XRP TipBot: Important message – Action required!

The XRP TipBot (Twitter: #xrptip, Reddit: /u/xrptipbot, Discord: @xrptipbot) is a hobby project I started in 2017. Created for fun and the XRP Community. If you don't know me: I'm Wietse, a software developer from The Netherlands, working full time on XRP ledger related projects.

During the last 2.5 years the TipBot had a good run. Over 2.5MM XRP tipped in almost 1,000,000 tips, mostly on Twitter. (10k active App users. 62k accounts. 36k signed in users, 18k monthly active users). One specific feature contributed greatly to this (relative, still a hobby project) success: the fact that anyone can be sent a Tip with just one message (Tweet/Post), without the recipient having to “setup” an account (at xrptipbot.com). Tip balance could just be forwarded using the same syntax, or a withdraw could be requested at xrptipbot.com.

As you can imagine it made me so incredibly proud to see all those users from around the world sharing their love and generosity with other people. Charities received thousands of dollars in XRP and medical bills were paid by random strangers. Taking advantage of the speed and low fees the XRP ledger offers.

The Netherlands was a great place to live for my TipBot hobby project-that-got-a-bit-out-of-hand (as it involves crypto custody). With no specific regulatory requirements for cryptocurrency custody I was able to keep some XRP in a hot wallet, waiting until a tipped stranger claimed the funds XRP using an on ledger withdrawal.

This changed, rapidly. A little over three weeks ago the NL government passed the bill that will kick off the regulation of crypto currency custody in The Netherlands. While I feel this is a good thing, there are a few very problematic issues as well:

  1. Bill passed April 21st. A six month grace period was promised starting Jan. 10th (this year), but:
  2. Mandatory registration at the NL regulator by May 18th. That's a few days from now.
  3. Worst of all: uncertainty. Costs. Subsequent calculation somewhere in 2021 (next year)! Costs are already estimated at ~25k per year, and with more and more crypto businesses in NL closing shop (because of the uncertainty and deadline), the regulatory costs will be spread out over less companies, resulting in a horrible bill in 2021.

Did I mention the TipBot is a without any fees for users?

So. A deadline I cannot possibly meet. Costs I cannot possibly predict. Implementing KYC and AML myself. While plans still exist to do all of this in a more generic way I decided I can't get my ducks in a row within a few weeks (now days), and I don't want to charge absurd fees for using the TipBot. That wouldn't make any sense, and take all the fun out of it.

I've been racking my brain, trying to come up with a workaround / alternative.

With XUMM in Beta, maybe I could take the entire TipBot on ledger? While I initially thought this was a viable option, the more I thought about it, I realized it wasn't. There's the 20 XRP account reserve, so new users would not be able to onboard unless someone tipped them 20 XRP at once. Then there's usability. While there's always plenty of room for improvement, I aim to build user friendly software that doesn't need an entire step by step manual. If onboarding would mean a user would have to download a non custodial wallet app, generate an account, write down a secret, purchase & send XRP (or get a 20 XRP tip), etc., what good would that be?

When it comes to usability, one of the companies in this space I really admire is Uphold. I had some calls with them before (about integrations, working together, XUMM, etc.) and I really appreciate their vision, team & leadership. Their platform feels like home, and they have a great, well documented API. A dream come true for any developer 🎉

So I called them. A week ago. What would/could XRP TipBot ❤️ Uphold look like? Would we be able to partner up in a matter of days? We had calls at odd hours (early mornings & late nights (time zones)).

The Uphold team went all out to help me. To allow the XRP TipBot to survive. And they did!

The XRP TipBot will live on. One difference: all XRP TipBot users will have to link an Uphold account to be able to hold & receive balance. I assume many XRP Community members & crypto enthusiasts already have an Uphold account: they will be able to link their account (two clicks and done) a few days from now. Users without an Uphold account can register at Uphold first. (It will be possible to skip this and simply withdraw your TipBot balance, of course).

So yes. Users will have to link an Uphold account before they can send or receive Tips in the near future. But the upsides of XRP TipBot ❤️ Uphold... 🤯

A few days from now, when linking your Uphold account to your TipBot account is possible, thanks to the existing Uphold platform, the XRP TipBot will benefit from their:

The TipBot (and App) will live on!

I will soon provide more information on the migration, as I'm finishing the last lines of code. But I promise you that no one will have to part with a single drop of XRP, and the people at Uphold and I will make the migration as simple as a few clicks.

XRP TipBot users: thank you for being awesome. I hope to see you around in the 2nd life of the XRP TipBot 😘

To the people at Uphold: THANK YOU for offering a warm welcome to the XRP TipBot users.


Photo by Kristopher Roller on Unsplash