Theres an epic battle for the future of money, and the outcome is murky. It might have several winners. It might have no winners. But one thing is crystal clear: The most exciting battle in this long war is taking place in San Francisco, and the town isnt big enough for both Ripple Labs and Stellar, two of the contenders hoping to replace not just Bitcoin but the almighty dollar.
Bad feelings toward Ms. Kim remained at Ripple Labs even after shed left the company. She was viewed by many as having exerted some sort of spell over Mr. McCaleb, who was content to continue to include her in Ripple Labs conversations even after her departure. TheObserverheard Ms. Kim described as Yoko Ono by no fewer than four interview subjects. It was the way she would just be there all the time and you could never have a private conversation with Jed.
One can imagine the awkwardness of the sceneboth Mr. Larsen and Mr. McCaleb were in the room. The whole room, including Mr. Larsen, told Mr. McCaleb that they wanted Mr. McCaleb to stay and continue building on the amazing momentum Ripple Labs had established. That was not to be.
And then things fell apart. TheObservers reporting could not uncover the precise reason for the dissolution of a deal that appeared to be at the five-yard line. But what did happen next was messy. Frustrated with the deals dissolution, Mr. McCaleb tried to eject Mr. Larsen from the company.
To create a new and better cryptocurrency, Mr. McCaleb sought the assistance of the smartest people on Earth. He met with David Schwartz and the two discussed how a consensus network could work. David joined as CTO and later became Chief Cryptographer. In a coffee shop in the East Bay, Jed and David convinced Jesse Powell to invest $100,000 into what was then known as Opencoin Inc. Soon after, they brought aboard legendary futurist Arthur Britto, who became the ventures chief strategist.
In sum, in early summer 2013, Mr. McCaleb left Ripple Labs in a huff. In March 2014, he fin
The suggestion that Mr. Larsen, who like Mr. McCaleb is a surfer in excellent condition, would be too sick to contribute meaningfully severely angered Mr. Britto, who himself suffers from severe arthritis, for its implication about the ability of sick people to contribute meaningfully and for its dishonesty.
I actually introduced her to Jed because she was raising money for her company. I introduced Jed as a potential investor, so I think thats how they got to know each other and how they got started dating, but before that Joyce and I were like acquaintances. Mr. Powell is referring to Ms. Kims start-up, Simple Honey, a company she started with Eric Nakagawa, who previously created I Can Has Cheezburger, the humor site that launched the viral careers of thousands of cats.
After the meeting, Mr. Powell sent Mr. McCaleb a personal email detailing why he had sided against him. The reasons listed in Mr. Powells email included: The Stripe deal sucks; employees dont trust you as a leader/manager; you hiring your girlfriend indicates you have poor judgment. Mr. McCaleb responded in an email to a group of seven, more than one of whom later shared that email with theObserver. He responded point-by-point, explaining that the Stripe deal was better than the group thought and apologizing for not being a more effective manager. As for Ms. Kim, Mr. McCaleb wrote, The fact that she is my girlfriend didnt impact her or my work at all. She is extremely smart and talented and filled a role that [the company] desperately needed. Ive had a lot of girlfriends believe me; this is the only one I would hire.
Another Ripple Labs veteran told theObservera story that portrayed Ms. Kim in a warmer, more sympathetic light, though this story, too, shows a relationship that was ill fitting at best. Ripple Labs had this really good immigration attorney. There was a young kid who came over from SimpleHoney named Winnie who was being persecuted by the Singaporean government. Winnie is a really good designer, and Joyce treated her literally like a daughter. I mean, she was just so protective of her and it became a problem because Ripple already had a great immigration attorney who we had brought on to get Winnies visa transferred. And Joyce was like, You need to fire your immigration attorney and bring on someone else. This got to the point where Jed was like, Chris, you know Joyce is right, weve got to get her an immigration attorney. It was like, what the fuck? Chris sat her down and was like, Joyce youre a CEO. Its going to be hard fitting in. Youre obviously reporting to me. Two cultures coming together is always a hard thing. Lets talk about everything before we do it just to make sure everything is good. And Joyce just of course wouldnt hear of it.
