Reported ‘transfer’ of $15B XRP was part of a failed exploit attempt

A supposed transaction of nearly $15 billion worth of XRP (XRP) from an unknown wallet to Bitfinex on Jan. 14 never went through and was part of a failed “partial payments exploit” attempt, according to Bitfinex chief technology officer Paolo Ardoino.

The transfer was initially highlighted by blockchain tracking X account Whale Alert, which claimed seeing a transaction of 25.6 billion XRP — nearly half of XRP’s billion circulating supply — from an unknown wallet to Bitfinex. 

A screenshot of the now-deleted Whale Alert X post. Source: X

However, Whale Alert later deleted the post and said there was “an issue with properly reading the Ripple node response, resulting in a few wrong posts.”

Ardoino then explained on X that “someone attempted to attack” Bitfinex through a “Partial Payments Exploit” with the would-be attacker anticipating the exchange had incorrectly configured its software to process partial payments.

A partial payments exploit works by assuming a company has an improperly configured system that only reads the “amount” field of an XRP transaction — which is set to a high amount.

Related: Hong Kong Virtual Asset Consortium removes XRP from global crypto index

In reality, the exploiter sends over an amount much smaller as specified in another transaction field, and aims to receive credit for the difference from the company.

Ardoino, however, noted the attack failed as “Bitfinex properly handles the ‘delivered_amount’ data field. 

According to blockchain data, the attacker also tried an attack on Binance with a 58.9 billion XRP transfer, which similarly failed.

Asia Express: Fake news crypto panic, Binance gains users as market share falls?