Chris Larsen, the billionaire co-founder and chairman of fintech firm Ripple, fell victim to hackers who drained over $112 million worth of XRP from his personal cryptocurrency accounts. The stolen funds have already been funneled through various exchanges in what marks both the largest hack of 2024 and the 20th biggest crypto theft on record.
Hackers illicitly accessed several personal XRP accounts belonging to Ripple co-founder Chris Larsen
Over $112 million worth of XRP was transferred out from the hacked accounts
Larsen stated he quickly caught the breach and asked exchanges to freeze the affected addresses
The stolen XRP funds have already been laundered through exchanges like Binance and Kraken
This is the largest crypto hack so far in 2024 and the 20th largest hack in history
On Wednesday, Larsen disclosed the breach, stating on social media platform X that “there was unauthorized access to a few of my personal XRP accounts.” He assured the public that the accounts were not associated with Ripple itself.
Once detecting the intrusion, Larsen said he swiftly notified unspecified exchanges to freeze the accounts receiving the purloined XRP in hopes of halting the funds’ movement. The tech mogul also confirmed law enforcement was engaged on the case.
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. https://t.co/T3HtKSlzLg
— Chris Larsen (@chrislarsensf) January 31, 2024
The news came shortly after blockchain tracking firm XRPScan recorded over $112 million worth of XRP transferred from an account dubbed “Ripple (50),” rumored to be owned by Larsen himself.
According to on-chain transaction records, the account that initiated the XRP transfers back in 2018 was a separate wallet linked to Larsen. This connection raised speculation that the Ripple (50) account may in fact belong to the crypto billionaire despite assertions it was only his “personal” accounts affected.
In the aftermath of the security breach, analysts reported the stolen XRP, the native token underpinning Ripple’s global payments network, rapidly flowed through cryptocurrency exchanges FTX, Binance, and Kraken via intermediary accounts in an effort to obscure its path.
Representatives for Binance and Kraken confirmed they are cooperating with investigators and have instituted asset freezes according to Larsen’s request. However, obfuscation tactics like chain hopping through mixer services still pose challenges for tracking and recovering hacked funds.
The record-breaking heist has rattled confidence in Ripple and the security of founders’ XRP stores while propelling calls for increased transparency. Some commenters urged Larsen to clarify his actual XRP holdings and enact governance changes limiting access.
Others hoped the event would distinguish Ripple’s business activities from founders’ personal crypto finances in regulators’ eyes as the firm continues battling a legal fight with the SEC over alleged unregistered XRP securities trading.
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