Ms. Kim has one of the all-time great LinkedIn profiles: Harvard, Cornell, Columbia Law, the Innocence Project, Shearman & Sterling, two other law jobs, founder or CEO at two start-ups and now a venture capitalist. That doesnt even include co-hosting the short-livedGigaOm Showpodcast,based on the phenomenally popular blog of Om Malik, one of Ms. Kims mentors, who is today one of her most fervent supporters.
The United States government, European Union and other currency-creating governments will use every means to keep control of money. Likewise, banking giants such as JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, Citigroup and Wells Fargo are strongly invested in the status quo. The result of this fight will decide, among other things, the fate of developing economies, access to financial services, inflation, terrorism, all forms of economic crime from insider trading to drug dealing, the ability of governments to spy on citizens financial transactions, tax collection and the relationship between governments and the governed.
It would be a stretch to find any strategic connection between Ripple Labs and SimpleHoneys absurd stabs at ecommerce. Nevertheless, Mr. McCaleb persuaded Ripple Labs to buy SimpleHoney in April 2013. According to Ms. Kims blog, she and her partner had ideas of how Bitcoin and other virtual currencies could be easier for normal folks to use. Soon, Chris [Larsen] and Jed [McCaleb], who were looking for a strong consumer-focused team, proposed we join them and roll up our sleeves and start working on the root problem facing consumers in every vertical to ecommerce.
The coining of digital money (cryptocurrency) has the potential to be the most important financial development of this century. On one side are governments, fiat currencies and the world banking industry. On the other side are hundreds of young companies backed by brilliant cryptographers, complex programming and security protocols and varying degrees of anti-establishment fervor.
The story starts in a Williamsburg apartment in 2008 with a positive pregnancy test. Two people who barely knew each other, Jed McCaleb, 32, and MiSoon Burzlaff, 30, decided to go for it and start a family. Ms. Burzlaff gave birth to a daughter and, 14 months later, a son. They moved upstate to Patterson.
There will be a Bitcoin 2.0, and it will likely emerge from one of the hundreds of currencies that have been started in the past couple years.
That SimpleHoney needed to raise money was obvious. The company developed its product by flying its entire development team to Honolulu, renting a house for two months and working about six hours a day between surfing sessions.
Awkward Scenes in the Mission District
Mr. McCaleb was the first to realize that for a decentralized currency to thrive, it needed a place to trade. In July 2010, he created Mt. Gox, a Bitcoin exchange. (Mt. Gox was an acronym for his short-lived fantasy trading-card exchange, Magic: the Gathering Online Exchange; he already owned the domain.) His idea and implementation was the first major turning point in the Cryptocurrency Eraeven bigger than the invention of Bitcoin itself.
Ms. Burzlaff told her friend that the timing of Mr. McCalebs announcement was not a coincidence. Jed told me all along that since its open sourced, someone is gonna fork it soon. he never confirmed if that was him or not, but he timed his announcement. prob so ripple tanks and fails right when this new one is announced i know exactly how much jed has in bit coins and fiat. its my legal right to know, but i have to keep it private and this is the last thing i will say, i know how many billions he has left. and i think its enough to really mess things up for RL.
So Mr. McCaleb, by the force of his ideas and coding skill, developed two game-changing companies, both of which eventually collapsed. Then in 2011, he had his greatest inspiration. He uniquely understood Bitcoins flaws and decided to create a cryptocurrency immune to those flaws. The mining process is a bizarre abstraction to most people, but Bitcoin needed it to create and limit the BTCs. People love hot dogs, but dont want to see inside the slaughterhouse. The same is true with digital currency.
Mr. McCaleb said, No, you should just say that he got sick.
Those two are just so different, and have different visions for what should happen with ripple. jed is the libertarian anarchist, and chris is the dude at the country club. even though personally i have some beef with jed, i like that he gave warning to the hardcore community.
Stripe and Ripple Labs shared dinner at El Tepa Taqueria to celebrate the pending acquisition of the latter by the former. Present were (from left) Stripes head of business development, Jed McCaleb, Patrick Collison, Chris Larsen, the CFO of Stripe and some other guy.
Despite IQs that look like professional bowling scores, no one in the trio could actually operate a company. With eDonkey2000 and Mt. Gox, Mr. McCaleb had found someone else to handle the business responsibilities, what he still needed was a grown-up to mind the store.
