ripple YouTube settle giveaway scam lawsuit
Ripple,  XRP

Ripple CEO settles YouTube giveaway scam lawsuit

Brad Garlinghouse sued the streaming video platform last year after it refused to act or dragged its feet in taking down channels that used his company, name, and likeness to steal XRP

Ripple CEO Brad Garlinghouse announced that he and the international payments firm have settled a lawsuit filed against YouTube last year “for failing to enforce its own policies by allowing fake accounts (impersonating my/Ripple’s verified accounts) to conduct XRP giveaway scams.”

In a March 9 Twitter thread, Garlinghouse said that while the terms of the agreement were confidential, “[w]e’ve now come to a resolution to work together to prevent, detect and take down these scams.”

The lawsuit was filed on April 21 last year, after Garlinghouse complained that fraudsters on the streaming video platform had stolen hundreds of thousands of dollars from XRP supporters using his name and likeness, as well as that of Ripple, to convince them to send XRP to a wallet on the promise that more would be returned. 

“Social platforms are starting to acknowledge their role in allowing crypto scams to persist and recognize the need to be part of the solution,” Garlinghouse continued, saying that while sites like XRP Forensics try to help victims track and recover funds, the social media “platforms need to lead the charge or it’s still just whack-a-mole.”

In a later filing in that lawsuit, Ripple and Garlinghouse’s attorneys called YouTube “willfully blind,” adding that the platform had ignored “more than 350 takedown notices (and counting) sent to YouTube by Ripple. YouTube routinely failed to respond to these notices at all. When YouTube did respond, it typically did so only weeks or even months later.”

He wasn’t the only person complaining of having their name and reputation sullied—and fans and followers hurt—by scams that platforms including YouTube, Instagram and other were slow to police.

On July 23, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak sued YouTube, with a filing accusing the social media platform of “unapologetically hostingpromoting, and directly profiting from similar scams. YOUTUBE has featured a steady stream of scam videos and promotions that falsely use images and videos of Plaintiff STEVE WOZNIAK, and other famous tech entrepreneurs, and that have defrauded YOUTUBE users out of millions of dollars.” 

ripple YouTube settle giveaway scam lawsuit
Steve Wozniak was not, in fact, giving away 5,000 BTC (Photo: Steve Wozniak)

It was filed with 17 co-defendants who were robbed by the scammers of as much as five Bitcoins.

Wozniak’s suit came in the wake of a huge Twitter hack that saw Bitcoin giveaway scams launched on July 15 from 130 high-profile accounts, including Wozniak, Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and even then-presidential candidate Joe Biden—and, of course, @Ripple. Twitter was widely credited with a fast response and public apology over that attack, which Wozniack’s suit said was “in stark contrast” to YouTube’s response.

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Leo Jakobson, Modern Consensus editor-in-chief, is a New York-based journalist who has traveled the world writing about incentive travel. He has also covered consumer and employee engagement, small business, the East Coast side of the Internet boom and bust, and New York City crime, nightlife, and politics. Disclosure: Jakobson has put some 401k money into Grayscale Bitcoin Trust.