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Ripple Executive Denies Bribing Coinbase For XRP Listing; Should You Believe It?

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Miguel Vias, the head of XRP markets at Ripple, denied allegations of paying off Coinbase to list XRP on their cryptocurrency exchange.

The response followed a series of bribery accusations shot towards Coinbase after its sudden announcement of adding XRP trading pairs to its platform on Feb 26. In contrast, the US exchange had earlier remained cautious of the said listing. As many speculate, Coinbase’s careful approach was due to XRP’s controversial history with Ripple Labs, a San Francisco startup that owns 60% of XRP – a stock worth billions of dollars.

What also concerned the company was a pending $167.7 million class-action lawsuit against Ripple which would determine whether or not XRP is a security asset.

However, all the genuine concerns Coinbase had were washed aside almost too suddenly, at least according to Allistair Milne.

The CIO of Altana Digital Currency Fund reached Coinbase’s communications’ director, Elliott Suthers via an email with a set of interrogative questions. He asked Suthers whether or not Coinbase sought the permission of either the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) or Commodity and Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) before offering XRP to the public. Milne also asked whether there was a private deal between Coinbase and Ripple for listing XRP pairs.

According to a screenshot published February 26, Suthers told Milne that Coinbase was happy to discuss his questions “off the record.” Milne took the response as a piece of evidence proving that Ripple had bribed Coinbase.

“You god damn right they did,” Milne hashtagged.

Vias: XRP Not Our Token

Miguel Vias contradicted Milne’s statement in a February 28 tweet. He clarified that Ripple didn’t pay Coinbase anything to make the XRP listing happen. Vias also claimed that XRP was not their token.

The “not our token” theory signified that Ripple, as a company, didn’t issue XRP tokens.

Ripple had faced a lot of flack for holding a majority of XRP stakes. In response, the company decided to lock their 55 billion XRP tokens away from themselves – in a cryptographic escrow account. The time-based smart contracts would release 1 billion XRP on the 1st of every month. At the end of each month, Ripple would place the remaining unused tokens into a new escrow account set to expire in another 55 months from creation.

Still, Ripple had a say when it came to distributing XRP tokens.

On October 13, 2017, Ripple launched a RippleNet accelerator program to increase the “XRP

utility.” The company allocated a $300 million XRP fund from its escrow holdings and declared that it would reward those financial institutions with XRP that test RippleNet payment framework. As a result, Ripple was able to attract partnerships from mainstream financial firms.

“This rebate — available in XRP or USD — is designed to accelerate adoption and usage of Ripple solutions.” the post read.

Incentivization, or free distributions, became one of the significant tools for Ripple to boost XRP adoption. And a Bloomberg report published in April 2018 revealed the same.

The $100 Million Incentive?

Bloomberg reported that Ripple had suggested paying financial incentives to crypto exchanges Gemini and Coinbase for XRP listing. In Coinbase’s case, Ripple had allegedly offered to lend $100 million in XRP to start letting its users trade the token. The firm had reportedly made a similar offer to Gemini – albeit amounting to $1 million.

Milne reiterated his accusation with the Bloomberg article. He asked Vias whether Ripple and Coinbase exchanged any assets in over the past 12 months or more. Milne also found it hard to believe that Coinbase, a company embroiled in multi-lawsuit accusations of insider trading surrounding its Bitcoin Cash listing, didn’t take a single penny but yet listed XRP.

The Coinbase Nostalgia

On December 19, 2017, Coinbase had made a surprise announcement that it was adding Bitcoin Cash trading option to its platform. Earlier, the company had refused to list the said crypto asset, so the u-turn took the trading community by surprise. Indeed, the price of Bitcoin Cash surged on the news within minutes, reaching as high as $1,000. In response, Coinbase canceled and all the further BCH trades citing liquidity issues.

According to Jeffery Berk, the primary plaintiff in the lawsuit filed May 2018, insiders were able to flood GDAX – a crypto trading platform owned by Coinbase – with BCH orders soon after the news went public. Coinbase, based on an internal investigation’s outcome, claimed that no such Bitcoin Cash insider trading took place.

 

Why would a regulated exchange risk its neck to list unproven securities? The jury is still out.

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Twitter Blocks XRP Payments Platform Amid Rumors of Bitcoin (BTC) Integration

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Twitter has blocked the popular XRP Tip Bot, which allows users to send XRP to one another by tweeting a string of commands. The platform is designed to give users an easy way to reward one another and support content creators.

The social media giant says @xrptipbot violated Twitter’s rules. When the account holder asked for clarity on the citation, Twitter responded that the account will not be restored.