Within three years, Mt. Gox was handling more than 70 percent of Bitcoin transactions. Each BTC soared in value during 2013, from $13 to $900, briefly trading above $1,100. Everybody knew about Bitcoin. Mr. McCaleb did not invent cryptocurrency any more than Netscape invented the Internet. Netscape took a decades-old technology nobody was using and put a familiar face on it. With Mt. Gox, Mr. McCaleb created a familiar environment for people to store, trade, and buy things with Bitcoin.
Another Ripple Labs employee portrayed Ms. Kim similarly. She was only at the company for like six or eight weeks, but were a small company and she showed up with three people. One of her first big decisions was to put CTO highest on the website, because that was her boyfriend Jed and she knew Chris wouldnt complain about it.
To paraphrase Leo Tolstoy, every unhappy familyand every unhappy companyis unhappy in its own way. Mr. McCaleb and MS. Burzlaff ended their relationship. Ms. Burzlaff worked raising their kids and creating a start-up of her own, Bravo Your City. In Ms. Burzlaffs view, Mr. McCaleb loves our kids and he is bonded with them. Even as they began negotiating the support of the children, he wrote her emails respecting my role as a mother, also trying to do Bravo Your City and keep that alive.
In 2001, Mr. McCaleb co-founded eDonkey2000, a Napster-like file-sharing program that earned him enough credibility in the programming world that he survived its cease-and-desist order and agreement to pay $30 million to avoid copyright infringement lawsuits by the RIAA. Co-founder Sam Yagan also escaped the eDonkey2000 wreckage to start OkCupid; he is now CEO of .
MiSoon Burzlaff, Jed McCalebs ex and the mother of his two children, is the founder of . She told the Observer and others that McCalebs relationship with Joyce Kim came between McCaleb and his kids (bravoyourlife).
According to two people present at the meeting, Mr. Ver, the libertarian gadfly whose purchase of BTCs for $1 in 2011 earned him the nickname Bitcoin Jesus from CNBC, was particularly strong. Youre not seeing things clearly, Mr. Ver reportedly said.
Another thorny issue involved the extent to which Mr. McCaleb and Mr. Larsens personal stakes affected the future of Ripple Labs. Mr. McCaleb and Mr. Larsen each owned 9 billion XRPs18 percent of the total that could ever be created. Mr. McCaleb, joined by his ally, Mr. Powell, wanted Mr. McCaleb and Mr. Larsen to donate their giant stores of XRPs back to the company or to charity. Mr. Powell told theObserver, I felt like that was holding Ripple back, that people were not buying into Ripple because of this huge PR problem and that was like the founders have like 20 percent of all the coin.
The company creating the Ripple protocol is Ripple Labs (originally called OpenCoin). Ripples currency units are XRPs. The company creating the Stellar protocol is Stellar Development Foundation (originally Jed McCalebs Secret Bitcoin Project). Stellars currency units are STRs. Bitcoins currency units are BTCs. Because of Bitcoins ubiquity, the cryptocurrency business is sometimes called the Bitcoin business, or, further confusing things, the bitcoin business.
Later that day, Jeds ex, MiSoon Burzlaff, had a lengthy chat with another San Francisco crypto figurea friend who had gotten in touch in a state of near panic over Mr. McCalebs announced plan to unload a giant percentage of all the XRPs in existence. In a message that would surely interest regulators if it had been referring to a stock, the friend wrote, Jed warned me weeks ago about something but I still had orders to buy 30k worth of ripple for people which I did. At 11:18:45 AM, Ms. Burzlaff replied: that was nice of him to warn you.
Logo for SimpleHoney, the startup Joyce Kim co-owned when she met Jed McCaleb (Twitter).
It was a dream team. With Mr. Larsen presenting a suit-wearing, responsible front to the bankers and Mr. McCaleb cast as the mad genius who would innovate and disrupt, Ripple quickly became the consensus successor to Bitcoin. It had brilliant technologists, backed by banking relationships and wise management. It was clear to the fintech world that Ripple could match and potentially overtake Bitcoin in shaping the future of cryptocurrency.
Leaving his children was even harsher, with the kids mother placing the blame on the woman who had turned his formidable head. According to Ms. Burzlaff, Ms. Kim made my ex choose between my kids and her, and he chose her. This was not part of some unspecific rant. Ms. Burzlaff and Mr. McCaleb had already ended their relationship. But Mr. McCaleb was limiting his own contact with his children to the point where [Ms. Kim] was going out of town so he was still trying to sneak in a time to see them. Ms. Kim supposedly cancelled her trip one hour before he was supposed to pick them up because she found out he was going to see them when she was going out of town. Shes that insecure.
