Full Disclosure: The author of this article is a Ripple (XRP) holder
On December 16, 2017, two days after Ripple (XRP) hit an all-time high in the 90 cent range, Oracle Times put out an article that a wallet registered a single transaction of 900,000,000 XRP, valued at $700 million USD. Over 100,000 people read that article, and the price of XRP dropped temporarily before recovering on the 19th. Yesterday, nearly two weeks after that transaction was made, Ripple mooned to an all-time high of $2.84, for a 100% gain in the span of 24 hours. That $700 million investment would have been worth $1.856 billion USD, for a gain of over $1.1 billion. I’m not a financial advisor, and this is not investment advice. But if this were a classic pump-and-dump, wouldn’t we expect this whale to dump their account and pocket over a billion dollars? They held, despite a more than 20% dip in Ripple’s price since hitting that all-time-high. Could this be a signal to hold?
Now, I know what you’re thinking if you’ve been following our articles this week. One of our writers released an analysis of possible whale activity with Verge (XVG) a few days ago based on our research team's findings. While we believe that our analysis was sound, there was some feedback that it could have been an exchange wallet, which would explain the volume of transactions, but doesn’t necessarily explain the large blocks of exactly 500,000 XVG that appeared in nearly every buy cycle. We have a note in with one of the biggest exchanges and have not received a response, but we’ll post an update on that article soon. This Ripple wallet, and this whale is an entirely different beast.
Flashback to April 2015, when Ripple activated its “balance freeze” feature to stop former co-founder Jed McCaleb from trading 96 million XRP in breach of his contract. This tells us two things. First, it reinforces the idea that Ripple is not quite as “decentralized” as its cousins on the blockchain. This doesn’t make it bad from an investment perspective, only different as it doesn’t necessarily follow the modus operandi that we generally expect with cryptocurrencies. Second, it tells us that Ripple takes their valuation seriously, knowing that at the time, such a transaction would have had the potential for devaluing the currency. One point for Ripple. In retrospect, they did Jed a favor as the $1 million he was hoping to cash in on at the time is worth somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 million today. This led us to wonder whether an individual separate from Ripple was in control of the wallet in question, or whether Ripple managed it internally.
Here’s a link to the $700 million, 900 million XRP transaction on December 15th, using the Ripple block explorer. You’ll notice that it is from one wallet (rpEYFtuESy8Q6WJxwCqR12Y72WxSJ9tUbW), that previously contained 950M XRP, and transferred 900M of that to the new wallet (rGcyM8aFJwLEFajEeCJwtQJsCTYt9qXKsu). This suggests that it wasn’t a huge buy on an exchange like Binance, but rather it was the transfer of assets from one entity to another.
In order to make sense of this, we explored each of the wallets involved in this transaction. To do this, we went to the Ripple Account Explorer, in order to find answers to a number of questions. First, who controls that wallet that dumped 900M XRP, and who controls that wallet that received it? Why was 50M XRP left in the original wallet? And why are they still holding? We traced this one all the way back to the "Genesis" wallet that contained 80 billion XRP, from which it appears that all other Ripple were spawned. We’ve even gone so far as to trace a portion of the funds that came from that wallet to a wallet owned by a person whose name we uncovered (hint: it's not Jed McCaleb). And, we even figured out why he was paid an amount in XRP that would have been worth $50 million a couple of days ago, and what he did with it. Here’s where it gets really interesting, and pleasantly, not in a FUD way.
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