AML Compliance Firm Elliptic Launches XRP Monitoring Platform, Points to $400 Million in Nefarious Transactions

Elliptic, a provider of crypto-asset risk management solutions, has launched a monitoring system for XRP (Ripple) transactions. Simultaneously, Elliptic claims they have identified “$400 million of illicit activity” without naming perpetrators nor specifically what type of illegal transactions are taking place. Elliptic notes that this amount if transactions only represent about 0.2% of total XRP transactions, thus the vast majority of XRP activity is said to be legitimate. XRP is the third-largest cryptocurrency by market value after Bitcoin and Ether, and increasingly popular in Asia.

Elliptic’s platform is said to now support over 85% of all crypto-assets, by market capitalization. XRP is the latest digital asset to be added to Elliptic’s crypto-asset risk management suite, which uses analytics to alert clients to high-risk transactions. Elliptic already supports multiple digital assets including Bitcoin, Ether, Litecoin, and Tether.

“We began researching XRP more than a year ago and have already identified several hundred XRP accounts linked to illicit activity ranging from thefts to scams and the sale of stolen credit cards,” explained Dr. Tom Robinson, Chief Scientist and co-founder, Elliptic. “As criminal use of crypto-assets such as XRP evolves, we are committed to shining a light on this illicit activity, giving financial institutions the confidence they need to engage with the crypto ecosystem. XRP is gaining increasing traction in the APAC region among financial institutions and banks. With cryptocurrency regulatory frameworks advancing quickly, our AML solutions will help accelerate adoption in this region and globally.”

Elliptic explains that the addition of XRP to their platform is a “technological breakthrough due to the uniqueness of its architecture.” Elliptic analysts are said to have developed a deep understanding of how XRP is being used by illicit actors.

This involves ongoing dark web research, identification of money laundering patterns and the collection of data linking XRP accounts to known entities.

Support for XRP is currently in beta, with full support to be rolled out to Elliptic’s clients in the first week of December. Elliptic will continue to add support for further assets over the coming months, prioritized based on ongoing conversations with clients and regulators.

Elliptic reports that it has assessed risk on transactions worth several trillion dollars, uncovering activities related to money laundering, terrorist fundraising, fraud, and other financial crimes.

Ripple’s Repeated Citing of 6% Error Rate on SWIFT is Erroneous, Researcher Claims

Martin Walker, director of banking and finance at the Center for Evidence-Based Management, says Ripple officials’ repeated claims that SWIFT has a a 6% error rate are false.

“In May 2019, Brad Garlinghouse, CEO of a San Francisco based (but Delaware registered) fintech firm called Ripple Labs gave a presentation to the 9th High-Level Conference on the International Monetary System,” Walker writes in a blog post for the London School of Economics.

According to the post the audience included the leaders of several central banks and Christine Lagarde who was then chairman of the IMF. Lagarde is now head of the European Central Bank.

Garlinghouse spoke about Ripple and the value created by his blockchain network:

“Another thing that is often lost upon us is the opaqueness of the problems that correspondent banking currently operates. There is a six per cent error rate, self-published, six percent of all SWIFT transactions require human intervention.’”

Garlinghouse had trotted out the stat before, Walker writes.

He did so at the Money 20/20 Asia Conference in 2018, where he asked the audience to, “Imagine if six out of every one hundred searches you type into Google failed.”

He also asked to imagine the same percentage of their emails failing.

Ripple, which was reportedly first conceived in 2004 and emboldened by the invention of Bitcoin, has portrayed itself as a profound disruptor next to SWIFT’s dinosaur.

“Too often,” Ripple writes on its website, “global payments are costly, unreliable and slow. The underlying systems are fragmented and complex.”

SWIFT has countered that the problem with cross border payments is not technical but is rather a matter of regulatory complexities affecting cross-border money transmission. Regulations and procedures differ from region to region and must be negotiated, they say.

“Highlighting problems with SWIFT is fundamental to Ripple’s business model because they position their software as a more modern and effective alternative to SWIFT,” writes Walker.

Ripple has raised money from VCs, sells software and also conducted a sale of XRP tokens.

One disgruntled investor has portrayed Ripple’s management of XRP tokens as a perpetual ICO.

Ripple created 100 billion XRP tokens and about 43 billion XRPs now circulate for trading, with the rest held in reserve by the company.

Ripple has reportedly been selling about 300 million XRPs a month from its reserves in recent months.

Martin says that, while there may be other good arguments against using SWIFT, the 6% error claims have been an important part of the Ripple company’s PR arsenal.

Martin spoke to SWIFT’s head of banking, Harry Newman, who said SWIFT boasts a 100 percent guaranteed delivery of payments messages that cost an average of a few euro cents each.

Martin corresponded with Ripple to ask where they got the statistic, and they pointed him to the source paper- which contradicts their claims.

After doing a close reading of the paper Ripple referenced and contacting its authors, Walker found that the 6% statistic, “referred to a mathematical model the authors had created to identify whether participants on the SWIFT network were core or peripheral parts of the network. The error rate referred to the accuracy of the model not the rate of errors in messages.”

All told, Walker writes:

“All of Garlinghouse and Ripple’s commentary on the error rate and what it meant was…as a consequence…completely erroneous.”

Crowdfund Insider has contacted Ripple regarding Walker’s findings and any comment will be appended to this article.

