Chris Larson Hacked
Ripple Co-founder Chris Larson lost over 200 million XRP from a hack.

Ripple co-founder Chris Larson suffered a devastating hack resulting in over 200 million XRP. The XRP hack is worth about $112 million and was drained from an old cryptocurrency wallet.

The incident raises serious questions around the security of Larson's personal holdings as well as the ability for even longtime cryptocurrency icons to avoid becoming victims.


As one of Ripple's two founders alongside Jed McCaleb, Chris Larson amassed a sizable fortune from his ownership stake awarded in the company's early days. His role spearheading the firm's growth into a leading enterprise blockchain provider granted Larson hundreds of millions of XRP over the past decade.

The wallet hack completely wipes over 5 basis points worth of Larson's total estimated XRP holdings in what ranks as a painful lesson that no crypto whale stays immune from exploitation, no matter their tenure in the industry.

Chris Larson - Ripple Co-founderKey Details on Chris Larson's XRP Hack:

- 213 million XRP stolen
- Worth $112 million
- Breached old personal wallet
- Timing of hack not disclosed

While breach specifics remain unclear, the incident follows previous Ripple hacking events including an infamous 2020 case where nearly $15 million XRP was stolen. However this most recent exploit eclipses prior XRP thefts in scale by draining one of the cryptocurrency's founding father's accounts directly.

“I will not comment on the origin of the exploit, but I wanted to reassure the XRP community that this is an isolated incident.”Ripple Co-founder, Chris Larson

Larson curiously claims isolation in this incident, diverting attention away from potential insider vulnerabilities at Ripple itself. However, his attempts at damage control do little to inspire confidence.

Ripple's Centralized Beginnings

As one of Ripple's initial creators, Chris Larson embedded and enriched himself through XRP since its origins. This close association between founder and cryptocurrency draws criticism over excessive centralization. In Bitcoin's model pioneering decentralization, Satoshi Nakamoto disappeared into anonymity after launching the network.

Users and miners dispersed globally direct governance absent leadership hierarchies. Such diffuse structure protects Bitcoin from decapitation risk like single points of failure.

  • In contrast, Ripple maintained concentrated influence through figures like Larson in XRP's distribution, technical development, and its emergent business model entering banking.

Such tight oversight aided efficiency in many respects but exposed amplification risk that weaknesses in key personnel translate into structural vulnerabilities more severely than in decentralized systems.

Centralization Tradeoffs:

- Efficiency in coordination
- Amplified weaknesses in leaders
- Decapitation risks from key failures

Larson's hack therefore risks additional meaning beyond the obvious direct $100+ million loss. The ability for hackers to successfully breach a founding partner's security after nearly a decade further confirms the weakness in Ripple's persisting centralization.

Critics argue Larson's exploited XRP stash accumulation rooted directly from Ripple's long-controversial token distribution strategy. The company routinely sells billions in XRP from escrowed holdings into the open market to fund operations and pad founder capital pools.

Such behavior leads agencies like the SEC to target Ripple in lawsuits alleging unregistered securities offerings. And the irony does not escape observers that massive personal holdings directly enabled through these sales now evaporate into hacker possession under Larson's watch.

Details on the Hack Itself

Analyzing the flow of transactions, Larson stored his recently hacked XRP holdings in an old wallet dating back approximately to 2015 based on previous activity. This means the wallet sat dormant for close to 8 years before whoever hijacked its key accessed the contents.

The fact that the wallet lacked transactions for so long indicates a breach unlikely to stem from a recent exploit. Cryptocurrency veterans surmise Larson likely fell for some phishing attempt, re-used passwords, or otherwise exposed private keys years ago granting latent access for savvy attackers.

On February 10th, 2023, the attacker holding hidden control over the wallet springs their trap. In two transfers sent minutes apart, they drained its entire balance of 213 million XRP into intermediate laundering services:

Breakdown of Transfers:

- 107.2 million XRP ->
- 105.8 million XRP ->

After filtering through these intermediaries to anonymize and remove tracing, the perpetrator rapidly sold off the liquidated XRP into exchanges and withdrawals into untraceable Bitcoin beyond convenient clawback.

The incident leaves Larson grasping for answers on exactly what went wrong after nearly a decade lacking incident with these specific holdings. It serves as a reminder to all cryptocurrency investors that constant vigilance in security matters remains essential, no matter one's tenure dealing with blockchain-based assets.

Impacts to the XRP Cryptocurrency

While embarrassing on a personal level for Chris Larson, his high-profile hacking also rebounds poorly for XRP in showcasing faulty security around prominent early steward figures like himself years into its history.

The exploit surfaces concerns on whether Ripple can appropriately manage distribution for half the total XRP supply over the long-term if its architects fail securing their own holdings safely for extended periods. It further weighs negatively on decentralization perceptions for XRP to have founders representing linchpins.

Observers critique these patterns as byproducts of Ripple's business model controlling so much of XRP's circulating supply and elevated direction over protocol development. In the aftermath of hacks like this that expose individual weaknesses, network resilience suffers from an overreliance on partners like Ripple and Larson in architectural influence.

For XRP holders measuring long-horizon usage potential, reminders around just how centralized and concentrated entity power persists offers pause on enterprise ambitions. Mismanagement or technology deficiencies in Ripple leadership create cascading risks the average passive community member struggles protecting themselves against.

Furthermore, another major XRP hacking incident shortly after the firm itself also apparently lost a separate 200+ million XRP does no favors in building institutional investor confidence around cybersecurity standards and protections. Continued breaches risk delaying big money adoption essential for reaching XRP's total addressable market.

XRP Price Reaction

Despite representing an immense headline value north of $100 million, selling pressure from Larson's purloined XRP horde barely impacted ongoing market rates. In the 48 hours after initial transfers began, XRP gently declined from $0.40 down to bouncing between $0.38 to $0.365.

In fact, the asset now trades higher the week following both this and the main Ripple company hack. XRP's resilience showcases deep liquidity absorbed the dumped tokens without much ripple effect (forgive the pun).

The dynamics at play mirror those similar for the previous Ripple-related hack. XRP boasts solid trading volume spread across a diverse geographic exchange ecosystem granting capability to soak sudden selling interest without dramatically moving the price.

While embarrassing for Larson and setting back community perceptions on XRP's centralization issues, market impacts look negligible beyond headlines grabbing attention. Traders quickly dismiss spilled milk from legacy players and keep eyes forward on growth prospects for one of crypto's most enduring assets with occasional founder flaws aside.


In conclusion, old cryptocurrency wallets draining millions in exploited assets make for dramatic stories but often project limited lasting damage. The resilience shown in XRP price action and the blockchain network's continued operations evidence maturity in market structure to sustain some leaks.

However, Chris Larson and Ripple themselves owe explanations to the community on exact breach circumstances and transparency around security policies that failed here and require enhancement to restore trust.

Perhaps this painful $100 million lesson refocuses efforts on accelerating XRP decentralization to reduce reliance on original stewards going forward. While still influential, Ripple's development milestones and business partnerships now merely complement a lively ecosystem decades removed from early centralization.

Finally, all cryptocurrency veterans should reflect on the complacency Larson likely felt, leaving 200+ million XRP dormant and exposed for almost 8 years. No tenure in crypto fully inoculates against evolving hacking threats. Using disciplined custody solutions and frequent audits serves as ideal best practice, no matter one's credentials as an OG blockchain pioneer.