Have you seen the messages being left in Ripple’s massive escrow releases?

It would seem that the XRP community is having fun putting messages in Ripple’s monthly escrow releases.

Yesterday, a billion XRP was moved into Ripple’s own coffers from its massive escrow stash of the crypto. This is not unusual, it happens every month or so, as the time limits Ripple set on the release of the next portion of the massive amount of XRP it holds expire.

Some of it gets spent by the company, some of it gets sold, some of it gets returned to the Escrow pool for release on a later date. It’s part of what keeps the company and its services ticking over, and also part of what makes the company’s relationship with the crypto it created so controversial.

Anyway, you can see the transaction registered here by the @XRPL_monitor twitter account.

Pretty impressive, right? That’s a lot of money moving around. However, when you take a closer look at the transaction, another feature of the XRP ledger system comes to light.

One of interesting feature of the XRP EscrowFinish operation, is that these time-release transactions don’t complete automatically. The funds can be released at any point after the time specified in the EscrowCreate section of the coding, but there has to be another transaction in order for the held funds to actually move. If nobody completes the transaction, the funds stay where they are.

What’s more, this EscrowFinish code can be implemented by anyone with the technical knowhow, and who is willing to pay the drops (XRP’s sub-divided units, a la Bitcoin’s Satoshis) to complete the transfer. These escrow agreements are also publicly visible to anyone who wants to monitor accounts to look for them, and do the deed.

A community of keen XRP followers appear to have happened across this fact earlier in the year, and have since been entertaining themselves by finishing Escrow transactions for the company – and leaving their own memo messages behind for all to see, forever recorded on the XRP ledger. After all, it’s not every day that you get to authorise the transfer of a billion XRP (currently worth around $450,000,000) – and in January of 2018, when this all started, a lot more – in exchange for a few drops and some time.

So, while these messages they are often misinterpreted as the musings of Ripple employees, they are nothing of the sort.

Ripple’s Chief Technical Officer, David Schwartz, even took to the XRP chat forum to illuminate the company’s thinking regarding the feature.

“Once the release or cancel condition of an escrow has been met,” he explained, “anyone can release or cancel it.”

“While it’s not strictly required that anyone be able to do, it is important that not just the owner can do it,” he added.

He concluded by adding that:

“The point of an escrow is to take some control over the funds away from the owner. We designed it so that anyone could do so that a third party could do it if there was, for example, an escrow agent or a monitoring system. We don’t always finish our own escrows right when they release. Of course, who cancels or finishes the escrow has no control over where the funds go, the set up of the escrow controls that.”

The first person from the forum to leave a message on the Ripple EscrowFinish transactions was a user by the name of EasterBunny, who made a mistake in the hex code used to create the message. Thus theirs read “ÄÔeDeš-XRPChat”, instead of the intended “LMFTFY-XRPChat” (LMFTFY mean ‘Let Me Finish That For You’, by the way).

The XRP monitoring site Bithomp stepped up later in the year to send a message to Ripple in June’s Escrow Release, adding the message “with love from Bithomp”. For that, we presume it used its own simplified Hex message tool, which you can find here.

September’s Escrow release carried a link to a GIF hosted on the Imgur hosting site (don’t worry, it’s SFW).

October’s message took a turn for the pseudo-serious, with a message from JFK:

“We choose to go to the Moon! We choose to go to the Moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard. JFK”

Others have contained Snoop Dogg lyrics (May) and job requests (July). August contained a motivational epithet, while September’s was an XRP-related meme referencing the End of Laputa (interpreted as a coded reference to the Swift money transfer system).

Today’s huge movement of XRP included what appeared to be a coded message, and a Dr. Seuss reference

    • Memo (decoded hex)
    • plain/text (decoded hex)
    • 6173021523 7081871172 4061518216 0771607142 1580079297 0556330835 5055261762 0709173309 1882776294 0004885419 (decoded hex)
    • PublicServiceAnnouncement (decoded hex)
    • plain/text (decoded hex)
    • Always avoid green eggs and ham (decoded hex)

The latter of those two entries appears to be a reference or message to prominent pro-XRP tweeter and Youtuber, SamIAm (who, fans of the good Dr. will know is the fan of Green Eggs and Ham in the eponymous poem) – as noted by this twitter post.

What will be next, we wonder?