In brief

  • Ripple has filed a lawsuit against video-streaming site YouTube over the proliferation of XRP giveaway scams on the site.
  • Ripple alleges that it has tried to get YouTube to take action numerous times.
  • The lawsuits demands that the court force YouTube to stop profiting in the form of ad revenue from these scams.

Crypto giant Ripple, which builds software that powers the market’s third most-capitalized cryptocurrency XRP, today filed a lawsuit against video-streaming powerhouse YouTube.

Ripple Labs, along with its CEO Brad Garlinghouse, filed the lawsuit in a federal district court in Northern California.

The complaint alleges that a wide number of XRP giveaway scams have made their way onto YouTube’s website, and that YouTube has failed to take action against them despite Ripple’s demands. Further, Ripple alleges that YouTube has repeatedly verified accounts that execute scams and has granted “verification badges” to phony channels. 

Ripple is now asking a federal court to force YouTube’s hand, and to prevent the video-streaming giant from further profiting from these scams through ad revenue generated from their views.

“We see a dire need—now, more than ever—to protect consumers around the world from dangerous online giveaway scams and false impersonations across YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and more,” the crypto firm said in a blog post.

Representatives for YouTube did not immediately respond to Decrypt’s request for comment.

Court documents allege that Garlinghouse and his company have suffered “irreparable harm” to their public images as a result of XRP scams on YouTube. The filing also claims that these scams have resulted in users being defrauded of “millions of XRP valued at hundreds of thousands of dollars.”

Crypto giveaway scams typically involve a bad actor impersonating prominent members of the cryptocurrency industry in an attempt to swindle users into sending funds in exchange for a chance at big winnings in return. Such scams also proliferate on social media platforms such as Twitter, with fraudsters impersonating the likes of Tesla and SpaceX founder Elon Musk and others.

Online scams like these have surged in the past month thanks to the growing COVID-19 pandemic. The Commodity and Futures Commission (CFTC) reports that as of January 1 of this year, coronavirus-related fraud has resulted in more than $13 million in total losses.

Last week, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that it was expecting an upsurge in crypto-related fraud as the virus continued to spread. Common examples have included false BTC donation requests from organizations such as WHO and the CDC.