This all culminated in a showdown meeting in which the board and key investors sided with Mr. Larsen. It was a 5-1 vote to keep Mr. Larsen as CEO with Mr. McCaleb himself being the lone dissenter. Even Mr. McCalebs ally, Mr. Powell, voted to retain Mr. Larsen, as did Roger Ver, another McCaleb friend in the room.
After the vote, as would prove to be his habit when faced with a situation not to his liking, Mr. McCaleb simply disappeared. He and Ms. Kim went to Costa Rica to surf, then to Brazil. Even close friends at Ripple Labs had no idea where their mercurial founder was for months at a time. We assumed hed given up on crypto and was pursuing his other interest, artificial intelligence, one Ripple Labs employee, who remains a fan of Mr. McCaleb, told theObserver.
Ms. Burzlaff, an excellent writer and a careful observer of the human condition, went on to summarize the dynamic between the two personalities perfectly before concluding with one more thought that reads as an honorable warning to her and perhaps as insider information to others:
Meanwhile, Mr. McCaleb and Ms. Burzlaff negotiated a settlement for their childrens support, but his behavior toward his kids mirrored his departure from Ripple and, to some degree, every company he incubated. He fled the scene when things went south at eDonkey. At Mt. Gox, he actually claimed the company no longer had any of his coding DNA, even though he still owned 12 percent of the company and advised on an attempt to acquire its assets.
The interpersonal story of Stellar and Ripple Labs is emblematic of the turmoil roiling the entire industry. It has everything: Sex, huge money, fraud, genius, betrayal, international intrigue and government raids. TheObserveris not in a position to predict the outcome of the clash among cryptocurrencies or against the combined power of world governments and banks. But theObserveris a place for storytelling, and Stellar-Ripple is the best story going in the vital young cryptocurrency industry and maybe in the financial-technology (fintech) world.
During this period, Mr. McCaleb took his young family on an odyssey: Williamsburg, Patterson, an apartment on Clinton Street, a year in Costa Rica and finally, Berkeley. In a series of lengthy interviews with theObserver, MiSoon Burzlaff, the mother of Jed McCalebs two children, characterized their world during those five years as a weird cryptocurrency tread, start-up culture, all this stuff, but its also really about the leap of faith to try to have a family under kind of strange circumstances, unusual circumstances.
Then the tone of Mr. McCalebs emails suddenly changed. He started using phrases like You need to work like every other single mother. This was around the time that Mr. McCaleb became infatuated with a bright, ambitious woman named Joyce Kim. What happened between Mr. McCaleb and Ms. Burzlaff and their kids foreshadowed an identical end between Mr. McCaleb and his cofounders at Ripple Labs.
Mr. Ver told theObserver, Every single person begged Jed not to make us choose between him and Chris. All of us (except for Jed) wanted everyone to stay. Chris was willing to stay and continue working with Jed, but Jed was not. In the end, the vote was unanimous that Chris should stay. The only person who disagreed was Jed. None of us wanted him to leave, but he did anyhow.
With Ms. Kim having no clear place at the company he founded, Mr. McCaleb basically lost interest in building Ripple Labs. He decided the best exit would be a deal with Stripe, the fintech golden child. Mr. McCaleb reached out to Patrick Collisonthere were already strong relationships there. He began unilaterally trying to negotiate a deal. The discussions progressed to the brink of consummation, with the soon-to-be partners even having a celebratory dinner at El Tepa Taqueria at the corner of Folsom and 18th. According to a source with information on the deal, Stripe was offering $13 million in cash for Ripple Labs, which would have valued the company at $140 million. Patrick Collison made a point of taking a picture because, according to two people with knowledge of the dinner, he said, This is the moment when we all came together.
By summer 2013, Ms. Kim was gone from Ripple Labs. And so was Mr. McCaleb. It was not a pretty exit.
Mt. Gox popularized Bitcoin, and then nearly destroyed it. In February 2014, Mt. Gox suspended trading, filed for bankruptcy and is in the process of liquidating. It initially announced that 850,000 BTCs (then worth $450 million) were missing and likely stolen, though about a quarter of those have since been recovered.
