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18 September 2021
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XRP circulating supply on reporting websites breaks due to faulty integration


Digital assets are a highly volatile and nascent asset class. With thousands of digital assets in existence, of which very few have actual utility and purpose, and hundreds of exchanges, obtaining valid and factual information is a challenge. With so many digital assets to invest in, sometimes even the smallest piece of information may define an investor’s choice.

In the digital asset space, reporting websites such as CoinMarketCap, LiveCoinWatch, CoinPaprika, Yahoo Finance, Crypto Compare, CoinGecko, and others, provide valuable information. Investors rely on these websites and make financial decisions based on their data.

Ripple API

Ripple has been monitoring the XRPL, updating an API on a weekly basis. Anyone can do that since the XRPL is open and not controlled by a single entity. Ripple’s data includes the total, distributed (circulating), undistributed, and escrowed supply. Even though this data can be calculated independently, reporting websites have been relying on Ripple’s API endpoint, presenting that data to their visitors.

The first issue that arises is that because Ripple’s API is refreshed on a weekly basis, these reporting websites knowingly present outdated data to their users. Furthermore, by not pulling their own data independently from the XRPL, any downtime on Ripple’s behalf affects their data and services as well.

Faulty integration debacle

At the time of writing, if you load Ripple’s API, it automatically loads 200 values by default. The 200th value occurred on April 19th, 2020. So, up until that date, reporting websites using the default syntax in their queries received the latest information from Ripple’s API. However, even with more entries, using the default syntax still shows the data from April 19th as the latest. This is the reason that the circulating supply has been stuck at 44.112.853.111 XRP on most of these reporting sites, with the exception of LiveCoinWatch.

Nik Bougalis, a Cryptographer and the software engineer leading the C++ team at Ripple suggested a solution.

Instead of using the default syntax:
https://data.ripple.com/v2/network/xrp_distribution

He suggested setting a higher number of replies like 300:
https://data.ripple.com/v2/network/xrp_distribution?limit=300

Or even to get the results in descending order:
https://data.ripple.com/v2/network/xrp_distribution?descending=true

While there are certainly ways for reporting websites to fix this issue, the important lesson here is that they shouldn’t rely on third parties for this data but obtain it themselves. CoinMarketCap was recently acquired by Binance in a deal rumored to worth around $400 million. With such resources, these websites can certainly afford to improve their services and provide factual data round the clock. Their users expect nothing less.

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