Chasing Crypto Whales

Whale Alert
5 min readFeb 6, 2020

Updated 17/07/2022: Jed McCaleb is almost done with selling his XRP on the market. In total we have been able to track the sales of 5.7 billion XRP for a mind blowing 3.1 Billion USD (at an average price of 0.55 USD per token) over the course of 8 years. The big question that remains now is: what will the XRP price do without the downward pressure generated by Jed’s sales? Stay tuned for the results when we revisit this topic somewhere next year.

Whale Alert is in the crypto whale business. We monitor and analyze blockchains and through Twitter and Telegram we report interesting transactions. We believe transparency is essential for blockchain adoption and that is why we have decided to share some of our knowledge through a series of short articles.

So what are whales? In general we consider a whale as someone who controls enough of a certain asset to be able to influence the price in a meaningful way. There are two types of whales: natural and artificial. A “natural” whale acquired assets on the market while artificial whales received their assets for free, either upon creation (pre-mine) of the asset or through other means. The Winklevoss twins are natural whales, having bought most of their Bitcoins in 2013, long after Bitcoin was created. There are artificial whales on almost every blockchain, but for this article we will take a closer look at one of the most famous ones: Ripple founder and former CTO Jed McCaleb.

In September 2019 we reported a transfer of 100 million XRP from Ripple to McCaleb’s wallet. This transfer was part of a settlement agreement between him and Ripple which established how much of his assets he would be able to sell. McCaleb’s assets are part of his compensation for his role as a founder of Ripple; he claims to have received 9 billion XRP tokens spread over several addresses at the start of the Ripple ledger. We were able to attribute genesis and other addresses to McCaleb by combining posts made from his blog, XRP Talk and Ripple’s forum (all three have since been taken offline) and information available on the public ledger. By analyzing over 90,000 transactions we were able to track around 8 billion XRP to Ripple, a settlement account and his personal accounts from which he actively sells.

Figure 1: Main Ripple addresses involving Jed McCaleb’s activities.

In total we managed to track the sales of 1.05 billion XRP (almost exclusively through…

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