Category Archives: Ripple

Ripple Is Cashing Out a Third of Its Stake in Surging MoneyGram

Blockchain payments firm Ripple is selling roughly one-third of its stake in MoneyGram, in the first such sale of company stock since the startup invested in the remittance giant in 2019.

According to a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing on Friday, Ripple owns 6.22 million shares of MoneyGram, or 8.6% of shares outstanding, plus a warrant to buy up to another 5.95 million shares, for a total equity position of 12.2 million shares, or 17% of MoneyGram’s shares outstanding. Ripple is now selling up to 4 million shares, or approximately 33.3% of its entire stake, if you count the shares represented by the warrant. After the sale, Ripple will still own at least 3.22 million shares, or 4.44% of MoneyGram. When including the additional shares represented by the warrant, which gives Ripple the right to execute a stock buy at a predetermined price, the blockchain payments firm will still own about 11% of MoneyGram. Under the terms of Ripple’s initial investment announced in June 2019, the company bought the shares in MoneyGram at $4.10 apiece, at a significant premium to their price at the time. In recent months, shares of MoneyGram have soared, closing at $7.42 on Wednesday, meaning Ripple is netting a significant profit on its investment.

“Ripple is a proud partner in MoneyGram’s digital growth transformation. This is purely a judicious financial decision to realize some gains on Ripple’s MGI [MoneyGram International] investment and is in no way a reflection of the current state of our partnership,” a Ripple spokesperson told CoinDesk. 

The sales are still in process, according to the spokesperson, who didn’t respond to an emailed question asking what the company intends to do with the proceeds from the stake sale. 

Ripple completed the purchase of a $50 million equity stake in MoneyGram in November 2019.

As recently as the end of Q3 2020, Ripple had paid $9.3 million to MoneyGram, noted as “market development fees” on MoneyGram’s latest financial statement, for the remittance firm’s use of Ripple’s XRP-based settlement network, the On-Demand Liquidity (ODL) network (formerly known as xRapid).

MoneyGram has used this cross-border solution to conduct transactions in Europe, Australia and the Philippines since June 2019, for which Ripple has paid MoneyGram at least $52 million. The remittance firm piloted Ripple’s flagship cryptocurrency in 2018.

“We will remain a significant shareholder in MoneyGram following the sale – they are clearly a leader in the global payments space in over 200 countries and territories. In just over a year, we’ve made incredible progress and look forward to continuing to work alongside MoneyGram to transform cross-border payments,” the Ripple spokesperson said.

Ken Kurson, Trump Family Friend and Ripple Board Member, Arrested on Cyberstalking Charge: Report

Ken Kurson, a board member of payments firm Ripple and the co-founder of cryptocurrency website Modern Consensus, was arrested Friday and charged with cyberstalking in connection with his divorce, the New York Times reported

Kurson, who is a close friend of President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is accused of sending threatening messages to several people, the Times said.

There is also evidence Kurson engaged in installing software on someone’s computer to monitor keystrokes, and reporting false accusations to someone’s employer, the complaint reads, according to the Times.

The accusations reportedly came to light during a routine background check of Kurson for a board seat on the National Endowment for the Humanities. 

Kurson served as editor-in-chief of the New York Observer when Kushner owned it.

A request for comment from Ripple was not immediately returned.

FBI Investigated Extortion Attempt Over Allegedly Negative Ripple Videos

Ripple Labs, the digital asset payment service provider tied to XRP, one of the five largest cryptocurrencies, was blackmailed at the height of crypto mania three years ago, CoinDesk has learned.

Documents obtained by CoinDesk through a Freedom of Information Act request show an unidentified individual emailed Ripple on Oct. 19, 2017, demanding 5 million XRP – then worth $1.1 million – in exchange for withholding videos it claimed portrayed the company in a negative light.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s (FBI) San Francisco and Canberra, Australia, offices investigated the extortion attempt from Oct. 23, 2017, to April 20, 2018, according to the documents, which do not describe the content in the videos or whether Ripple paid the 5 million XRP.

The case was closed after there was trouble tracking the extortionist down with just an email address, Internet service provider information and an IP address, a computer or a smartphone’s online fingerprint, the documents say.

Asked about the videos and payment request by CoinDesk, Ripple did not respond by press time and the FBI declined to comment.

The privately held company, co-founded in 2012 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb, the competing Stellar virtual currency’s founder, is eyeing an initial public offering and was the subject of intense market speculation two years ago when the prices of XRP and bitcoin (BTC) shot up in tandem to historic highs.

Ripple is funded by Andreesen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Accenture, CME Group and IDG Capital plus banks that have layered apps on top of its payment protocol including Santander, SBI Holdings and Standard Chartered.

Correction (Oct. 23, 20:30 UTC): Changes name of Ripple co-founder to Chris Larsen

Energy Web Is Starting With Ripple in Its Bid to Make Crypto Provably Green

The crypto industry, with its questionable carbon footprint, now has a convenient way to showcase its green cred on a verified (rather than trusted) basis.

