25.6 Billion XRP ‘Partial Payments Exploit’ On Bitfinex Thwarted
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25.6 Billion XRP ‘Partial Payments Exploit’ On Bitfinex Thwarted

  • An attempted attack on the Bitfinex crypto exchange using XRP ‘partial payments exploit’ has been thwarted, according to the Ripple chief technology officer (CTO).

On Jan. 15, Ripple CTO Paolo Ardoino said that someone attempted to attack Bitfinex using a “Partial Payments Exploit.”

However, the attack failed due to the way the exchange handles a data field for the delivered amount, he added.

The clarification follows alerts that a huge $15 billion worth of XRP (about 25.6 billion XRP tokens, nearly half of the total circulating supply of approximately 54.26 billion), transferred from an unknown wallet to Bitfinex on Jan. 14 failed to get processed.

See Also: Hackers Drained $4.17 Million From Solana Wallet: Scam Sniffer

Ripple Response To Attack

A since-deleted ‘Whale Alert’ tweet claimed to observe a transaction of more than 25 billion XRP. 

Whale Alert tweet


This was picked up by analyst Scott Melker, who said, “This cannot be real,” before adding, “The circulating supply of XRP is roughly 54 billion. This is almost half of that. From one wallet. In one transaction.”

However, Whale Alert reported the issue as fixed following an erroneous reading.

Partial Payments is an XRP Ledger function that enables payments that deliver less than the amount field indicates. 

The exploit assumes a company has not configured its XRP payments system and only reads the amount field, which is set very high.

The attacker sends a much smaller amount and aims to pocket the difference automatically credited by the company. 

If a payment does not enable the Partial Payment flag, the amount field of the transaction in the XRP Ledger specifies the amount to deliver, according to the documentation.

Fortunately, Bitfinex had properly configured their systems to read the delivered amount field and not just the amount field. 

The attack, if successful, could have been devastating for Ripple and its native token. It could have crashed the price of XRP. However, that was not the case.

See Also: Ukraine Police Arrested 29-Year-Old Cryptojacker

Attack On Other Exchanges

Additionally, blockchain data revealed that similar failed attempts were made on other prominent cryptocurrency exchanges. 

Binance faced an attempted transfer of 58.9 billion XRP, and Bitstamp was targeted with a 26,200,000 XRP transfer. 

These transactions, like the one aimed at Bitfinex, were part of the exploiter’s strategy and did not result in the transfer of significant sums of the cryptocurrency.

At press time, the market price of XRP showed resilience against these incidents, maintaining stability at $0.58. 

Nevertheless, the XRP bears showed their strength again with yesterday’s weekly close. The price closed below the critical resistance of the 0.5 Fibonacci retracement level at $0.59. 

However, the bulls at least managed to defend the 200-day exponential moving average (EMA).

XRP Price Outlook

XRP prices spiked and dropped around 3% at the time of the attempted exploit. 

However, they recovered to trade up 2.2% on the day at $0.586 at the time of writing during early trading in Asia on Monday morning.

XRP has not seen the momentum that Bitcoin and Ethereum have had during the ETF launch week. In fact, the cross-border payments token is down 7.5% since the beginning of this year.

There has been speculation about a spot XRP ETF, but not enough to bolster sentiment and markets for the asset. Moreover, XRP remains down 83% from its all-time high.

Crypto products and NFTs are unregulated and can be highly risky. There may be no regulatory recourse for any loss from such transactions. Crypto is not a legal tender and is subject to market risks. Readers are advised to seek expert advice and read offer document(s) along with related important literature on the subject carefully before making any kind of investment whatsoever. Crypto market predictions are speculative and any investment made shall be at the sole cost and risk of the readers.