and schoolyards GIFs aimed at Popper from Ripple partisans: Meanwhile, Ripple’s product manager for XRP also shot back at Popper, claiming that the company is about more than its blockchain software, which banks are using to record transactions: Not everyone sided with Ripple, though. A Twitter user in Canada responded by asking Garlinghouse to provide evidence, using the public blockchain ledger where XRP transactions are recorded, that banks are indeed using the currency.

The brouhaha on Twitter comes at a time of intense interest in Ripple and XRP, which has soared exponentially in recent weeks and made the company’s co-founders one of the world’s richest men. The controversy over XRP may also stem in part from a lack of familiarity, including among some in the cryptocurrency world, about the company and its products.

Unlike digital currencies like bitcoin and Ethereum, Ripple’s XRPs are not mined by a decentralized network of computers, but were instead created in a single 100 billion batch by the company—a situation that has long engendered mistrust and contempt from longtime bitcoin backers. Currently, there are around 40 billion XRP in circulation while Ripple has placed most of the rest in escrow and is releasing them in slow increments. Read more from fortune.com…

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