But that raises a tricky question: The likes of Amazon and Google, whose processing largely takes place within directly owned and controlled data centers, are able to contract clean energy with relative ease and precision. But who do you ask for if you want to make Bitcoin greener? 

Announced Wednesday, Energy Web, a non-profit focused on decentralized approaches to decarbonizing the grid, wants to show how a large blockchain platform can switch to a zero-carbon footprint. To start with, the organization is teaming up with San Francisco-based Ripple and the XRP Ledger Foundation.

Ripple’s support of this venture is intended to open the door to other blockchains with more energy-intensive operations like Bitcoin, said Jesse Morris, Energy Web’s chief commercial officer.

To make all this possible, the non-profit has released an open-source app called EW Zero that makes it easy for individuals, businesses or even entire blockchain ecosystems to make the transition. This initial deployment uses energy attribute certificates (EACs) from renewable energy sources to decarbonize electricity, the companies said.

“Blockchains are a massive energy hog and a lot of that electricity is not coming from wind, solar, hydro or other sustainable facilities,” said Morris. “So we have been thinking for a while now about how we could help the crypto industry decarbonize blockchains, given the distributed nature of the technology.”

First, Ripple

In the case of Ripple, a 500-person fintech company focused on crypto-powered banking, there is an obvious starting point when it comes to reducing the firm’s carbon footprint. Moreover, Ripple uses a consensus system quite unlike Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW) mining, an algorithm that by definition must burn through a ton of electricity. (At last count, the top five PoW blockchains currently use up to 170 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity per year – more than the state of New York.) 

As such, bitcoin isn’t really comparable to something like pre-mined XRP running on Ripple, which many would argue comprises much more of a centralized system.

Presented with these observations, Ken Weber, Ripple’s head of social impact, said in this case it would be beneficial to put technology-based tribal differences aside and adopt more of an “all in this together” approach.

Read more: Can Bitcoin Survive the Climate Change Revolution?

“It’s early days for all these currencies, which right now have a tiny share of global finance, but further down the line [green energy adoption] is gonna be much more difficult to reverse engineer,” said Weber. “We wanted to help make it easy to adopt these practices. This is not a proprietary wish on Ripple’s part; it’s a whole system wish. As with other social change movements, the idea is not to make anybody feel bad or shamed, but to give them a means to do this that is reasonable, beneficial and participatory.”

Crypto ESG

Alex de Vries, the founder of Digiconomist, which identifies trends in cryptocurrencies, said carbon offsetting is happening at the level of crypto exchanges looking to do business with traditional financial institutions that follow environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) mandates.

“Ripple is leveraging the fact that people associate heavy energy consumption with blockchains, but that’s only really proof-of-work,” said de Vries. “With Bitcoin, you’re talking about an extreme carbon footprint of 300 kilograms per transaction. I haven’t done the math on Ripple, but it’s gonna be closer to a Visa transaction, which is 0.4 grams per transaction.”

Read more: Hyperledger Conference Shows Where Blockchain Can Fight Global Warming

Nonetheless, this is a step in the right direction for a relatively young industry that could become one of the first to be carbon-neutral, said Energy Web’s Morris. In the same way that large corporates use certificates to decarbonize complex supply chains, blockchain users can purchase certificates from different places around the world (EW Zero also uses a blockchain system to track and account for these certificates). 

“Imagine in the future having a wallet interacting with some blockchain, and as a part of that wallet you can actually increase your transaction fee just a bit and you’ve just contributed to decarbonizing the blockchain by purchasing a certificate somewhere,” said Morris. “Or if you are a bitcoin miner in a mining pool, you’re also able to use this application to directly purchase certificates in a specific part of the world.”

The impetus to give this is a go is two-fold, said Energy Web CEO Walter Kok.

“Firstly, on the supply side, it will be useful to hook up existing green energy producers already servicing Bitcoin, which might have an overcapacity of green energy,” Kok said, adding: 

“The other part won’t happen overnight, but in the end, everybody wants to be assured they are contributing to a better world. So let’s get to the point where we can say with confidence that all blockchains, including Bitcoin and all its miners, produce in a green way.”

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YouTube Ignored Warnings About XRP ‘Giveaway’ Scams, Ripple Says

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Australian Payments Firm Sues Ripple for Use of PayID Trademark

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Ripple Snaps XRP Sales Slump With $33M of the Crypto Sold in Q2

Ripple said Monday that it sold $32.55 million of its XRP cryptocurrency during Q2 2020, a 1,760% jump over Q1’s abysmal sales figures and the first signs of XRP sales growth in nearly a year. 

Disclosure

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.

Ripple Says XRP Lawsuit Based on ‘Unsupported Leaps of Logic’

The lead plaintiff in an ongoing class-action lawsuit accusing Ripple of securities fraud has not demonstrated that statements made by CEO Brad Garlinghouse in 2017 are false, Ripple claims in court documents filed Wednesday.

See Ripple’s filing in full below:

Disclosure

The leader in blockchain news, CoinDesk is a media outlet that strives for the highest journalistic standards and abides by a strict set of editorial policies. CoinDesk is an independent operating subsidiary of Digital Currency Group, which invests in cryptocurrencies and blockchain startups.