CoinDesk has learned that Ripple Labs, the digital asset payment service provider linked to XRP, one of the five largest cryptocurrencies, was blackmailed at the height of crypto crypto three years ago.
Documents obtained by CoinDesk through a Freedom of Information Act request show that an unidentified individual sent an email to Ripple on October 19, 2017, asking for 5 million XRP – therefore worth $ 1.1 million – in change of restraint videos that it claimed represented the company in a negative light.
The offices of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) in San Francisco and Canberra, Australia investigated the extortion attempt from October 23, 2017 to April 20, 2018, according to documents, which did not describe the content in the videos or whether Ripple paid the 5 million XRP.
The case was closed after there were problems tracking the extortionist with just an email address, ISP information, and an IP address, a computer, or a smartphone’s online fingerprint, the documents say. .
When asked about CoinDesk’s videos and payment request, Ripple did not respond at press time and the FBI declined to comment.
The private company, co-founded in 2012 by Chris Larsen and Jed McCaleb, the founder of the competing Stellar virtual currency, is looking at an initial public offering and was the subject of intense market speculation two years ago when XRP prices and bitcoin (BTC) rose in tandem to all-time highs.
Ripple is funded by Andreesen Horowitz, Google Ventures, Lightspeed Venture Partners, Pantera Capital, Accenture, CME Group and IDG Capital, as well as banks that have integrated apps on top of its payment protocol, including Santander, SBI Holdings, and Standard Chartered.
Correction (October 23, 20:30 UTC): Change the name of Ripple’s co-founder to Chris Larsen