Ripple may introduce a new feature that would allow XRP Ledger users to delete their accounts, according to an announcement from CTO David Schwartz.
“One new feature proposed in the amendment process is Deletable Accounts and [it] is waiting to acquire and retain an 80% supermajority, before it activates. This feature allows XRPL accounts to be removed from the ledger and recover most of the reserve locked in the accounts for spam prevention,” said Schwartz of the feature.
The main advantage for users is reimbursement: opening an account currently requires a 20 XRP deposit, and users who delete their account would be able to recover part of that cost.
In order to be activated, the amendment featuring deletable accounts will need to attract 80% approval from validators for two weeks. This allows the community to give feedback and influence validators.
Several features have been introduced through amendments in the past, including multi-signing, on-chain escrow, and payment channels. However, deletable accounts is a significant shift in the cryptocurrency’s culture and image.
Can Ripple Delete your Account? / How Deletable Accounts Work
Deletable accounts would make it possible to “completely remove an account from the [XRP] ledger and remove the reserve from that account,” according to the original specs.
The proposed feature does not appear to give Ripple any deletion powers at all. Nik Bougalis, author of the proposal, has clarified that only account owners hold this power. “Only someone that is able to sign a transaction for the account can delete that account,” Bougalis explains.
2/ Yes, only someone that is able to sign a transaction for the account can delete that account.
3/ You specify they account into which any XRP in the account to be deleted should be transferred to in the transaction that requests the deletion.
— Nik B. (@nbougalis) February 12, 2020
Though Ripple itself cannot abuse the proposed deletion feature, account owners may be able to do so by deleting a large amount of important metadata, which could disrupt other transactions.
Fortunately, the proposal has limits and fees in place to stop over-deletion. It also seems that account records will remain visible in the ledger’s history, so transparency will not be affected.
A full list of the potential amendments can be found here.