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Why This Mammoth $15 Billion XRP Transfer Caused A Big Stir In The Crypto World

Roughly $15 billion worth of XRP were flagged by blockchain tracking X account WhaleAlert to be transferred from an unknown wallet to Bitfinex exchange in an apparent transaction early Monday. The transfer raised eyebrows among crypto enthusiasts as it accounted for almost half of XRP’s total circulating supply of about 54 billion.

Botched Bitfinex Exploit Attempt

In a startling development, Whale Alert revealed that 25.6 billion XRP (worth almost $15 billion) was dumped to Bitfinex. The abnormal transaction instantly ignited intense speculation and confusion within the cryptosphere.

Blockchain data indicates that the unknown sender, in reality, transferred just a few cents in XRP, and the transaction failed as they did not have sufficient liquidity.

Whale Alert subsequently deleted the post on X and noted there was “an issue with properly reading the Ripple node response, resulting in a few wrong posts.”

Bitfinex CTO Paolo Ardoino elaborated on X that someone “attempted to attack” the cryptocurrency exchange through a method known as  “Partial Payments Exploit”. 

The rationale of the malicious actor was to trick Bitfinex into taking the transfer as real, which could have potentially opened the door to a significant security breach. Bitfinex’s systems, however, flagged the transfers as a “partial payment”.

A partial payments exploit assumes a financial institution has a poorly configured system that only reads the amount field of an XRP transaction. The would-be attacker then withdraws as much of the balance as possible to another system before the defenceless company detects the disparity.

According to Ardoino, the attack was unsuccessful due to Bitfinex’s proper handling of the ‘delivered_amount’ data field, a crucial component in averting such exploits. The “delivered_amount” field is designed to correctly represent the XRP tokens transferred to the recipient, protecting against partial payment fraud. 

XRP Price Outlook Today

Despite the recent $15B Bitfinex incident, XRP’s price performance has remained surprisingly stable. Per data from CoinGecko, the Ripple-backed coin was changing hands for $0.5789 at publication time, up 0.4% on the day.

The broader crypto market posted lackluster performance over the weekend, sinking from just under $1.9 trillion on January 11 as the hotly anticipated ETFs started trading to $1.7 trillion today.

ZyCrypto reported in December 2023 that Solana had usurped XRP in market cap for the first time, making it the fourth-biggest crypto on the leaderboard. Meanwhile, XRP is still far from its all-time high of $3.40 set in January 2018.

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