Fun can be an energetic driver of technology adoption.

It doesn't matter what the idea or application is;  if it's fun, people are much more likely to participate.   If each of us enjoys an activity and it brings a smile to our face - whether it's riding a jet-ski, running in a marathon, bicycling, or playing video games - we are more likely to do it.   And if there's one thing that is true about the first "viral" application built on XRP, it's that it is fun.

When you see an epic video produced by an artist and published on Twitter, Reddit, or Discord, and you want to say "thank you" with more than just words, the XRP Tip Bot allows you to send that person some XRP in the time it takes you to reply.

And yes - it's fun to send XRP, and to receive it as well!

The application currently has a user base measured in the thousands, and there has been recent discussions about efforts to integrate it into other high-volume applications like Skype.

What is the XRP Tip Bot?

If you're new to crypto, or new to XRP, you may be wondering, "what is this app I keep hearing about - the XRP Tip Bot?"

The XRP Tip Bot is a multi-platform application that will monitor social media posts on Twitter, Reddit, or Discord, and allow one person to send another person XRP.

It's that simple.  Here is an example of me tipping somebody:

XRP Tipping

In this case, I used one of the most elementary approaches;  that of a reply.   This is the most common way to tip somebody, regardless of platform.   First, you notice a post that you really enjoy or appreciate.   Then, you hit "reply," designate an amount of XRP, and then tag the platform account belonging to the XRP Tip Bot.

How Does It Work?

The XRP Tip Bot, at its most unconcealed level, is simply a wallet on the XRP Ledger.

That's right - one wallet.   In fact, it's this wallet: rPEPPER7kfTD9w2To4CQk6UCfuHM9c6GDY

The only person that knows the secret keys to this wallet is Wietse Wind.   Now, those new to cryptocurrency might think "Wait ...  you're asking me to trust this guy with my XRP?"   And that's an understandable concern.   After all, those in the crypto space are used to hearing that "he who has the secret keys owns the crypto."

But is that really fair?   After all, you trust a bank when you deposit your money in it.   You trust Amazon with positive balances on gift cards.

Is Wietse Wind any different?   No, he's not.   He's a business owner that we all know and trust, and certainly most of us would trust a business with at least small amounts of money that we plan on using for tipping one another socially online, right?

The only difference is that he's a business owner that is choosing to use the XRP Ledger for his accounting;  when a customer sends him value, he uses the XRP Ledger to keep track of the balance, and uses his own wallet address along with a 'tag' number for each transaction for each unique customer.   In this fashion, the money is all kept separate and neatly accounted for:

XRP Tip Bot

In fact, there is more transparency with how Wietse tracks customers' balances for the XRP Tip Bot than there is for a private business that would instead use their own private accounting system and ledger.   In most businesses, customers have no insight into how the money flows;  in the case of the XRP Tip Bot, the balances and transactions are accessible through APIs that Wietse Wind makes available for other developers and stakeholders, and his wallet is transparently visible on the XRP Ledger.

To view the statistics for any wallet in the XRP Tip Bot, you just need to modify the home page URL for each user.   Here is the home page for St Jude:

To see the statistics for any user of the XRP Tip Bot, you can replace the "stjude" in the above URL with the social account avatar name you wish to see, and you can view the balance for any XRP Tip Bot account.

Or, if you're looking for a site that reveals all of the tipping statistics and financial activity for one user, you can also use Nixer's website:

Social Platform Crawler

Wietse's program will scour Twitter, Reddit, and Discord for any tagging of the XRP Tip Bot Account, and examine each mention.

Each time the XRP Tip Bot is mentioned, it will determine if the party was tipping somebody, or just talking about the XRP Tip Bot.   If the program determines that the mention was an 'attempted tip,' it will then proceed down a set of tree-logic statements to determine who to tip, how much, and from which account the tip must originate.

The XRP is then 'moved' to the tipee within the XRP Tip Bot database, and the tipee can then see this additional amount reflected in their account balance.

Accounts By Platform

Some people use multiple social media platforms.

Each of these social media platforms must (currently) be accounted for separately within the XRP Tip Bot, and this is handled in a straightforward manner at the login page:

Login Page

Once the person logs in, the website will just show the person their account balance and tipping information only associated with that platform.

A Brief History of The XRP Tip Bot

It was the berzerk end of 2017, and the cryptomarket was just starting to experience the growth pangs that sudden fame does to a market.