Bank of America Is Reportedly Piloting Ripple’s Distributed Ledger Technology

Charlotte, North Carolina-based Bank of America (BoA), the second-largest US bank with over $2.3 trillion in total assets, is reportedly testing out Ripple’s distributed ledger technology (DLT)-based financial products. The bank might be planning to do more with the San Francisco-based Fintech firm’s technology.

Ripple’s management said, during a presentation delivered at a seminar hosted by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) last year, that BoA is a “customer.”

When questioned about this recently, a Ripple representative stated that the bank would not confirm or deny whether it was a client, however, it said the companies had participated in a pilot together. 

A Ripple spokesperson said:

“Bank of America has been part of Ripple’s Global Payment Steering Group since 2016 and we did a pilot with them.”

The spokesperson didn’t provide any new details regarding the pilot program.

It was reported earlier that BoA is a member of the steering group that offers advice on the  rules and standards for RippleNet, a decentralized network of banks and other financial service providers that use Ripple’s products. 

BoA CTO Cathy Bessant has said she’s bearish on distributed ledger technology and that the bank only acquired blockchain-related patents so that it can begin using the tech if it’s needed in the future.

Earlier this month, BoA posted a job opening for a project manager who would lead a team working on a “Ripple project.”

The project involves developing “a decentralized ledger technology-based solution to cross border payments marketed to GTS clients.” 

GTS (global transaction services) is a division of BoA that works with the treasury departments of large firms and financial service providers.

Saga Sarbhai, Ripple’s head of government and regulatory affairs for the Asia-Pacific region, delivered a presentation in December 2018 at an IMF seminar in Samoa on Fintech and financial inclusion in the Pacific Islands. A presentation slide about Ripple’s xCurrent, titled, “A Snapshot of Our Customers,” included a Merrill Lynch (BoA’s investment bank) logo.

The presentation was posted on IMF.org  and was recently found on Twitter. An IMF spokesperson stated that the document was genuine and that a Ripple company employee gave the presentation.

Fintech Ripple’s Xpring Invests $750,000 to Integrated XRP With BRD’s Crypto Wallet

Mobile wallet developer BRD is partnering with Fintech Ripple’s Xpring to promote XRP adoption.

The companies revealed on October 11 that Xpring is planning to invest approximately $750,000 into BRD in order to develop the “internet of value.” As part of the strategic partnership, BRD is preparing to integrate XRP and begin development work on Xpring’s platform.

According to a press release:

“The partnership and investment will enable BRD users to hold, buy, sell and send XRP to anyone in the world.”

Ethan Beard, senior vice president at Xpring, noted that BRD is “one of the oldest and most respected” mobile wallet providers in the crypto industry. Beard revealed that the wallet developer is promoting the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Beard stated:

“The BRD team has helped consumers on-ramp $6 [billion] worth of traditional currencies into digital currency, making them an ideal partner to continue the proliferation and adoption of cryptocurrencies like XRP to solve real-world problems.”

BRD co-founder and CEO Adam Traidman remarked: 

“We’re incredibly excited about joining forces with Ripple to bring XRP to our user base. Ripple understands the need for a strong wallet partner as they push into key markets like cross-border banking and remittance, so we are thrilled to help them achieve their goals. In addition, it is our plan to have BRD be the cheapest and easiest place to buy XRP moving forward.”

Earlier this month, BRD announced it was adding support for XRP, after Xpring introduced a software development kit (SDK) that helps integrate XRP and fiat payments into various applications. BRD’s wallet also supports Bitcoin (BTC), Bitcoin Cash (BCH), Ether (ETH), ERC-20 compliant tokens and the DAI stablecoin.

Customers can purchase Bitcoin, Ether and DAI via ACH wire transfers.

BitPay Set to Support XRP For Payment Processing & Cross-Border Transfers Through New Partnership With Xpring

Global blockchain payments provider BitPay announced earlier this week it is set to support XRP for payment processing and cross-border transfer through its new partnership with Ripple’s developer initiative, Xpring. According to BitPay, the support will allow businesses to accept XRP for payments through BitPay’s merchant processing and cross-border payments platform safely, securely, and compliantly, starting by the end of the year.

BitPay also reported that through the support BitPay Wallet and BitPay Prepaid Cardholders may also store and spend XRP through BitPay merchants and businesses.

“XRP is the third-largest cryptocurrency with a market capitalization of more than $20 billion. Current BitPay customers will be able to add XRP without the need for any integration or enhancements.”

Speaking about the support, Sean Rolland, Director of Product at BitPay, stated:

“BitPay customers are leveraging the promise of blockchain payment technology and with XRP can offer a payment option that is fast, cost-effective and scalable. The addition of XRP as the next blockchain asset supported by BitPay expands blockchain choices across the payments space.”

BitPay Wallet will also integrate with Xpring’s newly launched developer platform, which BitPay claims makes it easier for developers of any kind to integrate money into their business. Ethan Beard, SVP of Xpring, also commented:

“We’re excited to partner with BitPay to enable XRP for its thousands of merchants for everyday purchases and bills. This is key in advancing the proliferation and adoption of XRP as a medium of exchange to help solve real-world problems.”

BitPay noted it offers XRP as a payment mechanism along with Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Ethereum. Businesses have another settlement solution that does not rely on traditional bank wires. The platform added it processed more than $1 billion annually from global merchants including Microsoft, Newegg, Dish Networks, FanDuel and Avnet will be able to turn on support for XRP without any additional integration.

