$2.3bn in XRP just moved wallets, as founders appear to be positioning funds

Last night, a big point was made about how cheaply money can be transferred using Ripple’s blockchain technology – as nearly seven billion Ripple (XRP), worth around $2.3bn, moved wallets. But it also hinted that the founders of the cryptocurrency were preparing for something.

Last night, almost $2.3bn-worth of Ripple’s XRP cryptocurrency moved wallets, and the event did not go unnoticed by the community. The whole manoeuvre, which represented something like 13% of the total amount of Ripple in circulation, transpired in just two transfers.

Reported by the Twitter bot @XRPLMonitor, the first showed 2.1bn XRP moving.

The second, even bigger, move of around 4.6bn XRP happened around 9.20pm yesterday evening (GMT+1). Here’s the tweet, with all the details.

Quickly, XRP aficionados and supporters started to take notice, especially of the unusually large second transaction. Also taking time to note that the whole transfer of an eye-watering amount of cash was peer-to-peer and cost less than a cent.

Then, as is the way with these things, the investigations began regarding for whom and why such a transfer would take place. While some believed it could be a large exchange transferring the XRP – perhaps in support of the newly instituted xRapid system, which is being supported by Bittrex, Bitso and Coins.ph – others pointed to the idea that this was Ripple showing off the capabilities and cost savings of the system.

However, according to Twitter user Erik van Dijk, the sending account of the biggest transaction points towards Jed McCaleb, the former CTO of Ripple, creator of Stellar (XLM) and the original creator of the Mt.Gox exchange (and who sold it to the now-infamous Mark Karpeles way back in 2011). In January, he was believed to be holding XRP worth something like $20bn, according to the New York TimesHowever, at the time that estimate was given XRP was worth $2.73, compared to yesterday’s $0.32 (which would make his haul worth, very roughly, about $2.3bn now).

Meanwhile, the other sending account is, according to the same source, one belonging to a “Riple [sic] board member, holdings or partner account.”

Over on the Ripple Chat forum, speculation began to start as to why two high-ranking Ripplers – present and former – would be moving around such large amounts of money. After a few wild pump-and-dump scenarios were talked about, member ‘riptedel’ (who has since changed their user name to ‘devnullprod’, and who you can find on Twitter here, here, or via the forum link below) pointed out the nature of the receiving accounts – both of which have their master key disabled and replaced by the same eight-member co-signatory list.

The theory was then posited that the move was to ensure potential institutional investors, or other interested parties, that the market for Ripple could not be adversely effected by one large player holding such a massive cache of the cryptocurrency. That’s potentially a double problem with McCaleb who, as a representative of Stellar, is ostensibly a significant competitor to Ripple.

The other unknown player (the finger was widely pointed at McCaleb’s fellow co-founder, Chris Larsen, but that’s uncorroborated), with their smaller but still extremely significant holding, also appears to have acquiesced to the same co-signatory agreement.

The reasons for the massive move may become clearer in the coming days, but one thing remains from all of this: a pretty impressive demonstration of exactly how cryptocurrency can change the way we move money – though we’re not sure we’d’ve wanted to be the ones typing in those account details, to be fair.

Perhaps they should’ve sent 10XRP first, just to check?