Ripple, the San Francisco-based startup behind the fourth-largest digital currency, is being sued by rival blockchain developer R3 over cryptocurrency options worth more than $1 billion, Reuters has reported.
R3 filed a lawsuit in a Delaware court on Friday, alleging that Ripple’s chief executive officer Brad Garlinghouse had tried to terminate a contract giving R3 the option to buy 5 billion XRPs (Ripple’s native token) at a fixed rate of $0.0085 over a three-year period. The agreement was struck in September 2016 and, at the time, the option price was higher that the market price of the token. However, the Ripple price has skyrocketed this year and the token is currently worth more than $0.20. R3 asked the Delaware court to uphold the deal and allow the company to purchase 5 billion XRPs over the next two years.
Ripple responded by filing a complaint of its own in the Supreme Court of California, alleging that R3 had failed to fulfil its commitments to the agreement, which included a joint venture partnership that promised Ripple access to R3’s infrastructure and member bank network.
“Our filing is straightforward - R3 misrepresented their ability and intent to deliver on their commitments,” a Ripple spokeswoman said in a statement. “Given XRP’s ~4000 percent increase over the course of the year, R3 suddenly wants to tap into the value of XRP, though the facts are clear that they did not earn any option based on our agreement,” Ripple said in a statement, as quoted by Reuters.
R3 is a New York-based developer, backed by a consortium of financial institution, including some of the world’s largest banks such as Goldman Sachs, HSBC, Morgan Stanley and Deutsche bank, among others. It has developed an open-source distributed ledger platform called Corda, which is geared towards the financial world.
In today’s trading, the Ripple price stood at $0.213, as of 09:43 BST. The cryptocurrency has gained 6% over the past 24 hours, according to data from Coinmarketcap.
For further information on how to buy and trade Ripple, see our comprehensive Ripple guide.