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The Big Interview

Why Franklyn Richards refuses to fight dirty when it comes to Litecoin

The crypto space is often reduced to social wars on platforms like Twitter and Reddit. Litecoin’s Franklyn Richards would rather be working on the tech.

There’s something delightfully refreshing about speaking to Franklyn Richards. In an industry fuelled by ego and testosterone, it helps to remember there are real, smart people working hard behind the scenes, refusing to be embroiled in social media wars.

“I’m not going to waste my time fighting with people [on social media]”, he says, “the market will decide eventually. I know where I’m placing my bets.”

I met him at Web Summit in Lisbon in early November when Bitcoin was stable at around $6k when people felt it was finding its price.

Little did we know that the four horsemen of the apocalypse were yet to come in the shape of Roger Ver, Craig Wright, Jihan Wu, and the United States SEC.

“I don’t think it had any affect at all”, he insists. “It’s a couple of millionaires fighting with each other over pointless things. Good luck to them. I’m going to continue focusing my attention on what I think is the correct way the space should develop”.

The founding director of the Litecoin Foundation, operator of Litecoin.com, and COO of Zulu Republic was probably the only speaker without an entourage of PRs; he was there with his Mum.

How do you feel about recent events and the ongoing hash wars?

“I feel very much indifferent to all these projects. I know there are lots of people who vehemently hate them but I think it’s a waste of time and energy. We can’t do anything about the market side of it. There’s no point in fighting against it”.

Would you say that price was irrelevant as you’re working on the tech?

“Well, it’s kind of irrelevant when I’m working on the technology. But price is important of course. It’s very interesting when prices go up, everybody has far more money to spend and do in this space. But currently, I don’t see it as a very interesting kind of metric. I still expect markets to go lower just based on technical analysis”.

“I’m very much a staunch objectivist. So even though I’d like to join the people in the camps who say ‘Litecoin is never going to fall below $100, it’s physically impossible!’, I sat through 2013 and I know how hard this can be. I was fully prepared for it to come down here and I’m still prepared for it to go lower, to be honest. I’m not expecting anything good until 2020 in terms of price making its way back up”.

Why 2020? You don’t believe the markets will rally any time this year?

“I think there may be some positivity this year but I am not really going to bet on it. We have a saying (I used to be in the Scouts) and that’s’ Fail to prepare, prepare to fail’. So I’m prepared no matter what happens, for the absolute worst to happen; even if this whole thing just dies – which of course, it won’t.”

What about Bakkt, Nasdaq, or other industry players entering the market?

“I see it as very positive when the news that’s coming out is more positive than ever, people are holding, networks are growing and staying steady despite prices falling, this is positive in the long run.

But I know from experience how long and prolonged and painful these markets can be. I wouldn’t be surprised if Bitcoin were to fall under $3,000. The worst would be going back to $1,000… But then, I don’t know really- who really does?”

The main goal of Litecoin is mass adoption, is that what’s behind the Ultimate Fighting Championship partnership? Whose idea was that?

“The UFC partnership was presented to us and Charlie [Lee, Litecoin’s creator] was very much interested in that. I think he used to do wrestling in college or something. But like you said, it’s also an opportunity to reach a new kind of audience.

The synergy that we have with the UFC is that it’s a grassroots foundation. They started up 25 years ago just a few hobbyists and are now a worldwide sport that millions of people tune in to see a fight. So it’s a connection of a grassroots support that you see between UFC and Litecoin.”

Is targeting an all-male audience (obviously going for crypto’s main demographic) the right way forward in terms of including the wider public?

“So, you think we need to expand the demographic to cover a broader amount if users?” he asks. “I think none of that really matters, at the very core it’s all about free will. There are plenty of people interested in it, and many of them are women. But I think we shouldn’t be going against the market.”

Are there more partnerships like this on the horizon?.”

It depends who we want to target. Are we looking at the everyday person who will probably look at this stuff and think they can make money from it? Or are we interested in partnering with the people who are going to look at this technology in a meaningful way? And I would lean toward that.

“Grassroots enthusiasm is good to have from people, but I think the change will be from institutions setting up systems for other business to use that have cryptocurrency there.”

Let’s talk a little about the products and plans you have in place for Litecoin…

“Litecoin.com has recently rolled out localisation to expand our reach to more people in the world who want to find out about it. We’re also improving the service and rolling out advertising so we can start funding the development a bit more effectively.

And with Zulu, we’re about to launch a new version of Lite IM and LiteVault. By launching a new version, I mean rolling it into one product just called “Lite”. This is going to be one product now, it’s all connected and we’re very excited about that. We have a lot of options and partnerships we’re working on to make that the best wallet for Litecoin. In fact, for whatever cryptocurrency, including our own native ZTX or Zulu token.”

Are you still absolutely convinced in Litecoin as the coin?

“Litecoin as the coin? I think Litecoin as one of the coins and Bitcoin as the other, everything else is just kind of uncertain to me. I’m not going to get involved fighting, there is something painfully egregious about them.

A lot of people have recently come out and decided to attack Litecoin lately for whatever reason and I put a tweet out saying I’m not interested in arguing with these people if all they can come out and say is “it’s a sh**coin”. You have to tell me why.

“If you’re going to throw an ad hominem around then I’m just not interested in a bunch of people in the space getting involved in an argument. I think it really lowers the image of the space.

“Unless you’re going to fight against the market and single-handedly pull it down, I’m just going to dismiss you because the information tells me otherwise.”

You won’t find Franklyn posting videos praising Litecoin over Bitcoin or any other coin for that matter. It’s simply not his style. And that’s been a sticking point for him several times when it comes to the Litecoin community.

“It’s the wrong argument and you shouldn’t be making it”, he says. “If transaction speed is really all that mattered there would be a coin with a 1 second block time at the top of the market. But there isn’t…

A lot of people are displeased in me that I won’t come out and say “Litecoin is the best coin”. I just say, “Stop bringing us down, we’ll just look like the Ripple Army where we just go around saying stuff we know nothing about and looking like idiots. I don’t want that to see that happen to Litecoin”.

Anything else you’d like to add?

“Our strength is that we’re the number one script network in the world and a complement to Bitcoin. If anything happened to Bitcoin, there’s Litecoin to back it up, or any changes need doing, there’s Litecoin. But people who believe that one coin is going to win out over the other are just wrong. That’s not how it’s going to turn out.”

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