“Hello, It has come to our attention that your Twitter account is in violation of the Twitter Rules, specifically the policy on Impersonation. Impersonation is pretending to be another entity in order to deceive, and is strictly prohibited. This account has been suspended and will not be restored.”

The XRP Tip Bot launched in October of

2018 and is owned by Wietse Wind, the founder of Ripple-backed XRPL Labs. According to a real-time tracker, a total of 861,315 payments totaling 2,177,155 XRP have been sent through the platform since its inception.

Twitter’s decision to ban the account comes amid reports that the tech company may implement a tipping platform of its own as well as rumors that it will integrate Bitcoin.

In February of last year, Twitter and Square CEO Jack Dorsey said he “loves the idea” of giving users on Twitter the ability to tip with BTC.



Square Crypto, a subsidiary of the payments company Square, recently announced the release of a software development kit for Lightning – a Bitcoin scaling solution designed to increase the speed and lower the cost of sending BTC.

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Ripple CEO Hints at IPO, Says More Crypto Firms Will Go Public in 2020

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Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse predicts that initial public offerings (IPOs) will become more prevalent in the cryptocurrency and blockchain space in 2020.

Speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos yesterday, Jan. 23, Garlinghouse reportedly hinted that Ripple would itself be one of those firms to seek a public flotation:

“In the next 12 months, you’ll see IPOs in the crypto/blockchain space. We’re not going to be the first and we’re not going to be the last, but I expect us to be on the leading side… it’s a natural evolution for our company.”

“Natural evolution”

An IPO refers to the process of offering the shares of a private corporation to the public in a new stock issuance. For this reason, it is sometimes referred to as “going public,” or as “floating” corporate shares to the wider market.

The cryptocurrency industry has to date focused its energies on initial coin offerings (ICO), which evolved as an alternative issuance model for still-young, innovative firms

that spared them many of the cumbersome legal and regulatory processes involved in a traditional IPO.

Yet as the space matures — and arguably, in the wake of the post-boom ICO rout, which saw many offerings exposed as either outright fraudulent or simply unsuccessful — some firms are now seeking to build confidence with mainstream investors by way of public listings on traditional stock exchanges, with all of the red tape and financial disclosures that implies.

This is a trend that Garlinghouse appears to believe will consolidate itself in the near future, even as some of the industry’s largest players have thus far struggled to meet the stringent requirements of an IPO. 

As an alternative to adopting a traditional flotation model, major crypto firms such as Blockstack have instead chosen to pursue compliant token sales, with the approval of the United States Securities and Exchange Commission.

Silvergate Bank — a California-based commercial bank focused on digital currency businesses — went public with an IPO on the New York Stock Exchange in Nov. 2019.

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Ripple Reports Selling Just $13M of XRP Last Quarter

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Ripple’s XRP sales fell dramatically in the last quarter of 2019 – at least partly due to change in how the company sells its store of the third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, the company said Wednesday.

XRP sales in Q4 dropped 80 percent from the $66.24 million sold in Q3 to just over $13 million, according to Ripple’s XRP Markets Report. The drop is at least partly attributable to a total suspension in programmatic sales, which accounted for $16.1 million the previous quarter. Over-the-counter (OTC) trades also dropped 74 percent quarter on quarter (QoQ).

“In Q3 2019, Ripple further reduced XRP sales and paused programmatic sales. Ripple maintained this approach throughout the entirety of Q4,” the market report reads. Ripple said OTC trades had remained focused in providing liquidity and utility to partners in “strategic regions,” which included Asia, Europe,

the Middle East and Africa.

Ripple announced in June it would adopt a more “conservative approach” to quarterly XRP sales to address concerns of misreported volumes from cryptocurrency exchanges. This came into effect soon after the company sold $251 million worth of XRP tokens in Q3.

Programmatic sales were made directly to exchanges and used to make up the majority of XRP sales figures, accounting for $144.6 million in Q2 2019.

Ripple also said in Wednesday’s report its On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) tool, which uses XRP as a bridge currency for cross-border payments, had proven to be successful with clients. The dollar value of XRP transacted through ODL increased 650 percent between Q3 and Q4, with transaction volumes increasing 390 percent QoQ.

Excluding the billion tokens released at the beginning of January, the company’s escrow accounts currently hold approximately 48.9 billion XRP tokens.

UPDATE (Jan. 24, 09:03 UTC): A previous version of this article said quarterly XRP sales had dropped by 75 percent. This has since been corrected.


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