American Fintech Ripple Acquires Logos Network to Build XRP-based DeFi Products

San Francisco-based Fintech firm Ripple is reportedly planning to develop decentralized finance (DeFi) products based on XRP, the world’s third-largest digital currency by market capitalization.

Ripple has acquired the Logos Network, a decentralized payments platform. The American Fintech’s investment arm, Xpring, is planning to hire nine New York-based engineers. 

Logos founder and CEO Michael Zochowski will serve as Xpring’s head of DeFi products. 

Xpring’s management has not shared details regarding the value of the deal.

Logos previously helped develop a payments network that was inspired by the Bitcoin protocol, with a focus on building a secure, scalable, and efficient network.

Ethan Beard, senior vice president at Xpring, said that Logos’ employees will be helping Ripple develop XRP derivatives, loans, futures and forwards.

Beard remarked:

“We’re still [in the] early stages of figuring this out. We’ve made investments in DeFi companies in the past. We invested in Securitize and Dharma, but it’s now an area where we’re building.”

He added:

“[After launching in May 2018,] the vision at the heart of Xpring remains the same, but our approach to how we reach our north star has evolved. Our focus is two-fold: helping innovative blockchain projects grow through partnership and investment, and building the best crypto infrastructure to grow the XRP ecosystem.”

Earlier this month, Xpring participated in Coinme’s $1.5 million Series A-1 investment round, which also included contributions from the Blockchain Finance Fund.

Founded in 2014, Seattle-based Coinme provides Bitcoin kiosks and ATMs. The company will use the funds to acquire additional licensing in order to expand its business operations in the US and international markets.

Ripple Lawyers: Suit Claiming XRP’s a Security Comes Too Late; XRPs are “Currency”

Lawyers for Ripple Labs have asked a judge to dismiss a class-action suit brought against the company in Northern California.

The case seeks to establish that Ripple Labs conducted an unlawful sale of securities (XRP tokens) to fund the development of a fast payment network for banks and remittances based on a privately-managed form of blockchain technology.

The lawyers are arguing the case is baseless because plaintiffs waited too long and bought XRP on secondary markets for which the company is not responsible:

“Plaintiff’s federal Securities Act claims for the unregistered sale of securities…must be dismissed for three independent reasons. First, these claims are barred by the Act’s statute ofrepose, which requires claims to be brought within three years of the first offering. Plaintiff’s ownComplaint alleges that Defendants offered and sold XRP to the public more than three years before hefiled the Complaint. Second, Plaintiff has not plausibly alleged that he purchased XRP in an “initialdistribution” (as opposed to on the secondary market). Third, Plaintiff has not plausibly alleged that anyDefendant was the “seller” of the XRP he purchased. Dismissal is therefore required.”

Ripple created 100 billion XRP tokens and about 43 billion XRP now circulate for trading, with the rest held in reserve by the company.

Ripples were initially sold for fractions of a penny, but briefly traded for $3.65 USD during the crypto bull market of 2018.

A provision in the XRP documents allows the company to sell up to one billion tokens per month. According to data at CoinMarketCap, Ripples are currently selling for about $0.30 USD.

According to Coindesk, Ripple has not been selling as many tokens as the provision allows, but has been releasing about 300 million tokens per month from its reserves.

This has been a source of chagrin to some investors.

The plaintiffs in the California class action suit, for example, have claimed that Ripple is engaged in “a never-ending initial coin offering (ICO).”

As well, a petition at Change.org, “Stop Ripple dumping,” claims, “Ripple continue(s) dumping billions of XRP on us, crashing the price!”

The petition currently has 3693 signatures.

In addition to the claim that the California class action should be, “Barred by statute of repose and fail to state a claim,” Ripple lawyers also say that, “defendants did not solicit (the plaintiff’s) purchase.”

Notably, the lawyers write that, “The cruxof these claims is the false assertion that XRP is not a currency, but rather a security.”

“In fact,” they purport, “as recognized by the U.S. Departments of Justice and Treasury in 2015, XRP is a ‘convertible virtual currency.’ It is correctly characterized as a currency under applicable law and, as such, need not be registered as a security under federal and state securities regulations.”

Again, later in the request for dismissal, the lawyers insist, “Like Bitcoin and Ethereum, XRP is a virtual currency.”

That claim raised eyebrows on Twitter, with one market watcher asking if anyone knows any retailers accepting XRPs as payment for real world goods (no one had heard of it).

The lawyers for Ripple claim the plaintiff engaged in, “short-term secondary market trades in the digital currency XRP for a two-week period in January 2018.”

They add:

“(The plaintiff) alleges, without specificity, that he was ‘motivated’ to purchase XRP due to ‘the promotional activitiesof Defendants described herein’ and that he ‘saw and relied on Defendants’ repeated representations that adoption of XRP by financial institutions and banks would drive demand for XRP.”

All told, however, the plaintiff, fails to present a “cognizable legal theory.”

Lawyer Stephen Palley took issue with Ripple lawyers’ claims that Ripple is defined as a currency by US lawmakers.

“(P)retty sure ripple’s argument here is directly contradicted by (F)incen,” he wrote.