In the midst of the daily news cycles and constant stream of ICOs, it was rare to observe a hobbyist developer actually building something rather than trading.   So it was with enthusiasm - tinged with a small amount of skepticism - that I greeted news of a developer on Reddit that wanted to create an XRP tipping application.

The more I learned, the more enthusiastic I became, however;  the increase in the number of investors leafing through social media had dramatically increased in 2017, and I could see the worth of an application that, if done correctly, could innervate the growth of a crypto community.   The developer went by the name of /u/Pepperew, and was evidently a bird fan, as the account was named after his pet Eclectus, I'd later learn.

Wietse Wind recounted what inspired him to create the XRP Tip Bot in the first place:

"I knew a TipBot already existed at Reddit (dogecoin I believe, never saw it in action) and I knew about Reddit Gold.

By that time I was playing around with XRP for some time and I wondered why there was a growing community and no actual fun XRPL implementation for the masses.

So I decided to build the TipBot (initially for Reddit) for fun.  Started a thread, people seemed to like it so I decided to spend some time on it."

It's great insight into the origin story of the first "viral" application "built on XRP."

The first version of the application was inspired.

After depositing a small amount of XRP in my XRP Tip Bot account - this developer's wallet - I was able to see my balance, and then start tipping others on Reddit.   And to make it even better, the recipient didn't even need to have an account!

Wietse Wind (the name of the developer behind the /u/Pepperew avatar) had configured it to automatically create a Reddit XRP Tip Bot account for any recipient that didn't already have one.   It was a phenomenal way to get the word out about tipping, and I wasted no time in tipping every post I could, to the extent that I was worried that the 'tips' might be considered spam by the moderators.

But the moderators were patient;  they knew that this application might be a catalyst for boosting their subreddit statistics.

And it was.   Soon, I was not the only person tipping.

Expansion to Twitter and Discord

In late January of 2018, Tiffany Hayden, one of the most-followed "Crypto-Twitter" personalities, asked Wietse Wind if he would consider expanding the XRP Tip Bot to Twitter.   He responded back with one of the first tips (the very first tip came from Daniel Eliasson) on Twitter:

Twitter Tip

The application, while popular, on Reddit, found its most welcome home on Twitter, where short replies and long threads seem to be the right ingredients for tipping adoption.

Quick Adoption

The Twitter community - not just for XRP fans, but for many general crypto fans - rallied behind the ability to send tips to each other with ease using the XRP Tip Bot.

The XRP Tip Bot received a fast response from some high-profile XRP-related Crypto-Twitter accounts at the beginning of 2018, and from there, some new 'tipping champions' helped pave the way for widespread coverage and tipping, leading to a surge in its popularity even as the bear market in 2018 wore on:

XRP Sent Over Time

The chart shows what we all intuitively feel when we've seen the XRP Tip Bot in action on social media;  ever-increasing hordes of social media posters sending XRP across the virtual world to each other.   To track some of the fascinating statistics that accompany this adoption, various developers like @nixerFFM have designed websites that can query the XRP Tip Bot database and organize the data by time periods and platforms.  These tools have revealed some stand-outs in the community that have helped champion the application.

Not all social media participants tip equally!

While I was proud of my own record of 'spreading the love' around on social media, I was not included in the list of top tippers on any of the three platforms.   If you're curious about who's tipping who, and how much, and which platform, here are a few factoids for you:  (statistics provided by @nixerFFM)

By Social Platform

Question (Hodor):  Who sends the most tips over Reddit?
Answer (Nixer):  mikenard77

Question (Hodor):  Who sends the most tips over Twitter?
Answer (Nixer):  RobertLe88

Question (Hodor):  Who sends the most tips over Discord?
Answer (Nixer):  Mr.H

Question (Hodor):  Who sends the most tips by pressing the tip button?
Answer (Nixer):   @WietseWind

Question (Hodor):  Who sends the most tips by using the download-able app?
Answer (Nixer):   @XRPTrump

Fascinating Finds

Question (Hodor):  Who has sent the most tips, regardless of platform?  (no bots)
Answer (Nixer):  RobertLe88

Question (Hodor):  Who sent an XRP tip from the highest altitude?
Answer (Nixer):  @RTB_Dutchy

Personal and Professional Milestone

Wietse Wind's daughter Arwen was born on December 14th, 2018:

