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Ripple Co-founder Chris Larsen Loses $112 Million in XRP Hack

Chris Larsen, the cofounder and executive chairman of Ripple, a leading blockchain company, revealed on Jan. 31 that his personal XRP accounts had been hacked. The news was first reported by ZachXBT, a crypto analyst, who initially thought that Ripple itself had been compromised.

Larsen tweeted: “Yesterday, there was unauthorized access to a few of my personal XRP accounts (not Ripple) – we were quickly able to catch the problem and notify exchanges to freeze the affected addresses. Law enforcement is already involved.”

According to ZachXBT, the hacker(s) managed to steal 213 million XRP, worth about $112.5 million at the time of the incident. The hacker(s) then tried to launder the XRP through at least six exchanges, including Binance, Huobi, and Kraken. However, as Larsen’s tweet indicates, law enforcement is involved and has currently frozen accounts related to the breach. It is unclear at this time whether the funds remain in the hacker(s)’ possession or have been recovered.

Ripple did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

News of the hack spread quickly among the crypto community, causing a brief drop in the price of XRP, the native currency of the Ripple network. XRP fell by about $0.01, from $0.53 to $0.52, but recovered quickly and remains near flat nearly an hour after the hack was initially reported.

The hack is one of the largest thefts of XRP in history, and raises questions about the security of Larsen’s personal accounts. Larsen is one of the richest people in the crypto space, with a net worth of over $3 billion, according to Forbes. He holds a large amount of XRP, which he helped create along with Jed McCaleb and Arthur Britto in 2012. XRP is the third-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, after Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Ripple is a San Francisco-based company that provides blockchain solutions for cross-border payments, remittances, and other financial services. It has partnerships with over 300 financial institutions, including American Express, Santander, and MoneyGram. Ripple also operates the RippleNet, a network of banks and payment providers that use XRP as a bridge currency to facilitate fast and low-cost transactions.

The hack is not the first challenge that Ripple and Larsen have faced recently. In December 2020, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filed a lawsuit against Ripple, Larsen, and CEO Brad Garlinghouse, alleging that they had raised over $1.3 billion through an unregistered and ongoing digital asset securities offering of XRP. The lawsuit has caused several exchanges, such as Coinbase, Bitstamp, and OKCoin, to suspend or delist XRP trading. Ripple has denied the SEC’s allegations and vowed to fight the case in court.

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