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Spam on the XRP Ledger

Understanding SPAM

What is spam?

Spam on the XRP Ledger is any unwanted or unsolicited transaction that gets sent out in bulk.

About the XRP Ledger

The XRP Ledger is a decentralized blockchain that anyone can access and use. Features like the base reserve (wallet reserve) and owner reserve help to limit spam since people need to meet these reserve requirements in order to transaction on the network.
One of the best features of the XRPL is its low transaction fees. Often as low as .000012 XRP, sending transactions is extremely inexpensive which makes the XRPL a great way to move assets around the globe.
Another great feature is the “Memo” field. The intention of this field is to allow the transaction sender to include a short note in the transaction to help identify it for accounting purposes.
Unfortunately, some unscrupulous people have discovered these two features and combined them to distribute spam across the network.

How it works

Some people have figured out that they can combine the low fees of the XRPL with the Memo field to send low value transactions to a large number of accounts.
By doing this, they can get their “message” out to thousands of people at a very low cost.

Why do token issuers send spam?

It is simply a marketing ploy to get you to participate in their project. People who send unsolicited transactions on the XRPL are trying to get you to buy their token or their NFT, or whatever it is that they are promoting. Legitimate projects do not send unsolicited transactions across public networks.

What can I do about spam on the XRPL?

Some people who receive spam, take it upon themselves to contact the scam token issuers and explain (often in very strong language) spamming a public network is… unwanted and undesirable.
Others take to social media to condemn the token issuers and warn others not to participate.
Most people simply ignore the transactions though and we advise you to do this as well.

Can I delete the transaction from Xumm?

Nobody can delete a transaction from the XRP Ledger or from Xumm. If it exists on the XRPL, Xumm will display it.

Do these spam transactions cost me XRP?

No. It costs the sender to send them. The sender pays the XRPL transaction fees, not you.

Should I return the tokens to them?

That is completely up to you. These spammers want to get some sort of reply from you. That way they know you are reading their messages. Once you reply, they will most likely send you targeted messages and perhaps even try to convince you to purchase their token or get you to send them your private keys. There is no telling what their intentions are.

If I return it will I be charged a transaction fee?

Yes. The XRPL automatically charges transaction fees in order to process transactions. It will cost you XRP to send the funds back to them.

Can they access my account in any way?

Absolutely not. No one can access you XRPL account unless they know your account secret. (Secret numbers / Family seed / Mnemonic) As long as you keep your account secret safe and secure, your funds are safe. The only way someone can access your XRPL account is if you give them your account secret. See this article for more information:

I clicked on the memo in a transaction. Am I in any danger?

No. Reviewing a transaction on the XRPL is not dangerous. The only way someone can access your XRPL account is if they get access to your account secret. See this article for more information:

How did they get my r-address? I’ve been very careful who I’ve interacted with in the XRP community…

Since the XRP Ledger is a public blockchain, there are many ways to get a list of random r-addresses. If you have created a Trust Line or sent funds to/from a crypto exchange, or participated in an airdrop, your r-address can be filtered and obtained.
There’s currently no way of preventing this from happening so all addresses can potentially be spammed.

How does Xumm handle spam?

We have numerous ways of identifying spam including searching the XRP Ledger for token issuers who send multiple transactions with memos. When we find accounts that appear to be sending spam, we analyse the history of the account, immediately suppress the memo field and add a notification indicating the transaction may be dangerous. As well, for our Xumm Pro users, the push notifications are suppressed so you are not notified when the spam transactions arrive in your account.

Is Xumm working on some way to fix this?

We certainly are! Here is a sneak peek of what we are working on…
  • We are considering a proposal to amend the XRPL. If transactions with long memos were subjected to escalating fees, it would make it more far more expensive for people to spam the network. It could still be done, but the amendment would make it prohibitively expensive.
  • We have been developing a project that we call Hooks. (Hooks are basically smart contracts on the XRPL.) If Hooks makes it to the XRPL (via an amendment), people will be able to install a “hook” that would filter out spam transactions. Think of it like a firewall that would block “shady” or questionable transactions.