TL;DR: These companies and individuals included on the rUNL are the backbone of a 20bil dollar financial network. These posts dive deeper into a company's background, financial backers, integral partners, and other features to better understand who each of these validators are. This first post is about Brex.io, an Austrian startup.
Overall, there are no immediate redflags from Brex and it makes for a good inclusion being the only validator from Austria. However, doing this review has highlighted for me that other than Ripple's word, there is no connection to prove that the validator Brex claims to run is actually run by them.
I started this post series to answer this question: who are the UNL Ripple (XRPL) Validators?
After spending a couple days working on a post, I decided it would make more sense to break it up into spotlights highlighting each of the validators. This affords me more time to spend really digging into each of the companies and individuals (run Rabbit, run!) behind each validator on Ripple's distributed UNL (Unique Node List).
This is also a good endeavor as it has prompted a lot of thoughts and considerations in the issues 'proofing' validators for inclusion on a UNL, if one was to become a listing service, which I will dig more into on a later post.
Without further ado, Here's a list of non-Ripple Validators as of today:
nHUFzgC9fDw2MEDaiv9JMdBFhtJ6DMKoUCpS8gPGi6tkfbqmTyis => www.bahnhof.se
nHBgiH2aih5JoaL3wbiiqSQfhrC21vJjxXoCoD2fuqcNbriXsfLm => www.attokyo.com
nHU95JxeaHJoSdpE7R49Mxp4611Yk5yL9SGEc12UDJLr4oEUN4NT => flagshipsolutionsgroup.com
nHBidG3pZK11zQD6kpNDoAhDxH6WLGui6ZxSbUx7LSqLHsgzMPec => bitso.com
nHUkp7WhouVMobBUKGrV5FNqjsdD9zKP5jpGnnLLnYxUQSGAwrZ6 => validator1.worldlink-us.com
nHUcNC5ni7XjVYfCMe38Rm3KQaq27jw7wJpcUYdo4miWwpNePRTw => rabbitkick.club
nHUpJSKQTZdB1TDkbCREMuf8vEqFkk84BcvZDhsQsDufFDQVajam => data443.com
nHUXeusfwk61c4xJPneb9Lgy7Ga6DVaVLEyB29ftUdt9k2KxD6Hw => validator.xrptipbot.com
nHUCCckfXVBdoounaU7JVnfdPdMXEeetwH8VdCBXD996BaVZ8WdJ => ripple.telinduscloud.lu
nHB8QMKGt9VB4Vg71VszjBVQnDW3v3QudM4DwFaJfy96bj4Pv9fA => bithomp.com
nHDwHQGjKTz6R6pFigSSrNBrhNYyUGFPHA75HiTccTCQzuu9d7Za => coil.com
nHUd8g4DWm6HgjGTjKKSfYiRyf8qCvEN1PXR7YDJ5QTFyAnZHkbW => brex.io
And our first Validator to look into... Brex.io:
Brex (AKA Kompany) is an API provider for commercial registration data, useful for KYC/AML compliance programs. They are part of "kompany.com" which also offers a web based portal for the same information.
Being a very Austrian startup, likely collusion with Austrian government.
The amount of partnerships with foreign governments for the core of their business (sharing company registration data) also means that there could be pressure applied by: UK, Ireland, Switzerland, the EU, Russia, Hungary, Singapore, and various credit agencies.
Russell E. Perry
Founder & CEO
Russell co-founded kompany together with his long-time friends and business partners. He drives the direction of the business and loves finding business opportunities others might have overlooked.
Chief Strategy Officer
Johanna loves the global arena and passionately drives the international growth and development of kompany and BREX.
Co-Founder & CTO
Peter has spent all his working life in various IT and scientific projects after teaching himself programming on a Commodore PET at the age of 11, and digging up his parents cellar floor to create a mould for a radio telescope.
Chairman of the Supervisory Board
Stefan is a serial entrepreneur and angel investor. After over 10 years as CEO of a leading company in the field of compressed air and vehicle lifting technology, Stefan started to support and fund the development of start-ups in various fields. His investment focus lies on Internet, life science, mechanical engineering and properties.
Startup. $5.4m raised
Sep 11, 2018 Convertible note with 1 investor (European Super Angels Club)
Aug, 2018 Loan - 1.3m EUR
May 16, 2017 Venture round with 2 investors (Stefan Schneider (FLOOR13 and Socialspiel) and Chris Adelsbach (Techstars, Multiple investments)
Apr 20, 2016 Angel round with 1 investor for $520k (Michael Schweitzer (Unknown))
Jan 1, 2015 Angel round with 10 investors for $585k (Various)
Mar 28, 2014 Angel round with 5 investors for $2.5m lead investor Livag GmbH (Various)
Apr 1, 2013 - Angel round with 1 investor for $500k (Livag GmbH)
Dec 1, 2012 - Grant for $250k (Austria Wirtschaftsservice)
Jun 27, 2012 - Angel round with 3 investors for $1m (Valentin Basilides, Michael Schweitzer, FLOOR13)
Firma 360kompany AG
Firma NEXT LAYER Telekommunikationsdienstleistungs- und Beratungs GmbH
Phone: +1 855-661-3499, 01 8909930
Addresses: 360kompany AG –Gußhausstraße 15/5, 1040 Vienna, Austria – Commercial Court Vienna FN 375714x.
VAT Nr: ATU68362513
Company names: BREX Business Register Exchange GmbH, 360kompany AG
Aravo - Compliance software
Tradeshift - Supplier payments
Federal Ministry of Justice Austria
Companies House United Kingdom
Companies Registration Office Ireland
EBR/European Business Register
Russian Register EGRIP
OCCSZ Business Register for Companies in Hungary
Bisnode - Credit agency
Coface - Credit agency
Credit Safe - Credit agency
Equifax - Offers consumer information for free to the dark web
Credinform - Credit agency
KSV1870 - Credit agency
MMag. Dr Christopher Schrank - Law firm
Dr. Volker Schmits, LL.M. Maximilian Remien - Law firm
Mag. Florian Cvak, LL.M. - Law firm
TPA Horwath - Law firm
Raiffeisen Bank International
Nextlayer - Austrian ISP
CTO Twitter: https://twitter.com/PedBC
Founder Twitter: https://twitter.com/rep1rep
While doing this, I realized what is really required for this type of review is a 'Validator Ranking Framework' which is something I want to work on at some stage.
Brand Value: 5/10
Financial Stability: 4/10
Validator Communication: 3/10
Leadership Team: 8/10
Engineering Team: 9/10
Community Participation: 2/10
Overall, I think Brex.io is a fairly good entry to the list, being Austrian, a startup, and fairly technical. However, being a newer company, without large capital reserves makes it easier to sway. Additionally as a newer brand it is harder to trust. I think Brex's biggest benefit is in its geographic diversity being in Austria.
If you'd like to keep inform when the next edition of this series is posted, feel free to follow me on Twitter at @Jon_HQ, or click the blue button below.