The developers on Ripple’s ledger client have implemented a change that caps the transaction fee. This comes after a user on the XRP Ledger burned 100K XRP in transaction fees due to user error.
The Github revision on the Ripple-lib 1.0.0 page reflects the change made in the client at a revision #902. The code in question specifies that the maximum transaction fee cannot be more than 2 XRP. This is included as an optional RippleAPI constructor parameter, with no calculated or specified fee being able to exceed this value. If the fee for a transaction exceeds 2 XRP, the code will throw a ValidationError.
Before the code was added to the client, users could specify exactly how much XRP they wanted to spend as transaction fees. They could do this or set a maximum and allow the XRP client to decide how much of that was actually necessary for the transaction. The minimum fee is determined by validators on the network. This fee is implemented to prevent the network being spammed by zero-value transactions.
This may be put in place to avoid the resurgence of an incident where a user specified a total of 103,000 XRP in fees over three transactions in May. The transactions in question originated from ledgers numbered 38862029, 38862030, 38862031, which burned 1611, 24159, and 77310 XRP respectively in fees.
This was speculated to be a miswritten code by XRPChat contributors. The fees were only burnt as the user themselves specified that they wanted the XRP to be burnt as transaction fees, and not because of an error in the XRP Ledger.
Fees on the XRP Ledger result in the coin being burned or disappearing from circulation. Therefore, this series of transactions meant that the person who conducted them lost around $60000 in XRP.
XRP community contributor Wietse Wind conducted a transaction with the user for 0.000012 XRP with a memo. The attached memo read:
“WARNING. You are burning enormous amounts of XRP!”
The memo then included the link of Wietse Wind’s Twitter handle, with the message Yours sincerely, the XRP Community.
A Reddit post about this event triggered community discussion about the transactions. User letitrippl said:
“Someone on the XRP Chat stated that the fees get higher when an address makes a string of frequent transactions. Couldn’t this get terribly expensive for users who intend to operate with high volumes of transactions? I assume that setting a maximum burn amount would settle this issue but then someone commented about node congestion which brings about another issue. Seems pretty sketchy either way that hundreds of thousands of coins can get burned each day if someone was that way inclined.”
The original poster of the thread clarified that the coins were indeed burned, as mentioned by the Ripple transaction cost FAQ.