In a change to its terms and conditions, Ripple has announced that in future users will need to provide personal ID in order to create an account with the service.
The update, published in an email sent to subscribers Tuesday, states that beginning later this year, “Ripple Labs will enhance identity requirements for Ripple Trade wallets by establishing additional account creation and verification procedures… This will include the collection of additional identifiable information.”
Ripple states that the changes are designed to be “in support of a compliant Ripple network,” which in turn “builds confidence and encourages new participants to use Ripple and contribute volume to the network.”
Reactions to the news have nonetheless been mixed, Eric Vorhees commenting on an associated Reddit thread:
“Any financial technology that is controlled by one company will end up looking like a bank, by law, sadly. Thank goodness Bitcoin exists.”
It is its criticism of Bitcoin, in addition to issues of user anonymity, which has seen Ripple raise suspicion from commentators in recent months. At a California Assembly Banking & Finance Committee hearing on Bitcoin in March, CEO Chris Larson and Chief Compliance Officer Karen Gifford even suggested that Ripple’s ability to track user accounts made it an improvement on Bitcoin.
“We actually don't think the world needs a new currency; there’s plenty of currencies,” Larson stated regarding bitcoin, “We think the big problem is moving those currencies around efficiently.”
Gifford subsequently added that “One of the differences between the Ripple technology and… the Bitcoin technology in terms of transparency just happens to be that the way the Ripple technology tracks information is by account,” going on to explain tools developed by Ripple to track specific transactions more easily.
“We’ve… been at the forefront of regulation when it comes to Bitcoin,” co-founder Fred Ehrsam told the California hearing, adding that in terms of regulation already extant in the US for the issue of money laundering, there is “already a great set of federal guidelines… ultimately, I think it’s best if that’s left at the federal level.”
Meanwhile, a conspicuous statistic highlighted by one Reddit respondent demonstrates that around 20% of Ripple’s trade volume is with bitcoin, indicating that the current consumer trend is to deal in both assets.
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