Beaxy Crypto Exchange Halts Trading After Hack Involving Major Sell Off of Ripple (XRP)

A cryptocurrency exchange called Beaxy halted trading across the board  August 12th after a high-volume sell-off of XRPs (Ripple tokens) tanked the tokens’ price on the exchange:

The exchange corresponded about the suspension in a blog post, stating:

“We recently experienced unusual(ly) high volume activity on XRP-BTC. As a result and precaution, we are temporarily halting all trading activity and withdrawals across the exchange as we investigate.”

At the time of writing, XRP trades are still suspended on the exchange.

On Twitter, Beaxy reported on the evening of August 12th that the crash occurred as a result of an “XRP partial payment exploit”:

The exchange also promises to return any misappropriated funds and says trading will remain, “frozen as we work on reverting to the previous state.”

Some commenters in the Twitter thread are accusing the exchange of failing to fix an exploit identified some time ago.

Others are questioning Beaxy’s claims that other exchanges were also affected:

According to The Block, just before Beaxy launched approximately two months ago, a Beaxy team member was subjected to SIM-swap hack.

In a SIM-swap attack, hackers typically “phish” (solicit via deceptive emails) personal information from a targeted individual then use that information to convince a telecom company to transfer control of the victim’s phone to hackers.

Once this happens, hackers can often exploit a wealth of other information and or/access many sensitive accounts.

Regarding the SIM-swap hack, Beaxy CEO Artak Hamazaspyan told The Block:

“The incident we experienced was a SIM attack on a team member involving a fake ID and social engineering…Our individual security practices have improved across the company as a result.”

According to the outlet, new crypto trading platforms enter a market already populated by 258 incumbents.

Nascent exchanges also have to cope with a dangerous amount of hacking activity being executed by both private and state-sponsored attackers.

Security firms say state sponsored hackers have been targeting crypto exchanges for years after partly moving their efforts off of attacking banks in the developing world.

An anonymous source recently told Crowdfund Insider that his bank is fending off 300 cyberattacks per day.

XRP Forensics in Hot Pursuit of Gatehub Hackers, Identifies 12 Possible Perps

Another day, another crypto-hack.  From exploits to exit scams, the song remains the same – it’s just the technology that is different. The bad guys are always looking for new and devious ways to steal money from the unsuspecting.

The most recent hack came courtesy of Gatehub. In a statement last week, Gatehub admitted that XRP (Ripple) had been pilfered from Ledger wallets.

“Although we have not identified any action or omission by GateHub that may have facilitated or allowed this apparent theft to occur, we apologize deeply to all of our customers for this issue and pledge to get to the bottom of it,” stated Gatehub management.

Gatehub said that approximately 100 wallets had been compromised. Gatehub told their customers that they had engaged the appropriate law enforcement agencies as well as professional forensic teams.

The very next day, XRP Forensics identified accounts connected with the theft. On June 1, the forensics team said they were made aware of a theft of 201,000 XRP and immediately started an investigation. The crypto sleuths said the following accounts were the primary suspects:

  • rU6EsDCiHHYbTtA4uGGo8zaaiRz2sbDBST
  • rN5Gm1FijbTVeYFfpTRfGKfNZQY7hc9TbN
  • rprMix9uYyQng5vgga1Vg8HTeBMCzaeM2i
  • rUvPCdYJMzzGu9AFKrNeKgCTpxrpFc3RHt
  • rJpKe5rbjgzzGJc1wm1xqKj6j4UjBQ6s48
  • rGSWKo2oiJnJiPEoHvDZTK2XG7RtE62Cbh
  • rpBDxqWArAQTEfPeWwkUvBh1cbc885nirX
  • r9do2Ar8k64NxgLD6oJoywaxQhUS57Ck8k
  • rKZ14F9KT65chQ382M33U41a4eniGMAyfG
  • rpfcbzdZZSWdB5EWDGcQvD5ycFhM6jdhpZ
  • rHvWywQiexNeCLWTa9dBjHTMAtt6tPN7Z1
  • rMcqiWXMJEAEMXaFFgnjeuASwAMmef8B8c

While the perps may have been identified, the crypto laundering process commenced almost immediately:

“… we gather that [approximately] 23,200,000 XRP has been stolen from 80–90 victims, of which ~13,100,000 XRP have already been laundered through exchanges and mixer services.”

So a bit over $9 million in crypto had been stolen.

XRP Forensic said the following services were used to “cash out” but were NOT complicit: changelly, changenow, kucoin, huobi, exmo, hitbtc, binance, alfacashier.

On June 7th, GateHub provided an update on the investigation estimating that 18473 accounts, 5,045 having XRP wallets with active balances, were impacted by the attack. GateHub warned users to move any balances from XRP Ledger wallets.

“We are hopeful we can nail the perpetrator,” stated GateHub management.

Part of the challenge is the fact once crypto moves, it can move quickly, ignoring geographic boundaries. Law enforcement capabilities can vary dramatically, depending on the country.

This crypto theft is still developing. Hopefully, Gatehub and team can track the bad guys down.

Frente Corretora de Câmbio Wants to Become the Transferwise of Brazil by Using Ripple

Frente Corretora de Câmbio, a Brazilian money transfer and remittance platform, wants to become the “Transferwise of Brazi” by leveraging Ripple to provide low-cost transfers.

According to a report in Exame, Frente is the 15th largest currency brokerage in the country. Frente wants to be in 5th place before the end of the year. Leveraging Ripple’s platform is expected to help Frente vault them forward.