Baby Arwen

The response from the community was stunning:  All corners of the XRP Community paused to extend their universal congratulations and love to him in mid-December.   Along with this blessed event in his life, his other creation, the XRP Tip Bot, continued to log impressive numbers:

  • Wietse Wind sent -0- tips that day (he was busy)
  • Wietse Wind received 125 tips that day
  • Wietse Wind received his 5,000th tip
  • Wietse Wind received his 5,000th XRP
  • 905 XRP was sent via Twitter that day
  • 305 XRP was sent via the download-able application that day
  • 90,000th XRP was sent via the XRP Tip Bot (since inception)
  • 20,000th XRP was sent via the download-able application (since inception)
  • @XRPTrump sent out 358 tips that day

These statistics are a testament to the development and design skill of her father, and it will be fascinating to see how much they've increased with similar measurements taken just one year later - this year.

See Real-Time Statistics About The XRP Tip Bot

If you're interested in perusing fascinating statistics about the XRP Tip Bot, Nixer has built a website that takes some of the API output and organizes it into human-readable form at the following site:

Usage for Charities

One of the XRP Tip Bot users, named @kingblue_XRP, saw the popularity of the application on social media and had an epiphany when he thought about how it was possible to tip any person - or organization - with a Twitter account.

One of his favorite charities was St Jude Children's Hospital, a nonprofit foundation that sponsors treatment and research for childhood cancers.   He decided to send four zerps to St Jude:

First St Jude Tip

He broached the topic of fundraising with the XRP Community, and the reaction, although generally positive and optimistic, was mixed with skeptics that thought the idea of tipping for charities could be abused by unscrupulous individuals.

As a result, KingBlue ended up working with WietseWind to draft some recommendations for others that were considering using the XRP Tip Bot for charitable fund-raising.   This document outlined approaches and best practices that he had learned first-hand in his own pioneering experience raising XRP for St Jude.

A Year Of Charitable Fund-Raising

Over the course of the next six months, KingBlue encountered many individuals that wished to use the XRP Tip Bot for charitable fund-raising, and he collaborated with them in forming a new organization that would be responsible for vetting new "XRP Community philanthropic causes," with an eye towards performing due diligence for the community.   The group was called the "Good Souls Group," and it was formed with an initial set of members in October of 2018.

In this fashion, if a community member was in a hurry, and they didn't have time to review whether a person or charity was trust-worthy, they could simply trust the Good Souls Group, and give some XRP to an organization sponsored by them.

The idea took hold.

To this date, an enormous amount of XRP has been donated by XRP Community members to these GSG charities, led in grand fashion by KingBlue's fund-raising for St Jude:

GSG Charities Count

The overall total is approximately 137,000 XRP raised for the six charities currently included under their umbrella.

The group is not even one year old, and has already posted results that are having a significant impact for the charities involved, and are making a tangible difference for people in need.

This point-in-time measurement can be compared one year hence;  I predict that the next year will hold accomplishments for the associated charities that far outpace even these impressive results.

Kudos to KingBlue, and each of the members of the Good Souls Group that have helped to build the organization from the ground up, establishing clear and transparent procedures and reporting that helps build trust with the greater XRP Community.

iOS and Android Application

In October of 2018, the XRP Tip Bot functions were packaged inside an application by the team of developers working with Wietse Wind, and it was approved for listing on both the Apple Store and the Android Google Play store:

XRP Tip Bot Application

The application was downloaded and installed into over a thousand devices within 24 hours.

The mobile application gives users the ability to send tips to any other account listed within the application, with an increased maximum tip limit.   The application is a convenient way for users to easily send and receive XRP using QR codes and direct tips.

New Features

The XRP Tip Bot is constantly being updated by Wietse Wind with new functions, one of which is the concept of a "paper" XRP Tip Bot account that can be generated by an app user.   If you are at a restaurant, for example, and you want to share some XRP with a person that may not have an XRP Tip Bot Account, you can give them a 'printed' QR code that will then, when scanned, navigate them to the XRP Tip Bot.

The user can then log in and "claim" the paper XRP Tip Bot account.

And if that recipient already has an XRP Tip Bot account, they also have the ability to "adopt" that gifted XRP into their regular account.

The idea of paper XRP Tip Bot accounts is the equivalent of giving somebody a gift card pre-loaded with XRP;  it was integrated by Wietse Wind directly before the holiday season of 2018, in an effort to inspire its use in gifting.