If anyone at Ripple Labs invited Ms. Kim to roll up her sleeves, they either regretted it or immediately asked her to roll them back down. The travel site and the app disappeared almost immediately. At Ripple Labs, Ms. Kim tried to give herself the title of Chief Engagement Officer. You dont have to be a genius to see the implication: CEO. Inevitably, when one of the co-founders wants his girlfriend installed as CEO, regardless of what those initials are supposed to mean, the company is headed for trouble. The only surprise was how quickly it came.
Mr. McCaleb became attracted to the possibilities of Bitcoin, and he had some big ideas about cryptocurrency. As a brilliant programmersomething like 75 percent of the 40 people interviewed for this story used the word geniushe knew plenty about decentralized peer-to-peer networks and operating beyond traditional boundaries of property and government control.
Meanwhile, after nearly a year off the grid, Mr. McCaleb had another idea for a company. This one was going to be a distributed consensus-based cryptocurrency, just like Ripple Labsso much so that it was going to use all of Ripple Labs code, which was open source and available to anyone. But Mr. McCaleb had two aces up his sleeve that he hoped could allow his new company to soar above the one he just left. First, he still had the door open on the squashed Stripe deal. Second, he still held those 9 billion XRPsa nice nest egg to turn into cash. And if dumping them hurt his former partners and companya company he founded and on whose board he still remained, despite never showing up for board meetingswell, all the better.
Universally regarded as a genius even by his detractors, Jed McCaleb helped create two landmark crypto companies that are now battling for supremacyfirst Ripple Labs and now Stellar. He is precisely the sort of surfer-dude man-child coders regard as a demigod. But with a long string of failed companies, broken hearts, and legal problems in his wake, time will tell if legit outfits like Stripe and Wells Fargo will bet on the man who created companies like Mt. Gox, which turned out to be the biggest fraud in crypto history. (Flickr Creative Commons)
This article focuses on two of those cryptocurrencies, Ripple and Stellar. They share a city (San Francisco), a founder (Jed McCaleb) and a lot of bad blood. Ripple, founded in 2011, is a relative veteran in this business. Its gross currency value of $527 million in mid-December puts it second behind Bitcoins $3.6 billion. (In third place is Litecoin at $50 million). Stellar, started in July 2014, is one of the newcomers (market cap of $17 million). It garnered publicity and presumptive credibility inside the industry from its anti-establishment rhetoric, high-profile advisors and derivation from Ripple.
Jesse Powell, an ally of Jed McCaleb, still sided against him in the famous this company aint big enough for the both of us showdown (LinkedIn).
Another person who worked at Ripple Labs at the time told theObserver: Arthur and David had all these meetings with Jed and Joyce would fucking show up. Now this is Joyce just being shes out of the company at this point. This is Jeds thing, when youre in a private conversation with him all of a sudden Joyce is ccd on this private conversation, even when the conversation includes the person saying, I dont want you to share this with Joyce. So not only does he disregard that request but hes letting you know she fucking knows you dont like her.
Bitcoin, the cryptocurrency that started the battle between Ripple and Stellar (Flickr Creative Commons).Flickr Creative Commons
The chat continued. Ms. Burzlaff added her two cents to the legend of coder cool: do you know chris owns 2 porsche and jed still drives a 1990s honda civic! . but i have some personal problems with jed, and if i ever posted some screenshots of some crazy text messages he has written to me about co-parenting and child support, i think people would not think he is soooo amazing.. i keep that in my back pocket.
As Mr. McCaleb and Ms. Burzlaff started a family, the cryptographers behind the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto launched Bitcoin. Individual currency units of Bitcoin, BTCs, are created through servers that mint (or mine) coins based on a mathematical formula limiting the total number that can ever be created (to 21 million). Once coins are minted, they can be transferred based on an open-source Internet protocol. Unlike wire transfers, credit cards or checksor even online payment systems like PayPalthere is no intermediary. There is no bank collecting a $15-$45 wire fee or 4 percent merchant fee or any of the other toll payments that make banks the most profitable companies in creation. There is also no bank-to-government pipeline of information about the transaction. On the other hand, there is no recourse if something happens to the protocols non-centralized ledger.
Her correspondent replied that everyone has their less respectable moments but Ms. Burzlaff wasnt letting Mr. McCaleb off quite so easily. its not just a moment. its actually months and months of what hes doing to his kids and me.
