The Famous XRP Army has been during the last months, the manifestation of Ripple’s acceptance beyond the boundaries of being a product oriented to satisfy the requirements of the traditional players in the world of financial services.
The growing number of followers and users excited about XRP’s potential has helped Ripple clean up its image in the community; however, the exponential and maybe unnatural growth of fans and the “extreme love” of an immense amount of accounts dedicated exclusively to the promotion of this token has raised many suspicions.
Recently, a series of tweets posted by Geoff Golberg, a New York-based researcher, provided evidence that the XRP Army is possibly just a bunch of bots and not an army of thousands of real human beings. According to some studies, it could all be a marketing strategy aimed at achieving a false engagement image.
Soldiers or Bots?
Mr. Golberg has been carefully following the behavior of the Twitter community, explaining that these kinds of strategies serve to draw attention. “The intent behind all of this is to imply mass support for something.” Golberg shared with the BBC in an analysis of how this practice is common in the world of politics:
“You are more likely to pay attention to a tweet with hundreds of retweets or likes, or a user with thousands of followers. What is less clear is that some of those retweets, likes or followers might have been achieved with the help of fake accounts.”
He continues by explaining how a very specific group of accounts generate content that is then quickly mirrored by other users, who among themselves replicate the same tweets generating an information overload that is perceived as a false enthusiasm by the community.
Another of the tactics used by the so-called bots is to follow each other and add hashtags in their bios to facilitate the work of specialized algorithms. Golberg’s research shows how certain accounts such as @haydentiff, @giantgox, and @emy_wng are “anchor” accounts.
In another post, Mr. Golberg talks about at least 8000 accounts being easily identifiable as bots during September 2018.
XRP Army, XRP Cult, XRP Shillers, XRP Lovers…?
At the end of last year, Coindesk tried to investigate these suspicions in an article on the influence of the XRP Army on the crypto ecosystem. Although in this case, it was not a question of determining whether or not there are bots involved in a strategy to shill XRP, they could verify the hermeticism with which this community moves when detecting an attack.
“Search Twitter for XRP-related content, and you’ll find yourself among thousands of accounts dedicated mostly or entirely to XRP and the ecosystem around it – which, in addition to Ripple, includes startups such as Coil, which aims to help content creators monetize their webpages …
The XRP Army distinguishes itself mainly through scale and organization. Question another coin’s merits, and a handful of trolls might come out of the woodwork. But measured by volume, intensity, duration and consistency, the attack will pale in comparison to an XRP Army operation”
Golberg cannot determine with 100% certainty that Ripple maintains these accounts; however, the amount of resources and the company’s interest in positioning the token make it an obvious guess for many.
The XRP community has actively denied these rumors. The fact that Ripple is more focused on developing financial applications instead of products geared towards traditional users is a plus for XRP’s credibility, however, so far, the most active members of the XRPArmy have failed to provide a serious explanation for the phenomenon explained by Golberg.