Future of the XRP Tip Bot

Wietse Wind has hinted at some aspects of the XRP Tip Bot that he'd like to change, such as offering a cross-platform type of account access instead of one account per social media platform.   This would allow one person to use the XRP Tip Bot on multiple platforms such as Reddit, Twitter, and Discord, and yet only have one account to manage.

While he's already made multiple APIs available to the public, other options that may be considered would help integrate the XRP Tip Bot into other applications more readily:

"The future:  A more universal, open platform.  It's impossible for me to spend the time required for expansion to other networks, but it's very possible to build a platform from developers for developers, and there are plenty of good developers that would like to integrate it with other platforms.

So if we provide one central 'tipping' platform with decent API's, a great app, some good support for the existing networks, other developers can just plug in 'the last mile.'  Users will have full control over the limits per network.

For example:  Let's say a developer creates a plugin for Slack.   Users can configure the plugin to spend a maximum amount of XRP from their balance per day/week/...  so they can safely try out a plugin."

One of the questions on the beta testing application for XRPL Labs, whose scope is completely separate from the XRP Tip Bot, asked about whether testers were also customers of the XRP Tip Bot, leading me to believe that the XRPL Labs Team may have envisioned an API-driven design for their platform components that could be 'called' by elements of an updated XRP Tip Bot.

When I asked Wietse Wind about this question on his beta testing application for XRPL Labs, he acknowledged their plans:

"We consider the XRP TipBot (platform/app) as a great experimental environment for things we want to use in production with XRPL Labs.   Since we already have a great user base / fan base with over 7,500 installations of the application, it's a really great mixed testing environment.

So take the Bluetooth feature:   We'd be implementing things like that into the TipBot app and testing it with the community before we would use it in the XRPL Labs Signing App."

His response was an exciting reminder that the only constant with the XRP Tip Bot is more features and more fun, all intuitively organized around an awesome user experience.

How Wietse Sees The XRP Tip Bot Application

Wietse Wind's vision for the XRP Tip Bot application is centered around its scalability and potential as an ultra-fast processor of micropayments for future development:

"I hope the future of the TipBot will be more platform-like, and I really, really want to come up with (or get a great idea from the community) a name that doesn't refer to tipping.

Some Asian countries aren't really familiar with tipping, it's 'gifting' over there.  So if the platform has a universal name, certain platform plugins can add the 'Tipping'/'Gifting' name.

With the plugin architecture it's really easy to just operate multiple Twitter accounts.  And somehow I want to find a name that doesn't contain 'Bot,' since that might scare new users.   So let's say the platform is called the 'XRP {Something},' then the 'Twitter TipBot' would be a plugin, as would the 'XRP {Something} Twitter Gift App' plugin, etc., Together that would still be familiar, the 'XRP {Something} Twitter TipBot.'

The platform will simply become a user friendly dashboard and custodian micro transfer service, targeting social exchange of value using XRPL+ILP.

It'll have a plugin directory, like a app store, where users can simply browse and activate plugins that link their account(s) to the plugin on the platform."

His vision is very much oriented towards making the XRP Tip Bot architecture available to other developers who want to enhance it with new features, and build on its already-expansive capabilities.   His vision of interoperability is one of the central hallmarks of the entire XRP ecosystem.

It's A Secret

The XRP Tip Bot has made a substantial amount of progress thus far, just based on its humble beginnings as a hobby project from one developer.   However, it's time for it to grow past its current limitations, and Wietse Wind has taken some fascinating steps to clear the path for this next phase of adoption.

I'd love nothing more than to reveal part of this news here and now.

However ... Wietse Wind asked me to keep quiet about it until he has a chance to unveil these developments formally at the XRP Meetup in Amersfoort, The Netherlands, on April 20th - this Saturday.

It's one more perk that he's providing for those XRP fans that can attend the European meetup.

Well-Earned Esteem From The XRP Community

It's great to see the XRP Tip Bot - which has become one of the most well-known XRP-based community projects - achieve record-setting levels of recognition and adoption.

While he's created more than a dozen components and applications that 'run on XRP,' the XRP Tip Bot is the application that he is known for more than any other, and it's also become the flagship application of the XRP Community in many respects.

Congratulations Wietse Wind, and congratulations to the user base of one of the most popular crypto-based social media applications!

xrp symbol

Cover Art: Thank you to Jason Chen