SimpleHoney began in May 2012 as an ecommerce travel company. Members would fill out detailed profiles of travel preferences, and SimpleHoney would recommend hotels based on their personality. Its revenue model was to charge a one-time $100 membership fee. described the original incarnation as a bit limited right nowits only listing hotels in San Francisco (where the company is based) and Hawaii (where Nakagawa is from, and where the team retreated to build the first version of the product). Also, the website doesnt support bookings yet, instead pointing you to the hotels websites.
Mr. McCaleb, however, was not cut out to ride a John Deere across a spacious lawn in Putnam County, an odd place for a dedicated surfer. Mr. McCaleb also happened to be one of the worlds foremost cryptographers, arguably in a class with Alan Turing, the father of artificial intelligence and modern computing. He was also a pretty damn good coder.
Mr. McCaleb and Ms. Kim met through Jesse Powell, an investor in Ripple Labs (and now Stellar). Mr. Powell told theObserverin a lengthy interview that it was he who made the love connection.
On May 22, 2014, Mr. McCaleb announced via apostingon Ripple Labs message board, I plan to start selling all of my remaining XRP beginning in two weeks. . So just fyi. xrp sales incoming. The announcement by a founder that he intended to dump 9 billion units of the currency he helped create was perceived as a threat by all who cared about Ripple Labs or held XRPs. It would be hard to imagine a founder and board member of a public companyannouncinghe was going to flood the market by selling his stock; that would be an obvious and illegal attempt at market manipulation, not to mention ridiculously juvenile.
Mr. McCaleb and Ms. Kim were soon dating.
Chris Larsen completed the all-star team as CEO of what became Ripple Labs. Mr. Larsen had already taken a pair of complicated start-ups and built them into thriving businesses: E-Loan, one of the first online mortgage companies, which IPOd and is now part of publicly held financial services company Popular, Inc.; and Prosper, one of the first peer-to-peer lending marketplaces. Mr. Larsen had a reputation as a disruptor who could also shepherd a new idea to mainstream success. E-Loan and Prosper went on to process billions of dollars in transactions, adapting their new business models to comply with traditional securities and banking regulations and developing relationships with established financial services companies.
By January 2013, SimpleHoney morphed into some kind of a wish list-based iPhone app, I Want Wish List. Its promise, according to the short-lived website m, was Keep track of the things you want to buy and save money!
Jed McCaleb and Arthur Britto Create Ripple Labs
Ms. Kims next big idea was to drop hints to the world that Mr. McCaleb was Satoshi Nakamoto. According to one person who worked at Ripple Labs at the time, Joyce was creating all kinds of rumors that Jed was Satoshi and Jed was happy to go along with it, smiling like the cat that ate the canary. She thought it would help Ripple go viral, get more street cred. She was trying to create mystique and his whole thing is that he looks like a surfer dude but is actually extremely egotistical and selfishthats why he never gives credit to all the other people who built RippleArthur [Britto], David [Schwartz], Stefan [Thomas], who all did more than Jed did. Joyce and Jed try to look charitable and above it all, but theyre actually about power and money, like most people. But the thing is that theres this ethic thats emerged in San Francisco where if you live in the Mission District like the Collisons, suddenly youre Jesus Christ. The source is referring to John and Patrick Collison, the Irishfoundersof payments processor Stripe with boy-band good looks and start-up cash to shower upon favored companies.
The best-known cryptocurrency is Bitcoin. Bitcoin was created in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto (likely a pseudonym for a group of cryptographers). Bitcoin has a massive head start and has already developed significant brand equity. But among aficionados, there is wide consensus that the weaknesses in Bitcoin are fatal and unfixable. Weve already seen two major breaches: Mt. Gox, the biggest Bitcoin disaster to date, in which almost 4 percent of the finite supply of Bitcoin (at the time worth $450 million) was lost; and just two weeks ago, Bitstamp, which coughed up $5 million to hackers.
Eventually, Mr. McCaleb went to the board and demanded Mr. Larsens removal. In one awkward scene, described to theObserverby two individuals, Mr. McCaleb, with Ms. Kim at his side, as always, was explaining to Arthur Britto how they would handle Mr. Larsens removal. Mr. Britto asked something to the effect of, Wont it hurt Chris career if hes pushed out of the company?