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.
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.
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 million – in exchange for withholding videos it claimed portrayed the company in a negative light.
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.
Asked about the videos and payment request by CoinDesk, Ripple did not respond by press time and the FBI declined to comment.
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.