The new exchange platform labeled “Simple” was launched late last month to make money transfers fast, seamless while eliminating the fees typically charged by banks. The company will make its money based off of the spread.

Transferwise does the same but without using blockchain. The platform has grown rapidly as users have found the service far superior to traditional banks. Frente hopes to replicate this success in Brazil with their new partnership with Ripple.

Cryptocurrency Exchange Coinbase Opens XRP Trading For New York Residents

Cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase announced on Monday it has launched trading support for XRP for New York state residents. The announcement was made through the platform’s Twitter account. The tweet revealed:

The launch of XRP in New York comes just a couple of months after Coinbase reported it is now supporting XRP on its cryptocurrency platform, as well as its Android and iOS mobile apps, and it was accepting inbound transfers of XRP to its Coinbase Pro service. The platform stated at the time that customers may now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store XRP. Inbound transfers and many sends require the specification of an XRP destination tag. At that time, XRP was available for customers in most jurisdictions but was not initially be available for residents of the UK or the state of New York. Coinbase then shared:

“XRP is the cryptocurrency used by the XRP ledger, which supports international currency exchange and remittances. The ledger is powered by a network of peer-to-peer servers. All accounts on this network can send or receive XRP to/from each other, while XRP can be used to send underlying fiat currencies between two parties. In this way, XRP can function as a bridge currency in transactions involving different currencies such as US dollars, Japanese yen, Euros, Francs, and others in use on the XRP network.”

Coinbase Now Supporting XRP on Crypto Platform & Mobile Apps

Coinbase announced on Thursday it is now supporting XRP on its cryptocurrency platform, as well as its Android and iOS mobile apps. This news comes just days after Coinbase announced it was accepting inbound transfers of XRP to its Coinbase Pro service.

According to Coinbase, the crypto platform’s customers may now buy, sell, convert, send, receive, or store XRP. Inbound transfers and many sends require the specification of an XRP destination tag. XRP will be available for customers in most jurisdictions, but will not initially be available for residents of the UK or the state of New York. Coinbase then stated:

“XRP is the cryptocurrency used by the XRP ledger, which supports international currency exchange and remittances. The ledger is powered by a network of peer-to-peer servers. All accounts on this network can send or receive XRP to/from each other, while XRP can be used to send underlying fiat currencies between two parties. In this way, XRP can function as a bridge currency in transactions involving different currencies such as US dollars, Japanese yen, Euros, Francs, and others in use on the XRP network.”

Coinbase went on to add:

“With the recent announcement of our new listing process, we anticipate listing more assets over time that meet our standards. We are also investing in new tools to help people understand and explore cryptocurrencies. We launched informational asset pages, as well as a new section of the Coinbase website to answer common questions about crypto.”

Coinbase Now Accepting Inbound transfers of XRP to Coinbase Pro

Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase announced on Monday it is now accepting inbound transfers of XRP to Coinbase Pro. The platform reported that it is accepting deposits for a minimum of 12 hours prior to enabling full trading and the inbound transfers require the specification of an XRP destination tag.

According to Coinbase, once sufficient supply of XRP is established on the platform, trading on the XRP/USD, XRP/EUR, and XRP/BTC order books will start in phases, beginning with post-only mode and proceeding to full trading should our metrics for a healthy market be met. The platform reported:

“XRP trading will initially be accessible for Coinbase Pro users in the US (excluding NY), UK, supported European Union member nations, Canada, Singapore, and Australia. Additional jurisdictions may be added at a later date.”

Coinbase also reported that all accounts on the Coinbase Pro network can send or receive XRP to/from each other, while XRP can be used to send underlying fiat currencies between two parties. In this way, XRP can function as a bridge currency in transactions involving different currencies such as US dollars, Japanese yen, Euros, Francs, and others in use on the XRP network. There will be four stages to the launch, which are the following:

  1. Transfer-only: Customers will be able to transfer XRP into their Coinbase Pro account. Customers will not yet be able to place orders and no orders will be filled on these order books. Order books will be in transfer-only mode for at least 12 hours.
  2. Post-only: Customers can post limit orders but there will be no matches (completed orders). Order books will be in post-only mode for a minimum of one minute.
  3. Limit-only: Limit orders will start matching but customers are unable to submit market orders. Order books will be in limit-only mode for a minimum of ten minutes.
  4. Full trading: Full trading services will be available, including limit, market, and stop orders.

BitGo Selected By Ripple To Provide Multi-Signature Security, Advanced Treasury Management & Additional Enterprise Functionality For XRP

Blockchain software firm BitGo announced last week it was selected by Ripple to provide multi-signature security, advanced treasury management and additional enterprise functionality for XRP, which is the digital asset native to the Ripple Consensus Ledger (RCL). It was revealed:

“Ripple is a perfect partner for BitGo since our mission is to make digital assets like XRP usable for business. BitGo’s sweet spot is providing businesses the tools they need to integrate digital assets into their existing financial systems securely and at scale. We process over $1 Billion in transactions per month and our customers include the biggest digital currency exchanges and applications in the world.”

BitGo reported that Ripple is accelerating exchange adoption with a volume incentive which reduces or eliminates costs for an initial period. The company noted that the RCL has been processing and validating transactions on the network since 2013, closing a ledger every five seconds. BitGo went on to add:

“Ripple enables banks and payments businesses to settle cross-border payments in real time, with end-to-end transparency, and at a lower cost. XRP can be used as the primary transfer mechanism for institutions to further reduce costs, offer greater liquidity and provide access to new corridors. In fact, Ripple reports that businesses using XRP for liquidity between currencies can cut their settlement costs up to 60 percent and expand their reach into new markets.”

