On December 29th, lots of coins went missing on the XRP (Ripple) network

At approximately 9.21pm EST I transferred 550 XRP from my wallet to the Binance exchange. My wallet said the transaction was successful, but no transaction ID was provided to me. When I looked on the exchange, there was no pending transaction either. At the time, the coins that vanished without a trace were worth approximately $1200.

I was not the only person to encounter this issue. I assume 25% of Ripple deposits failed last night, but I could be wrong there. Lots of folks posted about similar instances on the /r/Ripple community as well.

So what happened?

According to the ToastWallet creator, one of Ripple’s servers, s2.ripple.com was experiencing issues and was down. It looks like my transaction went to this server, and that’s why my coins went missing.

The Ripple network did not re-route my request to the other 3 available servers: s1, s3, & s4.ripple.com. Instead, it waited for s2 to become available again and process the missing transactions. Ripple informed my wallet that the transaction was successful, but I had no transaction ID and I couldn’t see evidence of the transaction anywhere. It was as if the coins, and my money, just vanished.

At the time, the exchange told me that this was not their issue to resolve. The developer of the wallet told me the same thing, but he was able to tell me about s2 being down and I was able to confirm by visiting s2.ripple.com. It displayed an error regarding the ledger.

There was no public statement from Ripple about the network issues.

There was no public statement from the Binance exchange about the network issues, although they did tell me when I opened the ticket that they disabled withdrawals (but I had issues with depositing) in order to try to stabalize the Ripple network.

Here’s what should have happened:

  1. Statements from Ripple & all exchanges about network congestion.

2. The Ripple network should have either rejected my request because s2 was down and asked me to try again, or re-routed to one of the available networks. It should not have informed my wallet that the transaction was successful.

There’s still no statement from Ripple about last night’s issues, or from the exchanges.

I understand the risks of trading on an unregulated market, and I was only involved this weekend out of curiosity to see what it was like. Exchanges are not new technology, and having a pool of available servers, marking one server down, and re-routing traffic is a very basic concept. Most online companies with web servers do this.

My coins finally showed up 9 hours later, once s2.ripple.com had recovered and I was able to sell and get out. If you do a quick Google search for “XRP coins missing” you’ll see this has happened before.

The above issue has happened lots of other folks on other cryptocurrency networks in the past. Maybe one of these days the cryptocurrency networks will mature, but for now they remain an amateur implementation with no customer service.