Swift Says Its New GPI System Outperforming Ripple

Bitcoin advocates and companies like Ripple have long been critical of slow and expensive cross-border money transfer services provided by banks and other traditional firms.

Ripple’s CEO Brad Garlinghouse presides over a vast sum of publicly-tradable XRP crypto tokens which the company has used to bankroll its efforts to depose Swift.

Garlinghouse has called Swift “a horse and buggy” and his own product “a race car,” and even bragged to Bloomberg last November:

“What we’re doing and executing on a day-by-day basis is, in fact, taking over Swift.”

Ripple boasts many devoted investors, some of whom refer to themselves in social media as “the XRP army,” and at least one of whom threatened the life and family of a critic recently.

But Bitcoin, too, has many devotees who have long despised Ripple. Bitcoiners regularly accuse Ripple company founders of selling out the Bitcoin distributed ledger model and “printing money” in order to personally enrich themselves and strengthen corrupt banks’ monopoly over global money supplies.

Ripple was recently attacked for allegedly overstating the extent of its global banking relationships.

Now critics inside banking are claiming that while focussing on the technology, Ripple has underestimated the regulatory complexity of creating a cross-border system to rival Swift.

According to reporting in American Banker, not only is Ripple’s “transparent” ledger not particularly appealing to correspondent banks, who don’t want to show each other the balances they handle, Swift’s head of the global banking market, Wim Raymaekers, says Ripple’s lack of  established relationships with KYC-reliable firms in other legislative regions make the speed of its technology irrelevant:

“If you are a bank in Oklahoma and you need to make a payment to Mexico or Vietnam, unless you have relationships with banks in those countries already, you’re going to need an intermediary bank…If the two banks don’t have the relevant KYC information, they’re not allowed by their compliance departments to send or receive payments between each other because they don’t know each other. In this situation, the only way to get to get a payment to a bank in Vietnam is to go through a correspondent bank. Whether that’s using SWIFT or another provider, it has nothing to do with the technology, it’s to do with legal, contractual and compliance agreements between banks.”

Swift says the GPI (global payments innovation) system is delivering payments fast regardless of regulatory complexities:

According to the global head of payments and receivables at Citi, Swift’s GTI is als0 a better interface than Ripple’s on 5 bases- cost, speed, transparency, convenience and security:

“With GPI, we can see the charges banks have made along the way and how long they have taken to process a payment…Seeing how much each bank is deducting puts pressure on the ecosystem to reduce costs. If customers can see how long a bank is taking to move a payment, that forces banks to move toward faster processing or straight-through processing and speed up the time that it typically takes to send money across borders.”

Swift’s GPI also reportedly includes: ‘Stop and Recall Payment’ features:

“If a sending bank sees a possible error, fraud or cyber-incident, it could ask to have a payment stopped and recalled within GPI. In the past, the bank would have to call up the various banks downstream and ask for the payment to be returned.”

According to Kohli, Citi is pleased with the Swift GPI system:

“We’re strong believers in GPI.”

Ripple Continues to Roll Out University Partners in Blockchain Research

Ripple’s University Blockchain Research Initiative (UBRI) continues to grow.

Launched in June of 2018, Ripple’s global initiative now supports 29 academic partners to further accelerate academic research and development in blockchain, cryptocurrency, and digital payments. Ripple has committed $50 million to the project.

The Newest UBRI partners include:

  • Carnegie Mellon University
  • Cornell University
  • Duke University
  • Georgetown University
  • University of Kansas
  • University of Michigan
  • Morgan State University
  • National University of Singapore
  • Northeastern University
  • University of São Paulo
  • Institute for Fintech Research, Tsinghua University

Partner universities will utilize UBRI resources to develop curricula, host conferences and award scholarships to faculty and students pursuing work in blockchain.

Ripple believes that similar to the early days of the internet,  academic institutions are expected to serve as a major source of innovation as blockchain and cryptocurrency technologies.

“In less than a year, our initial UBRI partners hit the ground running with the launch of new research projects, events, course offerings and more. Expanding the ecosystem to a more global, diversified network of UBRI partners will only continue to enrich these projects,” stated Eric van Miltenburg, SVP of Global Operations at Ripple.

Laura Tyson, Faculty Director at Berkeley Haas Blockchain Initiative, said they were excited by the momentum in the UBRI Partnership.

“In December, we awarded the first round of Ripple-funded faculty and student blockchain, digital payments and cryptocurrency-focused research grants. Also, we are sponsoring numerous student-led activities this semester, including partnering with Blockchain at Berkeley to host a blockchain/fintech industry Spring speaker series at Haas.”

By market cap, Ripple is one of the largest cryptocurrencies in the world. Ripple seeks to provide an effective method of transfers similar, but superior to, SWIFT.

While not without its critics and challenges, what Ripple has is a significant war chest. Ripple has plenty of fiat currency via its sale of XRP to fund beneficial research.

“XRP Army” Threatens Critic and Family Over Claims Ripple Inflates Market Cap Numbers

Ryan Selkis, CEO of cryptocurrency data analysis firm Messari, claimed on Twitter Thursday that he has received three threatening phone calls from disgruntled “Ripple” (XRP) investors angry about a recent report Messari published claiming Ripple inflates its market cap figures.

Selkis later tweeted that he was “going to the FBI after three calls” and called on Ripple’s CEO, Brad Garlinghouse, and other staff to publicly denounce the threats:

Selkis also tweeted that Messari attempted to contact ripple “4 times in 48 hours” prior to publishing the report.

He said he also “sent the entire report in advance, highlighting assumptions we needed clarity on…They refused to respond.”

XRP is a cryptographic token issued by Ripple (100 billion in total supply).

Some investors on social media collectively refer to themselves as the “XRP army.”

The Ripple initial token presale (ICO) was used to raise funds for the company so it could build a cross-border remittance system for banks.

55 billion tokens are reportedly being held by the company in escrow to fund future operations and about 450 billion tokens are in circulation.

Ripple co-founder and former CEO Chris Larson is reportedly very rich.

According to Forbes, last January, Larson’s personal holdings of XRP (17%) “(gave) him a net worth of $37.3 billion.”

According to CoinMarketCap, Ripple is now trading ~90% below last January’s highs (~$0.31 USD currently versus ~$3.32 USD).

As well, reports on the success of Ripple’s XRP-based ventures are variable.

Critics have also claimed that Ripple has overstated the nature and extent of its banking partnerships.

Among them is anonymous researcher called “CryptoReckoning,” who released a video last week claiming that three of Ripple’s “banking partners” appear to have weak services and could not offer him any explicitly Ripple-based remittance services upon inquiry.

Crowdfund Insider reached out to Ripple to comment on CryptoReckoning’s allegations last week but did not receive a response.

“CryptoReckoning’s” Twitter account has also been removed, and the video in question seems to have been taken down from YouTube.

You can read a Crowdfund Insider article about the video here.

Ripple regularly vies with Ethereum for the number two position as the most traded “crypto asset” after Bitcoin.

But the Messari report on Ripple at the centre of the controversy claims that:

“XRP’s liquid ‘circulating supply’ and ‘market cap’ could be overstated by 46%, which would put total XRP ‘market cap’ at $6.9 billion vs. $13.0 billion widely reported at current USD-XRP exchange rate.”

The report also claims that Ripple’s self-disclosed volume numbers may be suspect because, “More than 99% of XRP trading volume appears to come from overseas exchanges, many of which have been suspected of wash trading.”

The Messari report also, “urge(s) Ripple to disclose its volume-based selling methodology, as well as the amount of XRP subject to contractual volume-based selling limitations over time. This is necessary in order to help investors better understand the inflation and selling pressure in one of the industry’s largest assets, and is necessary to protect consumers and promote fair and efficient crypto markets.”

Anonymous Investigator Claims Ripple Overstating Banking Partnerships

An anonymous investigator called “Crypto Reckoning” has published a video containing allegations that three banking partnerships claimed by Ripple, the world’s second largest cryptocurrency project by market cap, are thin at best.

Ripple’s creators came from banking, and, according to Cryptocurrencyfacts.com, determined to create Ripple as a “rreal-time gross settlement system” that would allow banks to conduct fast and cheap international remittances and currency trades.

The project was loudly decried as a sellout by hardcore early crypto advocates, especially Bitcoiners, who claim blockchain tech is unsuitable for private enterprise and say Ripple executives had simply found a way to print and sell unlicensed securities.

According to Coindesk, Ripple created 100 billion tokens and kept 60% for project founders, and the other 40% of the tokens are now circulating.

In May of last year, a Ripple-investor launched a suit against Ripple claiming the company keeps diluting the value of investor-held tokens by selling its reserves on exchanges.

The video questioning Ripple’s claimed banking partners states that the company’s own records show it sold $400 million dollars in the first 8 months of 2018.

“XRP is unique among cryptocurrencies because its value proposition rests largely on its use by banks,” says the video narrator, who then proceeds to telephone three of Ripple’s purported banking partners: Cuallix, Mercury FX and Catalyst.

The first call goes to Catalyst, where the call centre operator says the company uses a system called “Transat” to access the SWIFT system at its correspondent bank, Chase.

The phone representative said that the one cryptocurrency transaction she is aware of was not allowed to proceed “per Chase’s policy” (possibly this was an attempt by a customer to send money to a cryptocurrency exchange).

The investigator then called Cuallix and had a hard time reaching them.

After a day of attempted calls, “Crypto Reckoning” apparently reached someone at Cuallix’s Mexico number, who said that “currently the intersections to external banks are not working properly…we are just having for the moment transfers between Cuallix accounts.”

The call centre operator could not provide information on when the external transfer system would be back up.

The Mercury FX website claims offices in London, Cape Town, and Hong Kong, but Crypto Reckoning says no live people could be reached at any of those offices.

At the end of the video, “Crypto Reckoning” concludes:

“After doing this research, its hard not to think that Ripple executives are selling a false reality, dramatically overstating the value of these partnerships in order to pump the price of XRP, which they then sell vast quantities of for personal profit.”

“Crypto Reckoning” promises more revelatory info about Ripple in forthcoming videos.

NOTE: Following publication of this article, an individual named Robert Kasprowicz submitted “a market news” release from the Mercury-FX website that states:

“Mercury will be testing payments into China and Mexico with Ripple and we’re most excited about the potential to bring currently unconnected markets into the fast lane of global finance.”

Blokt.com has also reported on Cuallix’s stated intention of using Ripple’s network for remittances:

“Speaking on the sidelines of Ripple’s Swell conference, Cuallix CFO Nicolas Palacios talked about Ripple’s xRapid project and how it brings benefits to cross-border payments in Mexico.”

XRP on GBX-DAX: Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange Founder Nick Cowan & Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse Comment

The Gibraltar Blockchain Exchange (GBX), an institutional-grade, regulated and insured token sale platform and digital asset exchange, has added Ripple (XRP) to its Digital Asset Exchange (GBX-DAX), an exchange created with the high expectations of professional crypto-traders in mind.

“Ripple is a major player within the blockchain industry. In ways similar to our work at the GSX Group, it aims to re-shape the old methods of finance and banking, transforming payments through blockchain technology,” noted GSX Managing Director and Founder Nick Cowan. “XRP is a globally traded token and by joining the GBX-DAX it further extends its liquidity and reach.”

Ripple, created to bridge digital asset exchanges, payment providers and banks via RippleNet for frictionless money transfers globally, utilizes its RippleNet blockchain technology, which boasts scalability and inter-operability between networks. XRP, the digital asset used within the Ripple ecosystem, is a source of liquidity for its customers, which include  Santander, Standard Chartered, and American Express.

[easy-tweet tweet=”$XRP on #GBX-DAX: @GibBlockEx Founder Nick Cowan @NickCowanGSX @Ripple #digitalasset #cryto #CryptoHarbour”]

Ripple recently surpassed a 200 client milestone for RippleNet. Current customers include Euro, Exim Bank, SendFriend, JNFX, FTCS, Ahli Bank of Kuwait, Transpaygo and BFC Bahrain.  JNFX, SendFriend, Transpaygo, FTCS and Euro Exim Bank will use the digital asset XRP to source liquidity on-demand when sending payments on behalf of their customers.

“We also saw a 350 percent increase last year in customers sending live payments, and we’re beginning to see more customers flip the switch and leverage XRP for on-demand liquidity,” indicated Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse.

The GBX-DAX is a digital asset exchange  built on institutional-grade best practices and good governance, derived from the capital markets experience gained through the GBX’s parent company, the Gibraltar Stock Exchange (GSX), an EU-regulated stock exchange.

“In November last year, we were granted a full license to operate by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission (GFSC) and, following this, we introduced insurance coverage for assets listed on the GBX-DAX,” added Cohen. “As we move into 2019, we plan to build on this momentum with new digital assets listed on the GBX-DAX, with Ripple as the first of these new tokens.”

The GBX-DAX said that its platform has been designed to be intuitive and easy to use. From strict verification requirements to the listing of a wide range of assets, every aspect of the GBX-DAX works toward creating the most professional and secure trading environment possible.

Australian Woman Arrested for Allegedly Hacking 100 000 Ripple from Investor

Cybercrime detectives have stormed a house in Sydney, Australia and arrested a 23-year-old woman they believe hacked 100 000 Ripple (XRP) tokens from a 56-year-old man, Brisbane Times (BT) rep

The woman’s parents also reside in the house.

The alleged hack took place last January, when 100 000 XRP tokens were worth approximately AU $650 000.

100 000 XRP tokens trade for about $65 000 today- a decrease of 90%.

Police say the accused managed to hack into the man’s email account and from there hacked the cryptocurrency hot wallet the man kept on his phone.

The accused may have used a a “SIMswap” attack to break into the victim’s phone.

Hackers accomplish this by contacting a victims’s phone-service provider and impersonating the victim claiming to have lost a phone and needing to activate a new one.

Attackers then provide enough identifying information to convince the company to freeze the victim’s “lost” phone and activate a new telephone SIM card possessed by the attacker.

The attacker then pops the SIM into his or her own phone, and uses the apps and data on the victim’s phone, including 2-factor authentication (intended to optimize security), to access all kinds of the victim’s accounts.

BT says the victim was allegedly locked out of his phone for two days. Once his access was restored, he discovered that his hot wallet -a digital “wallet” connected directly to the internet- had been emptied of all its Ripple tokens.

A detective superintendent from the New South Wales police said this is the first case he is aware of in Australia where an arrest was made in a “technology-aided” case of cryptocurrency theft.

The detective told reporters:

“And what I can tell you is, while this may be considered an exception, in the next few years this will be the norm.”

In the past, attackers who wanted to raid targets’ bank accounts had to root through garbage cans looking for identifying paper documents like bills.

Today, says BR, identify theft maneuvers have largely moved online, where rich troves of personal data are now routinely stored.

First strikes often involve harvesting or gaining access to a target’s email or Facebook accounts in order to synthesize enough identifying data to move further.

Personal data is also used to pull off so-called “social-engineering hacks.” Hackers have often used social media data to become familiar enough with their target’s tastes and tendencies to fashion almost irresistible “spearphishing” contain malware intended to infect a mark’s devices.

For example, hackers once determined that a cryptocurrency exchange employee was a superfan of dogs and dog shows, and they fashioned a spearphishing email inviting the victim to “a nearby dog show.”

The victim opened the mail and clicked on a malware-infected link, which loaded the malware onto the person’s workplace computer system so as to eventually rob the crypto exchange.

According to BR, authorities recommend the use of multi-factor authentication on all online accounts (security questions, strong and unique passwords, 2FA) and also recommend general discretion around how much personal info is shared online.